How did you start off in theatre?
I trained as an actor at Drama Centre in London, graduating in 1998.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Try to develop the ability to find ‘getting it wrong’ hilarious.
What would you change about training in the UK?
There have been significant developments in attempts to steer training away from a hierarchical, patriarchal model that has traditionally existed, but I’d like to see more rapid movement towards a training in which actors are empowered to take responsibility for their own process. It is easier to learn if you are running towards the process with joy as opposed to trying to get it right for fear of failing.
What is the best part of your job?
Being with actors who are dedicated to exploring their role in art, the world and their relationship with self.
And your least favourite?
Summative assessment. While feedback and formative assessment in workshops and tutorials is invaluable, grading and ranking actors is unhelpful for their process and meaningless in the industry.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students be looking up to?
I love actors such as Denise Gough and Viola Davis – bold and exciting artists. Within training, I have been a practitioner of Mary Overlie’s Viewpoints for 25 years and it is an essential part of my practice: director Anne Bogart writes lucidly and passionately about her development of the technique. Ken Rea’s recent The Outstanding Actor is also a great book.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre professional should have?
What are the benefits of one-year training?
I believe all the necessary skills are trainable in one year. This encourages a more intensive examination of an actor’s process and practice and they can leave an MA with a real sense of responsibility and ownership of their craft.
Stephen Hudson is MA acting course leader at Arts Ed. He was talking to John Byrne