How did you start off in theatre?
As a youth dancer in the 1980s. Following my degree in performing arts, I became a freelance practitioner, working with all ages in theatres, arts centres and the community, until becoming a teacher in 1996.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Always be true to yourself, be daring and be kind in your choices as you navigate through your career.
What would you change about UK training?
I would like to see a greater consistency of what is taught, how it is taught and why it is taught across a student’s training, from Key Stage 1 through to higher education and the profession as a whole. We are losing sight of the needs of the profession and the power of learning through theatre in our training. Every child has the right to an arts education no matter where they live. Theatres must be able to run education programmes. Perhaps drama training institutions could work more closely with schools to establish joined-up thinking.
What is the best part of your job?
I love seeing a student’s face when they have been touched by a piece of theatre and choose to see it again with their families, it always seems quite magical. I also love when a student that you least expect surprises you with a gem of a moment in a class. Above all, I enjoy creating a performance with my students where, for that period of time, you are an artistic family – you see them grow in confidence, knowledge and skills as they perform their hearts out, and this reminds you why you came into the profession.
And your least favourite?
That has to be when there is a clash between current education policy and the arts. Also that ongoing challenge for every teacher: the general lack of time to fit in everything you would like to achieve with your students.
Lorraine Wright, curriculum leader drama at City of London Academy Highbury Grove, was talking to John Byrne