How did you start off in performance?
I trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and have been working professionally as a comedian, actress, writer and teacher for 10 years.
What is your best advice for students?
Making your own work should be in the blood of every performer. Make sure you have a minimum of one idea every month, something to ensure you are at the helm of your career.
What would you change about UK training?
I would love for there to be more low-cost drop-in classes for performers to fit around their day job. That was the reason for me starting the ADC.
What is the best part of your job?
I’m a huge believer in ‘one hand down, one hand up’. You should always be helping someone up and, you hope, someone ahead of you in the industry will be willing to help you up to the next rung. Over the past 10 years, I’ve made excellent contacts ranging from successful actors to agents to casting directors, and when I founded the academy, I was delighted when so many of them agreed to run masterclasses.
And your least favourite?
It used to be the admin, but I’m used to that now. And helping fellow performers grow makes up for all the Excel spreadsheets.
Which practitioners do you admire most/who should students be looking up to? Definitely Stanislavski. His ‘Magic If’ exercises take performers out of the ‘block’ and really allow them to connect and bring truth to everything from absurdist comedy to high-octane drama.
What is the one skill every successful theatre professional should have?
The ability to stop, breathe and ignore the critical inner voice. It’s all about understanding where limiting beliefs and self-censorship is coming from, and using breath to work through it.
How do you balance performing and teaching?
This is an industry in which every single one of us should constantly be learning. Sometimes I teach and realise I’ve learned something from my students. Passing on knowledge and experience and inspiring others is the greatest lesson and fuels my own performing career.
Maddy Anholt, founder of and teacher at the Academy of Dramatic Change (@TheADConline), was talking to John Byrne