How did you start off in theatre?
After my performing arts degree at Middlesex University, I did a postgraduate course at Mountview Academy. I took a year off after university to raise money for the fees but it gave me the skills I needed to support my acting career and start my own business.
What is your best advice for students?
Have a flexible job that you love while looking for performing jobs. Disliking your second job can lead to feelings of depression and resentment. Everybody thinks they are going to make a living out of performing, but the reality is often far from this. Knowing this means you are less likely to give up. My business takes up precious time, but if decent acting work comes up, my incredible staff manage the fort while I’m away. My business is my priority – if I get acting work, it’s just the icing on the cake.
What would you change about UK training?
I would bring back repertory theatre where actors can train on the job.
What is the best part of your job?
When a student lands a leading role on TV, film or in the West End. Even better when the student had a bursary via our charity, the Fiorentini Foundation, and may not have had this wonderful opportunity otherwise.
And your least favourite?
Which practitioners should students look up to?
This is personal for every individual. Research practitioners you admire. What hurdles did they need to cross to get to where they are now?
What skills should every successful theatre/dance professional have?
Organisation, patience and perseverance.
Are there benefits to training in performing arts apart from supporting a stage career?
Absolutely. Businesses are crying out for people who can communicate confidently and have engaging personalities.
Anna Fiorentini is the founder and chief executive of Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School and Stage and the City. She was talking to John Byrne.