@westendproducer will drama schools lower their fees during times of online learning? my friend pays around £15’000 a year for normal training – does teaching via zoom and setting research projects need to be as expensive?
— ellie bibby (@EllieBibby)
It’s difficult to say. As you know, we’re all going through a big period of change, and people and institutions are still trying to sort these things out.
Obviously, the lack of practical learning will cause concern for drama students, and they will undoubtedly be missing lessons where they get to dance around in tight leggings, jockstraps and sports bras (and that’s just the boys, dear).
However, we must admire and praise these schools that are still trying to make learning possible, albeit online and through apps like Zoom. We are living through unprecedented times and, as such, we must adjust how we go about our daily lives. If this means taking classes online, then so be it.
But I think there is a lot to be gained by drama students learning in this way. The entertainment business is changing dramatically because of coronavirus. When this whole thing is over, there will be more Zoom auditions, more self-tapes and more content made specifically for the internet and online channels. In one respect this gives current drama students an advantage, as they are learning how to cope and adapt their skills for this medium.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that the ‘live’ element of theatre won’t still be the main event, but there will be a lot of other areas that grow in importance because of the distance we are now facing.
In regard to your question about online learning needing to be as expensive, it’s a difficult one. Of course, tutors still need to be paid, and should be paid. They are still planning lessons and giving their time, but I understand that it may not feel quite as ‘hands on’. I imagine drama schools will be aiming to make up for this when students get back by making sure they get all the research work out of the way now, so that practical work can then become the priority.
I actually think the work these students are being set is valuable not only for their future careers, but also for their current mental health
I have to be honest – I wish I was doing some of these lessons. This self-isolation can be tough on people’s mental health and having tasks to work towards is vital. So I actually think the work these students are being set is valuable not only for their future careers, but also for their current mental health.
Perhaps schools will offer some money back, but I honestly don’t know. The important thing is that students continue learning, and embrace the efforts that are being made by the staff at these institutions. It is also hugely valuable they give feedback themselves about what works online, and what doesn’t. This is a two-way street. The people running the schools are figuring out how to make this work just as much as the students.
In essence, we all have to support one another, and accept that things are going to be different for a while. With passion, enthusiasm and a desire to be adaptable, students will be just as prepared (perhaps even more so) for the ever-changing business they are about to enter, dear.
Apologies that this article isn’t quite as ‘fun’ as my usual ones. My humour has been social distancing this week. Stay strong, friends.