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Formerly free acting course at Newcastle Theatre Royal to cost £1,500

Philip Hoffmann Philip Hoffmann
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Newcastle Theatre Royal has confirmed it will start charging for the free acting course it launched last year.

Announcing that the course will run for a second year, the theatre also said that it will now charge £1,500 per year for the training programme, which it insists is “as low as possible” a cost.

Project A was launched in September 2015 as a free training course for 16 aspiring actors between the ages of 18 and 25. Successful applicants for the first year are still undergoing practical and theoretical training by industry professionals.

However, announcing the programme’s second year, the theatre’s head of learning, Kim Hoffmann, revealed that the theatre can no longer afford to offer the course for free.

She said: “We have tried to keep costs as low as possible in order to ensure that the top-quality training we provide is accessible to as many young people as possible.”

Hoffmann explained that the course cost the theatre more than £7,500 per student, and added: “We are only able to offer this heavily subsidised fee thanks to the generosity of [funders] the Barber Foundation and support of the board of trustees of the Theatre Royal, for which we are extremely grateful.”

The programme – which runs three terms in an academic year – covers vocal, physical and performance skills, as well as specialist training including improvisation, acting for screen, stage combat and the Meisner acting technique.

Course instructors include Royal Shakespeare Company voice coach Michael Corbridge, acting coach Adam Stadius and Ros Steen, who is the former head of vocal training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Hoffmann continued: “Our aim was to offer first-class actor training right here in the North East in a way that hadn’t been done before, and the first year of the course has been a real success with those students taking part having all grown so much in both confidence and their skill sets.”

Launching the course as free last year, the theatre’s artistic director Philip Hoffmann said the theatre was “responding to a need” and that money “shouldn’t be a barrier to the new, hopeful, working-class actors”.

Applications are now open for the course’s second year, which will commence in September.

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