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Drama Studio London founder sets up school in Cardiff

Cardiff Bay, where the Cardiff School of Acting is based Cardiff Bay, where the Cardiff School of Acting is based
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An acting school based in Cardiff has been set up by Drama Studio London founder Peter Layton.

Cardiff School of Acting will offer a one-year postgraduate training programme in several areas of performance, including acting for stage and screen, voice and movement.

It has been established by Layton and actor Marcie Layton in response to their frustration at the way drama is currently taught in the UK. Layton is concerned that drama schools focus too much on academic work at the expense of practical training, and are prohibitively expensive.

“It [most drama training] is very academic, a lot of them have moved towards the degree programme. A lot of it is just about chasing the money. If you’re affiliated with a university, you have access to money that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t affiliated,” Layton told The Stage.

He added that other postgraduate courses charge in the region of £15,000 per year, claiming that the high fees attract “only a white, middle-class kind of actor”.

“There’s a whole range of people who can’t normally afford drama school and can’t even think about it who are very talented and have a future in the profession but don’t get a look in.”

The year-long course, launching this September, will be taught by the husband-and-wife team, alongside a number of other staff members yet to be appointed.

Students will receive a diploma at the end of the course, which costs £7,000. It will be based around a 9am to 5pm timetable, “so that it allows the students to work as well as train”, Layton said.

The school is not yet accredited by Equity and Spotlight because it has not been running for three years, but Layton explained that he would seek accreditation in three years’ time.

“They would come out with a diploma and some experience of the right sort of training, they’re not being diverted with an academic thesis or a dissertation to write and they don’t have to do much academic study at all. They need to read the play: they have to understand the character and they then have to go through the exercise of pretending to be somebody else and making it believable.”

Layton founded Drama Studio London in 1966 and ran the school for 37 years until 2003.

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