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LAMDA graduates to be paired with alumni in new mentoring scheme

LAMDA principal Joanna Read and students. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
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LAMDA and the Genesis Foundation have launched a new mentoring programme for actors, stage managers and technicians.

The Genesis LAMDA Network pairs final-year students on the drama school's professional acting, foundation acting, and production and technical arts courses with an experienced graduate to support them when entering the industry.

Devised in discussion with actors Janet Suzman and David Suchet as well as alumni from across the industry, the new initiative is an extension of LAMDA's existing alumni network.

The peer-to-peer support aims to provide graduating students with a professional connection offering support and guidance as well as practical experience, industry exposure and contacts to support future employment.

All 60 of LAMDA's graduating acting students will be paired with a mentor, as will around 30 stage management graduates.

LAMDA principal Joanna Read said: "So many young artists and technicians entering this industry are focused on landing their first professional job.

"At LAMDA, we equip our students with the skills and knowledge to cultivate long-lasting and fulfilling careers after graduation. The Genesis LAMDA Network is an important addition to this existing professional preparation programme.

At the project's launch, Read told The Stage that it marked a more formal development of LAMDA's existing network, and with an understanding that progression in the acting profession is helped by having a network.

"Acting is a vulnerable and difficult progression to we try to do anything we can to help our graduates succeed. People are more savvy about how to use networks now, so this is about giving them a safety net and some wisdom during those early stages."

John Studzinski, founder and chairman of the Genesis Foundation, which works with arts organisations to support early-career artists, said: "This new scheme with LAMDA fills a need to provide support, guidance and networking opportunities for actors as they enter this precarious profession."

He added that it was important to develop networks for individuals who may not have any of their own.

"People that come from very broad, complicated areas of society sometimes bring the most interesting toolboxes to their acting lives, so we have to make sure those people have connections," he told The Stage.

The Genesis LAMDA Network is currently being piloted with class of 2017 students and LAMDA alumni in the UK and US.

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