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DramaUK is beginning to stir

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Last week I had lunch with Ian Kellgren and Jude Tisdall of DramaUK – the organisation which was formed at the beginning of this year from a merger of the old National Council for Drama Training and Conference of Drama Schools. Its genesis has been, to put it politely, something of a slow burn so I was very keen to find out just what is going on.

I have publicly complained several times that there is still no website for the new organisation. I am now assured that there will be a sparky new site with lots of useful inforrnation in the second week of January.

The problem, I’m told, is that they wanted to have all the detailed information about the 20 schools running accredited courses (two and three year courses in drama, musical theatre and technical theatre only) in place before launching the website. This has taken longer than expected but data collection is now complete. The website will also include relevant articles by writers about theatre and they’ve asked me to write one of these – so that’s all right then.

[pullquote]Something which is already happening, and which I like the sound of very much, is overseas showcases.[/pullquote]

The website will, in time, detail DramaUK’s other two tiers of association. There will be ‘recognised’ schools which have to meet certain criteria and listings of schools which simply sign up for inclusion.

So what else has DramaUK been doing or planning? Well they have various long-term outline schemes but something which is already happening, and which I like the sound of very much, is overseas showcases. Earlier this month a group of Irish students who had all trained in DramaUK schools got together for workshops leading to a well-attended showcase – lots of casting directors – in Dublin. What a good idea. It gives the students a real opportunity to demonstrate their skills to relevant people on their home turf. The organisation has recently run a similar showcase in New York for American students. It too was very successful. In some cases students in need were helped with travel and other costs either by DramaUK or by their own drama schools.

So pleased is Tisdall with the success of these showcases that she is hoping to repeat them next year, possibly with the inclusion of a third one in Los Angeles in response to US feedback.

I am delighted that things are beginning to happen and look forward to reporting more DramaUK initiatives and activities in the new year. Meanwhile I must get on with writing my piece for its website.

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