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Learning resources for theatre professionals: December 15

Each week, Susan Elkin scours the market of learning resources to find the best books, apps, websites… just about anything, in fact, that can help students, performers and other theatremakers hone their craft. This week, there’s a book that’s back from the ’70s, play texts and some new training opportunities for actor-musicians and singers.

Book – Acting Power: the 21st century edition

Acting-Power[1] [1]The return in a revised form of a 1978 title which has become a bit of a classic, Robert Cohen’s Acting Power [2] examines in detail what acting really is, what actors do and how the whole process works, and it’s refreshing to go right back to basics – from how an actor copes with having to think and be several things at once to how the audience might/should/will react. Cohen is an American playwright, translator and reviewer with many books to his credit including five on acting which he has taught in more then 12 countries. He also directs professionally and is Claire Trevor Professor of Drama at University of California, Irvine – a veteran well worth reading and heeding.

Course – GSA Actor Musician BA Hons

Guildford School of Acting is launching a new three year degree in actor-musicianship [3] in autumn 2015 subject to approval. Applications are open now. Entry requirements are three high grade A levels plus Grade 8 on a first instrument and at least Grade 5 (or equivalent) music theory. The course is a response to the industry’s increasing demand for actor-musician performers and the focus is on versatility. Sean McNamara is the course leader.

Play texts – Jack Thorne

Jack-Thorne [4]Jack Thorne seems to be the playwright (and screenwriter: The Fades, Skins, Shameless, Glue) of the moment. Not only does he have a new play Hope running at the Royal Court (until January 10) but Nick Hern Books has also now brought out the first collection of Thorne’s plays. Most of the six texts in Jack Thorne Plays: One [5] are pretty unflinching and well worth reading for drama students and actors to whom they might provide extract material for auditions or showcases. Included are When You Cure Me, Stacy, Bunny and three more.

Training – Glyndebourne

The Glyndebourne Academy [6] is for singers with exceptional potential aged 16-26 whose circumstances, whether economic, social or geographic, have prevented them from following a traditional path towards a career. It is a new scheme, following a successful 2012 pilot driven by Glyndebourne’s desire to counter lack of diversity among singers and to design a programme which might help. Recruitment opens next month.

Read more training columns from Susan Elkin [7]