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A weekend of vibrant learning

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Olympia was definitely the place to be this weekend. The Perform Show and Move It were the usual exuberant, buzzy three day events. I dropped in on Friday afternoon. It’s one of my annual pleasures because it is astonishingly exhilarating to be in a huge room full of people who are – every single one of them – passionate about performing arts and desperate to learn more about their passion and how to practise it better.

I tend to spend more time in the Perform section of the event – where The Stage gave away hundreds of free copies and talked to people about how they can access more information and resources – than I do at Move It because I’m no sort of dance specialist. That is not, of course, to ignore the dozens of dance schools and other organisations with stands, the massive programme of dance classes and seminars and the high standard dance work being showcased in the main performance space.

At Perform I was delighted to catch up with members of the National Youth Theatre, manning the organisation’s stand and very enthusiastic about their organisation’s work. With good reason – it is the winner of The Stage’s 2014 School of the Year award and I am looking forward very much to this year’s training rep season which surely can’t be better than last year’s, but somehow I bet it will be.

I’m seeing Fourth Monkey’s Faustus this week, part of Marlowe450 in Canterbury and Massacre At Paris next week. So it was a pleasure to have a chat at Perform with Fourth Monkey actors – it’s another training rep company at Perform. They had The Stage on their stand – open at the feature I wrote about Marlowe450 in last week’s print edition.

And it’s always good to talk to colleagues I often work with at Sardines magazine, Teaching Drama and Nick Hern Books as well as touching base with Oberon Books, Drama UK, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (which I’ve promised to revisit later this year,) the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama and many more.

My eye was particularly caught by the Institute of the Arts, Barcelona.  It’s a new drama school offering a BA (Hons) in acting – which it hopes will be accredited by Norwich University of the Arts in acting – and a foundation course. And there are plans for more courses soon. It’s taught in English and styles itself a British-style drama school in Spain where living costs are much lower. Of course I don’t know how good it is … anyone feel like sponsoring a trip for me to nip over and check it out?

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