How did you start off in theatre?
After watching a production of Annie, I begged my parents to take me to dance classes. I joined the National Youth Music Theatre in my teens, touring with the original version of Whistle Down the Wind for several years. I trained at Mountview and then pursued a career in children’s theatre, playing roles such as Mummy Pig in the Peppa Pig stage show.
Why did you move into teaching?
Although I loved performing, it wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do any more. A sideways move into management at a theatre academy meant that I could still work in the industry while working with young people and making a difference in their lives through theatre.
What’s your best advice for students?
Work as hard as you can to absorb all the learning opportunities being thrown your way. Go the extra mile in rehearsing and exploring new skills in your own time. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
What would you change about the industry?
Pay in theatre doesn’t always correlate with the hard work, efforts and skill sets of the people employed in the industry. Also, given the effort that goes into auditions, it would be good if auditionees were always given a definite yes or no answer rather than left hanging.
What is the best part of your job?
Building the confidence and life skills of young people and seeing the sense of community theatre training provides is so rewarding. At a time like this, as we start our courses online, you can see the difference having a connection with their fellow students makes.
What one skill should every successful theatre professional have?
Resilience and belief in yourself.
What can readers do to increase their mental and physical well-being?
For me, meditation, yoga and general exercise are important to maintain mental and physical well-being, especially at a time like this. I also think that letting go of expectations of what you may see on social media and living to your own personal standards is so important.
Victoria Corlass teaches at Simply Theatre, Geneva and Vaud, Switzerland. She was talking to John Byrne