Following its highly successful pilot project, ALT. Training, launches its second programme supporting BAME and low-income actors to receive free actor training, showreels and headshots.
ALT. Training, partnered with the Royal Court, Southwark Playhouse and Stage Directors UK supports actors from low income backgrounds to receive professional actor training. Selected from a London-wide call-out, ALT. Training once more will provide participants with completely free actor training thanks to continuing funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Arts Council England.
Across 15 weeks, 15 actors (95% BAME) will work with Director and Acting Coach, Toby Clarke, and other industry experts to develop their acting skills. Through a partnership with TEAfilms Productions, actors taking part will also receive free headshots and showreel material to propel their acting careers. With increased audition fees and demand for drama school places, ALT. Training provides a vital alternative to actors living in London.
On the barriers to BAME actors, Clarke says “I’ve now supported, taught, directed and been inspired by enough young BAME actors to know that the arts industry is not readily available to them due to their social background, their lack of money, or their colour. Sometimes because of all three at the same time. We are beginning to see more BAME actors on our stages and screens. Thankfully this means more aspiring actors are seeing themselves represented. However, there is still a massive barrier with training. So as long as institutions continue to neglect aspiring actors from a more diverse range of backgrounds, there will always remain a lack of trained BAME actors.”
All participants of ALT. receive free actor training from Clarke and opportunities to meet and learn from actors, casting agents and directors with inside knowledge of the industry.
“ALT. would not only provide an immediate advantage to young actors but, in time, the profession as a whole would reap its benefits.” Sam Stevenson (National Theatre Casting Director)
“I love the idea of what is being done here and the objective of making our TV screens and stages more diverse.” Andy Morgan, Casting Director
Clarke continues, “ALT. is entirely free, discovering and nurturing those who have never had the means or opportunity to train before. ALT. is setting out to prove there are other, alternative ways into this industry and with that talent, creativity and determination, anyone can go after and grab what is rightfully theirs, and in doing so, alter the landscape.”
As well as free actor training Clarke is working with playwright Somalia Seaton and Royal Court Associate, Lucy Morrison, to present a showcase of material for industry professionals at Southwark Playhouse in December 2017. All the material will be written by young, BAME playwrights from the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme.
ALT. Training ran a pilot scheme in Spring 2017, bringing together a cohort of BAME young people from low-income and low arts engagement backgrounds together to experience actor training in a risk-free and supportive environment. Out of the 15 participants, 6 gained entry to leading Drama Schools (including CSSD, LAMDA and RADA) and a number either went straight into paid professional work (including with the National Theatre and Les Enfants Terribles) or gained representation from Agents (including Troika)
Toby Clarke trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and with the National Theatre Studio as a Writer and Director. Before joining the National Youth Theatre as Playing Up Co Director, he worked as Head of Performing Arts at Ovalhouse for three years. As a Freelance Director, he works for The Tricycle Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith and The Young Vic. Toby is also a Playwright, was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Playwriting Prize 2014 and has toured his work nationally with his own Production Company, Sketty Theatre. He works in film and TV as an Acting Coach and has recently collaborated on two BAFTA-winning BBC Dramas. Toby has just established his own actor training programme, ALT., originally supported by The Southwark Playhouse and now with the Royal Court, working with predominantly BAME actors from low income backgrounds.