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Cruelty & Trauma in The Industry

The thing I have most enjoyed at The Actors Works is seeing people in the class connecting with each other – chatting with people they had never met before, and sharing ideas and stories about their experiences in theatre and performance.

A common theme of some of the discussions was people’s experiences with drama school, or training, or working with directors who were very good at breaking people down, but neglected to do the “building back up again”. I know of several people who went through the same programme as me (across several different years) who felt the training and skills they gained were incredible, but they were left broken for years after and had to put themselves back together. Instead of entering The Industry with confidence and drive, they spend years unpicking the trauma they left with. I’ve worked with actors who have had their confidence undermined for years after working with one director who didn’t know how to communicate their critique with anything other than cruelty – thinking the only way to illicit the best out of performers was to pick them apart.

The motivations behind The Actors Works have always been two-fold: give people a space where they can regularly practice and improve as performers and artists, and also give people a space to make real connections with others and to build yourself up in a supportive environment.


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