PERFORM 2012 took place on 9–11 March at London’s Kensington Olympia. It is the sister event to MOVE IT, a dance event for performers, students and teachers. The event was busy, with many young students eager to dance and perform at the three-day event.
PERFORM was given its own corner of the hall, and was designed for those with interests in theatre and drama. There were big names exhibiting, such as Spotlight, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Equity and The Stage. There was also a large selection of other college and performing institutions, talking to potential students and teachers about their courses and facilities. Companies were present not only to sell their products and courses, but also to provide advice and guidance to people considering a career in theatre.
There were a number of useful seminars running throughout the weekend, led by some very interesting and influential industry representatives. Teaching Drama attended ‘Teaching and the performing arts’, which was taken by Stagecoach course director Veronica Bennetts and founder Stephanie Manuel.
They talked about Stagecoach’s teacher training course, which can either help new teachers develop their skills, or provide a refresher course to teachers with more experience. The course, which runs twice a year, is now full until November – a testament to its popularity. Veronica Bennetts spoke very passionately about the need to teach creatively and to keep the initial enthusiasm students have at 3–4 years old through to the upper end of primary school.
Another useful seminar was ‘Drama school auditions – a guide to drama teachers’, which was leadby a former senior director at RADA, Ellis Jones (head of acting at RADA from 1993–2003). Also there to offer advice on the audition process was Lovesong actor Edward Bennett. Both men provided useful tips and hints for preparing students for auditions. With some audition panellists seeing 3000 students a year, this was a useful insight into what can help a student to stand out from the crowd.
Over the weekend there were also some hands-on, practical workshops available. There was an acting workshop for the under 12s, a workshop on essential voice warm-ups and an introduction to unarmed stage combat for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush.
While the major dance stage did occasionally impose upon the intimate talks taking place in smaller rooms, it did give the event an exciting atmosphere. PERFORM is not as big as MOVE IT, but this in fact becomes one of its benefits, as it gives students, teachers and performers the opportunity to network and chat to important figures in the industry.
So, if you’re a teacher with students considering drama school, or you yourself are thinking about further study through an MA or teaching course, come along next year and find out all you need to know from the people in the know.