Hi fellow Chicagoan!
I’m glad to hear you’re considering applying. My thoughts? Do it—I couldn’t recommend this program enough. My time here has been incredible, and we have three weeks left. I’ve learned so much. The faculty here are absolutely fantastic—they’re all working professionals, they are the best of the best, and they all come at the work in completely different ways. They open up so many avenues for coming at your work from different directions, allowing you to find what truly works for you.
The best part about RADA is that, unlike some other conservatory-style programs, they stress that being yourself as an artist is the absolute most important thing. They’re not interested in cultivating “their method” or “their model” of a classical actor. They’re interested in giving you the tools to do what only you can do with them. As an early professional actor, it’s such a breath of fresh air. They push you to trust your own impulses within the work and technique, and they respect that and work to make it better. They create a truly safe and supportive environment for you to make mistakes and explore. They fully understand that in theatre, there’s no such thing as “getting it right.” That way madness lies, simply because every artist has a different idea of what that means. The best you can do is to keep chipping away at it, keep exploring, which is why a long run of a show is a gift. The discovery you unlock in the fifth week of a six week run is so gratifying.
All in all, I’m coming out of here with incredible confidence in myself as a classical actor. However, everything I’ve learned here has also unlocked some hang ups and “bad habits” I’ve had in all of my work, both classical and contemporary. (Alexander technique changed my universe—I can’t believe I didn’t get it in undergrad.) This program is exactly what I needed after my BFA training, especially as I have no interest in going to grad school for acting. In the last few years since I’ve been working professionally, I’ve identified areas of my work I needed to open up, and I certainly didn’t get enough classical training in undergrad. I’ve taken some great Folio classes (and on camera classes—another thing I can’t believe I didn’t have more of in undergrad) back in Chicago, but it made such a difference (for me) being continuously immersed in my work rather than one three-hour class a week for five or six weeks. I’m glad I came to this program with a new sense of focus on exactly what I wanted and needed from it, something I couldn’t even begin to understand going into my BFA program at age 17.
I could go on and on about my experience here, something I should be better about posting anyway. I’d be more than happy to meet up with you for coffee when I’m back in Chicago around mid-August to talk more about it, answer more specific questions about what the audition process is like, etc. Just let me know!