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News & Blogs

Welcome to our News & Blogs page. If you have any questions regarding the articles included on this site, please email laurapeatman@rada.ac.uk.

We were delighted that RADA in Business Tutor Sheelagh McNamara was invited to speak at TEDx Whitehall Women in May 2015. Over 200 women heard her talk, 'Heard' Mentality, and you can watch it here now.

Sheelagh McNamara, a voice, speech & presentation skills expert, who has worked with everyone from Oscar nominees to politicians to lawyers, is a RADA in Business tutor – taking the dramatic training skills to the business world. She is the course leader on our Executive Presence for Women course.

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Cameron’s triumphant performance

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The UK enthusiastically welcomed the American-style televised leader’s debates with seven-million of us tuning in to see the seven major contenders represented on stage. Some thought that the presence of women added a human, authentic, touch - perhaps even a ‘moral’ element. Others felt it was tokenism for the smaller parties and merely done to increase the quota of women on stage. Either way, the strongest performers in that seven-way debate, Sturgeon and Cameron, both having physical and vocal presence, came out winners post-ballot. Our previous post looked at Nicola Sturgeon, here we look at Cameron’s performance in the final debate.

Looking back at Milliband’s performance now, his awkward stance and inability to show up as truly genuine was an early warning sign for labour. It reveals, perhaps, a deep lack of self-belief and clarity of purpose - a rocky foundation for a party who’s campaign has been a struggle. Interesting how these behaviours reflect an inherent lack of clear agenda for social change - and thus an unsuccessful challenge to a Tory majority. Clegg played the nice guy, and his message was one of quiet resignation; there was little fire in his belly and little to differentiate him from Cameron. It's no surprise to see them both resign before midday.

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Well, the results are in – so how do they reflect the women’s pre-election performances? With the largest representation yet of senior-level women in the pre-election campaigning, and not without their gaffs (Labour’s pink van-gate anyone?) did the women leaders get heard is the real question. Certainly the increase in female MPS, currently at 190 from a pre-election figure of 147, would indicate so, at least superficially.

In politics, as in business, the media is hung up on female quotas but the fact is that simply being present is not the same as having presence. With the SNP’s resounding and historic result in Scotland, it seems very clear that Nicola Sturgeon was a woman both seen and heard.

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Presenting without Props

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Charlie Walker-Wise, Business Development Manager, RADA in Business

empty chair on stage

I’ve been reflecting on the experience for non-theatre professionals when they come to work with us at RADA. Over the last couple of months we’ve had major events here with large numbers of people from media agencies, banks, consultancies, government and retail brands.

At the beginning of these experiences I pose them a question: What do they see when they look around their office? What are the tools they use to do their job? Invariably the answer is “phone”, “computer”, “desk”. Then I ask them what they see here at RADA as I stand in front of them. The answer is “nothing”, just an empty space. This space is the actor’s “office” and the tools used are the body and the voice. Actors at RADA spend three years learning how to use these tools incredibly effectively but these skills are not the preserve of the actor. They are not rarefied, or sacred; they are universal human skills and, with a little guidance, can be honed to improve credibility and confidence.

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The Power of Play

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Charlie Walker-Wise, Business Development Manager, RADA in Business

Lego: The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, Damianen Hirst

I have a theory. It goes something like this: first we celebrate play in children, then we indulge it, then we tolerate it, and then we squash it.

When a baby becomes a toddler and begins to interact with their environment we are thrilled and encourage its experimentation through play. As toddlers become children we accept the games they play, the make-believe worlds they create, understanding that these are important for them to make sense of the world around them.

But at about the age of 7 or 8 we change the language we use with children. We start to say things like 'grow up' and 'stop behaving like a child' and 'act your age'. The absurdity of making these statements to a child looks stark out of context, doesn’t it? But when flung out in frustration, how much thought is given to the damaging language and its effect? Suddenly investigation through experience becomes a bad thing. We risk shaming children for their curiosity and experimentation.

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Puppet on a Shoe String

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Staff with puppet

This month some of the RADA in Business team, along with RADA staff were treated to a workshop in puppetry – led by the remarkable Finn Caldwell, whose credits include War Horse and recently the unique children’s show Elephantom – in which the central character is a mystical floating elephant spirit. Whilst we weren’t afforded the luxuries of such sophisticated ‘ripstop’ materials and elaborately molded heads, we proved that all you need is a roll of brown paper, masking tape and flexible knees to instantly create a believable puppet.

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