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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.

All At Sea

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Kevin Chapman, Director of RADA in Business

Cunard Queen Mary 2

This month I had the pleasure of joining our latest company of RADA actors for a week as they set sail to perform shows on Cunard’s flagship; the Queen Mary 2.

Performing in the fully equipped Royal Court Theatre, over 1,000 guests enjoyed abridged versions of Pride and Prejudice (in “moderate” seas) and Romeo and Juliet (in “slight” seas). It was fascinating to watch the actors maintain their composure and sure footedness during the more stormy days in the North Atlantic. Watching Juliet apply performance techniques to stay steady on the balcony reminded me just how powerful these skills are when we teach to people in business to hold their space and confidence.

The cast stays on the ship for its full 4 week tour performing these shows plus running acting workshops and storytelling sessions for the 2,000 or so guests, all as part of Cunard’s overall entertainment offering. This trip took them from Southampton to New York, Quebec and back.

The company will be back in London, performing Pride and Prejudice for one night only in our RADA Studios on the 19 October. Contact Kate Welsh if you would like to join us. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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A Taste of RADA in Business

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RADA In Business held its quarterly Taster Session on Wednesday 10 June, here at our RADA studios. The session invites people unfamiliar with our approach to learning to come and experience it in an informal and relaxed manner, under the guidance of one of our highly experienced RADA tutors.

Lasting 90 minutes, and followed by an informal networking session over wine and nibbles, 18 senior HR and Learning and Development professionals from multiple industries including media agencies, law firms, management consultancies, and engineering companies, experienced how to project themselves with more gravitas and polish, by optimising their body, breath and voice.

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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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