Talented actors get tips from Royal Shakespeare Company

Bailay illingworth and Ellen O'Keeffe of Bradford College who have worked with the RSC

Two drama students from Bradford College learned from some of the best in the business when they spent a weekend with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

Teenagers Bailay Illingworth and Ellen O'Keeffe were selected by the world-renowned theatre company to take part in the Next Generation:Act project which aims to support young actors from around the country.

The pair spent a weekend working with experts at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon

Bailay, 19, from Bradford, said: “It was a very useful weekend. We spent three hours on the stage at the Swan Theatre working on some monologues. Many actors don’t get the privilege of practising on that stage for so long.

“It was great to work with experts and get their feedback and advice on improving our techniques and getting into the industry.

“One thing I did pick up is to pester people for jobs and opportunities. To not give up.”

Ellen, 16, from Bingley, added: “I learned you have got to be confident enough to make your own decisions on the text. I also took away that you have to make sure you absolutely know the text and that you are using the words properly – that you must have a deep level of understanding.”

Robin Belfield, RSC young peoples' performance development officer, praised the Bradford College students for contributing to a “great weekend”.

"Bailay and Ellen were joined by seven other young people from across the country,” he said.

"Over the weekend they worked with myself and Hannah Miller casting director at the RSC and RSC voice practitioner Anna McSweeney

“They worked with all three of us on Shakespeare monologues character and performing skills. They also had some mentoring and advice on career pathways and routes into the profession. They all did terrifically well.”

Last year, Bradford College became the first Further and Higher Education College in the country to gain RSC Lead Associate School status. Working with a cluster of schools from the city, the College supports teachers to use techniques taken straight from the rehearsal room to bring Shakespeare's plays alive in the classroom.

In July the Bradford Cluster will be represented at the RSC Macbeth Playmaking Festival by a company of young actors from Bradford College, Feversham College, Samuel Lister Academy, and St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College.

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