Drama Schools As Radical Vanguard
For as long as time remembers we've treated Drama Schools as conservatoires - places to go to make people "good actors" for television, theatre and film. Some of these schools are very sucessfull at doing so but watching this show tonight I can't help but think we've got it the wrong way round.
Art schools and universities are the leaders in critical thinking about what ever they're thinking about. We turn to universities to lead in the way in all manner of discussions on all manners of things. Are drama schools not equipped to do the leading on these questions in form, content and theatrical progression in the same way? Drama schools are well funded; they can afford to commission artists, have large casts, allow designers to do what ever they want with no risk because they don't rely on ticket sales. They have actors that are hungry to prove themselves and that are, generally, young. The young are engaged in anthisisis to the world; they are rebellious and radical. They want to be the change; they want to be a part of the next movement so why don't we think of drama schools are the breeding ground for the radical, the political, the next movement of theatre? Why aren't drama schools the one place that Artists should be wanting to work? The one place that's free of the politics of theatre people, funding, and the arts council? Why doesn't the theatre world look at drama schools and shape what it's doing next from the young, radical, actors working with theatre makers?
Drama Schools are the one place where we can make what we think is important freely, get it funded, and make the work we think should exist to challenge the status quo. How great would it be if we reimagined schools in the national conscious as the place where we go to challenge the establishment. How great would it be if Edward Bond made the shows he wants to there and the establishment took it seriously. How great would it be if Drama Schools became groups of genuinely diverse people working together to hold the theatre establishment to accord and the social political climate whilst it's at it. How great would it be if THAT was the status quo.
I think it starts with people like Orla and Sarah taking over Guildhall and Sarah. The work being taken seriously, the work focusing its self as radical, and then people actually going to see it because it is the place where important work happens. That would be a way to fund the makers that want change. It would be a way to start conversations about change. It would be a way that some makers stopped becoming stagnant. It would be a way to be constantly evolving.
Drama Schools can do so much more than teach