A range of workshops and seminars at a decent price, the chance to network with other actors, and a room full of exhibitors including headshot photographers, showreel producers and part-time employers. Yes, I’m talking about Surviving Actors, an event run by actors, for actors.
A few Saturdays ago I headed to the Radisson Blu Hotel near Marble Arch for Surviving Actors London 2016. I went to the event last year while I was still doing my training at East 15 Acting School and found it inspiring and useful, so hoped this year would be too.
I attended seminars on how to think like a casting director, surviving in the theatre, and how to land an on-screen role. All were interesting and insightful, particularly the session with the beautifully honest Brian Astbury and Shane Dempsey. The two spoke the simple truth about a life in the theatre: it’s hard, plain and simple, but it can also be supremely rewarding. Their advice was to the point, their insights on the profession intriguing, and their approach honest and unfaltering. I won’t say brutally honest, because I’m sure all of us in that room understood how challenging it can be to keep going in this industry, so these honest words should have come as no surprise.
Listening to both Brian and Shane speak, rather than feeling deflated about the industry, I felt inspired. They both spoke of the importance of doing your own work – that’s the way to do the work you want to do and care about. This is an ethos that underpins the training at East 15, a school both Brian and Shane have a connection with, so it’s ingrained in my approach to my career and the work itself.
In between seminars I wandered round the exhibitors’ room, chatting with people here and there, picking up a few freebies and buying a few acting books. I was also delighted to bump into some of my fellow E15ers, Madeleine Dunne, Helena Devereux and Vicky Winning. After spending a year training with these guys I miss not seeing them every day!
Like last year, I really enjoyed the event and it was interesting to see how I found it a year on, having finished my training.