What is LAMDA?

These past few months have been hectic (when isn’t it?!) but a lot of fun, with many different projects taking place. In this blog though I will be discussing something you may have seen a bit of here and there, and something I run every week – LAMDA.

What is LAMDA?

LAMDA stands for London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. It is a drama school in London which run many different courses – the most well know being degrees in various arts topics (performing arts, directing, stage management). As well as this they have exams which take place all around the country that anyone can take. These exams run in a number of subjects (e.g: acting, devising, Shakespeare) and students are normally entered for an exam by a teacher or drama coach who has worked with them and prepared them for the exam.

That is what I do. I work with young people, normally from age 8 and up on work that they will perform in a LAMDA exam, in front of a LAMDA examiner. At 20Twenty we run solo acting courses for the LAMDA exams.

How does this work and what is involved?

LAMDA exams are something you need to be committed to, as it requires a lot of work at home as well as in a session with me. Normally for the exam the student will need to prepare two monologues and a range of answers to some set questions about the monologues.

Once they have chosen two monologues, we start by learning more about the character: Who are they? What are they like? How do they talk and move? We then start to build that character using a number of exercises.

Once we have developed and learnt more about the character, we start to stage the monologues – thinking about who we are talking to, where things are placed in the scene, as well as how we want to perform it.

Throughout this whole process, the young people are learning a number of valuable skills and acting exercises which they can use in other parts of their performing, and everyday life. They also grow confidence in themselves and their abilities.

As we get closer to the exam we do a number of mock exams with other 20Twenty Staff/Volunteers. This will get them used to the exam process as well as provide valuable feedback on the students monologues and set answers.

The exams our students go to take place in Cambridge in June/July.

Is it worth it?

I have been running LAMDA sessions since 2014 and all my students have received Merits or Distinctions in their exams.

I really enjoy working with the young people for their LAMDA exams; to see them grow and develop themselves and their work, and learn new skills is wonderful. I always feel proud of them, how hard they have worked and what they have achieved – especially as they don’t have the ‘on stage’ support of fellow actors/friends – this is completely solo.

These exams are great for anyone who is thinking of studying acting at a higher level, or who is thinking about having a career in the arts. They are also brilliant for people who would like to gain new skills and improve their confidence.

Our LAMDA program is currently getting a re-vamp, so more information about our LAMDA exams will be available soon. If you are interested in your child doing a LAMDA exam, please speak to Geri about what is on offer, by emailing or phoning: geri@20twentyproductions.co.uk  01354 652769

It is certainly worth it!

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What a week!

Wow! What a week!

First of all, I just want to do a quick shout out to everyone who took part in March’s St George’s Fayre – it was a great day and our youth theatre performances were brilliant, so well done to all of you! I hope everyone enjoyed the day, and got to see at least one act perform, because they were all great. I also really enjoyed the 60s,70s ad 80s theme that was on the Market Place, so much effort went in to making it look so good – great job everyone.

This week our Connections group took their show ‘When They Go Low’ by Natalie Mitchell to The Garage in Norwich, and we had a brilliant day. The group took part in a fun workshop to help them warm up their bodies, voices and minds ready for the show and the day ahead. This workshop was really good to watch from a directors point of view, as it is always good to learn new exercises to do with your groups. 

Working with the tech staff at The Garage was a pleasant experience as always – they were very supportive and helpful with the group. This is the first show Jess has done tech for, and doing it in a different venue was a bit daunting for her – the Technical Lead at the The Garage showed her how to use the lighting and sound board, and he felt confident enough to leave her to run the show by herself. She did a wonderful job, and our music and lights were fantastic. Jess has an eye for what lighting looks good in scenes, and I hope she continues to do tech in some of our other shows. During our tech at The Garage the group had to do something they hadn’t done before – a cue to cue. 

A cue to cue is where we do a few lines before a lighting or sounds change, do the change then do a few lines after the change. I think this took a bit of getting used to – as it was totally new to them, but they got stuck in and focused on what we were doing (doing a cue to cue does require a lot of focus!). I hope doing this helped them, and also taught them a bit more about professional theatre.

The show itself was a lot of fun. Glen and I sat at the back of the auditorium – which was a different experience, as it was a bigger space, so the show felt very different from further back. I think being in a bigger space was very different for the group as well – they used the space well and interacted with the audience well, but it was more difficult for the group to fill the space with volume. They did a brilliant job however, and everyone really enjoyed the show. (It is great as a director to watch the audiences reaction!). Thank you to the parents that travelled from Fenland to Norwich to see the show a second time! 

Whilst we were there we also got to see some other youth groups perform; Ceasefire Babies by Fiona Doyle and These Bridges by Phoebe Eclair Powell are both Connections shows as well, and were very well performed by young people.

All in all, it was a fun day. I love being part of the National Theatre Connections Festival, performing brand new, interesting, fun shows – and getting to take the group to Norwich for the day, to perform there and watch other shows – it’s just awesome! Fingers crossed we get chosen to perform in London, and double fingers crossed we get to take part in this festival again next year!

Half Term fun!

Welcome to my first ever blog! I hope you all enjoy reading what I get up to at 20Twenty.

This past month has been full of many different things, so let’s dive right in!

At the beginning of February we filmed the second theatre makers film for Cavalry Primary school, with year 3’s. Their film was based on the book The Magic Finger by Road Dahl. We had wonderful actors who all did a fantastic job during their first ever film – well done Year 3! We will be premiering both The Magic Finger and Fantastic Mr Fox in 2 weeks at the light cinema, with a red carpet for all our budding actors to walk down. I am sure there will be lots of giggles from the two Year 3 classes – seeing yourself on screen can be a bit embarrassing, but I know they will all be excited.

Half term was a busy one for the youth theatres: All Stars, Boundless, Connections and Limitless rehearsed during the week. I popped in and out of All Stars and Boundless rehearsals – but what I saw was looking really good, I can’t wait to see both those shows come together as we get closer to show. They are performing Pride Rock (All Stars), and High School Musical (Boundless) – no doubt I will end up singing along to both shows when I watch them, especially as High School Musical is one of my favourite films!

Our Connections rehearsal was really productive. We did a full run through and it is starting to look really good. I am so pleased with how much effort the group are putting in – everyone is working so hard to make this the best show possible. We are performing this show in the round, which is new for our group, and is difficult because the actors have to make sure everyone can see you at all times – but the group have take on the challenge and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. One week today until our first show!

Limitless not only had a rehearsal but a show as well! They performed ‘I Got Superpowers for my birthday’ by Katie Douglas, which is a fun show about three 13 year olds who somehow gain superpowers for their birthday. The show went really well. Rehearsals at times had been a struggle for everyone, with people not knowing lines and not remembering blocking; but once we got to our performance space, with the lights and the staging – it all came together and everyone did such a fantastic job. The group made the show really fun and I really enjoyed watching it (whilst doing the tech!).

Sadly that was Limitless’ last show, as we have made the decision to stop the group. Unfortunately we have had low numbers at the Whittlesey group for quite a while – and anyone who has directed or been in shows before knows how difficult it can be to try and put shows on with low numbers; therefore we have stopped the group for the time being. It was a sad day for Glen and I as we have been running this group for six years – with some original members still in it! We have got many happy memories with the group as they have done some brilliant shows – Glen and I wrote one for them, and they also devised a show that got turned into a film! So many happy achievements with this group – well done and so long for now Limitless.

And now to look forward: next week the Connections group are performing ‘When They Go Low’ which is a show about feminism and equality through the eyes of a teenager. This play is something that many of our group can relate to, and we all feel it is an important message to tell. Glen and I are so proud to be part of the National Theatre Connections Festival – and this is our third year! It is wonderful to see our young actors grow into more confident people, exploring important topics and trying new types of theatre. We will then be performing this show at The Garage in Norwich on 24th April (that is always a fun day!).

Good luck Connections – Glen and I know you will be brilliant!

High School Musical is coming up on 24th and 25th March – this is one of my favourite films I love singing and dancing along to it; so I cannot wait to see Boundless perform this.

Thank you all for reading. If you have any questions about Academy groups or shows, please get in touch, my email address is: geri@20twentyproductions.co.uk