Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Inbetween

It's a funny time of the year in drama school land just now.  One group of students so recently graduated that they still feel present, one group frantically sending in paperwork and enrollment forms so that they also feel present, and a whole faculty of teachers who are the focus of our day-to-day work co-ordinating their various freelance schedules so that we can begin to shape next year's timetable.  And yet, there is nobody actually AT the college.

It's the same way for a lot of potential students out there I think.  Now that so many dance colleges and drama schools have become part of UCAS and there are degrees, universities and funding requirements to satisfy, people are very much in a state of 'in-between'.  Some of our recent graduates are still waiting to find out about their DaDA funding or student loans, and meanwhile we've got potential students coming and going as they are offered reserve places at 3-year courses or lose funding that they thought they had, etc. It's a bit unsettling isn't it?

It was only when considering this constant state of flux this morning that I realised the glaring comparison to the industry in which these students all aspire to work.  I remember the feeling when you enter the final weeks of a contract and remember that soon so you will be back on the audition circuit plying your trade and that you'd really better crack on with the new CV and headshots you've been promising yourself...

So in some respects, even the wait for a place at drama school or dance college is a part of your training. And the key thing to learn?  Patience and focus.  If you flap under either set of circumstances, you can very easily talk yourself up to being stressed out and panicked, which achieves nothing except, well, stress and panic.  It's easy to say I know, but keeping your head and staying focused on the 'why' instead of the 'what' makes life much more bearable.  If you worry about the 'what' (I need funding for drama school... I can't go without it... What shall I do???!!!) it's not going to make it any more likely to happen.  Concentrate on the 'why' (Because I love theatre... because of the way I feel onstage... because of that one performance I once saw that changed my life...) and life seems much more under your own control instead of being in the lap of the Gods.

For me at this time of the year, the 'what' includes policy writing, CDET paperwork, EdExcel paperwork, staffing agreements, contracts, curriculum planning, module writing, buildings maintenance, meetings... blurgh. But the 'why'? Because of the way it feels when you see the students graduate at the end of the year. You can't beat it.