ALRA North – Acting for Camera

Last month I began teaching the ‘Acting for Camera’ module on the BA (Hons) Acting course at ALRA North. Many drama schools don’t put the same focus on acting for screen that ALRA does so I’m relishing the opportunity to explore and play alongside the students.

It’s easy to become passionate about people when you begin to study human behaviour. There’s a fire in the eyes, radiance in a smile and an energy that fills the room when we, as humans, are truly at ease and impassioned. We all have these qualities; they are natural, effortless and beautiful, but they also have a habit of evaporating the moment we start to act or sense the camera. Trying to capture that inner lifeforce when speaking words that aren’t our own isn’t natural, nor is it easy, but it’s something that all the greatest screen actors achieve.

It’s exciting to be working with the actors of the future at the start of their journies, and even more so as students begin to show moments of brilliance.

“To Be Seen” by Kieran Vyas and Katie Burchett

This week we’ll be performing an extract from our brand new solo show at Nottingham Playhouse for their Amp Night.

In a bleak, futuristic world, people rely on their online presence in order to survive. As daily news vlogger Luna fails to engage an audience, the pressure to be good enough, pretty enough, funny enough, begins to take its toll and distorts her perception of reality.

To Be Seen is a one-woman play that explores social media and its effects on mental health, written by me and actor/writer Katie Burchett. It’s a work in progress that we’re extremely excited to test on a live audience. This will be the first of a series of performances and R&D sessions we hope to complete to bring the play to fruition.

Venue: Nottingham Playhouse
Date: 10th April
Time: 8pm

(PERFORMANCE DATE NOW PASSED.) If you’d like to buy tickets, you can do so here: https://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/other/amp-night/


AUDIENCE FEEDBACK:

“An excellent portrayal of austerity for millenials.”

“Thought-provoking. Up to the minute.”

“My God, we’re all doomed. Great piece!”

Katie Burchett (To Be Seen 2019)

BA (Hons) Acting – Leicester College & ALRA

Being born and bred in Leicester, I was delighted to hear that ALRA was collaborating with Leicester College and De Montfort University to bring a new BA (Hons) Acting course to my home town. Any opportunity for young people in Leicester to nurture and realise their creative aspirations is a wonderful thing, but a conservatoire-standard curriculum is especially exciting. I was even more delighted when the school invited me in to deliver acting classes to the first year of students as part of the curriculum.

In September 2018, I began working with the first years each week, culminating in a devised performance at the end of the year at the Sue Townsend Theatre. This performance included a moving, trumpeting elephant comprised of actors, which took us weeks to develop and bring to life. No small feat! Despite still being at an early point in their training, I’m blown away by the amount of potential amongst the students and more vividly by their hunger and passion for the craft.

It’s an exciting place to create and the opportunity to work closely with ALRA has also been a huge advantage. Later this month I’ll be visiting ALRA North to lead workshops and mock auditions with their acting students.

If you’d like to check out the course you can find more info here: Leicester College – BA (Hons) Acting

BBC Radio Leicester’s Asian Life Festival

Celebrating five decades of Asian life in Leicester through food, arts and culture, BBC Radio Leicester’s Asian Life Festival explored all aspects of the journey so far that have made Leicester the incredible city it is today. Part of the festival was ‘The Good Companion’, a skit written by Divya Ghelani, which I had the pleasure of directing.

In May 1974, over 500 black and Asian workers at Imperial Typewriter Co. on Leicester’s East Park Road, went on strike against unequal pay and racism on the factory floor. The so-named ‘Asian Worker’s Strike’ was unofficial and unsupported by the local TGWU who many said were in cahoots with the factory management. It is one of the first stories of resistance for Asian workers and yet it has been excluded from Leicester’s recorded history. Part of my own family were Ugandan Asian refugees so when I heard the premise for the skit, I was captivated by the story and excited to come on board, but at the same time shocked to have had no prior knowledge of the events that took place.

The Good Companion

The following is an extract from a conference paper presented by Evan Smith at the 2008 Social History Society conference in Rotterdam:

“The strikers claimed that the ‘white workers don’t suffer from the same degree of discipline as blacks do’… they were quoted in New Society as stating, ‘This discrimination is quite peculiar because it is so hard to nail. It is the racialism that you feel but cannot overtly see, that exists at Imperial’.

The representative of the TGWU for Imperial Typewriters was George Bromley, who objected to the unofficial nature of the strike and the demands being made. Bromley criticised the unofficial measures being taken by the Asian strikers and their apparent disregard for the ‘proper disputes procedure’, stating that the strikers ‘have got to learn to fit in with our ways’.”

The Good Companion was performed by local Leicester actors Marcus Langford and Krish Bharat. It followed a film that included interviews with Ugandan Asian refugees discussing the hardships of working in factories in the seventies.

The festival was an enlightening celebration of Asian history and life in Leicester and I am extremely proud to have been a part of it.

Cast: Marcus Langford & Krishan Bharat

Director: Kieran Vyas

Writer: Divya Ghelani

Producer: Kamlesh Purohit

 

More info on the Imperial Typewriter strike: https://hatfulofhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/before-the-unity-of-grunwick-40-years-since-the-imperial-typewriters-strike/