Being a student of Drama is not just about wearing black and learning lines. It’s an attitude - to seek, imbibe and experiment, within ourselves and with what’s around us. There are ideas and stories out there, in every breath and step of ours. We just have to look to find them. Find, capture and embrace them, and before you know, Drama begins.
The word Drama comes from the Greek word Dran, which is to do. Looking becomes doing, when done actively. I begin my drama process, by looking and absorbing the environment, the people in it, the space I am in, the objects around me, the sounds I can hear and everything else that I can feel. This is my inspiration to start creating new work. When this is done with a team, you have ideas that you can play with, develop and craft. This is the beginning of collaborative working.
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is one of the oldest drama schools in London, started in 1906. Its special strength, unique in the sector, lies in a combination of first-rate practical training and production, with a highly ranked programme of research - research aimed at the cutting edge of new performance practice. Affiliated to the University of London, Central School offers dedicated drama programmes in the field of Advanced Theatre Practice, Movement Studies, Voice Studies, Applied Theatre, Acting, Actor Training Scenography, Creative Producing , Writing and Performance based research.
Studying drama is focused on process as opposed to outcomes. We are given guidelines as opposed to instructions. We are encouraged to build and shape our ideas, given that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Professors are practitioners who continue to create and devise work across the world, thereby constantly widening the scope of learning through doing. Studying with collaborators from various cultures pushes you to think afresh, and do what’s different. On the course, we currently have Circus Acrobats, Opera Singers, Ballet Dancers, Lighting Designers, Art Critics, Playwrights, Directors, Actors, Stand-up comedians and Marketing Professionals as students. This environment opens up possibilities and helps us push boundaries. In doing so, new work emerges.
Studying in London is a great opportunity to watch a variety of drama, from classics to west end musicals to performance art. There are shows in which we are passive spectators to plays in which we become active participants. There are classical performances that take you to another world and there are immersive fringe shows that involve you in a new reality. This plays a part in shaping our understanding about possibilities in Drama, with drama. Through the course, we also have the opportunity to interact with artists making these shows. This gives us an understanding of working methodologies and development processes used by specific companies to devise and develop work. Apart from drama practitioners, we also get to interact with Puppeteers, designers and artists who collaborate to create inter-disciplinary work.
Through the year, students are encouraged to collaborate with other courses to enhance work content, style and design. The school comes equipped with Auditoriums, Drama Studios, Lighting and sound booths, Costume design and execution labs, set construction garages and other digital equipment that may be needed for performance. In short, the school is fully equipped in terms of drama related infrastructure. An entire theatre and allied art focussed library offers dedicated books, journals and other material that contributes to widening our areas of learning.
The school offers under graduate and post graduate programmes with both full time and part time possibilities. The course begins in September-October every year and applications open in January. The admission process happens in two stages, starting with a written application, followed by a creative audition. The school also has the option of conducting auditions over video for International students.
In this digital age, we can access information virtually by just exercising our fingertips. So what makes drama different? Drama is not information. It's an experience. Drama is not about place. It's about space and shaping it, using your body, imagination and time. Drama is live and alive. It is about that moment. It is that medium when repeated or recreated, changes. It is about you, what you believe in, what you can change and what you can create. It can transport you, move you, mould you, shake you up or show you what’s really real. That’s the power of drama. Let's live it.
This article was published in The Hindu, Education Plus. To read it, click here