DMMF Wellington Arts Excellence Award recipient James Costello Ladanyi has come to the end of his Master of Arts in Professional Acting at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the United Kingdom.
“And just like that, my final term at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is done! Term three was slightly longer (sixteen weeks) and even more jam-packed than the two that preceded it. The most significant event of this last term was our graduating production of Caucasian Chalk Circle. Unlike the smaller, shorter text-project productions that were worked on in conjunction with regular classes over the first two terms, this final production was our sole focus for a seven-week period.
In order to make the graduating production experience as similar to a professional show as possible, almost all of our time was dedicated to the rehearsal process. We were extremely fortunate to be directed by Jesse Jones, a young Bristolian director whose company The Wardrobe Ensemble is making a name for itself in the UK (Jesse even had to miss a couple of days of rehearsal because his company had a show opening on the West End in London). We were also very lucky to have our theatre venue for the seven-show season be The Tobacco Factory Theatre- Bristol’s second most prestigious theatre venue. Caucasian Chalk Circle was an intense, thrilling and ultimately very rewarding experience, and as an ensemble we were very proud of the show we created.
Following the conclusion of our show, our focus turned to recording voice-reels and showreels. Our voice-reels entailed spending an hour in a recording studio, recording various commercial and audiobook material that we had chosen for ourselves. These reels are used as a sort of aural-resume for finding voice work in the industry. For our showreels (the visual partner to a voice reel), we each recorded two three-minute scenes with a partner. Each scene was designated half a day of shooting time, and with an outside director, a crew of five and a high-quality camera, the scenes were as close to professional as possible. Both the voice reels and showreels are still being edited, and I can’t wait to see the results!
Finally, my very last task at Bristol Old Vic was working on our industry showcase that takes place in London in late September. It is traditional for UK drama schools to put on a ‘showcase’ for their graduating students at the end of each year- essentially a short presentation event to invite industry people (agents, casting directors etc) to attend. Because time is money, each actor only has two ninety-second monologues to represent themselves as performers. Thus, finding the right pieces, and perfecting them is a significant task! We spent our last four weeks of school rehearsing the showcase, with a dress-rehearsal presentation to faculty and students on the third-to-last day of school. The end of school has been a bit weird in that it officially ended on Friday 16th August, but showcase isn’t until mid September. After a month break (and detox) we come back for two days of rehearsal, before heading to London for the actual event. A strange, broken up way to end the year, but that’s how it goes!
So, after two-hundred days of training, and well over two thousand hours spent at school, my year at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School has come to an end. The last eleven months have been life-changing for my personal and professional development as a performing artist. It sounds hyperbolic, but my time at Bristol Old Vic has completely changed who I am as a performer. I cannot thank the Dame Malvina Major Foundation enough for being such a key facilitator in my artistic studies over the last year.”