There’s no denying it, 2020 has been one very bumpy rollercoaster ride and not one anyone would wish to ride again anytime soon. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the Arts industry particularly hard. On Wednesday 18th March 2020, like many other drama schools and institutions we made the difficult decision to close the doors of our beautiful studios in Kensington and Chelsea. We had no idea how long the lockdown would last and things felt very uncertain. We had no idea quite when we would be able to open our doors again and we were concerned about our graduating class of 2020.
The students had worked so hard and are such a uniquely talented bunch of young performers. We were a week out from our professional Agent Showcase which we unfortunately had to postpone and just about to go into full-time rehearsals for our production of ‘Bad Girls’ the Musical with an incredible creative team, consisting of Bronagh Lagan, Matt Samer and Ste Clough. We were incredibly disappointed that these things had to be put on pause.
However, we remained hopeful. We are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by enthusiastic students, talented tutors and hard working staff.
As time went on, we realised we weren’t going to be able to return to the building as quickly as we had hoped. However, we decided this wasn’t going to stop us. One of the greatest things about Associated Studios, is that we are a small school with very high standards, which gives us the opportunity and commitment to be as flexible as we need to be. The students’ training is always at the forefront of our minds. Whilst most drama schools moved their entire courses online, we decided we weren’t going to do that. We wanted to still give the students as much face to face training as we possibly could. So, we decided to delay 6 weeks of training and for the students to return end of August to work on their performance projects with fantastic tutors including Casting Director, Danielle Tarento and Musical Director extraordinaire, Greg Arrowsmith. This way, we can honour the students’ training, give them a fantastic performance experience in a theatre (albeit on film rather that in front of an audience), whilst also ensuring we operate in line with the government’s guidelines around social distancing and Covid-19 rules.
In the meantime, we moved some of our classes online, but only the classes that could effectively be accommodated on everybody’s favourite online forum, ZOOM!
We were delighted. Our students and tutors have adapted so well to online classes and the results have been incredibly positive. During their time online, students have been working on a ‘Kander and Ebb Review’, Shakespeare, Role Study and many other classes including Vocal Technique, Voice, Dance Technique and Fitness and Self Tape.
Yes, these are not the challenges we were expecting to face, but we turned a scary and uncertain time into something positive and rewarding. We extended the course dates to ensure students are keeping up with their skills. We cannot wait to return face to face next month (albeit 2 metres apart!)
More importantly, we can’t wait to celebrate the positivity and resilience our graduating class of 2020 have shown. In some way shape or form, these students will get their agent showcase and we cannot wait for these exciting, young Actors to go out into this beautiful industry.
Course Coordinator and Production Manager