Ben shares why they chose to come to the 18-25 Summer School and how they have gained friends and skills that they can transfer into their acting career.

Ben is an acting student at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna who attended the the 18 - 25 Summer School in September. 

I have been following the RSC from afar for close to five years now. I am a German acting student currently finishing my studies in Vienna at the Max Reinhardt Seminar, but ever since reading Antony Sher´s books and seeing my first RSC production in 2018 (Troilus and Cressida, directed by Gregory Doran) the longing gripped me to end up on that wonderful stage someday. The dedication and precision with which everyone seems to approach their work there has baffled, inspired and astonished me for years.

After having seen Henry VI: Rebellion and Wars of the Roses (directed by Owen Horsley) in April 2022, I had to come back in August to see Arthur Hughes´ portrayal of Richard in Richard III (directed by Gregory Doran). That is when my research led me to the RSC 18-25 Summer School. Hoping to get a first insight into the way these actors might approach text, speech, movement and ensemble work, I signed up immediately.

While signing up I was positively surprised about the respect and thought going into the form. Being asked about preferred names and my pronouns made me feel welcome as a genderqueer student even before I got to Stratford-upon-Avon. Never could I have imagined how much more I´d be given in the actual week of the summer school.

young person with long hair swiping their hand through their hair
Photo by Hilde van Mas © Hilde van Mas Browse and license our images

"I also was given so many wonderful tools that will impact my career and help me to follow the path I am attempting to go"

Not only did I get to meet the most wonderful people from all across the UK but also other international students, that I am still in contact with. We spent time in the park, reading Shakespeare scenes even after the official workshop day was done, and lively discussing the productions in the evenings at the Dirty Duck.

I was given so many wonderful tools that will impact my career and help me to follow the path I am attempting to go.

We had movement sessions, recreating scenes from the Richard III production, Voice and Text sessions working on soliloquies and scenes from both plays and were given the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of possible approaches, academic sessions, exploring the worlds, style, genre and the difficulties of Shakespeare´s time. We had a session with the Head of Casting Hannah Miller, speaking about for me personally life-changing views on auditions and castings. All this was interspersed with games, teamwork tasks and lovely conversations.

The atmosphere was always one of interaction, exchange and involvement. Bringing our views and experiences into the group was not just encouraged but valued.

The generosity of all members of staff blew me away. We were given the opportunity to watch a rehearsal of First Encounters: Twelfth Night and have a chat with the director Robin Belfield afterwards, we had a Q&A session with some of the cast from Richard III and the cast of All´s Well that Ends Well (directed by Blanche McIntyre) met up with us and played a few scenes in different versions exclusively for us.

Never have I seen such an open-minded, generous offer from actors and the team. Having worked at several theatres I can comfortably say that this is spectacular and as far as I know unprecedented.

So many people took time out of their day to make our experience the best possible one and that moved me deeply.

If you are thinking about signing up for the RSC 18-25 summer school, do. There´s no better way to spend the time and money. It will gift you things, you wouldn´t even have dared to expect.

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