Stage Directors UK are proud to be official partners with ALT. Training, helping to support and mentor an emerging director.
Our latest blog is from Lynne Ekwe about her time as an Assistant Director with ALT. ***
When I was offered the opportunity to be an Assistant Director to Toby Clarke CEO of Alt I was excited and nervous to say the least. I have gained a world of knowledge in both Theatre and film by working with Toby Clarke and Thomas Hescott, SDUK’s Executive Director.
The Alternative Drama School, AKA Alt is a free training programme which aims to develop twenty aspiring BAME practitioners, preparing them for the industry. At the end of the project the young actors perform in front of an industry audience. Working with these young people has been rewarding to say the least! The course consists of textual analysis, movement, screen acting and so much more. As an Assistant Director my role is to discuss creative ideas with Toby , run exercises and warm-ups and help organise the rehearsals. During my time at ALT I have learnt so much about how to work with actors and make them feel safe enough to take risks and make interesting choices. It has also been great having guest practitioners run workshopswith the group as it has exposed me to a variety of different ways of working.
Additionally I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a bunch of talented writers from the Royal Court. In my experience, I have always worked with texts that have already been published but seeing Toby work with Isley Lynn ( How to skin a Cat) to develop the writers stories for the actors has been an eye-opener in terms of how to work with new writing .
A part of my time with ALT, I have been lucky enough to have Thomas Hescott as a mentor, who has been an invaluable source of knowledge. I was lucky enough to shadow Tom on the set of EastEnders which was a surreal experience. I got to learn firsthand about different uses of camera, lighting, set, costume, continuity and all the different roles that are involved in bringing Albert Square to life!
Tom walked me through the different departments on set, I was introduced to the editing team, the script team, and the lighting team who all answered any questions I had about how it all worked. It was amazing to see the differences between directing for TV and theatre as well as the similarities. It was a great insight and gave me confidence to continue learning about TV and Film directing.
My time with ALT has opened up so many opportunities and I am much more confidents as a director and feel like there are so many routes to go down which I had never considered before.
This post originally appeared in our new and glossy members magazine.