I'm an actress and freelance writer living in North London
Published April 21st 2011
The Bridge Theatre Training Company, is based in Camden Town, North West London. It is designed to provide professional acting training, but at an affordable price, so that people from all backgrounds and walks of life are able to apply.
They are a non-profit organisation and a contributed to by many educational charities, meaning the fees are a lot lower than other schools, so it is much more accessible to those who have previously not been able to afford professional acting training.
The school was set up in 1993 by Judith Pollard and Mark Akrill, actors and directors who felt that Acting training was just too expensive, and their aim was to make it affordable so that opportunities could be offered to everyone. Successful actors can come from any background, and their financial status should be completely irrelevant. As they are ran partly by charitable donations, there is often funding available to some students. This should be discussed directly with the school.
In 1996, the two courses that they currently offer were introduced, and in 2001 they moved to the premises in which the currently reside.
The two courses they offer are;
Two-Year Professional Acting Course - designed for those who have no training, or are just starting out with training, but are keen to make a career out of performance.
One-Year Post Graduate/ Post-Experience Course - this is designed for those who may have a previous experience, i.e. a degree, or those with professional experience, or simply a lot of life experience!
The minimum age for the two year course is 18, and the one year is 21. Each year is split up into three terms, and courses run full-time between September and July.
The Bridge is currently based at Cecil Sharp House, on the outskirts of Camden Town, just a short walk from Regent's Park and Camden lock. Cecil Sharp House is a registered building, in a quiet tree lined road, with full rehearsal and changing facilities, a cafeteria and even a walled- garden.
What the courses offer?
The courses cover a variety of different acting methods and styles, right from basic technique through to full performance and preparation for entering the industry as a professional.
Some of the subjects and classes include;
Voice Technique Singing Dance (Contemporary/Musical Theatre)
Audition and CV advice
Acting for Television and Radio
All students must also pass a level 1 stage combat exam from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat (BADC), in their final term in order to graduate from the course. In the last term, students also get the opportunity to chat with industry professionals, from organisations such as Spotlight and Equity, so that they are armed with as much information as possible, before they hit the real world!
In the last two terms of the course (terms 2 and 3 in the one year course, or 5 and 6 in the two year course), students take part in full professional shows and have the opportunity to invite industry professionals. This usually includes to seasons of productions at the Cockpit Theatre, Edgware Road, and a professional West End showcase at the Criterion Theatre. For details of this years productions click here.
After graduating, students have gone into Television, Film and Theatre. The website is regularly updated with information about productions and events where you can catch up with ex-students.
I graduated from the Bridge in 2009, after completing the one year course, and I can honestly say it was a rewarding and life-changing experience. I count my Bridge colleagues as some of my closest friends, and there is a continued community feeling between both current, ex students and staff long after you leave. Yes it is hard work, but all of the teachers are dedicated to the profession and are truly passionate about it, which makes it both professional and personal experience to be taught by them.You can tell they care deeply about the work they are doing and creating, and it is not just a 'job'.
Camden Town, is a brilliant place to study, from quiet scenic places in the park and by the lock, through to the vibrant high street and market. There is always something to do and a Bridge related event going on. I still meet my ex-Bridge friends in Camden, and I don't think I can walk down Camden High Street, without seeing someone I recognise!
For more information please visit the website. They hold entrance auditions on various Saturdays through out the year, and they are currently holding auditions for their September 2011 intake.