An account of weekly workshops by Isabel Dickens
Ciara Wright (24) was previously a member of Platform Young Company. She is from Falkirk but is currently living in Shepherd’s Bush and is studying for a BA in Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Read our interview with her on her time at Platform Young Company and her current studies and ambitions.
If you are interested in Platform Young Company (for age 16-25 year olds) please email Matt Addicott – email@example.com for information on the next intake of members. However we are currently recruiting for Lab Station – our weekly drama group for those age 12 -16. We are running two free Open Workshops at Platform on Mon 15th & Mon 29th April between 6pm-7.30pm. The Open Workshops are open to all regardless of experience and are a great way to find out if Lab Station is for you! For more information visit HERE or to book a place please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We also run Creation Station which is our drama group for those age 8-11 years old. See HERE for more details.
How did you first get involved in Platform’s drama programme?
I heard about Platform through word of mouth at my National Youth Theatre audition in Glasgow. I was told that there was a group that met up once a week and that it was for people with an interest in acting. At the time, I had left college and was looking for something to be involved in.
What kind of projects did you work on?
We did so many projects at Platform and there was always something to work on. I loved when we worked through the play Medea and I performed one of her speeches. It has now become a role I want to play in the future. My favourite project was probably the first one I did called ‘The Island’. It was written and directed by Lewis Hetherington. I was cast as ‘Joe’ – a fierce character who led a group of people who were the only survivors of an apocalypse. For Medea the drama group really had to work as an ensemble.
During rehearsals we would do loads of improvisations to provide Lewis with ideas and it would give us a chance to find out what our characters were like interacting with each other. We were given a lot of freedom and it was really playful – this was something I had never experienced before. Lewis relied on us to spark up new things during the process which I found really thrilling.
What did you gain with being involved?
It definitely increased my confidence. I remember being so nervous travelling in on my first day to Platform as I knew no one in the group and it had been a while since I had acted. Everyone was so lovely and after the first day I felt like I fitted in and had found a really exciting group who had tonnes of ideas and energy.
What I had always struggled with was finding people who really wanted to go into the creative industry and were passionate about it - and the people at Platform were completely that. I made friends for life. It definitely taught me how to work within a group and how to navigate different ideas to bring them together. I learned how to do unarmed stage combat which was very cool and also encouraged to me go out and watch more theatre. I really do believe in what I was told at Platform – “you learn by trying and being bold” and “watching and listening are key”.
What have you gone on to do in the arts since your time at Platform?
I went on to do the RADA Foundation course which was an amazing experience. Having watched Lewis Hetherington and Beth Morton direct me at Platform, I decided to encourage the people from my course to devise our own sketch show called ‘Scenes from a Bathroom’, which went on for one night at RADA studios. Along with three of my close friends, we split our time directing all the pieces. That same year, I auditioned for several drama schools as I really wanted to do a three year BA Acting course. I got into LAMDA and I’m currently in my second year of training.
What’s your advice for those wanting to get take their first steps into drama?
Platform drama groups are an amazing place to start! They allow you to try loads of different styles of theatre (Shakespeare, Greek, Modern etc) and allow you to perform things in an open, exciting space with like-minded people. I also now love to write my own plays and sketches and that is because of Platform. It gave me the confidence to devise anything I wanted and just have fun.
What would you say to people aspiring to a career in the arts?
Hang in there! Go to theatre programmes like Platform where you can learn and meet people just like you. Write your own work! Don’t wait for someone to cast you in a play - find a group of people whom you can create anything with, whether that be physical theatre or a full length play. If you ever feel like giving up, go and watch a play or a film and be inspired by other actors. Believe that soon it will be you doing amazing things!