Mark Ludmon gets ready to go talent spotting in search of future stars
Tickets for Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse have been like gold dust but, a few years ago, you could have managed to see TV and film star James Norton along with a host of other familiar names with a lot more ease. You might have caught him alongside Daisy May Cooper, the star of hit BBC comedy This Country, in Marius von Mayenburg’s The Stone, or appearing with James McArdle – soon to be in Angels in America on Broadway – in Shaw’s Man and Superman. As part of the same season, you could have enjoyed performances by Joshua McGuire, Alexandra Roach, Susan Wokoma, Phoebe Fox, Nick Hendrix, Seline Hizli, Ivanno Jeremiah, Tom Kay, Jenna Augen, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Cynthia Erivo and several other well-known faces from TV, film and stage, all performing together in final-year student productions at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA).
RADA’s roster of 2010 graduates was a particularly strong one, and, more recently, you could have seen other stars of the future at its student shows, from Sophie Rundle to Taron Egerton. The latest season of productions for final-year students on the BA Acting course is about to get underway, offering an opportunity to spot future talent, intended not just for casting directors and agents but also for members of the public. In its professional-standard spaces, the GBS Theatre, the John Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre in Bloomsbury, you can enjoy a diverse programme, from Sondheim’s Assassins and Middleton’s Women Beware Women to Nicholas Wright’s Mrs Klein and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. The season, running from 7 to 24 February, also features a production of Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, directed by another RADA graduate, Geraldine Alexander.
Over at LAMDA in west London, more potential stars can be checked out in the drama school’s spring season which runs from 6 February to 12 April. Shows range from Rattigan’s After the Dance (pictured) and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler to Twelfth Night and Cabaret, with actors drawn from both the Foundation Degree and BA in Professional Acting. You may even spot faces that already look familiar such as James Musgrave, who is completing the Foundation Degree in Professional Acting after already enjoying success on TV and the stage.
The spring season at Guildhall School of Music & Drama next to the Barbican also starts in February, beginning with Laura Wade’s Colder Than Here and Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water. Central School of Speech & Drama has a programme to rival Hampstead Theatre over the road, with productions such as Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling, Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again, Aphra Behn’s The Rover, Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, and A Chorus Line. Outside of London, you can also see productions from other leading schools such as Bristol Old Vic Theatre School which has a programme ranging from The Taming of the Shrew in February through to Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man in June. So get down to the drama schools and catch up-and-coming actors in action – while you still can.