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Crooked House Theatre Company: Dréimire Project
access support to actor training for disadvantaged young people
The content of this page is a summary of the Dréimire project and will later serve as a page for related content to be posted.
If you are considering an application for Dréimire it is highly recommended you read the original PDF file.
Page last updated: 23/3/2021
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The Dréimire Project helps address many of the difficulties encountered by young
Irish people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnic and diverse communities,
and under-represented social groups, in accessing affordable performance training
at FE and third level.
Dréimire: Irish for 'ladder'; A way to access imagined spaces and overcome real obstacles
Updated 23/03/21: A midway review of the Dréimire project, authored by Peter Hussey, has just been released. To keep up where the project is at, view the PDF document here.
The process of auditioning for a place at a recognised drama school is quite arduous. Some schools can have between 3,500 and 6,000 young people aged 17 to 25 (approximately) audition for one of 16 (or 27) places on their BA in Acting. The major institutions attract applicants from all over the world.
The applicants must negotiate the application process of the college and of UCAS and perhaps the CAO. Fees are (ordinarily) required for each stage.
An applicant must prepare at least two, and usually 4 or 5, contrasting monologues from classical and contemporary plays in English. They should know the plays well and be comfortable performing the monologues in front of a panel from the institution. They may also be asked to sing a prepared song at this stage, if not at a later stage.
In order to stand a reasonable chance, it would help if they had experience of performing, of being in a collaborative theatre-making workshop, and a love of live theatre. They should also, crucially, have a good understanding of Shakespearean and classical verse.
If they succeed in getting an invitation to return for a second round (called a ‘call-back’) they will again perform their monologues for a panel and be able to respond to direction at ease.
They will also be interviewed about their background in theatre, their reasons for applying, and their interest in acting. Here they may also be required to participate in a group workshop of improvisation and devising.
Should they pass this round they are offered a third call back. Here they will usually have to prepare two new monologues and perform them as before, along with an interview. In some cases, a fourth and even a fifth round is required, where the applicant is additionally required to take part in advanced workshops.
Finally, they may be offered a place.
Throughout they will need to fly to London or travel to Dublin, find accommodation if necessary, and support themselves while auditioning or attending call-backs.
If they get a place, they should understand the grant and loan systems both here and in the UK, and apply in a timely fashion for them.
Like most students, they will need to find accommodation while attending college.
THE NEED FOR DRÉMIRE
The Need for Dréimire
It is very difficult for young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds to access training in
They cannot afford the cost of:
joining a youth theatre
individual audition preparation
audition application fees
flights and accommodation for multiple auditions.
Underprivileged young people are usually not able to afford the cost of preparing and applying for Further Education and Third Level in this sector.
They will need intensive audition preparation, assistance with technology use (if auditions are done online), and assistance with travel (if they are face-to-face).
Many young people who would like to audition for third level acting courses do not have digital equipment to access current audition procedures. Others have no personal space to work on monologues or audition preparation. Most have limited or no support accessing online forms, SUSI grants, UCAS forms, and online preparation. While there are a small number in the direct provision system who would like to be performers, it is difficult for them to access training without committed support. Those from DEIS schools and youth projects need continuous support from us to help them access this training for these careers.
WHAT WILL DRÉMIRE LOOK LIKE?
Crooked House applied to the Arts Council of Ireland under their Project Fund in the Young People, Children and Education department. We were successful in winning an award to fund the Dréimire Project in 2020.
We have partnered with The Lír Academy in Dublin to provide some of the programme.
The support for young people will be in the form of some of the following depending on the
needs of the applicant:
One-to-one coaching in monologue preparation, application processing and planning
Assistance with travel costs (including flights, if necessary) to audition locations
Assistance with technical support (WIFI and filming) for online auditions
Administrative guidance with CAO, UCAS and other portals for access to applications
Group sessions with experts in the field on preparing for third level/FE, auditioning, and future careers
Access to English language sessions for those who need it
Access to youth theatre involvement (in productions of classical plays, contemporary plays, and devised plays) for those who live close to a youth theatre
Individual mentoring and support to assist in making choices, dealing with potential rejection, maintaining motivation, and having a manageable long-term plan.
We will create and upload 15 films from webinar material during the programme. These will
be made freely available on our website.
HOW TO APPLY
Young people are invited to apply for this project from youth theatres in Ireland, migration and asylum support organisations, DEIS schools, youth clubs and projects in Ireland.
You can do so by completing the online Google Docs form here:
Crooked House will also liaise with organisations who have direct contact with applicable young people, inviting them to nominate eligible participants who will be interviewed by us as part of the selection process.
For those young people who are not yet ready to audition, but who would like to, we will offer a preparatory path – with access to a youth theatre, and preparation for PLC Performing Arts Courses.
More intensive preparation will be offered to those who are emotionally ready, who have the required level of English, and who have some experience of acting or of participating in drama.
The project will offer blended learning methods. One-to-one work will be carried out by weekly, one-hour Zoom sessions, with occasional in-person sessions where safety and distance allow. Group sessions will ideally be held in person, where distance and safety allow. There will be regular interaction using email, WhatsApp and other media, and there will be webinars on various aspects of auditioning.
How to Apply
(current stage is highlighted)
Stage One: November 1st 2020 - December 10th 2020
Information and liaison with youth services, DEIS schools in Kildare, migrant and asylum support groups, Youth Theatre Ireland, and other organisations in order to recruit young people to the project
Hiring artists and personnel to deliver audition coaching and workshops,
preparation of contracts in accordance with Arts Council best practice on payment of
Stage Two: 10th December 2020 - 7th January 2021
Interview and select 20 participants for the programme.
Stage Three: Working With Participants - Janurary 2021 - present
The Dréimire project is now fully underway, with participants having been chosen and workshops commenced. To view what has been done so far, check out the March Interim Report.
1: Initial Assessment
Once accepted, participants will be advised of which Pathway to follow. These are described below:
Access to and participation in a youth theatre
Taking part in group sessions of voicework, improvisation and movement
Shakespearean Scene study
Application to PLC and FE courses and programmes in Ireland.
Selection of appropriate monologues and one-to-one work on preparation
Taking part in group sessions of voicework, improvisation and movement
Participating in a production of a Shakespearean play or in
Shakespearean scene studies
Application to third level actor training programmes in Ireland and the
2: In-Person Group Sessions
There will be weekly Saturday afternoon sessions for groups of individuals adhering to COVID-19 precautions and guidelines. Most will be in Newbridge. Travel assistance will be available for those who can get to Newbridge via public transport. There may be an alternative online programme at this time for those who cannot travel.
The in-person programme will offer:
2.00pm – 3.30pm: Movement workshop
3.30pm – 3.45pm: Break
3.45pm – 5.00pm: Voice workshop
5.00pm – 5.30pm: Break
5.30pm – 7.00pm: Improvisation and collaborative devising workshop
They will run from 9th January – 31st May 2021 (15 sessions)
3: In-Person Group Sessions at The Lír Academy, Dublin
There will ideally be 4 of these, arranged with The Lír, and consisting of monologue support work, between 9th January – 31st May 2021.
4: Youth Theatre Participation
All participants will be encouraged to take part in their local youth theatre where possible. This is important because we believe that having experience of creating theatre in a collaborative environment is crucial to gaining a place at third level actor training.
Youth Theatres offer the best place for young people to develop their skills in the area of performing, and in building confidence in theatre-making. Most young people who obtain places in actor training colleges have spent considerable time with their local youth theatre. In addition, this project offers support for youth theatres to recruit and engage members from low socioeconomic and diverse backgrounds. We propose to pay the fees of eligible young people that the youth theatre recruits. The fees range from €50 to €250 per annum.
Details of where to find a youth theatre can be found here:
5: Shakespearean Knowledge
Participants who are not engaged with Shakespeare in their local youth theatre will be encouraged to take part in directed short scenes from Shakespeare as part of the programme.
This element of the programme is essential, in our view. Since almost all actor training programmes require applicants to perform classical monologues, participants will need to have a solid understanding of how those speeches work, where they fit in the context of a play, and how such verse speaking can be made relevant to contemporary audiences. Taking part in a full production, or selected scenes, demystifies the often-challenging process of acting Shakespeare. It allows participants a lead-in period of several months to get to know the play and the method of acting. This is especially needed if the participants are from migrant backgrounds where English is not their native language.
In such cases we have additional supports as part of the project (one-to-one assistance) where young people can come to understand the language and how to use it.
6: Individual Online One-to-one Sessions
Each participant on Pathway Two will have one session per week with a tutor who will help them select appropriate monologues. The tutor will give feedback, help the participant investigate the context and setting of the piece, and coach the participant in approaches to performing the monologue.
There will be 8 sessions per participant offered between 9th January and 31st May.
All participants will have one webinar session per fortnight on application procedures, reviewing college admission requirements, understanding college syllabi and curricula, UCAS and college forms, making Personal Statements, managing SUSI and Student Finance, preparing for interviews, etc.
The webinars will be filmed and made into stand-alone videos to be uploaded on our website and available for free to any future applicant to third level acting courses. They will be up to 30 minutes each. They will be edited from material delivered online during the webinar sessions, and also include additional footage and material specially made for them.
These will be run from 4th January – 30th June (15 sessions)
A list of Webinar topics and other important Dréimire content information is attached in the PDF at the top of this page.
THE DRÉIMIRE TEAM
The project will be co-ordinated by Peter Hussey, Artistic Director of Crooked House and Kildare Youth Theatre.
Core audition coaches are Rob Salmon, former Associate Director of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, and Georgina Kakoudaki, former pedagogical director of the Lyceum at Epidaurus.
Other tutors will be employed who are experienced in coaching young people in audition and monologue work and will understand the logistics of applying for places in college.
We hope to employ theatre-makers from diverse and ethnic backgrounds in order to (a)inspire young people from similar backgrounds by their experience, and (b) provide income support for the artists.
We will also employ emerging artists who have graduated or who have gained detailed experience in working with both young people and with actors. We feel that they are often at a very delicate stage in their career then and need the extra support such a project will give.
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