Yes! You heard that statement Both Feet changed my acting but, most importantly, myself and my attitude towards everything. But before I start raving on about Both Feet and how thankful I was for my scholarship, let me take you through my journey.
2018...I was leaving LIPA Sixth form. I had just had my first round of Drama School auditions. In all honesty, it wasn't a bad first try at 18. I got two recalls, three foundations courses offer. The only slight problem, I couldn't afford them. That was a hard pill to swallow. I left LIPA with no clue where my next place would be and was ready to go back to my bar work.
Then one night, while flicking through Facebook, I found Steph's post about a scholarship for a year's worth of Meisner training with Both Feet. I applied, not expecting anything. But to my absolute surprise and pleasure, I got the scholarship. I screamed on the bus when the email came through. I was super, super excited to start and booked onto the intro course. I was on my train to Manchester when it hit me (maybe a bit late). WHAT THE F*CK IS MEISNER.
I walked into my first class at 18 years old and super nervous. This curly-haired lady greeted me with the biggest and warmest smile, Steph. We all settled into class, and then we were invited to sit in these two chairs opposite each other and state what we see in the other actor. I rolled my eyes, thinking, what has this got to do with acting! Telling someone what they look like what is that going to achieve?! Then it was my turn to sit in the chair. I swaggered up, thinking, "I got this". I was looking at this person, and my mind went blank. Then the voice in my head started panicking, "DO SOMETHING". So I started "acting". Steph stopped the exercise then said, "Cut the bullshit". I was stunned, but she was right. I didn't have to do anything apart from just be, which for us actors is a terrifying thing.
I continued the intro weekend, and I am not going to lie, it was hard! Then something shifted in the group. On the second day, a pair of actors in front of my eyes were falling in love. It looked effortless. They finished the exercise then said they just felt so connected. In my head, something clicked. I wanted to do that. To be in the scene so connected with another human and to work with ease, not effort.
After that, I did every class I could do. I was hooked. It was a challenging year I felt constantly pushed. Sometimes I got it, and things just made so much sense. Other days I was ready to walk out but what made me want to stay was because when I acted in Both Feet class, the work that I saw and created was the best work I had ever done in my life. To work with ease and truth. I even went back and did the intro course three times! Because there is always something new to learn.
Before I knew it, the dreaded drama school auditions came back, but instead of going into the room trying to guess what they wanted, through my training with Steph, I went and was me. For the first time, I was comfortable just being me. Because guess what, that is more than enough. And if you wouldn't believe it, I got into Drama School!
I have been training with Steph for over three years now, and I still go back whenever I can. Because of the magical atmosphere in that room, the groundedness it gave me. Because of the actor it made me but most importantly, the person. But also, Steph continuously checks in and says her famous quote, "What do you need?", to the lovely little community that Both Feet has. So when we all said we didn't like our headshots, BAM Steph organised a headshot day with Shift Focus. And guess what, it was the most pleasurable experience but most importantly the best headshots because Steph made us bring us to the headshots just like our training. Our work with Steph is always transferable. That's why when she announced her creation of Bodlondeb Studio, the collision of outdoor actives and Meisner, we all jumped to the opportunity. Because the most crucial thing, especially after this weird year of zoom, is reconnecting to our bodies as actors because that's our instrument. So why not have a Meisner class where we have to jump into work then feel the sensation of actually jumping off a cliff in the afternoon! Because I can put money on it, it will make every actor who takes part in that course more connected with their bodies and themselves plus their work.
I am about to head into my third and final year of Drama School training, which terrifies me. But I know I will be okay because of my training with Both Feet to find calmness in my acting work and personal life. Finally, proof what Steph does work. In my most recent scene study at school, I got this comment from the director, which makes me think of Steph and her training "Emily is always ready and open, and easy to work with. She is always ready to jump in with both feet."
So to Steph, Adam, every single amazing visiting tutor and actor I got to meet during my training. THANK YOU! Plus to all the people I am yet to meet through this amazing community of Both Feet and Bodlondeb Studios. See ya soon
While we're here...
It would be daft not to share Emily's awesome business venture whilst we're here:
Your Little Theatre
A small business focused on bringing a little theatrical magic and new experiences directly into the homes of professional thespians, art-lovers and amateurs alike!
We are based in Yorkshire, and part of our mission is to bring our customers into contact with new play texts, without increasing their carbon footprint, and while also uplifting other small businesses to create the perfect ‘ensemble’ of sustainable, enriching, and above all, enjoyable products.
Our product ranges are all diverse and affordable, perfect for creativity on a budget. Whether you’re a student simply trying to survive a round of Drama School auditions, or just seeking that perfect gift for the thespian in your life, Your Little Theatre has got you covered.
We've been a little quiet over the last six months because I have been busy, busy building Bodlondeb Studio & Retreat here in North Wales, in my garden.
We open in a matter of days (9) and there is still a huge amount to do so I'll keep this short and sweet - I am deliriously tired!
It's really important to me that I make sure people who genuinely can't afford the training can come. Adam and I have run several year long and course specific scholarships to ensure our doors remain open to those who need it.
I've been so busy with the build and choosing wood, paint and taps that I had missed some elements of launching the retreats that are deeply important to me and this is one of them. So I had a think.
For this 9 night course specifically it costs me just under £200/person to have someone on site (not including my time, accommodation or paying off loans etc) so I couldn't offer a full scholarship as we don't have the funds to cover the rest but I could at least offer it at cost price, giving my time and accommodation as a gift. I reached out to some people in the industry to ask if they knew anyone who might be interested in the training and specifically those who wouldn't normally be able to access it.
One very kind soul, writer, maker, director, VO artist Dermot Daly, offered to cover the cost of one place, as a gift to someone who would deeply benefit. Well that blew me away.
"I’ve been lucky in the opportunities that I’ve had and continue to have and am fully aware that stories like mine are few and far between. If I can rebalance in some small way then I will.
The idea of using a fee for a voiceover to gift training to someone is just beautiful and I know that what you do is awesome and brilliant."
So here we are, able to offer a fully funded place on our first ever Actor Training Retreat to a brilliant and deserving soul who is in a position to down tools and get to Wales on the 12th July!
We'll keep it simple. Email me on email@example.com or fill in the contact form by Wed 7th July about why you'd like to come on the retreat and why we should offer you the scholarship.
More Information About the Retreat
Introduction to Meisner, 9 night retreat in North Wales
With the great outdoors to guide the training into your body
Here's Steph chatting about it https://fb.watch/6rY_ejvPNx/
A deeply immersive, experiential and tailored programme designed to deeply connect you to yourself, each other and your craft.
- Food package for arrival evening and first morning and kitchen basics ie tea, coffee, spices, oils etc (you can let us know food requirements on booking).
- 7 days training in The Meisner Technique from basic repetition and exploring the impulse to move all the way through to text analysis and scene work.
- A beautifully fused coaching experience from the acting studio into the wild and back again with Steph and our partner activity instructor.
- Activities: Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Archery, White Water Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Foraging & Campfire,
NB we reserve the right to change or adapt the activities if necessary
- Food at the campfire and something foraged & handmade to take away ie teas, cordials muscle rub, salves, first aid ointment.
Full info: https://www.bodlondebretreat.co.uk/introduction-to-meisner
Arrive Open, Leave Changed