Thursday 30 November 2017

Leeds Actors In Training is run in collaboration with Leeds Grand Theatre and is for 18-23 year olds who are serious about an acting career. LAIT is unique in Leeds giving young adults the opportunity to train in a working theatre under the guidance of industry professionals.

My aim in starting LAIT was to provide meaningful actor training to young adults between school/youth theatre and FE/the workplace, to help them develop their skills to the highest standard, help them to recognise what sort of artist they want to be, build confidence and audition skills and cement their self-worth.  


My training is based on a very simple premise: At the end of their time with me I want my actors to feels they can walk confidently into any rehearsal room/casting/audition fully equipped for whatever is thrown at them and deal with everyone involved in the room with grace and clarity. I want them to know how to hold on to their self-esteem and self-belief as an artist and a person, and have a bulging creative toolkit at their fingertips. I want them to have met professional artists whilst in training that inspire them to up their game. I want them to meet like-minded young artists who will become friends and a support system beyond LAIT.

In the rehearsal room, I want them to know where to place themselves to best serve the production whilst not feeling invisible and/or undervalued. I have felt both, many times in the early years of my own training to be an actor, and finding strategies to hold your head up is vital. Sometimes in a world of fragile egos (yes, let’s be honest) it’s hard to assert yourself without upsetting others, but if you are someone who really knows their craft and can be supportive and GENEROUS in the rehearsal room - and in all your dealings with the creative team - you will get work, you will be recommended because a) you know what you’re doing  b) you make people feel good about themselves.


As we approach the end of our first term this is what our very first LAIT group are saying: 
  • LAIT empowers you as you can address things you want to work on in a supportive and consistent environment working with professionals. Evie
  • Working with the same small group each week means we have built trust between us and Lizi creates and environment where we have permission to fail which is vital to me. Adan
  • LAIT is a more adult environment where I can tailor the training to suit my needs. We can all accept we have weak areas and work on these. Sophia
  • LAIT is an honest and open space where passionate young actors can develop their toolkit under expert guidance. Ellah 
  • LAIT helps you discover more about yourself and learn important theatre skills in the meantime. There are so many skills in this course that I can easily apply to my roles in training at College, and acting jobs in the future. For example, stretching to calm my nerves and Laban to embody and develop character. David. 
  • What I'm enjoying is that LAIT is a less pressured, more fun way of learning about the trade. There are no exams and we get to focus on ourselves as artists. Sophie. 
  •  LAIT is unique in Leeds, there are very few groups for 18+ and LAIT is a focused, skills-based training opportunity working in depth on topics you’d learn at Drama School. Niamh

This term we have also had two fantastic Masterclasses: Movement for the Actor from Natasha Harrison (Movement Director/Choreographer) and Acting Through Singing with Rebecca Stokes (Actor/Singer/Musician). The group are now looking forward being involved in the CVYT Winter Show on 12th December (Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy at the Howard Assembly Room) and onwards into Term 2 which will be spent further developing skills, preparing for auditions (working on monologues, audition songs and interview technique) culminating in a mock audition with industry professionals who will provide feedback and advice. Term 3 will see LAIT rehearsing and performing a contemporary drama to a public audience.

So here’s to next term!

Huge thanks are due to the Emerald Foundation for funding this pilot year and the Learning Team at the Leeds Grand Theatre for enabling the pilot to happen.  


Please contact [email protected]leedsgrandtheatre.com

Lizi Patch