What's it like to be part of the Almeida Young Company? Two of our recent participants tell us in their own words how they found being part of the Young Company.
'I always thought this industry was exclusively for people who were able to afford to take the risk. However, I wasn’t put off and was determined to find the cheapest ticket to becoming an actor. When I found that the Almeida Theatre, one of the top theatres in London, had a free year long project, that would guarantee a whole production, with a proper director and writer, there was no question I had to apply. Did I mention it was free? Whilst reading the information about the Almeida Young Company I instantly felt as if I had something that was perfect for a young performer, trying to step foot into the industry. It didn’t seem exclusive. There wasn’t any fancy waffle. I felt encouraged and was determined that this is what I wanted, despite having no clue what I was getting myself into.
I couldn’t begin to explain how fun the first few months were. The group was just so energetic, down to earth and everyone was clearly excited to be there. For the first time, in this terrifying journey, I was part of a group who wasn’t there for themselves. I felt special in this diverse group of ridiculously talented people who was just there to do what they loved. It was a creative space that allowed me to escape from whatever shit was happening in my life and just be part of the group. I didn’t have to worry about being graded or being judged and the feeling, when I was with everyone playing some stupid game or just sitting and having a discussion was, still, so fucking great.
Towards the end, we were just one big family but not a perfect cereal box traditional family. We were more like a very complicated extended family that have their issues but at the end of the day, even if they don’t show it, feel at home in each other’s presence. The best thing about being a part of this company is really the sense of community and having a safe space that doesn’t care about where you came from. Regardless of what skills you may or not have, the group really cares about you. If you’re upset about how you poured your cereal into the bowl and there was no milk in the fridge, you could just say it and everyone would listen to everything you have to say. The production became more than just a show at the end. It was our way of showing people that our youth is full of talented and intelligent people who can make a difference. Who can make an impact on our community through doing what we love.
The best thing I got out of being part of this years’ Young Company is the feeling of empowerment. The process was tiring, deflating and emotions were high and there was never any sugarcoating. Everyone was treated like a professional. Despite all of this, I got the reassurance that there’s nothing in this world I’d rather do and more importantly I showed myself I can do it
If you are a young person that wants to work within the performance industry or someone who just enjoys it, the Almeida Young Company welcomes you. You’ll be provided with insight into what it’s like to be an actor, witness first hand the work that goes into being a writer and director, and have really great opportunities throughout the year. It will give you an evening to look forward to and a space to express yourself. Above all, it will give you a chance to reassure yourself there is a place for you and that you’re not alone. It will show you what being an artist can be at its best and it’s actually well within your grasp. It was an honour to work with the Almeida team and I would love to work with them in the future. Whatever point in your performance career you’re in, there is a space for you in the Almeida Young Company so just audition and see for yourself what they have to offer.'
'I initially joined the Almeida Young Company because I wanted to do something that involves acting weekly and the main appeal was that it was free, and I thought it would be super cool to be a part of the Almeida Theatre.
Before starting I was having a break from acting for a couple of months and being part of the Young Company for the past 9 months I’ve seen such a shift in my confidence and perspective towards acting. I enjoyed the most having a weekly goal, which we checked in and supported each other. I loved some of the workshops we did with Mike Bryher (Young Company Director) in the first couple of months especially the one where we learnt about mental health within the arts and had an amazing practitioner actually come in and do some mindfulness and teach us how to be more aware of our mental health. I also hadn't worked with a movement director on a show before and that was an incredible experience as we were pushed physically and learnt a lot about or bodies and creating performance with them.
I would say to anyone thinking of getting involved to 100% go for it. I learnt a lot about myself as a person and as an actor. I was given a support system and encouragement which will continue long after the year has finished. I now feel confident enough to email agents and navigate my way through trying to make acting my career. We got such great exposure to the industry from our show, and the Almeida platform really did help that.'