Whenever I prepare and edit a supplement for The Stage in which I refer to different training providers, I know that within a few days there will be aggrieved letters and emails from the ones which didn’t get a mention.
The Postgraduate Training Supplement which was published on March 22 was no exception. It brought me a letter from Peter Craze, principal of Drama Studio London who also sent me his prospectus. No, I’ve not been there. Yes, the work looks pretty good - especially the one year programme which has been running for over 25 years. But this is the first communication I have ever had from DSL so it has, I admit, tended to slip under my radar.
The truth, of course is that there are hundreds of training providers, some of them outstanding and others, arguably too many, very poor. Although many of them clamour very persistently for my attention, I would need to write a very large book even to list them all. There is no way every provider - even the good ones - can be mentioned in every short supplement. As editor I have to make editorial choices. That’s what editors do.
I was intrigued, though by something in the small print at the foot of Mr Craze’s letter. It states that DSL is ‘Accredited by UK Drama (amalgamation of the CDS and the NCDT).’ Although this impending merger has been common knowledge for months, there has been no formal announcement and no specific information - only off the record comments and rumours. This tiny statement on a school’s headed paper is the first place I’ve seen it stated anywhere with any public formality. Are we to presume the change has happened or has DSL jumped the gun? I continue to wait for some facts from someone at the centre of this strangely disorganised - dismantled? - organisation.
Meanwhile I set myself the task last year of trying to make contact with, and visit, all the (former?) CDS schools which I hadn’t physically been to before. So far, in nine months, I have spent several interesting, informative and congenial hours at each of the following schools: Birmingham School of Acting, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Drama Centre London, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, ALRA South, RADA and Italia Conti. I have written features about each of them too.
And yes, I will visit DSL - perhaps later in the summer term or in the autumn now that I have been invited by nice Mr Craze. But none of this - obviously - means that every time I write about drama training every school will feature. Like the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I can manage only six impossible things before breakfast.