Working in the creative industries is tough, and for actors, performers and creative teams always looking for their next job it can be an isolating and sometime demoralising profession. Surviving Actors was initially set up by actors for actors with the aim to help and encourage their lives and careers as a professional actor.
Each February Surviving Actors descends on London with a day-long convention focusing on three key areas – Develop, Sustain and Create. As well as offering free 1-2-1 advice sessions for those looking for paid work in the industry there are also open castings and the ability to collaborate and create new work, often through networking and meeting with like-minded actors in a safe, friendly and encouraging environment.
Surviving Actors 2018 took place earlier this month and the Methuen Drama team were on hand to meet actors and performers from all over the country and talk about the latest books to help them succeed, as well as host a seminar with Ken Rea to help participants extend and develop their own craft.
The Actors and Performers Yearbook 2018 was a particularly popular book once again with copies at the convention selling out throughout the day. The only published directory to provide detailed information, listings and vital advice for both individuals and companies on how to approach key industry organisations, the book covers agents and casting directors to theatrical venues and producing houses. Edited by Lloyd Trott, academy dramaturg at RADA, it is a vital book for any aspiring and practicing actor and carefully updated each year to keep on top of the major trends in the industry.
Another popular title sold throughout the day was Ken Rea’s practical performance book The Outstanding Actor: Seven Keys to Success. Drawing on over 30 years of teaching experience the text includes insights from celebrated performers such as Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Judi Dench and Al Pacino, along with invaluable knowledge from Ken’s esteemed career. Rea’s seminar on improving your chances of success was extremely popular.
As well as being at the forefront of contemporary play publishing, Methuen Drama strives to publish a wide-ranging selection of practical and academic theatre books that are used by practitioners, academics and students alike.
Our Arden Shakespeare Performance Editions continue to be extremely popular with actors and directors alike. Specifically written with the performer in mind, the first three in the series include Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet.
Reviewed by Nora J. Williams in Studies in Theatre in Performance, the editions were praised not just for their content but also their practicality in the rehearsal room:
"This consideration of ‘the needs of theatre-makers’ extends beyond annotation to the physical layout of the books themselves: they are taller, wider, and thicker than the Arden 3 volumes, with a larger font size and notes on the facing page rather than below the playtext. The covers are matte, making them easier to hold in rehearsal, and the spines allow for easier bending and breaking than the Arden 3 equivalents. These editions can comfortably be bent in half, even at their thickest points, allowing the actor in rehearsal to obscure the notes page from view and focus on the dialogue if desired."
Other popular titles include Patsy Rodenburg's fantastic handbook The Need for Words which describes practical ways to approach language, using Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, modern prose. For those training in physical performance Dick McCaw's Training the Actor's Body offers practical guide to the principles of teaching and learning movement, whilst The Laban Workbook for Actors includes a practical training guide along with video for those using the Laban method in movement and performance.
All of these books are currently in Bloomsbury's 40% February Sale, meaning there has never been a better time to broaden your performance horizons and refocus your mind.