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Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT) is a studio-based programme for emerging artists, aged 18-25, to test, challenge and develop their performance skills alongside industry-leading professionals.

Presented as a parallel opportunity to a foundation course, LAIT runs every Wednesday evening during term time. A large portion of the programme focuses on in-depth, exploratory training on key areas of theatre and performance, including physical theatre, clowning, actor-musicianship, improvisation, script work and devising, while also using these techniques to nurture self-esteem, resilience, ambition, and the transferable skills of communication and team work. There is also time and opportunity given in sessions for LAIT members to receive practical audition and interview support.

Later workshops focus more on gaining production and live performance experience. LAIT members will be supported through the process of rehearsing and performing a production in a local venue and then preparing for and delivering a small-scale city tour.

In 2019, LAIT members collaborated with MA Writing for Performance and Publication students from the University of Leeds, performing original scripts written specifically for LAIT at Seven Arts.

The course is led by Artistic Director Lizi Patch, who has 30 years of experience as a professional director, writer, actor and teacher. The delivery is also supported by a programme of masterclasses run by guest artists who are experts in their discipline. In previous terms, LAIT has worked with Rod Dixon (Red Ladder Theatre Company), Amy Leach (Leeds Playhouse), Nicola Wilding (Associate Director, Graeae), Ben Tagoe (Playwright) and Rebecca Stokes (actor-musician, Rusticus).

While in training with us,
• 100% of members have attended auditions/interviews outside of LAIT;
• Over 50% of members have taken part in public performances outside of LAIT;
• Over 50% of members have secured employed or voluntary work within the arts, including work at Leeds Playhouse, teaching at PQA, role-play actor for South Yorkshire and Humberside Police Department, and acting work on TV adverts. One member successfully signed up to an actor’s agency.

Following training, over 30% of members have secured future places on formal arts training programmes, including:
• Drama and Language degree (Sussex University)
• Epic Stages course (National Youth Theatre)
• BA (Hons) Musical Theatre (Leeds College of Music)
• Drama Centre Foundation in Performance and Contemporary Performance Practice (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)
• waiting list for Acting and Contemporary Theatre Course (East 15)
• One member achieved a Diploma in Musical Theatre (London College of Music)

Feedback from LAIT Alumni
"LAIT has helped me grow as a performer and make me see myself in a completely different perspective. LAIT has been fundamental in my acting training this year; it has allowed me to my balance essential training with work and auditions. There is very little else out there for young actors trying to make their first step into the industry. LAIT is one of a kind."
"The recent session on improvisation was particularly helpful, and not just from an acting perspective. It has been helpful to understand how to hold better conversations; rather than killing the conversation with a ‘no’, or a ‘yes but’, which is another way of saying no, using the ‘yes and’ technique has allowed for me to have more positive conversations. It has also impacted the way I answer emails allowing for a more professional approach."

Expressions of Interest Invited
Leeds Actors in Training is not running currently; we are seeking funding for the next cohort to start in 2020.

LAIT costs £150 per term with bursary places available upon application.

To find out more about LAIT or express your interest about joining the company in future, please email james.whittle@leedsgrandtheatre.com or call 0113 297 7042.

Photo credit: LAIT performing TRUTH at Seven Arts © Maria Spadafora 2018

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