RADA me than you

Not sure I have a lot to say about this one. I’ve been to RADA before after all and don’t really fancy repeating myself. So let’s do ourselves a favour and keep this one short.

Monday night and I’m back at the RADA building on Malet Street. I was off to the see some new writing at the Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, which was all rather exciting. The play was an all too real portrayal of the gig economy by Atiha Sen Gupta. I did have some concerns about the appropriateness of asking a pile of graduating drama students to play the roles of newly graduated, out of work actors, but hey - they’re keeping it real, I suppose. Living their art. Or at least, their future. I mean potential future. Theit totally-not+gonna-happen potential future. They’re all talented kids. They’ll do just fine, I’m sure.

On this marathon of mine, the most frequent question I get asked is “what’s been your favourite so far?” to which I can honestly answer - the drama schools. I’ve only hit up RADA and LAMDA so far (with a few more trips to both still to go) and they have all been absolutely fantastic.

I mean, yes - the queues at box office are so slow moving I do wonder whether the staff are busy making sandwiches under the desk while they are looking for our tickets. And yes - I do frequently get lost in these places despite the fact that they really are doing the absolute most when it comes to signage.


But seriously, those kids.

I really shouldn’t call them kids.

They are all grown-ups, graduating from two of the most prestigious acting schools in the world.

But man… those kids.

I love generation z, I really do. It’s less the children are our future, let them lead the way. But more, the future’s only hope is the children, and then are going to smash it. We just better be prepared to get out the way.

Even with this half-awed, half-terrified view of the youth of today, I don’t think I could ever love them more than when watching RADA and LAMDA graduation shows.

So talented. So enthusiastic. So damn earnest.

They really are the greatest generation.

Anyway, where was I?

Right, RADA.

“Which show is this for?” asks the lady on box office when I eventually make it to the front of the queue.

Ergh, that question again. I don’t know. I never know.

“Anyone here for The Philosophy Shop,” asks a front of houser. We all shake our heads. “That’s it,” he says, in his radio before wandering off.

“Woman and Scarecrow?” suggests the lady on box office.

No, it wasn’t that one either.

We finally land on Gig as being the play I’m seeing that night.

It was a full house at RADA. All the theatres pumping out performances at full steam as they process their graduating class.

Ticket acquired, I wander off into the main foyer. Some sort of event is happening there, and there's a table with wine and nibbles, surrounded by important looking people.

At the other end, there's a queue composed of decidedly less important looking people.

I join the queue.

A few minutes later, the doors open and we start shuffling in.

“Oh, umm,” says the ticket checker as I reach the front of the queue. “Gig, sorry, no.” He points away from the queue. “Can you wait there?”

I do as I’m told. Waiting there as the queue disappeared and then a new queue formed in its place.

Was I supposed to join it? In the end I decide that I should, and as I walk down to the end I creep on the tickets of those waiting. “Gig.”

Good. I was in the right queue.

Doors open and I make my way towards the ticket checker.

This time he lets me pass.

Up the stairs. Ticket torn. And in I go.

In a first, not just for the marathon, but for life, I’m in a theatre with multiple levels and unreserved seating. I’d never thought such a thing possible. But there RADA is, breaking down boundaries once more.

I plump for the stalls. Well… you would. Wouldn’t you?


The Jerwood Vanbrugh is a funny space. At first glance it looks like a scaled down Royal Opera House. I mean, it doesn’t have two-and-a-half tonnes worth of red velvet curtains, and is lacking a bit in the gilt department, but the shape is the same. The seating is arranged in a horseshoe. But instead of having rows of seating in the gap, they have an extended stage-space. Like a thrust stage, I suppose. But softer. With all the hard edges sloughed off.

RADA (or should I say, designer James Cotterill) made full use of this extra space by sticking an entire living room in there, while the more traditional stage area took up the role of kitchen (with an extra surprise lurking behind a screen just above it).

Very nice.

Even nicer, there was a programme seller right there on the stage. An improvement on my last visit to RADA when there wasn’t one to be found anywhere except when I was leaving, and even there I had to hang around like a friggin numpty for minutes on end before I was able to snatch her attention away from the person she was chatting shop with.


And even nicer still, by 9.15pm I was out of there and on my way home, so I had time to get a few hours on my other gig (err, this blog) before crashing face first into my pillow.

Doesn't get much better than that.

Right, how many words have u bombarded you with?



So much for a short post.

Oh well. What can I say? I write a lot of words. I’m sorry.

Best sign off before I think up any more of them.

Oh, wait… one more thing. If you’re wondering what my second most asked marathon-question is, it’s “what has been the worst so far?” My peeps love them some drama. My answer has been static at Thriller Live at the Lyric for a long arse time now. But I think I may have a new winner. Yes, I’m still salty about the whole thing.