Acting workshop with Maeve McGrath
LIT Aula Maxima Theatre
Saturday 28th of April 3pm
This event was a very intense acting workshop with well-known local actress Maeve McGrath whose acting credits include: “Buddy” (IFB Short), “The Normandy Express” (Short ), “Ros na Rún” (TG4), “Mother me Daughter” (ITV), “Cowboys and Angels” (Feature), “Fair City” (RTE), “Radio Waves” (BBC), “Gold in the Streets” (Feature), “Ballykissangel” (BBC), “Last Year” (Show in a Bag-ABSOLUT Fringe), “Tea Set” (Belltable) and “A Woman of no Importance” (Abbey).
Maeve is a founding member of Sidhe Theatre and Film (www.sidhefilm.com), is drama tutor for City of Limerick VEC and also set up a drama school called “Theatreworks” in 2002.
Booking for this session was essential due to the low capacity. I’m always a little afraid of getting my feet wet at practical sessions like this one, there is always that fear that you will make an eejit of yourself. The great thing about Maeve is that she never let anyone feel stupid or awkward throughout the session. She went through each activity with patience giving clear concise instructions to the participants who were of mixed ages.
The session began with some ‘warm-up’ improvisation, I thought ‘here we go, I’m bunched!’ but boy was I wrong. Maeve made everyone feel completely at ease chatting candidly about her career and adding in some amusing anecdotes. For instance she spoke about the time when she was told to walk into a room and stand in a particular spot. She forgot where to go and threw out all the other cast members. She warned that if you are told to stand in one spot you have to stand there every time. Even if you are moving into the room.
Outlining the differences between working on set to on stage she said movement tends to be more exaggerated on stage but subtlety is what is needed for screen. When working on a play you get weeks of rehearsal but might only get a script to learn for screen the night before. You might even get re-writes right on the set, just before you’re due to do the scene. These tidbits were really helpful. Most of the participants had some stage experience, so the subtle art of screen seemed a bit daunting.
The second half of the session concentrated on some script work. This is where we saw where the real talent was. I begged for a short script and got my way. It was a scene from EastEnders and needless to say I nailed it! Other pieces included Sherlock Holmes, EastEnders and other popular television dramas, these scripts can be found on the BBC Writersroom script library webpage – http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/.
Maeve finished the session with some helpful tips such as not changing your hair colour after you send in your head shot as you are being cast for how you look. This is the first impression casting agents and producers get of you, so you only have one chance to get it right. Do your research on the role you are pitching for and make sure that you come in prepared. Always make sure that you are professional on set, no matter whether you’re getting paid or not. Never be late.
Needless to say it was not my finest hour and there will be no acting agents beating down the door but I had a good laugh and everyone went away smiling and confident, which is what every acting class should be like.
If you want to contact or get further information on Maeve or any of her up and coming courses: http://www.sidhetheatre.webs.com/