I spent last semester at London Dramatic Academy (LDA), one of Fordham's study abroad programs. I love acting, but I didn't want to get my undergraduate degree in theatre. Still, I wanted to get some kind of training before college was over. LDA was the perfect compromise. I got to spend three months focusing solely on acting—a rare opportunity for any college student who isn't a theatre major. Even better, my LDA class was quite diverse for a Fordham program. Two of us were from Fordham Rose Hill, four were from Fordham Lincoln Center, and the remaining ten were from a variety of schools including Cornell University, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. My roommate Julia and I, both of us from Rose Hill, were the only non-theatre majors.
LDA is a conservatory acting program, with a full week of classes that last, on average, from 9 AM to 5 PM (though ending a bit earlier on certain days of the week). It sounds like a lot, but the weeks actually flew by because 1.) I enjoyed virtually everything I was learning, and 2.) There are a several different modules within each course, so no one class became tedious. For instance, one of the four courses you register for at LDA is "Physical Training for Actors," but under that course we had four classes a week: Period Dance, Stage Combat, Movement, and Physical Theatre. (Check out my Instagram below to watch an excerpt of me and my classmate Tim rehearsing our final presentation for Stage Combat!) We also had interesting master classes with London-based theatre professionals, as well as a "Casting for Camera" workshop with Polly Hootkins Casting.
|My classmates rehearsing the famous lovers' quarrel from Midsummer Nights Dream.|
|Aliyah and Tim performing as Hermia and Lysander in Midsummer Night's Dream rehearsal.|
Most of our teachers were trained at England's finest drama schools, and some even teach at those schools now in addition to working at LDA. For example, my acting teacher Kathryn Pogson (who also happens to be director of LDA) spent her years at Drama Centre alongside classmate Pierce Brosnan. My voice teacher currently teaches at the highly prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Several of my teachers have acted on the British theatre scene with the likes of Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, and Mark Rylance. My one-on-one audition coach was a prominent drama teacher at Eton College for fifteen years, where he taught both Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston. (He actually still keeps in touch with Eddie.) Needless to say, we were in very good hands at LDA.
|Me and two of my roommates, Julia and Jasia, take a final photo with our LDA director and Acting teacher, Kathryn Pogson. Excuse our teary looks--this was taken at the LDA Farewell Party!|
|Tim, Julia, Maryn, and Courtney amid the beautiful architecture of Oxford!|
LDA gave me confidence, posture, and practical tools for approaching my craft. No matter what artistic projects I may undertake in the future--whether on stage, on screen, or simply an audition--I feel like I have an actual method to return to whenever I'm not quite sure how to begin. And LDA isn't just for actors; past LDA students include future lawyers and people who simply wanted to get out of their comfort zone.
Even if I don't continue acting after college, I am thankful for my time in LDA because it has immeasurably improved my critical thinking skills, the way I carry myself, my ability to follow direction and take criticism, and the way I communicate with others. All of these skills will serve me well in whatever career I pursue.
To learn more about LDA and how to apply, click here!
|Our Acting class in a cast photo for our final presentation of the play Mixed Doubles.|