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Playbox Theatre
The Dream Factory
Stratford Road
Warwick CV34 6LE
United Kingdom​

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Playbox Theatre are always very happy to hear from members and their families with any queries they might have so do contact us on 01926 419555 ext 2 or email us if there is something you would like to know more about.

Alternatively, please take a look through our FAQs below, where we answer some of the most commonly asked queries and share some useful information for members both old and new!

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Our FAQs

Screen Acting
I don’t have any previous experience, is this OK?

Yes! Acting For Screen includes the very basics of screen craft,  encouraging young people to get comfortable and confident in front of the lens. Sometimes starting with a clean slate can be advantageous. 

I do have some previous experience of screen acting, will the course still suit me?

Absolutely, the training will really stretch members and is an opportunity to develop existing skills with consistent practice and guidance in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. 

Is acting for screen different to acting for stage? Why would I need to attend a different workshop?

In essence good acting is ‘good acting’ but an actor needs to have a practical understanding of the challenges of playing to a completely different audience, because in screen acting the camera is your audience and it sees every detail. The scale of the performance is the biggest difference, but this goes beyond merely ‘doing less’ for screen work, a rather misleading phrase. Screen acting requires a shift in focus and an ability to be completely comfortable and confident in front of the lens, in a similar way that one must become comfortable in front of a live audience. If actors are looking to develop their screen craft, the only way to do so is to get regular experience in front of the lens – the learning is in the doing. 

What techniques will we explore in this workshop?

We will be exploring a vast array of different techniques from various practitioners including Meisner, Stanislavsky and Strasberg. We are aiming to develop our character work, our ability to listen and react, our vocal ability. We will explore how to use the lens to our advantage and how to train ourselves to scale performances without losing detail and specificity. 

What might a typical session be like?

All work is practical. Starting with a warm up and relaxation exercise to ground us, we will work our way through various activities to develop our skills before applying them to script work or improvisation, depending on the needs of the session. The nature of the training means that the work and activities will always be varied and evolving – but we’ll be working with the camera present every step of the way. 

Will I have to read scripts as part of this course?

Yes, due to the nature of screen acting, reading scripts will be part of what we do. However, the focus is not on your reading ability and we will help to develop your script-reading skills.

Will there be homework between sessions?

Depending on the nature of the session, members may be asked to learn small amounts of dialogue for following workshop. If homework is set, it’s vital that it’s completed!

Do I need to attend the workshop every week?

Yes, the more you attend the more experience you get and as the saying goes, ‘practice makes you pretty good!’ In addition, strength of group dynamics is crucial and it is important to have consistency and develop a good working relationship with your directors and your group. 

Who is the director of Screen Acting?

Liam Bessell heads up this course, having trained at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). Liam has spent many years working with actors both in front and behind the camera. He has vast experience as an actor, director and photographer and is perfectly placed to bring his knowledge to young actors at Playbox Theatre.

Will this course help to prepare me for screen auditions?

It really will. The course will enable you to attend screen auditions with calm, confidence and experience. The team will be happy to help you prepare for specific auditions and will equip you with a range of skills and exercises to support you through the casting process.

What should I wear to Screen Acting?

You should always wear comfortable, practical clothing that will not restrict your movement in any way.

How many people will be in the workshop? Will I have plenty of opportunity to get involved?

There will be a maximum of 12 young people in the Screen Acting workshops, enabling everyone to have maximum opportunity to work in front of the camera, and with the director.

If I am only a member of Screen Acting, can I still audition for Playbox Theatre’s productions?

No – you would need to additionally be a member of Playbox’s Theatre Training workshops, in order to audition for the company’s productions. We offer good discounts for young people attending multiple workshops, so do ask us for more information about these.

How much does it cost to join Screen Acting?

The six-week course fee is £80. There are discounts for people attending multiple workshops with Playbox Theatre – please ask us for more information.

I love what I’ve read! How do I apply to join?

Please email your name, date of birth, phone number, email address and postal address to membership@playboxtheatre.com We’ll then contact you as soon as a place is available and will look forward to welcoming you to the team!

The Playbox Agency
How is being on The Agency different to being a regular member of Playbox?

Members of the Playbox Agency are put forward for professional performance opportunities. Our agency members need to show a professional work ethic at all regular Playbox sessions and rehearsals, in order to demonstrate they are suited to being on the agency. Agency auditions are not connected to Playbox Theatre in any way, unlike the regular ‘Playbox auditions’, that all members of our acting workshops are invited to attend.

Will I definitely get auditions if I join The Agency?

No responsible agent can ever guarantee an audition. This is a highly competitive industry and the competition to even get seen for a role is tough. Some actors may get one audition a year, others may get 20. Your agent will put you forward for any casting that fits your profile (often a great many), and it will then be down to the casting department on the project as to whether or not you are called to an audition.

What happens if an audition comes up that I can’t make?

We try and encourage our members to take ever opportunity offered, if, however, you can’t make it work we will either request an alternative meeting, or we will ask if you can submit a self-tape. If neither of these are an option, we will cancel the meeting. It reflects badly on our agency if actors turn auditions down, so if someone repeatedly fails to accept a casting, they will need to leave our books.

Will I have to miss school for auditions or for a job, if I’m successfully cast?

When you are contracted to a job this usually means missing a bit of school, sometimes it may just be odd days, others it might be a few months. Production are legally required to educate young performers on set and will work with your school to make sure you continue with your curriculum. As this involves having a personal tutor, young actors are usually able to cover more than they achieve in their regular classroom setting. If an audition is scheduled doing the school day (which frequently happens), you will need to ask for time off school. Before committing to the Playbox Agency, it is important to know that the school will be supportive of this membership.

How will Playbox put me forward for an audition?

All our agency members are registered with Spotlight, which is one of the world’s largest casting platforms. Through Spotlight, casting directors can search for talent, and we put our actors forward for all suitable roles that come to us via casting breakdowns. We also have close relationships with many of the industry’s top casting directors, who talk directly to us about projects, and we recommend clients to be seen for suitable roles.

Do I need special skills to be on The Agency?

The most important skill is to be a confident individual who is able to take direction well. The more skills you have on your CV the more auditions you will be eligible for, including singing, dance, screen acting, martial arts, languages, accents, horse riding etc. Playbox offers training across a range of useful skills, which many agency members choose to attend. We also programme special masterclasses throughout the year, specifically targeting our agency actors.

Where will castings take place? Will I have to go in person, or will I send a self-tape?

Most auditions will take place either in London or Manchester. Increasingly actors are being asked to submit self-tape for first round auditions, which works great for our clients, as most of them live beyond M25.

What is a self-tape audition?

This is where you will be sent through the audition ‘sides’ to tape at home. We will then submit this to the casting team to see if you are suitable for the role. Members of the agency and their parents are offered training sessions on how to make an effective self-tape, with everything  from lighting and sound, to conversion and transfer.

Does The Agency offer me the opportunity to gain extra useful skills, like dancing, singing, screen acting etc?

Throughout the year agency members are invited to attend specialist masterclasses with top industry practitioners. Some recent examples of masterclasses we’ve offered are US dialect, auditioning for screen, auditioning for musicals and radio techniques.

What does my payment of joining The Agency cover?

You do not pay to be a member of the Playbox Agency. We take commission from any money earned through contracts you book. Commission on stage work is 10% and commission for screen and recording contracts is 15%. You will need to register with Spotlight and the fee for Young Performers is £103.00 per year. You will also need to have professional head shots taken, which Playbox organises for you.

Do I have to be a member of Playbox in order to be on The Agency?

Yes, only current, fully paid, Playbox members are eligible to be represented by the Playbox Agency. 

What happens if I leave Playbox? Will I still be able to remain on The Agency books?

No, we only represent current Playbox members.

Who will my agent be?

Juliet Vankay is the director of the agency who is supported by a team of assistants, as well as the wider directorship of Playbox Theatre.  This is to ensure that we have full knowledge of every actor on the agency, via regular feedback and contact with the Playbox directors of all departments.

Who will take my headshots?

Should you choose to have your photos taken through the Playbox Agency, our photographer is Claire Roberson who is highly experienced in taking actors’ head shots for Spotlight.

Will I join Spotlight if I am on The Agency?

Yes,  it is a requirement that you register for Spotlight as soon as you are accepted onto the Playbox Agency. It will be your responsibility to make sure that your Spotlight profile is continuously updated.

What sort of auditions have Playbox members been put up for recently?

Most recent auditions include the new Marvel Film, the new George Clooney film, numerous Netflix and Amazon Prime series, numerous CBBC series, The Crown, Killing Eve, stage productions including RSC and West End along with many commercials and radio plays.

What sort of jobs have Agency members had recently?

Recent agency successes include leading roles in RSC productions of’ ‘The Boy in the Dress’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Duchess of Malfi’, ‘King John’ and ‘Matilda’. Recent screen successes include ‘Letters for the King’ for Netflix, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Disney , ‘Game of Thrones’ HBO, “Days of Bagnold Summer’, ‘The Snatcher’ and many commercials. Several members of the Playbox Agency play regular roles in BBC radio drama ‘The Archers’.

Do parents have to chaperone jobs?

For screen work, parents usually chaperone. This would be a paid role. If you are unable to do this it is possible to register a relative as a chaperone or production will employ a chaperone. Theatre’s usually provide chaperones and ‘house mothers’, if the actor is required to live away from home.

How do I apply to join The Agency?

We hold auditions annually. These take place in the summer when all Playbox members are sent details of how to apply. If you have any enquires before then, please don’t hesitate to contact agency@playboxtheatre.com

Apple Club

Becoming a member of The Apple Club is often the start of a very exciting journey. Once children join this workshop, they are able to audition for some of our major productions, they can appear in our annual main stage production of Starry Nights and are old enough to benefit from lots of other opportunities available to Playbox members. Most of all, The Apple Club is HUGE fun, deeply imaginative and rooted in theatre skills…children quickly develop in confidence, social skills, become more articulate and able to collaborate. Here are a few answers to some of our most asked questions!

What are the workshops about?

They’re about lots of different things! Each week we take a different story or stimulus as a springboard. This might be a book, a poem, a painting or a prop. The workshop then guides the group through a range of exercises that respond to the theme of the week.

What skills might I use in a workshop?

Each week the workshop will encourage members to explore a range of different skills and techniques, and these depend upon the starting point. A typical week will see Apple Club children engaging with MIME, MOVEMENT, IMPROVISATION, ROLE PLAY, VOICE, STORYTELLING, DEVISING, TABLEAUX, DISCUSSION, THEATRE GAMES & WARM UP ACTIVITIES.

Do we perform in the Apple Club workshops?

No we don’t. The weekly workshop is focussed on development of skills and confidence, whilst encouraging lots of super collaboration, team devising and responding to each week’s stimulus. The Apple Club is designed to enable every child to develop at their own rate and to always aim to achieve as highly as they possibly can. People come to Playbox Theatre for all sorts of reasons, and lots of them don’t seek to perform. Without the need to constantly work towards a presentation, we are able to prepare very fully-rounded weekly workshops, each time taking a fresh, new stimulus as a springboard. From time to time, parents are invited in to share an Open Workshop…and occasionally there will be a celebratory and informal presentation at the end of a season e.g. at Christmas – although we stress this is not a performance that has been rehearsed over a number of weeks.

Do I have to come every week?

We do encourage members to attend as regularly as they possibly can, and to make their workshop a priority. The group bond is very important to the success of the workshop and this is always much stronger when the group are committed and attend every week. Children progress so much more quickly when they can build strong relationships with their director and their group members, and this happens more effectively when attendance is high. Of course, we know that there will be occasions when children just can’t make it, and there is never any penalty for this…we just want them to be there every time!

Do I need to bring anything with me?

No! Just yourself and lots of imagination. Sometimes children like to bring something small to share with the rest of the group at ‘News Time’, at the beginning of the workshop. However, we don’t encourage people to bring items with them as we only hear 2-3 pieces of ‘news’ each week and don’t want to disappoint children. Anything that’s brought into the workshop will need to go on a table at the side during the session, so that members are totally free to work.

Will I have to do any homework?

Absolutely not! It’s an hour of joy and engagement and, although the benefits will be felt throughout the week, in other parts of life, there is no homework set at all. Sometimes there might be a tongue-twister to practise!

I’m very shy, is Apple Club right for me?

Of course it is! The type of children who love coming to Apple Club is very diverse. Some children who join are already very confident and are looking to really extend their skills…others are incredibly nervous and parents are hoping that Playbox workshops will help to address this. Our workshop team are very highly skilled and have huge experience in welcoming new children and, in particular, settling children who are anxious or shy. Our directors are supported by a team of senior assistants, so all children are given the attention and support they need. Parents often see a dramatic improvement in their nervous child’s confidence incredibly quickly. Frequently this will also impact upon their behaviour at school and in other areas of life.

Will I be able to audition for Playbox productions?

Once a child is of school age, they are eligible to audition for some of Playbox’s main stage productions. Each project we mount has specific casting requirements, and age suitability will always be delighted on the casting newsletter (Casting Spotlight). Every year we stage a major production with our ‘Young Production Company’, where the actors are all between aged 5-13 yrs. Although it is very competitive, all Apple Club members are invited to attend the audition for this production. Sometimes, other major productions also seek cast members from 5+. Every year, EVERYONE has the opportunity to perform on the main stage in a large production, if they register for STARRY NIGHTS. This is our special annual fundraiser which works over a week to create a big show with members from age 5-19 yrs, and is incredibly popular!

Will I have to read scripts?

Absolutely not! There is no script work in The Apple Club, although we do encourage children to read and read as much as possible, as this can really improve their use of language, imagination and ability to communicate.

Do we do any singing and dancing in the Apple Club workshops?

Not usually. The Apple Club is primarily an ‘acting’ workshop, with children responding to a range of exercises that focus on the theme of the week. For children who are very keen to explore singing and dancing, we’d encourage you to look at MUSICAL THEATRE JUNIOR which runs on a Wednesday evening in Warwick.

How much does it cost?

Current fees are £125 per season. A season runs in conjunction with the school term, so is between 10-12 weeks. Children register for a full season and then renew each holiday.

Can I try a taster session first?

We tend not to offer ‘taster’ workshops, as it can be very disruptive to the stability of a group to constantly have new members dropping in and out. Instead, whilst fees are payable in advance, you are eligible for a refund if, after 2 weeks, your child really doesn’t want to stay with Playbox. The refund must be applied for via email to the Membership Manager and is subject to a £10 admin fee and a contribution towards the workshops that have been attended.

What should I wear?

You don’t need to wear anything special to Apple Club. Comfortable clothes that you can move freely in are absolutely fine. You should always wear soft shoes. Because the workshops are highly physical, we do ask all children to wear trousers, leggings or shorts (rather than skirts or dresses).

Is there a uniform I can choose to wear?

We don’t have a specific uniform, as we want to encourage children to be absolutely individual and to wear clothes to their workshops that make them feel confident and comfortable. We do have a great selection of Playbox merchandise and lots of members love to wear a Playbox t-shirt or hoodie. These are available to order online at any time, or just call us on 01926 419555.

Will I have to go on a waiting list?

Some of the workshops have waiting lists and others have a couple of spaces, so this is a tricky question to answer! We try to open up new workshops where the demand is very high, so that your waiting time is as short as possible. Ideally, if you can give us a few options for potential workshops you could join, then this will help us to offer you a space as quickly as possible. Once you join a waiting list, you’re already part of the team and you’ll receive priority information about holiday workshops, special events, masterclasses etc.

How do I apply to join?

If you’d like to join The Apple Club, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com and provide us with the child’s Name, DOB, phone number, Email address, postal address. Provide this information along with details of which Apple Club your child would love to join (which venue, which day of the week and which time). Some of the groups will have waiting lists, so it’s always helpful to give us a 1st, 2nd and 3rd option. Alternatively, you can call the membership desk on 01926 419555 ext.1 and speak directly to a member of staff.

Blank-Shift Writers' Workshops
I don’t have any previous experience of play writing – is this course still right for me?

Absolutely! Blank-Shift is a natural home for creative writers of all abilities and all levels of experience. As long as you are keen to use your imagination, and to develop your skills, we will challenge you at whatever stage you are at.

I have already written my own material? Will I still be able to develop through Blank Shift?

Yes. Blank-Shift is created to focus on the individual, and the groups are kept to small numbers, so that each writer receives lots of bespoke attention. Group activities are balanced with individual projects, with opportunities for all participants to submit their own work to the director, and to receive detailed and regular feedback.

What types of creative writing will we be exploring? Is it just play writing?

We’ll be exploring everything! A season will often include explorations of poetry, prose, play-writing, screen-writing, writing for radio, film and literature analysis. We examine writing throughout history, right through to some of the most interesting contemporary writers.

Will this course help to prepare me for further education or for a potential writing career?

People join Blank-Shift for many different reasons, but each year we are proud to celebrate several senior members graduating to some of UK’s top Creative Writing University courses. Blank-Shift is proud of alumni who are now successful playwrights, screen-writers, poets and storytellers. 

Will there be the opportunity to see my writing on stage?

Yes. We regularly host ‘scratch night’ events, where actors are brought in to workshop your material, and to share with audiences. Blank-Shift writers are also regular collaborators on new plays, commissioned by Playbox Theatre. Most recently, Blank-Shift writers worked on Gretel for Christmas 2020, and are in early preparations for a new adaptation of The Ancient Mariner for a major production in 2022. Blank-Shift recently completely an entirely new audio work, Midnight In Raisin Town, which is due to be recorded and released shortly.

What might a typical Blank Shift workshop be like?

There isn’t a typical workshop! We’ll usually begin with warm up, physical, activities, to ensure everyone is energised and ready to work, before moving on to discuss the meat of the session, our writing stimuli, we’ll have group discussions and debates, we’ll create stories, explore writing exercises, brainstorming, generation of ideas, development of work, review of our material…and so much more.

Will I need to do any work between the Blank Shift sessions?

We rarely set ‘homework’ but writers are always welcome to continue their own, personal, projects and to submit material for feedback from the director. Occasionally there will be a stimulus to consider in advance of the next workshop, but the primary focus for the work takes place during the sessions being attended.

What should I wear to my writers’ workshop?

Please wear comfortable and practical clothing to Blank-Shift.

How many people are in the workshop? Will I have plenty of individual attention?

The maximum numbers in a Blank-Shift workshop are 20. We ensure that everyone has a high level of attention, which is reflected in the individual feedback available between workshops.

Who is the director of Blank Shift?

Toby Quash is the Founding & Artistic Director of Blank-Shift. A graduate of both Oxford University and University Of Bristol, Toby is an award-winning writer with over 20 years of professional experience, writing for theatre, film and radio. Toby is also Literary Associate of Playbox Theatre and has written in excess of 30 original plays for the company.

Will we be working towards a finished ‘product’ or is it an ongoing process?

That depends upon our project. Some of our exercises are for training and development only, whilst others are specifically designed to work towards an end result. For further information on the upcoming season content, please email blankshift@playboxtheatre.com

Do I have to attend every week?

Each session is important and, to get the most out of the programme, we do encourage you to attend each workshop if at all possible. Frequently a session will build on the achievements of the previous meeting, so regular attendance is important.

Where do the workshops take place?

All workshops take place at Playbox Theatre, The Dream Factory, Warwick.

How do I join?

We’d love to welcome you to Blank-Shift! Please click the apply button above, if you’d like to join. We’ll then be in touch quickly, to let you know when we can invite you to come along. If you have any questions at all, please email blankshift@playboxtheatre.com

Early Stagers

Our pioneering EARLY STAGERS workshops were first developed by Playbox’s Founding Director, Mary King, in 1987! They are perfect theatre adventures for preschool children and explore a wealth of wonderful, inspiring techniques, covering a range of topics, and truly enhance children’s confidence and imagination. This springboard is a powerful experience to bring out the best in your child, before they head to school.

What should my child wear to their workshop?

Children need to be comfy at Early Stagers as the workshops are very physical! Anything practical that they can move freely in is fine. We don’t have a uniform, but lots of our members enjoy wearing Playbox t-shirts or sweatshirts and these can be ordered at any time of the year, by calling 01926 419555.

Are parents allowed to stay in the workshop?

No – the aim of all of our workshops is to ensure that children develop in confidence and ability as swiftly as possible, in a secure and supportive environment. This happens much more effectively when children are free to interact with our directors and with one another, without the involvement, or distraction, of a parent being in the room. Playbox workshops at all ages are spaces for young people to engage completely independent of adults, and this is the case for our preschool workshops too. Of course, the most important thing is for a child to be happy, so our directors will discuss the approach with you and, if you need to stay with your child for a while, until they are ready to be left, then this is perfectly possible. We do ask any adult staying in the space to fully participate in the workshop, as this really helps the group to feel that the work is legitimised…and they don’t have someone to keep running back to!

Do the children perform at the end of a season?

Early Stagers is not a performance-based programme. The workshops are devoted to engaging children, using arts approaches, for the time that they are in the space with us. During this time, there is no pressure to work towards a final ‘result’, but is a joyful, energetic and focussed theatre experience. Occasionally, parents are invited to come and take part in an Open Workshop where everyone can share together, or there might be a very informal moment at the end of a season, when parents pop in to see what the children have been getting up to, but performance work begins when they are a little older, and if they are keen to go down this route.

My child would love to perform – will they have the chance at this age?

At this age, Playbox’s work focusses on developing the confidence, imagination and self-esteem of each child, whilst introducing them to a range of theatre techniques. When they are of a school age, limited performance opportunities become available, and these increase as the child gets older.

I’m not really interested in my child becoming an ‘actor’ – is this workshop still suitable for them?

Absolutely! Children come to Playbox Theatre for many different reasons. Some are looking to make new friends, others are keen to train for a career in the arts, some simply love the type of activities we explore and want to gain in confidence and the ability to articulate, collaborate and benefit from the vast array of techniques Playbox uses within each workshop. The skills, discussions and approaches a child will engage with during their Playbox journey can become an important factor in a successful, happy, articulate and confident future – both at school and in their eventual career.

My child is very shy – will this workshop be right for them?

Most definitely! One of the main reasons children initially join Playbox Theatre is to help with confidence and self-esteem. Within Early Stagers, we will support your child’s development with carefully structured workshops that will see them gaining in confidence across all situations. You will often see a very rapid improvement in your child’s confidence and this is feedback that we receive over and over again. Our directors are incredibly experienced and perfectly placed to bring out the best in every child that they work with.

What are the workshops about?

Every week, Early Stagers will take a story as a springboard for adventures. Each week it is something different! The story that has been chosen will inspire all of the activities that take place within the session. The central theme could be anything, from fairytales, to space, to undersea adventures, to dragon hunting! The exercises all relate to one another and gradually develop the theme during the course of the workshop, which is then consolidated by everyone sharing the story towards the end of the session.

What sort of activities will my child be doing in Early Stagers?

These will vary from week to week. Broadly, the approaches that are incorporated into Early Stagers include MIME, MOVEMENT, ROLE PLAY, VOICE, SONG, STORYTELLING, CRAFT & GROUP DISCUSSION. Each workshop begins with a ‘News-time’ sharing, before introductory songs and warm up activities lead us into the heart of the workshop, which is likely to include role play and improvised adventures.

Who are the staff running Early Stagers?

Playbox Theatre’s directors all come to us with a wealth of experience in both the arts and education sectors. Everyone has lots of experience with working with children of the appropriate age for the workshop. Our directors are professional arts practitioners and are devoted to developing the lives of children and young people using the arts as a springboard. Early Stagers will be led by one director, with one senior assistant to support the children at all times. All of our staff are DBS checked to an enhanced level. Currently, Early Stagers is co-run by Founding Director, Mary King, and Artistic Director, Emily Quash.

How will I know what my child has been getting up to in the workshop?

Communicating with our parents is very important! Each week, a blackboard or a poster will be placed outside the workshop studio and this will briefly tell you what your child will be getting up to in their session that day. You are always welcome to arrange to come and meet with your child’s workshop director, and we have regular ‘Member’ evenings where everyone has the chance to speak to the team about the content of workshops and the opportunities available to you and your child.

What happens when my child goes to school? Do they have to go back onto a waiting list?

No – once someone is a member of Playbox Theatre, they can stay until they grow up! When children move to school, they are automatically offered a place in ‘The Apple Club’, which is the next step up…continuing the great foundation work that has been achieved in Early Stagers. We run a number of Apple Clubs across the region, on different days and at different times. We will ask you to give us your first and second preference and will always try to offer your child a place in the group of their choice. All of this happens in the summer season, before the holidays.

How much does it cost to join Early Stagers?

Fees are currently £125 per season – our seasons run in conjunction with the school term and each season is between 10-12 weeks, depending upon the school holiday dates. Fees are payable in advance through our membership department. If, after 2 weeks, your child really doesn’t want to stay with the company, you are eligible for a refund for the remainder of the season. Refunds must be requested in writing within the first three weeks of membership and sent to membership@playboxtheatre.com

I’d love my child to become a member…what happens now?

We can’t wait to welcome your family to Playbox Theatre! Please contact our membership department by calling 01926 419555 or writing to membership@playboxtheatre.com Please give us your child’s name, date of birth, telephone number, address and email address, as well as which group you would love your  child to join. Some of our workshops have waiting lists, so if you can give us a couple of options, this would be really helpful. We will offer you a space as quickly as possible!

Is it possible to come along to a trial session before we commit to the group?

We don’t offer trial sessions as it can be really disruptive to have new members dipping in and our throughout a season, and we need our groups to feel settled. We regularly run holiday workshops for children of this age, and these are open to both members and non-members of Playbox. Holiday workshops are a great way to test the water with our company! We also have regular New Member evenings which are great for people who are thinking of joining and give your family the chance to come and meet with the team and answer all of your questions. Details of New Member evenings are always on our website www.playboxtheatre.com Our refund policy means that children have the opportunity to leave after 2 weeks, if the workshop really isn’t for them.

How many children are in an Early Stagers workshop?

We take a capacity of 15 children in Early Stagers, so that every child gets plenty of individual attention.

Fight Lab

“Fight Lab” is a brand new course at Playbox Theatre and we are proud to host the only weekly training programme in Warwickshire for stage combat with young people. These are high energy, high skill workshops across a spectrum of armed and unarmed combat disciplines…become a part of this team and you won’t look back! Here are answers to some of your questions:

Who is the director of Fight Lab?

Liam Bessell heads up the Fight Lab team having trained as an actor at LAMDA where he received his theatrical fight training and qualifications from the BADC (British Academy of Dramatic Combat). Liam also has many years of experience in Wing Chun (Chinese Kung Fu) and his passion for combat has lead him to experiment with many different fighting styles. Liam has experience choreographing fight sequences for stage and screen and his fight work for Playbox Theatre includes ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘The Three Musketeers.’

He has distinction level qualifications in:

Group Fights, Unarmed Combat, Mixed Modern Weapons, Sword and buckler, Bow Staff, Sabre, Rapier and Sword and Dagger.

Where are the Fight Lab workshops held?

Fight Lab runs in studios at our own theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.

I don’t have any experience of stage combat – can I still join the workshop?

Absolutely! Previous experience is not required as we always start with the basics and expand from there. This approach enables young people with varying levels of experience to get the very best from the training. 

I’ve done stage combat before – will I be able to extend my skills in this workshop?

Yes. Fight Lab is designed to train participants to the highest possible level, with every participant receiving individual training and targets. There is no limit to the standards that can be achieved within this programme and every young person can keep challenging themselves to develop further.

What techniques does Fight Lab include?

Fight Lab will focus on various techniques, drawing on martial arts, historical combat, basic stunts and how to perform the fight from the character’s point of view. We’ll be looking at everything from unarmed combat to medieval broadsword ~ Fight Lab seeks to improve co-ordination, timing, agility, speed, footwork and explores how to choreograph one’s own fight.

Will we work on different skills each week, or the same ones for a number of weeks?

In order to explore the work in great detail we will focus on a specific fight discipline over a season, but within each discipline there are such a multitude of skills that the training will be ever-evolving and will certainly keep the members on their toes! To add to this, the training is individually tailored, and as the members’ skills improve, the more techniques they will be exposed to.

Does Fight Lab work towards presentations?

At the end of each season Fight Lab offers its members the exciting opportunity to take part in a performance solely dedicated to stage combat. Fight Lab’s – ‘Fight Night’ is a chance for members to showcase the disciplines they have been focusing on throughout the season in front of an audience – sharing skills with family, friends and members of the public.

What should I wear to my Fighting workshop?

You should always wear comfortable, practical and flexible clothing. 

Is there a uniform that I can choose to wear?

We do not have a specific ‘uniform’, but lots of our members love to attend in a Playbox t-shirt or hoodie. These are all available to order online at any time, or just give us a call.

Is Fight Lab dangerous? Am I likely to injure myself?

The techniques are taught in a safe and controlled environment, the attention being always on safety first. Stage combat is a skill designed to make fight sequences appear dangerous and violent whilst keeping the performers safe and in control of their own actions. 

If I’m only a member of Fight Lab, can I audition for Playbox Theatre productions?

You need to be a member of Playbox’s acting workshops in order to audition for our major productions. If you’d like to know more about these, or about the discounts available to combine Fight Lab with Acting, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com

Do I need to bring anything with me?

You should always come suitably dressed and it is a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you. All weapons and equipment are provided by Playbox Theatre.

How much does it cost to join Fight Lab?

Fees are payable each season, which runs in conjunction with the school term. The cost for the upcoming block of workshops is £125 (6 x 2 hr sessions) and you are invited to renew each holiday. There are discounts for members who also attend other Playbox workshops – send us an enquiry if you’d like to find out more about discounts.

Can I come along for a taster workshop?

We don’t offer taster workshops as these are focussed sessions that rely heavily upon group bond, dynamic and trust and we can’t accommodate people dropping in an out on a weekly basis. Registration is in advance, but if, after 2 weeks, you really feel that this programme is not right for you, you are eligible to request a refund by writing to membership@playboxtheatre.com The refund is subject to a £10 admin fee.

How do I join Fight Lab?

If you’d love to join, please send an email to membership@playboxtheatre.com for the young person’s Name, DOB, an email address, mobile number and postal address. We’ll then be in touch with you to discuss registration. Alternatively, just give us a call!

Will I have to go on a waiting list?

Fight Lab is a brand new course and we are recruiting members now…so this is the perfect time to apply! We anticipate the workshops filling up very quickly, and once the groups are on capacity, we will add names to a waiting list. At the moment, there are places waiting to be filled!

Musical Theatre
Who are the directors of the workshop – how can I find out more about them?

Juliet Vankay is the director of Musical Theatre, with Richard Norris being the Music Director. Every member of the department is a professional practitioner and has vast experience as both performers and directors of theatre and musical theatre. If you’d like to know more about their training and their experience, have a look at their biographies on the Team page of the website.

 

What space do we work in?

Musical Theatre trains in the main theatre at The Dream Factory.

 

What should I wear to my Musical Theatre workshop?

What you dress in is very important! You must wear comfortable and practical clothing that you can move freely and dance in, as well as trainers or dance shoes. If you do not arrive wearing appropriate clothing, you may not be admitted to the workshop.

 

Do I need to bring anything with me to my workshop?

Yes, you must always bring a pencil to make notes on your music (not a pen, as you will often need to amend what you’ve written)…and you should always bring a bottle of water as you will need to keep yourself fresh and hydrated.

 

Do I need to be able to read to join this course?

Yes, members of Musical Theatre must be fluent readers as there will be lots of lyrics to learn, and these are distributed as text.

Do I need to be able to read music?

No, although we will sometimes give you sheet music to take home so you can tackle any complex harmonies, for those that find it useful.

 

I don’t have any previous Musical Theatre experience…will I be able to cope?

Absolutely! You don’t need any previous experience to join this programme…although if you do have some, this is also super! Our directors are highly trained and are able to accommodate young people of all backgrounds and experiences. You will quickly be welcomed into the team and brought up to speed.

Will I have the chance to perform, as part of this workshop?

YES! Usually at the end of every season we stage an open presentation for family and friends to come and share. Occasionally, if we are working on a really big and complex musical we might work on this over two seasons and, if this happens, we invite parents to come in at the end of the first season to watch part of your rehearsals so they can see what you are working on. The presentation is an opportunity to celebrate the work that you’ve been doing, and to share the results with your family and friends. Usually the presentation will be on the main stage at The Dream Factory, other times it might be on our outdoor stage, or even in the front of house space as entertainment for people relaxing in the foyer! Members of Musical Theatre are eligible to audition for any musical productions that Playbox Theatre presents, although success is never guaranteed.

 

How much acting, singing and dancing is involved – I enjoy all three?!

Within Musical Theatre, the focus is primarily on singing, with musical ‘staging’. This sometimes includes choreography, but is all dependent upon the musical that we are exploring. In terms of ‘acting’ – on this course, the acting is tackled through your singing, where we will focus on the emotional interpretation, vocal and facial expression and your characterisation. If you want to explore acting in more detail, you should aim to be a member of one of the Theatre Training Programmes instead, or in addition, to Musical Theatre.

What’s a typical 2 hour session like?

Although our weekly workshops will vary depending upon the specific challenges of the day, we will always start with a vocal warm up around the piano, before working through the ‘numbers’ from the musical we are focussing on. We always work on the singing first and then start to add staging and choreography second, once you have conquered the basics of the music. There can be a lot of tough harmony work at the beginning with lots of note bashing and repetition – it is VERY important to understand that you need to work through this in order to be able to get stuck into the staging. As a musical theatre performer you have to be good at multi-tasking and you have to be hard-working and patient! We pride ourselves on achieving very high standards in the Musical Theatre department and you will be driven hard to achieve highly. This is not a ‘quick satisfaction’ workshop and you will need to put in a lot of intense work at the beginning of exploring a new musical, before you have the chance to start staging it (which is when the fun really begins!).

What sort of material does Musical Theatre explore?

Also sorts! We aim to programme an eclectic and far-reaching programme of material, so that our members are constantly challenged and able to expand their musical theatre knowledge. We will explore musicals from Les Miserables to Hamilton, from Billy Elliot to Into the Woods. We choose work that will challenge our young people in different ways each season, so if one musical has lots of complex harmonies we will use that as the focus for one season, but then next time, we might chose a musical that is simpler to sing, but with trickier choreography. That being said, we always try to select musicals that are fun to work on and often our members will put in requests for what they’d like to look at next season…where possible we will incorporate these ideas.

 

I’m really experienced…can I move up to the next group early?

No you can’t. The material that we explore with each age group is very carefully selected and is appropriate to the range of ages in that workshop. We have members taking part across a wide range of experiences…some who are complete newcomers with a passion for singing…others who have played ‘Matilda’ in The West End! Our directors will ensure that every member is well-looked after, challenged, stimulated and developing in the group that is appropriate for their age.

 

Do I have to do homework between my workshops?

Yes, you will need to learn song lyrics in between sessions and this is really important – it is always difficult to move onto staging when you have a script in your hand, so you need to support this process. The more effort you put in between workshops, the more you will get out of the workshop.

 

What happens if I can’t make a session?

We do ask Musical Theatre members to attend every workshop if at all possible, as we are constantly working towards a presentation. If you are absent, this really impacts on the rest of the ensemble and can have a big impact upon progress. However, if you really can’t make a session, we ask you to let us know in advance and we will endeavour to take you through everything you missed the following week. We can also send you the material you have missed via email, so you can familiarise yourself with the songs. It would be your responsibility to request the material and your job to get on top of it before your next session!

 

Can I audition for all Playbox productions if I only attend Musical Theatre?

If you only attend this specialist course, then you are only eligible to attend auditions for Playbox’s musicals (usually one is staged per year). If you would like to attend auditions across the range of work that Playbox stages, then you will need to also be a member of one of the Theatre Training workshops. Our Membership Team will be able to talk to you about availability and where the Theatre Training workshops take place. Drop us an email membership@playboxtheatre.com

 

How much does it cost to join the workshop?

Musical Theatre is a 2-hour weekly workshop, so costs more than the Theatre Training session. If you are only a member of Musical Theatre, the fee is £180 per season (same as school term). If you also attend a Theatre Training workshop, the fee is £170 per season.

I like the sound of this…how do I apply to join Musical Theatre?

We would love to welcome you to our wonderful Musical Theatre department! Spaces are very limited and some of the groups have long waiting lists, so you now need to contact the Membership Team on 01926 419 555 or email membership@playboxtheatre.com We will offer you a place as soon as possible!

Being In A Performance

Being cast in a Playbox Theatre production is the start of a wonderful adventure. You will have such an exciting time creating new work, and meeting talented young actors from across all Playbox Theatre’s centres. Being in a production is a large and intensive commitment…not just for the performer, but for the family as well…so you need to make sure you’re able to fulfil what’s required, before deciding to audition. The director will be under considerable pressure during the rehearsal period, so it is vital that all cast members, and their families, fulfil their side of the arrangement.

How will I be told about rehearsals?

Rehearsals are always listed at the time of audition, so that you can check your availability before you come along. Once you’re cast, we will email you a rehearsal schedule, which you and your family will need to read very carefully. Rehearsal schedules will also be posted on the Playbox website, so you can double check things!

Where do rehearsals happen?

Unless it is a special project at a different venue, rehearsals will take place at Playbox’s theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick. You will often start ‘blocking’ rehearsals in a studio, before transferring into the main theatre as time moves towards the opening of a production.

When do rehearsals happen?

Rehearsals always happen out of school time and each rehearsal period will be slightly different…depending upon how many rehearsals a particular project needs. Generally, rehearsals happen at weekends – Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday during the daytime. Rehearsals also take place during the holidays during the daytime. Shortly before a production opens, there will be Technical and Dress rehearsals…these will often happen in the evening, and there are likely to be a couple of consecutive evenings and these may well be school nights. Tech and dress rehearsals tend to be 5-9pm. You will need to pace yourself well, so that you can cope with the demands and pressures of both school and your commitment to Playbox…and your parents need to keep on top of this too!

What time do I need to be at rehearsals?

All rehearsal call times will be detailed on your call sheet. Often they will take place 3-7pm on Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays. If it’s during the holidays, rehearsals are likely to be 10am-4pm too…but do bear in mind that specific times for each project will really vary – some directors prefer to start rehearsals at 9am, so be prepared for an early start! You should aim to be at your rehearsal venue 10 mins before the rehearsal actually starts, so that everything can begin on-time without any pressure or stress.

Will I definitely need to come to all rehearsals?

You will definitely need to attend every single rehearsal you are called for…and this is non-negotiable! At the time of audition, you should make sure that, in theory, you are available for every rehearsal and every performance date. Once the show is cast, a ‘broken down’ schedule will be issued, where you’ll see exactly which rehearsals you are needed for. You will not be allowed to miss any part of any rehearsal…and absence is likely to result in the loss of your role from the production. Understanding the full commitment in advance is vital for you and your family.

What do I wear for rehearsals?

Great question…and it’s amazing how often people wear inappropriate clothes to rehearsals, which can make it really tricky for the actor. You should always wear really comfortable clothes that you can move freely, and practically, in…and soft shoes. Skirts and tight clothing is really unsuitable. Rehearsals are often highly physical and you’ll get very hot…you should never think about your own appearance when coming to a rehearsal, but rather what is going to help you to deliver the best possible work while you’re there! If you are cast in a period drama, your director may ask you to wear a practice skirt, or character shoes. If there are particular items you’ll need to wear to rehearse in, you’ll be told well in advance.

What should I bring to rehearsals?

This is a really good question and we would encourage you to get into great habits now…that will serve you well for the rest of your acting career! You should always take a PENCIL (not a pen!) so that you can make copious notes…but can always rub them out and rewrite them, as things tend to change such a lot during a rehearsal period. You should also take a note book, to write down anything special that you’ll need to remember, and so you can make detailed notes of physical sequences. Of course…if you have a script, NEVER forget to take this…and make sure that you write absolutely everything down on your script – don’t expect that you’ll remember things from one week to the next…your script should contain notes of everything that you do, and not just everything that you say.

What can I not bring to rehearsals?

Rehearsals need to be very focussed…with no distractions at all! No phones or electronic devices are allowed into the rehearsal room (unless they are silent and stowed in a bag). A director will react very badly if a cast member is seen using a phone during a rehearsal and poor attitude may result in the cast member being asked to leave the production. However, there are often long periods of waiting, when an actor is not needed in the rehearsal, or on stage. During this time you can read, relax in the foyer, talk with other cast members – so it’s fine to bring something to do…just be very mindful about what you actually take into the rehearsal studio itself.

What is expected of parents, if I’m cast in a production?

Parents will need to ensure that you are always on time for your rehearsals. Lateness is not acceptable. Your parents will also need to ensure that you are collected on time. Additionally, they will need to support you in between rehearsals – this involves helping you to learn lines, talking through your ‘moves’ and sourcing your costume. Importantly, your parents will also be expected to volunteer to help backstage at one, or more, of your performances. We need to have a full team of chaperones/parent helpers working backstage, and, legally, a specific number of Warwickshire County Council ‘approved’ chaperones. At the time of casting, we will ask parents if they would be prepared to become approved – this is not obligatory, but the more ‘Approved’ Chaperones we have, the easier it is for us to satisfy requirements.

How do parents become backstage helpers?

We will give out ‘chaperone’ letters at the start of the rehearsal period and ask parents to indicate which date/s they can help us with. We will also ask which parents are prepared to become ‘Approved’ via Warwickshire County Council. For full information on what is involved in becoming an Approved Chaperone, please email info@playboxtheatre.com and our Head Of Children’s Welfare will contact you directly.

What information will I need to give to Playbox, if I’m cast in a production?

We will need your parents to complete a medical form, telling us about any medication or treatment that you need, and also about any medical conditions that you have, so that we can keep you safe and well.

Will it cost me money to be in a production?

There is no charge to be in a Playbox Theatre production, although there may be costs associated with your involvement. You will usually need to provide your own costume, which may have an associated cost – see Qu.14 for details. Additionally, we hope that our casts will encourage as many people as possible to book tickets for the show they are in, and we actively encourage cast members to help us publicise the work.

Do I need to sell tickets for shows I’m in?

As mentioned, you are not required to sell tickets…this is a job for our marketing team…but we really do encourage all cast members to help support Playbox’s marketing efforts. We will ask you to invite as many family and friends as possible…you might want to take leaflets into school, drop leaflets through neighbours’ letterboxes, display a photo at your school or in a shop etc. Anything you can do to help promotion is always appreciated!

How do people buy tickets for a show I’m in?

We hope that lots of people will come and support you when you’re performing with Playbox Theatre. Tickets are often on sale even before a production is cast, so family and friends should book early, to avoid disappointment, once you hear you are going to be appearing in a production. The best way to buy tickets is through our website – you would go to the ‘What’s On’ page and click through to TicketSource, who manage all of our on-line sales. You can also book tickets by calling us at The Dream Factory and booking over the phone, or in person when you are being dropped off at rehearsals.

Will I have to provide my own costume?

It is very likely that you will need to provide your own costume, and sometimes this will involve purchasing fabric and arranging for someone to make your costume for you. Each production is different, and costume designs will vary in their complexity. Sometimes, costumes will be simple items that can be bought from charity or local shops…other times there will be specific items that you’ll be asked to order from a particular website…and, occasionally, the design will be more complicated and you will require specific fabric and a dressmaker to follow a pattern. Guidance will always be given in good time and we will have a volunteer Costume Co-ordinator to support parents along the way. Cast members are responsible for paying for their costumes. Playbox doesn’t often store costumes on site, so you will keep your costume, once the production is over.

What happens if I don’t know anyone in the show?

One of the things that’s really important to everyone at Playbox is building a tight, supportive, drive ‘community’. You can guarantee that by the end of your first rehearsal, you will already have made lots of new friends…many people you work on a production with will become friends for life! Our directors fully understand how daunting it can be to step into the rehearsal room for the first time, and we all work hard on that first day to make sure that everyone is happy, settled and really well looked after. If you have any worries, your director will always be happy to help you.

Will I have lines in a production?

Maybe…maybe not! At Playbox, the emphasis is always placed up ‘the ensemble’ – we seek a company of dynamic, talented, passionate young artists who will work together to create a piece of live performance that is exciting and challenging for everyone involved. We do not place value on ‘who has the most lines’, or who has most time on stage…and we ask parents to support this very important attitude towards creating art. If the piece you are in has text, some characters will have lines, but many won’t…this doesn’t mean that you are any less important…or that you should work any less hard! The more experienced you become through your training and your time on stage, the more likely you are to be given a speaking role…although, as in the industry, there are no guarantees! Some of our productions are entirely physical, so no-one has anything to say at all…and these are some of the most exciting projects you could ever work on!

Will I need to be at all performances?

Absolutely! We can’t do without you in rehearsals, and we certainly can’t do without you in performances. This is a professional commitment and we do not have the infrastructure to operate an understudy system. Sometimes, we will cast two teams of actors for a production, and we will give your specific performance dates at the time of casting. This is rare, so at the time of audition, you must know that you are available for the whole performance run.

What time will I be called before a performance?

Performance call times will vary and may be decided quite last minute, depending on how much work is still to be done before opening night. If it was a tricky final dress rehearsal, you might be called earlier, so that problems can be solved before doors open. Generally, you will be called 2 hours before opening night, then 1 hour before subsequent performances. Do be aware that this is a guide only, and each production is different. If there is a lot of make-up design in a show, then cast might need to arrive earlier, in order to apply this. If it is a particularly physically demanding production, cast might need an advanced call in order to do a thorough physical warm up. You must always be on time for your performance call, so that you can go through notes with the director, get into costume, set props and take part in the company warm up.

I’m only on stage a little bit, what can I do when I’m not on stage?

When you’re backstage, in the dressing rooms, you will need to stay really calm and focussed. Most of the time, cast members like to chat together, but you are also welcome to bring a book or something quiet to occupy you. It’s really important that you don’t bring anything that could distract you or take your focus away from the production. Chaperones will be in each dressing room, making sure that everyone keeps their mind on the work they are doing. There are tannoys in each dressing room, so you will be able to hear the production as it runs, so that you can ensure you’re not late for any cue.

Are there any handy tips to help me make a great impression during rehearsals and performances?

There are lots of things that you can do that will make sure directors and the backstage team will want to work with you again! Here are a few favourites…

  • Be punctual…never, ever arrive late for a call (and make sure your parents understand how crucial this is)
  • Always come prepared – don’t get a reputation for being the one that never has their script, pencil, notebook etc.
  • Do your homework in-between rehearsals! This is REALLY important…directors will notice who has put the effort in at home and who has come well-prepared having spent time thinking about the project…this will create a very good impression
  • Be an excellent member of our ‘ensemble’ – keep remembering that one of Playbox Theatre’s most important values is that of a company working together in harmony. DO NOT be an actor who is constantly trying to pull attention onto themselves…do not be vain, do not be ungenerous to other company members, do not be selfish. No matter how talented someone is, a director will not want to work with an actor who cannot see the value of the Ensemble.
  • Bring a great attitude to rehearsals…be enthusiastic, positive and supportive of the work and of the other cast members.
  • NEVER YAWN! Yawning in rehearsals is a big ‘no’…you’ll get tired, but please don’t yawn…directors hate it and it is very insulting. If you’re flagging, go and splash your face with water instead!

 

Playbox Acting Workshops

At the heart of Playbox Theatre’s work lie the THEATRE TRAINING WORKSHOPS…these are our core sessions, and explore a range of techniques across the arts spectrum. Through the workshops, members will experience rigorous training, let by some of the UK’s leading theatre practitioners, and will not only gain a breadth of theatre skills and contemporary knowledge, but also an increased confidence, articulacy, self-awareness…and an active engagement with the world in which we live. The Theatre Training Workshops are the gateway to the wider ‘Playbox’ experience!

Do I have to audition to be in Playbox?

No! There are no auditions to become a member of Playbox Theatre – we are open to everyone. We ask for members to bring a positive attitude to their workshop, and we do expect members to commit fully and enthusiastically to the work they are participating in…but we welcome young people of all ages, from all backgrounds, to our company. If you would like to take part in one of our productions, you would have to attend an audition, and these are very competitive. For more information on the audition and casting process, please look at the relevant FAQs.

Do I need experience?

You do not need any previous experience of theatre work to succeed at Playbox. Every young person who works with us is an individual and will develop at their own rate. Within the company, we have young people of all ages who are brand new to this type of work, working alongside members who have expansive experience – both with Playbox and in the arts industry. The workshop space is absolutely level and every person is valued for their individuality and no discernment is made for those with, or without, previous experience.

What skills will I use in a workshop?

This depends on the content of the workshop and will vary from week to week. Our directors will ensure that, over the course of a season, you will explore a range of material, from a wide spectrum of starting points. The skills that you will be using each week will vary, and will be the ones that are most appropriate for the material. In a typical season, you can expect to experience the following skills: voice, mime, movement, stage combat, physical theatre, improvisation, devising, text.

What’s the difference between the different age groups?

The programme of material for Theatre Training workshops is prepared very carefully, so that every young person can really engage with each exercise. The difference between the age groups will mainly focus upon the context for the exercises, and the type of response we expect to see from members. Sometimes, the stimulus material will be the same for Playbox 2, Playbox 3, Playbox 4 etc…but the way the exercises are set, and the way we expect members to respond, will be very different, and age appropriate. Other times, the material will be entirely different for each group, and will always be selected to make sure that it is totally appropriate for the age of the young people participating.

What should I wear to a workshop?

Your workshops are fast-paced and usually incredibly physical. You should always come dressed for practical work, so that you can participate fully. Loose trousers, leggings, tracksuits are all great, as well as soft shoes. You don’t need to wear any specialist clothing, but we can’t emphasise enough how important practical clothes are. If you are coming straight from school, please bring a change of clothes with you. If you don’t come suitably dressed, you may not be allowed to participate in certain aspects of the workshop. We don’t have a uniform, although many members love to wear Playbox Theatre t-shirts, hoodies or merchandise. All of this can be ordered via the office info@playboxtheatre.com

 

Who will be running my workshop?

Your Workshop Director will become one of the most important people that you know! The team of directors and practitioners at Playbox is kept small and tight, so that everyone is really well-connected and we can make sure that the experience of each of our members is the best it can possibly be. All of our directors are trained artists, with a wealth of experience working in the arts industry, as well as with huge experience of facilitating theatre workshops with young people. Your director will also have specialist skills that they will bring to your workshop – this might be writing, music, directing, physical theatre, literature. Your Workshop Director will be absolutely committed to you, and to ensuring that your time at Playbox is as enjoyable and beneficial as possible. If you want to find out more about the directors, please have a look at our Team page on this website.

 

Do we do LAMDA in the workshops?

Within your Training workshop, you will not work towards any kind of examination. These sessions are designed for the individual to work at their own rate, and to be celebrated for their uniqueness, and their personal contribution to the sessions. There is no assessment. However, our ‘Voice & The Young Actor’ workshops focus specifically on the spoken word, literature and LAMDA examinations – and we have a superb track record of 100% pass rate and most members achieving extremely high scores. The LAMDA workshops are for very limited numbers, so that the members receive a lot of individual attention. Please contact us info@playboxtheatre.com to find out more about ‘Voice’ – many members find that the ‘Voice’ workshop compliments their Theatre Training extremely well.

 

Will I have to do homework?

No! You will be expected to work really hard, really intensively, for the one-hour you are in the workshop, but it is very rare that any ‘homework’ will be set. Frequently members will be inspired to take the subject of a workshop further, and might read particular books that we’ve been exploring, or develop a piece of creative writing, or art, in response to a stimulus…and when this happen it is GREAT! However, you’ll never be expected to complete any assignment specifically for your workshop.

 

Do I have to come every week?

As your Theatre Training workshop is not specifically working towards an end result, if you need to miss the occasional session, it’s not the end of the world. Of course, the more fully you commit to your weekly workshop, the more you will gain from it, the faster you will develop and the greater your experience of Playbox will be. We understand that there are times when you won’t be able to make it…but we really do need all members and families to understand that this is not a ‘drop-in’ session – it is a carefully designed programme of work, where one week will be influenced by the previous week’s achievements. Please try to come as regularly as you possibly can!

What’s the difference between the different Playbox venues? Will I still get the same opportunities if I go to an outlying centre?

There is absolutely no difference in the experience you will receive, regardless of which venue you attend! Our directors are all based at The Dream Factory, but we run workshops across the region, to make sure that Playbox Theatre is as accessible as possible to all young people who want to be a part of the adventure! All Playbox members have the same opportunities to audition for productions and special events and your centre director will make sure that you are always completely aware of these. Some of the venues will have facilities for parents to wait in, during a workshop, others won’t. Some will have a place to get coffee, others will not! The heart of Playbox Theatre is what goes on within the walls of the workshop space…be that theatre, church hall, warehouse or garden…the rest is all superficial!

 

What are the workshops about?

The Training Workshops are about a huge range of things! Our directors meet regularly to discuss workshop content and to plan the very best material for our groups. We aim to ensure that the workshops reflect the lives and interests of young people today, as well as making sure that all members are given a thorough experience of theatre practitioners, both past and present. The workshops are designed to stimulate discussion, debate, imagination, creativity and action. The start-point for a workshop might come from a piece of art, a poem, a current world event, a story or play, an event in history, an open question or a theatre practitioner. The workshop plan will be devised to ensure that all members engage their minds, as well as their bodies, in the material. Discussion is a big part of the process, as is focussing on the importance of collaboration, valuing one another, and finding the ability to voice your own opinion clearly and articulately. The skills and experiences young people gain from Playbox workshops will support them for a lifetime, regardless of the career path they choose.

 

Will I have to read?

Sight-reading can be one of the most daunting and challenging tasks that an actor will have to face…whether they are a young person, or a seasoned professional! Our Theatre Training workshops are not text based and no-one will ever be made to feel uncomfortable reading within a session. We will sometimes take a text (poem, prose, extract from a play) as a stimulus for a piece of theatre…but the workshops are not about ‘acting out scenes from plays with a script in your hand’. In order to ensure that members are receiving a full and thorough training, occasionally text will be an important part of a workshop…if this is the case, the workshop director will talk carefully to the group about the play that we’re exploring, the characters, the situation, and we will then explore delivery of lines. You will certainly not have to be a good reader to enjoy these workshops – many of the best actors are not!

Do we perform in our workshops?

Not necessarily. Playbox’s Theatre Training workshops are not focussed on presentation or performance. People come to Playbox for a range of diverse reasons, and not everyone who joins the company wants to perform. The workshops are self-contained and intensive…but they are experimental spaces that enable members to be very open in the techniques and approaches they use. We work without the pressure of creating a polished ‘end product’, and without the need to select members for achievement, or drive rehearsals on a weekly basis. Occasionally we will throw the doors open and invite an audience to experience what we’ve been working on, but it’s very important to understand that these workshops are not about working towards an end performance. There are regular opportunities to perform, if you would like to, and we make sure that all members are aware of how to get involved in these.

Will we be working with scripts?

Occasionally we will use text from a play as stimulus, but this will be one of many different approaches to creating artistic responses within your workshop. Script work can be incredibly valuable and will certainly feature as a part of your training programme, but it is not something we do on a weekly basis – the workshops are about a great deal more than text!

Will there be any singing and dancing?

Within the Theatre Training workshop, we do not focus specifically on singing or dancing. There will be lots of use of physical theatre, tons of music, and plenty of devised choreography. For those of you that would like to focus on a more ‘musical’ approach, we would suggest you look at the Musical Theatre programme that we run – either instead of, or in addition to, your Theatre Training workshop.

Will we have the chance to play Theatre Games?

Theatre Games can be a really useful part of a workshop or rehearsal process. They can energise a group, they can be great for team bonding, for voice and for focussing the mind. We will often start a workshop with a quick physical game, followed by a more focussed warm up, to make sure the group are ready to take on board the challenges of the session. The ‘games’ will only feature at the beginning of your workshop, so that there is plenty of time to grapple with the main content. If it’s the final workshop of the season, you might find that your Workshop Director treats you to a few more than usual!

Can parents watch workshops?

Although we occasionally run ‘open workshops’ for parents to come and watch, or participate in, one of the most important things about our work at Playbox Theatre is that the sessions are not observed by outside eyes. Members must feel completely uninhibited and free to explore, experiment and must never feel self-conscious about anything they do. Theatre Training workshops offer members the chance to be absolutely engaged with the content of the workshop, and to work closely with their fellow group members – when a member walks into the workshop space, they must shake off any baggage from the day, or the week, and commit fully to the material being tackled. We all know that, when we’re being observed, total commitment and total freedom to explore if very difficult. We are keen to have great relationships with the parents of our members, and Directors are always happy to speak to parents on the phone, or meet up at The Dream Factory, to chat about the workshops and their content, so that the dialogue is always open and honest.

I’m really shy…what happens if I don’t want to do one of the exercises?

One of the main benefits our members discover through training is a rapid gaining in confidence. The effect is usually visible after the first week. Our directors are highly experienced in supporting their members, and those that are under-confident will be really well looked after. No-one is ever made to do anything they feel uncomfortable with, and you will find that your director is totally supportive of you, and someone who you will be able to speak honestly to. We will always aim to increase your courage as each moment with Playbox passes and you will soon find yourself leaping head first into every challenge…the more abstract and complicated, the better!

I don’t know anyone…how will I make friends in the workshop?

Starting any new journey can be daunting…even if it’s something that you’re really excited about. Our team have lots of experience at ensuring that everyone is settled and happy. If it’s your first week, you will be welcomed to the group, introduced to everyone, and another person in your session will be responsible for making sure that you are well looked after and happy throughout the workshop. Playbox groups are very welcoming and you will quickly make wonderful new friends.

Can I audition for Playbox shows?

Absolutely – as a member of the ‘Theatre Training Programme’ you are eligible to audition for all Playbox Theatre productions – as long as you are within the specified age for the project. Your Workshop Director will always make you aware of upcoming auditions, and you will be given a regular Casting Spotlight Newsletter which will tell you all about when auditions are taking place, and what the commitment the production would involve.

I have lots of previous experience, when can I move up to the next group?

Our groups are age banded, so that you are working alongside young people who are appropriate to you in terms of age. We do not arrange people according to ability or experience, so you wouldn’t ever move up to an older group early, for this reason. The material we explore in workshops is carefully devised so that members can squeeze as much as they can from it, and tailor-the response to their own ability and experience. Frequently we will set a similar ‘task’ to an 8 yr old, as we will to an 18 yr old. The exercise might be the same, but the response the performer can create will vary. Each member is expected to commit fully and to always work to the highest standard they can.

Why are all of the productions staged at The Dream Factory?

We are so lucky to have our own theatre! In 1997, we discovered that our major funding application had been successful and we received the funds to build UK’s first ever purpose built and designed theatre for young people…this was The Dream Factory, which opened in May 1999. The Dream Factory is our home – it is an arts complex that every member has total ownership over. It is not a space that we rent, it is not a venue that we have to vacate when the caretaker arrives, it is not a space where we are confined to sub-standard spaces because we are working with young people…it is a wonderful theatre where young people can be creating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (and many of them do!). Regularly we will take work on tour – both nationally and internationally – but we do not tend to perform work at regional venues. It is important to the ethos of Playbox that members from all centres come together to collaborate and to create staged work – and The Dream Factory is the best place for this to happen.

How much does it cost?

To be a member of the Theatre Training Programme it costs £125 per season. Our seasons run alongside the school terms, so there are three ‘seasons’ per year. If you take part in more than one workshop with Playbox, or if your brothers and sisters also attend, there are discounts available to you. If you’d like to know more about our fees, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com.

How do I apply?

We hope that you feel ready to apply for membership…it will be one of the best decisions you ever make! If you’d like to get involved, please email info@playboxtheatre.com – give us your name, date of birth, phone number and the centre/day/time that would work best for you. We’ll then contact you by phone or email to tell you when you can start!

 

There isn’t a space for me at the moment – how long will I be on the waiting list?

This depends…some of the waiting lists can be very long, other times we’re able to offer you a space much more quickly. It’s always difficult to say exactly how long you will have to wait, as it all depends upon when a space becomes available. If we can’t offer you a space immediately in your preferred group, we will always try to offer you an alternative, until your first choice becomes available. We also keep in touch with our Waiting List members regularly, as you are entitled to lots of special offers, just like our members are!

Playbox Professionals

Playbox Professionals is an exceptional programme of work, aimed at young people aged 15+ who are keen to pursue a career in the arts as either performer, director or producer. It is a high commitment group and places are very limited.

Do I need to have a lot of theatre experience before I become a Playbox Professional?

We are looking for young actors who are determined to pursue a career in the performing arts. We would expect you to have a passion for theatre and to have seen a range of live performances.

Do I have to be a member of another Playbox workshop to join Professionals?

Absolutely! Playbox Professionals is a specialist course that is only available to fully registered members of the Theatre Training Programme. You must continue to attend your Theatre Training Programme when you are in Professionals.

How long do I have to have been a member of Playbox before I can apply to join Professionals?

There is no minimum length of time…you can apply to join Professionals as soon as you are a member of Playbox Theatre. If you feel the urgent need to prepare for a career route, then you should apply for Professionals straight away.

Do I have to audition to become a member of Professionals?

There is no practical audition, but the group is selective. You and a parent would be asked to attend an interview with the director, to ensure that this is definitely the right course for you.

What is involved at the interview?

There will be a discussion regarding the realities of becoming an actor, director or artist, to ensure that you are ready to face the challenges. We will talk to you about the programme and answer any questions that you have.

If I’m not offered a place after my first interview, can I reapply?

Of course. If you are not offered a place following an interview, we will talk to you about why this decision was taken and will advise what you should do in order to improve your chance of being offered a place.

How often are new places offered?

Every season we invite new members to join the group, as long as there are spaces.

How does the Playbox Professionals workshop differ from the core Theatre Training programme?

Professionals is a tight group of young people who have expressed serious interest in pursuing the arts as a career route. It is a commitment course, and members are expected to be absolutely dedicated to their training, and to involve themselves fully in the wider workings of Playbox Theatre. Members will be driven to work at an intense level and work is undertaken to help members to prepare for drama school and university. A serious attitude to an arts career is a major consideration, with members expected to achieve an advanced level of result.

What age are the Professionals?

15-21 yrs.

How many people will be in the workshop?

There will be a maximum of 20 young people – it is usually closer to 15.

Do I have to come to this workshop every week?

Absolutely! Playbox Professionals is a full-commitment programme and you must attend weekly.

If I have to miss workshops because of other commitments, will this be acceptable?

Not usually – you are expected to prioritise this commitment, and your family should be aware of this when you are offered a place. If there is a serious event which will affect your attendance, this must be discussed with the director well in advance. Failure to attend your training may result in you losing your place on the course.

What sort of material can I expect to explore in Professionals?

Our programme of work is varied and far-reaching, and is designed to reflect the current theatre landscape, contemporary practices and approaches, as well as exploring practitioners across theatre’s history.

What is a typical Professionals workshop like?

There is no typical week! Usually your session will be intensive, varied and invigorating! The group work incredibly hard, yet enjoy the challenges they are set. There will always be a warm up, debate and discussion, introduction to material, practical exercises and feedback/reflection time. Sometimes workshops are a ‘one-off’, other times we will explore material over a series of weeks.

Will I have the chance to present work through Professionals?

Professionals is not a presentation programme – it is an intense workshop event, where material and ideas are explored without observation. However, on occasions, we will open the doors for audiences to come and share your work. This might take place in a studio, site specific or on stage.

What should I wear to my workshop?

As with all of our work, it tends to be very practical and physical and must wear loose, comfortable clothing. No specialist clothing is required.

What should I bring to my Professionals workshop?

You should always bring a notebook and something to write with, as well as copies of any material that you have been given in previous workshops.

Where does the workshop take place?

All workshops take place at The Dream Factory in Warwick. You will be working in one of the rehearsal studios at the theatre.

How much does it cost to join this course?

There is a combined fee to cover both membership of the Theatre Training Programme and Professionals. The fee is £215 and this is payable three times per year (once per season, which runs in conjunction with the school term).

Who will be running Playbox Professionals?

The programme is directed by Consultant Director, Stewart McGill. Stewart co-founded Playbox Professionals with Executive Director, Mary King, in 1988. To find out more about his work with Playbox Theatre and beyond, please have a look at his biography on the Playbox Team page.

When does Professionals happen and how long is the weekly workshop?

Playbox Professionals takes place every Saturday within our season dates and the time is 9am-11am.

Can Professionals help me get into drama school?

It really can, although there are no guarantees, as is the case with any aspect of the arts! Professionals can prepare you, can give you increased confidence and will help you explore a range of texts and songs to present at your audition. You will also undertake interview practice and audition technique – and you will be well-versed in debate and discussion. Recently, Playbox Professionals have gained places at some of UK’s top drama schools including RADA, LAMDA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Guildhall and Royal Welsh College Of Music & Drama, to name a few! It can certainly provide a spring-board…but ultimately, it is up to you.

As a member of Professionals, will I definitely be successful if I’m auditioning for a Playbox production?

All of the usual Playbox Casting guidelines apply, so please have a look at the Casting FAQs to understand our criteria and casting process. However, the commitment you will have shown and the intensity of your training should stand you in very good stead, when it comes to auditions.

Does being a member of Professionals mean that I will be put up for professional auditions?

No – the workshop is called ‘Playbox Professionals’ because the group are made of young people who aim to become professional artists for their career. You will be expected to have a completely professional attitude to your work – however this is also the case for every member of Playbox, in whichever group they attend. If you would like the opportunity to be considered for professional castings, beyond Playbox, you will need to audition for the Playbox Agency, and be taken onto our books.

Shakespeare Young Company

Shakespeare Young Company was launched by Playbox Theatre in 2008 and is the only programme of work of its kind in UK – devoted to exploring the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, with young people. It is one of the most exciting aspects of Playbox’s work and a department that we are enormously proud of! To be a member of SYC is a large and serious commitment, so do read our FAQs to find out if it’s right for you.

Do I need to audition to become a member of SYC?

Yes! Unlike the Theatre Training workshops, you will need to audition to become a part of this programme of work. Potential members will need to prepare 15 lines of Shakespeare and attend one of our auditions. Auditions are held twice per year at The Dream Factory. Places are very limited and only a small number will be invited to join each year.

What will happen if I audition but I’m not accepted? Can I apply again?

Of course – many return with a vengeance! We can only offer a small number of places following each audition, so you should adopt a very persistent attitude – as would be reflected in the adult arts world.

Can I join Shakespeare Young Company without being a member of another Playbox Theatre workshop?

No – SYC is a special programme that is only available to fully registered members of Playbox Theatre. Work in this programme builds upon experiences and techniques gained in the Theatre Training Programme. It doesn’t replace this core work.

Who will be running my SYC workshop?

The course is directed by Playbox’s Consultant & Executive Directors, Stewart McGill and Mary King. Stewart and Mary are also the Founding Directors of Shakespeare Young Company itself. Occasionally, colleagues from across the industry will join the team to offer specialist approaches to specific modules. Every element of the course is created under the directors’ supervision. To find out more about Stewart and Mary, please have a look at their biographies on the ‘Team’ page of our website.

What type of material will I explore in SYC? Is it only Shakespeare?

Shakespeare is at the heart of this course, but we do reach out to his contemporaries, those who influenced him and those her were influenced by him. Recently we have cast our eyes on Seneca, Marlowe, Kyd, Webter and as far back as Chaucer. Shakespeare cannot exist within a bubble of his own, and we enjoy exploring his work in relation to those of other influential, classical authors.

What is the difference between ‘Pucks’ and ‘SYC’?

Both courses are a part of Shakespeare Young Company. ‘Pucks’ is the foundation programme – generally, but not exclusively, for younger members. Everyone must take part in ‘Pucks’ before moving up to the full SYC session. Within ‘Pucks’, actors explore text, themes and potential staging, working at a high level, but always appropriate for their age and experience. ‘Pucks’ is the gateway to SYC and is absolutely vital to the training.

Is there a lot of text work in the programme?

Unlike the Theatre Training workshops, text is the root of ‘SYC’ and will always be the core of the training. From the plays to the sonnets, poems and source material, SYC explores, decodes, pulls apart and reimagines the text.

I don’t know much about Shakespeare – can I still join the group?

Of course – this is not a workshop for academics! SYC welcomes young people with a burning desire to explore, experiment and argue about the playwright, his times and his works. We would need all members to care passionately about the work we are exploring…and to really devote themselves to the material.

What might a typical SYC workshop involve?

Whilst there is no set format for a workshop, you can expect your session to involve voice, text, movement, argument and discussion…with themes being explored and many ideas being tried. Your workshop will never be predictable.

Will I get to perform as a member of SYC?

Each year we stage one or two major productions, alongside studio shows, with possible outdoor and touring options. This year, we will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as our largescale work, and Shakespeare’s Lost Children as an intensive promenade work for a conference at University Of Warwick. On Midsummer Night, our creation ‘Ring Of Fire’ will play at midnight…so you can see that there are lots of opportunities to share work. We must point out that the major productions are auditioned for, and are usually open to the wider population of Playbox. Casting and roles are not guaranteed when the audition is open to all members.

Will my parents have the chance to see what I’ve been working on?

As with all Playbox Theatre training programmes, the studio doors will open from time to time, for invited guests to come and see what you’ve been working on, in addition to specific presentations.

Do I need to come to SYC every week?

Absolutely! This is a commitment group and you will be expected to attend without fail. Being a member of this programme must become an absolute priority for you and your family, as  your absence will impact greatly upon the group, and upon your own development. If you do not attend a workshop, you may lose your place on the course.

What will happen if I have to miss a few sessions, because of other commitments?

We do need to stress that full attendance is vital. If a problem arises this must always be discussed immediately with both the member and their parent. We remind SYC members not to over-commit to other projects, both within – and outside – Playbox Theatre. Failure to make the full commitment is likely to result in you losing your place on the course.

Will I be expected to do homework between workshops?

We don’t call it ‘homework’ but we do encourage you to read and research around the work that we’re exploring. This will be advised from time to time and will serve to maximise your experience of the programme. Of course, if there are lines to be learnt, this will be essential!

What is the age range of the group?

Pucks is generally 9+, with the SYC workshops having members aged 14-21 yrs. The age guidelines are flexible and will depend upon the individual’s audition and progress.

What should I wear to my workshop?

Please come ready to undertake intensive, physical and vocal work. Comfortable rehearsal clothing is essential and if a member is attending directly from school you must bring a change of clothing with you. Please do not work in a school uniform.

Do I need to bring anything specific with me to my training?

Members will be asked to bring their scripts and other written material. You should make yourself an SYC folder, to keep everything in order.  You should also bring something to write with. We also suggest a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and The Complete Works will be lifelong texts to own!

If I audition for a Shakespeare production with Playbox, and I’m a member of SYC, will I definitely be cast in the show?

We always encourage our SYC members to audition for our Shakespeare productions, and we hope that you will be very successful in casting. However, our casting policy needs to be fair and there are many criteria that we need to apply. Your chances are good, as you will already have lots of experience, but there are no guarantees. For more information on our casting process, please look at the Casting FAQs.

Do graduates if SYC go on to work in the industry?

Many members of SYC go on to enjoy successful careers in the arts. Each year we see a good number gaining places at UK’s top drama schools and universities and it is always a pleasure to follow their work with pride. Most recently, Ralph Davis made his ‘Globe’ debut as Edmund in King Lear, following his graduation from RADA – he is one example of a large number of successful SYC graduates (some others include Ferdinand Kingsley, Joshua McGuire, Daniel West, Owen Young and William Belchambers).

Where do SYC workshops take place?

At our theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.

How much does it cost to join SYC?

We offer a combined price, to cover both your membership of Playbox Theatre Training Workshop, as well as your SYC training. For ‘Pucks’ the combined fee is £195 per season. For ‘SYC’ the combined fee is £215. Each season runs in conjunction with the school term, so fees are payable three times per year.

I’m ready to make the leap! How do I join?

If you would like to attend an audition, please email info@playboxtheatre.com and we will let you know when the next casting workshop is taking place. If you are not currently a member of Playbox Theatre, please contact us to discuss which centre would work best for you, as you will need to be fully registered and regularly attending, before auditioning for Shakespeare Young Company.

Technical Theatre
I don’t have any previous experience, is this OK?
I do have previous experience of technical work, will the course still suit me?
What areas of technical work will we be exploring?
How large will the group be? Will I definitely have the opportunity to be very ‘hands on’?
Who is the director of Technical Theatre?
Where will the workshops take place?
Are the workshops practical? Will we have the chance to use real theatre equipment?
Will the course help to prepare me for a future career backstage?
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Do I have to attend every week?
Will there be homework between sessions?
How do I apply etc
Voice Studio & LAMDA Exams
Who runs the Voice workshops?

Voice & The Young Actor is run by Playbox Theatre’s Founding and Executive Director, Mary King, so you are in the best possible hands! Mary has many years of experience delivering Voice and LAMDA workshops…as well as being at the helm of this extraordinary company for over 32 years!

What skills will I explore in my workshop?

The primary skills you will be developing in Voice & The Young Actor are to be able to speak and articulate clearly, to be able to appear confident and in control of your language, your eye contact and your physical presentation when you are speaking (especially under pressure!). You will also be challenged to engage with debates and discussions, which might be stimulated by current affairs, by a specific topic, or by a piece of literature. You will be encouraged to read avidly, and to think carefully about your responses to written material, rather than just experiencing on a superficial level. Members are pushed to find their own ‘voice’ and to grapple with often challenging topics…but always within a calm and supportive environment. We hope that members of this programme will develop skills of persuasion, and will push themselves to take an active, rather than passive, role in their own development, and that of the world they are experiencing (at any age). Voice & The Young Actor is about so much more than LAMDA exams!

Will I do LAMDA exams?

Yes! This is the only part of Playbox Theatre that involves examinations of any kind! Every year, one season is devoted to members working towards LAMDA exams at all levels (up to, and including, P:Cert). You will work on your pieces and your theory within the weekly session, as well as being offered additional workshops and one-to-one guidance (all included within your membership fee). Playbox has a 100% pass rate, with most members achieving Distinction grades.

When and where do the exams take place?

The LAMDA exams take place annually, at The Dream Factory. They take place late spring (usually end April, early May) and you will be given plenty of notice, so arrangements can be made for a slot that suits you.

I’d love to take part in the Voice workshops, but I don’t want to do any exams. Is this possible?

The annual LAMDA exam is a pivotal part of this programme, so you would need to commit to being a part of this process. If you would rather not work towards any exam, you should consider one of the other workshops that Playbox Theatre offers.

I’ve already done some LAMDA exams, which group will be right for me?

We welcome young people of all different levels and experiences to Voice. The workshops are age-banded, but the director will also take into consideration the levels you have previously achieved and will discuss which group is best for you, at the time that you become a member.

Will I have to do homework?

Yes! It’s really important that members of Voice keep on top of the work that is set. This may be as simple as selecting an extract from a favourite book to explore the following week, but frequently you will be expected to learn pieces off by heart, in preparation for recitals, presentations and exams. We expect parents to fully support members when they are at home, to make sure that work is thoroughly completed. If a member isn’t able to fulfil the requirements of the course, they will be asked to give up their place.

I’m very shy – will Voice be an appropriate workshop for me?

Absolutely! Voice will be perfect for you! One of the major benefits we see from this intimate workshop is the development of confidence, self-esteem and the ability to put yourself across in a calm and articulate manner…skills that are invaluable in all areas of life. The workshops are incredibly supportive environments where everyone is received as an individual, and where their unique personality will be considered and celebrated. You will most certainly gain in confidence as a member of Voice…even if you are very nervous on the first day.

If I only attend Voice can I audition for Playbox productions?

No – to be eligible to audition for the major Playbox productions, you must be a registered member of the Theatre Training workshops. Lots of Voice members attend both sessions and we offer discounts to young people attending multiple workshops. Do enquire if you’d like to know more about these.

Will I have the chance to present work to an audience?

Absolutely! Members of Voice & The Young Actor regularly work towards presenting informal recitals, to share work that has been explored during the weekly sessions. Sometimes these take place in the workshop studio, other times they might be in the main theatre, or in the front-of-house Agora. There are plenty of opportunities to showcase your developing skills and to push yourselves in terms of performance.

How large are the groups?

We keep the groups very small, so that everyone has the opportunity to work in detail and to receive lots of individual guidance. Generally, a group will not be larger than 10 members.

Do I have to attend every week?

Yes! This is a commitment course and we need excellent attendance. This is to ensure that you are developing at the rate we expect, but also so that you do not affect the other members of your workshop. We frequently work towards presentations and group work, so if a member of these small workshops is away, it can have a very damaging effect. If attendance is poor, we will need to discuss with you and your parent, whether it is right for you to continue in this programme.

What should I wear to Voice?

You should wear practical and comfortable clothing to your workshop. Skirts/dresses are not appropriate and we do encourage members to change out of school uniform before entering the session.

How much does it cost to join Voice?

Membership fees are paid by the season, and seasons operate in conjunction with the school term (between 10-12 weeks per season). Current Voice fees are £130 per season and are payable in advance.

I’m ready to sign up – how do I go about this?

We can’t wait to meet you! Please use our online form to apply. You may have to sit on a waiting list for a little while, but we will offer you a place as soon as possible.

I don’t have any previous experience, is this OK?

Yes! Acting For Screen includes the very basics of screen craft,  encouraging young people to get comfortable and confident in front of the lens. Sometimes starting with a clean slate can be advantageous. 

I do have some previous experience of screen acting, will the course still suit me?

Absolutely, the training will really stretch members and is an opportunity to develop existing skills with consistent practice and guidance in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. 

Is acting for screen different to acting for stage? Why would I need to attend a different workshop?

In essence good acting is ‘good acting’ but an actor needs to have a practical understanding of the challenges of playing to a completely different audience, because in screen acting the camera is your audience and it sees every detail. The scale of the performance is the biggest difference, but this goes beyond merely ‘doing less’ for screen work, a rather misleading phrase. Screen acting requires a shift in focus and an ability to be completely comfortable and confident in front of the lens, in a similar way that one must become comfortable in front of a live audience. If actors are looking to develop their screen craft, the only way to do so is to get regular experience in front of the lens – the learning is in the doing. 

What techniques will we explore in this workshop?

We will be exploring a vast array of different techniques from various practitioners including Meisner, Stanislavsky and Strasberg. We are aiming to develop our character work, our ability to listen and react, our vocal ability. We will explore how to use the lens to our advantage and how to train ourselves to scale performances without losing detail and specificity. 

What might a typical session be like?

All work is practical. Starting with a warm up and relaxation exercise to ground us, we will work our way through various activities to develop our skills before applying them to script work or improvisation, depending on the needs of the session. The nature of the training means that the work and activities will always be varied and evolving – but we’ll be working with the camera present every step of the way. 

Will I have to read scripts as part of this course?

Yes, due to the nature of screen acting, reading scripts will be part of what we do. However, the focus is not on your reading ability and we will help to develop your script-reading skills.

Will there be homework between sessions?

Depending on the nature of the session, members may be asked to learn small amounts of dialogue for following workshop. If homework is set, it’s vital that it’s completed!

Do I need to attend the workshop every week?

Yes, the more you attend the more experience you get and as the saying goes, ‘practice makes you pretty good!’ In addition, strength of group dynamics is crucial and it is important to have consistency and develop a good working relationship with your directors and your group. 

Who is the director of Screen Acting?

Liam Bessell heads up this course, having trained at LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). Liam has spent many years working with actors both in front and behind the camera. He has vast experience as an actor, director and photographer and is perfectly placed to bring his knowledge to young actors at Playbox Theatre.

Will this course help to prepare me for screen auditions?

It really will. The course will enable you to attend screen auditions with calm, confidence and experience. The team will be happy to help you prepare for specific auditions and will equip you with a range of skills and exercises to support you through the casting process.

What should I wear to Screen Acting?

You should always wear comfortable, practical clothing that will not restrict your movement in any way.

How many people will be in the workshop? Will I have plenty of opportunity to get involved?

There will be a maximum of 12 young people in the Screen Acting workshops, enabling everyone to have maximum opportunity to work in front of the camera, and with the director.

If I am only a member of Screen Acting, can I still audition for Playbox Theatre’s productions?

No – you would need to additionally be a member of Playbox’s Theatre Training workshops, in order to audition for the company’s productions. We offer good discounts for young people attending multiple workshops, so do ask us for more information about these.

How much does it cost to join Screen Acting?

The six-week course fee is £80. There are discounts for people attending multiple workshops with Playbox Theatre – please ask us for more information.

I love what I’ve read! How do I apply to join?

Please email your name, date of birth, phone number, email address and postal address to membership@playboxtheatre.com We’ll then contact you as soon as a place is available and will look forward to welcoming you to the team!

How is being on The Agency different to being a regular member of Playbox?

Members of the Playbox Agency are put forward for professional performance opportunities. Our agency members need to show a professional work ethic at all regular Playbox sessions and rehearsals, in order to demonstrate they are suited to being on the agency. Agency auditions are not connected to Playbox Theatre in any way, unlike the regular ‘Playbox auditions’, that all members of our acting workshops are invited to attend.

Will I definitely get auditions if I join The Agency?

No responsible agent can ever guarantee an audition. This is a highly competitive industry and the competition to even get seen for a role is tough. Some actors may get one audition a year, others may get 20. Your agent will put you forward for any casting that fits your profile (often a great many), and it will then be down to the casting department on the project as to whether or not you are called to an audition.

What happens if an audition comes up that I can’t make?

We try and encourage our members to take ever opportunity offered, if, however, you can’t make it work we will either request an alternative meeting, or we will ask if you can submit a self-tape. If neither of these are an option, we will cancel the meeting. It reflects badly on our agency if actors turn auditions down, so if someone repeatedly fails to accept a casting, they will need to leave our books.

Will I have to miss school for auditions or for a job, if I’m successfully cast?

When you are contracted to a job this usually means missing a bit of school, sometimes it may just be odd days, others it might be a few months. Production are legally required to educate young performers on set and will work with your school to make sure you continue with your curriculum. As this involves having a personal tutor, young actors are usually able to cover more than they achieve in their regular classroom setting. If an audition is scheduled doing the school day (which frequently happens), you will need to ask for time off school. Before committing to the Playbox Agency, it is important to know that the school will be supportive of this membership.

How will Playbox put me forward for an audition?

All our agency members are registered with Spotlight, which is one of the world’s largest casting platforms. Through Spotlight, casting directors can search for talent, and we put our actors forward for all suitable roles that come to us via casting breakdowns. We also have close relationships with many of the industry’s top casting directors, who talk directly to us about projects, and we recommend clients to be seen for suitable roles.

Do I need special skills to be on The Agency?

The most important skill is to be a confident individual who is able to take direction well. The more skills you have on your CV the more auditions you will be eligible for, including singing, dance, screen acting, martial arts, languages, accents, horse riding etc. Playbox offers training across a range of useful skills, which many agency members choose to attend. We also programme special masterclasses throughout the year, specifically targeting our agency actors.

Where will castings take place? Will I have to go in person, or will I send a self-tape?

Most auditions will take place either in London or Manchester. Increasingly actors are being asked to submit self-tape for first round auditions, which works great for our clients, as most of them live beyond M25.

What is a self-tape audition?

This is where you will be sent through the audition ‘sides’ to tape at home. We will then submit this to the casting team to see if you are suitable for the role. Members of the agency and their parents are offered training sessions on how to make an effective self-tape, with everything  from lighting and sound, to conversion and transfer.

Does The Agency offer me the opportunity to gain extra useful skills, like dancing, singing, screen acting etc?

Throughout the year agency members are invited to attend specialist masterclasses with top industry practitioners. Some recent examples of masterclasses we’ve offered are US dialect, auditioning for screen, auditioning for musicals and radio techniques.

What does my payment of joining The Agency cover?

You do not pay to be a member of the Playbox Agency. We take commission from any money earned through contracts you book. Commission on stage work is 10% and commission for screen and recording contracts is 15%. You will need to register with Spotlight and the fee for Young Performers is £103.00 per year. You will also need to have professional head shots taken, which Playbox organises for you.

Do I have to be a member of Playbox in order to be on The Agency?

Yes, only current, fully paid, Playbox members are eligible to be represented by the Playbox Agency. 

What happens if I leave Playbox? Will I still be able to remain on The Agency books?

No, we only represent current Playbox members.

Who will my agent be?

Juliet Vankay is the director of the agency who is supported by a team of assistants, as well as the wider directorship of Playbox Theatre.  This is to ensure that we have full knowledge of every actor on the agency, via regular feedback and contact with the Playbox directors of all departments.

Who will take my headshots?

Should you choose to have your photos taken through the Playbox Agency, our photographer is Claire Roberson who is highly experienced in taking actors’ head shots for Spotlight.

Will I join Spotlight if I am on The Agency?

Yes,  it is a requirement that you register for Spotlight as soon as you are accepted onto the Playbox Agency. It will be your responsibility to make sure that your Spotlight profile is continuously updated.

What sort of auditions have Playbox members been put up for recently?

Most recent auditions include the new Marvel Film, the new George Clooney film, numerous Netflix and Amazon Prime series, numerous CBBC series, The Crown, Killing Eve, stage productions including RSC and West End along with many commercials and radio plays.

What sort of jobs have Agency members had recently?

Recent agency successes include leading roles in RSC productions of’ ‘The Boy in the Dress’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Duchess of Malfi’, ‘King John’ and ‘Matilda’. Recent screen successes include ‘Letters for the King’ for Netflix, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Disney , ‘Game of Thrones’ HBO, “Days of Bagnold Summer’, ‘The Snatcher’ and many commercials. Several members of the Playbox Agency play regular roles in BBC radio drama ‘The Archers’.

Do parents have to chaperone jobs?

For screen work, parents usually chaperone. This would be a paid role. If you are unable to do this it is possible to register a relative as a chaperone or production will employ a chaperone. Theatre’s usually provide chaperones and ‘house mothers’, if the actor is required to live away from home.

How do I apply to join The Agency?

We hold auditions annually. These take place in the summer when all Playbox members are sent details of how to apply. If you have any enquires before then, please don’t hesitate to contact agency@playboxtheatre.com

Becoming a member of The Apple Club is often the start of a very exciting journey. Once children join this workshop, they are able to audition for some of our major productions, they can appear in our annual main stage production of Starry Nights and are old enough to benefit from lots of other opportunities available to Playbox members. Most of all, The Apple Club is HUGE fun, deeply imaginative and rooted in theatre skills…children quickly develop in confidence, social skills, become more articulate and able to collaborate. Here are a few answers to some of our most asked questions!

What are the workshops about?

They’re about lots of different things! Each week we take a different story or stimulus as a springboard. This might be a book, a poem, a painting or a prop. The workshop then guides the group through a range of exercises that respond to the theme of the week.

What skills might I use in a workshop?

Each week the workshop will encourage members to explore a range of different skills and techniques, and these depend upon the starting point. A typical week will see Apple Club children engaging with MIME, MOVEMENT, IMPROVISATION, ROLE PLAY, VOICE, STORYTELLING, DEVISING, TABLEAUX, DISCUSSION, THEATRE GAMES & WARM UP ACTIVITIES.

Do we perform in the Apple Club workshops?

No we don’t. The weekly workshop is focussed on development of skills and confidence, whilst encouraging lots of super collaboration, team devising and responding to each week’s stimulus. The Apple Club is designed to enable every child to develop at their own rate and to always aim to achieve as highly as they possibly can. People come to Playbox Theatre for all sorts of reasons, and lots of them don’t seek to perform. Without the need to constantly work towards a presentation, we are able to prepare very fully-rounded weekly workshops, each time taking a fresh, new stimulus as a springboard. From time to time, parents are invited in to share an Open Workshop…and occasionally there will be a celebratory and informal presentation at the end of a season e.g. at Christmas – although we stress this is not a performance that has been rehearsed over a number of weeks.

Do I have to come every week?

We do encourage members to attend as regularly as they possibly can, and to make their workshop a priority. The group bond is very important to the success of the workshop and this is always much stronger when the group are committed and attend every week. Children progress so much more quickly when they can build strong relationships with their director and their group members, and this happens more effectively when attendance is high. Of course, we know that there will be occasions when children just can’t make it, and there is never any penalty for this…we just want them to be there every time!

Do I need to bring anything with me?

No! Just yourself and lots of imagination. Sometimes children like to bring something small to share with the rest of the group at ‘News Time’, at the beginning of the workshop. However, we don’t encourage people to bring items with them as we only hear 2-3 pieces of ‘news’ each week and don’t want to disappoint children. Anything that’s brought into the workshop will need to go on a table at the side during the session, so that members are totally free to work.

Will I have to do any homework?

Absolutely not! It’s an hour of joy and engagement and, although the benefits will be felt throughout the week, in other parts of life, there is no homework set at all. Sometimes there might be a tongue-twister to practise!

I’m very shy, is Apple Club right for me?

Of course it is! The type of children who love coming to Apple Club is very diverse. Some children who join are already very confident and are looking to really extend their skills…others are incredibly nervous and parents are hoping that Playbox workshops will help to address this. Our workshop team are very highly skilled and have huge experience in welcoming new children and, in particular, settling children who are anxious or shy. Our directors are supported by a team of senior assistants, so all children are given the attention and support they need. Parents often see a dramatic improvement in their nervous child’s confidence incredibly quickly. Frequently this will also impact upon their behaviour at school and in other areas of life.

Will I be able to audition for Playbox productions?

Once a child is of school age, they are eligible to audition for some of Playbox’s main stage productions. Each project we mount has specific casting requirements, and age suitability will always be delighted on the casting newsletter (Casting Spotlight). Every year we stage a major production with our ‘Young Production Company’, where the actors are all between aged 5-13 yrs. Although it is very competitive, all Apple Club members are invited to attend the audition for this production. Sometimes, other major productions also seek cast members from 5+. Every year, EVERYONE has the opportunity to perform on the main stage in a large production, if they register for STARRY NIGHTS. This is our special annual fundraiser which works over a week to create a big show with members from age 5-19 yrs, and is incredibly popular!

Will I have to read scripts?

Absolutely not! There is no script work in The Apple Club, although we do encourage children to read and read as much as possible, as this can really improve their use of language, imagination and ability to communicate.

Do we do any singing and dancing in the Apple Club workshops?

Not usually. The Apple Club is primarily an ‘acting’ workshop, with children responding to a range of exercises that focus on the theme of the week. For children who are very keen to explore singing and dancing, we’d encourage you to look at MUSICAL THEATRE JUNIOR which runs on a Wednesday evening in Warwick.

How much does it cost?

Current fees are £125 per season. A season runs in conjunction with the school term, so is between 10-12 weeks. Children register for a full season and then renew each holiday.

Can I try a taster session first?

We tend not to offer ‘taster’ workshops, as it can be very disruptive to the stability of a group to constantly have new members dropping in and out. Instead, whilst fees are payable in advance, you are eligible for a refund if, after 2 weeks, your child really doesn’t want to stay with Playbox. The refund must be applied for via email to the Membership Manager and is subject to a £10 admin fee and a contribution towards the workshops that have been attended.

What should I wear?

You don’t need to wear anything special to Apple Club. Comfortable clothes that you can move freely in are absolutely fine. You should always wear soft shoes. Because the workshops are highly physical, we do ask all children to wear trousers, leggings or shorts (rather than skirts or dresses).

Is there a uniform I can choose to wear?

We don’t have a specific uniform, as we want to encourage children to be absolutely individual and to wear clothes to their workshops that make them feel confident and comfortable. We do have a great selection of Playbox merchandise and lots of members love to wear a Playbox t-shirt or hoodie. These are available to order online at any time, or just call us on 01926 419555.

Will I have to go on a waiting list?

Some of the workshops have waiting lists and others have a couple of spaces, so this is a tricky question to answer! We try to open up new workshops where the demand is very high, so that your waiting time is as short as possible. Ideally, if you can give us a few options for potential workshops you could join, then this will help us to offer you a space as quickly as possible. Once you join a waiting list, you’re already part of the team and you’ll receive priority information about holiday workshops, special events, masterclasses etc.

How do I apply to join?

If you’d like to join The Apple Club, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com and provide us with the child’s Name, DOB, phone number, Email address, postal address. Provide this information along with details of which Apple Club your child would love to join (which venue, which day of the week and which time). Some of the groups will have waiting lists, so it’s always helpful to give us a 1st, 2nd and 3rd option. Alternatively, you can call the membership desk on 01926 419555 ext.1 and speak directly to a member of staff.

I don’t have any previous experience of play writing – is this course still right for me?

Absolutely! Blank-Shift is a natural home for creative writers of all abilities and all levels of experience. As long as you are keen to use your imagination, and to develop your skills, we will challenge you at whatever stage you are at.

I have already written my own material? Will I still be able to develop through Blank Shift?

Yes. Blank-Shift is created to focus on the individual, and the groups are kept to small numbers, so that each writer receives lots of bespoke attention. Group activities are balanced with individual projects, with opportunities for all participants to submit their own work to the director, and to receive detailed and regular feedback.

What types of creative writing will we be exploring? Is it just play writing?

We’ll be exploring everything! A season will often include explorations of poetry, prose, play-writing, screen-writing, writing for radio, film and literature analysis. We examine writing throughout history, right through to some of the most interesting contemporary writers.

Will this course help to prepare me for further education or for a potential writing career?

People join Blank-Shift for many different reasons, but each year we are proud to celebrate several senior members graduating to some of UK’s top Creative Writing University courses. Blank-Shift is proud of alumni who are now successful playwrights, screen-writers, poets and storytellers. 

Will there be the opportunity to see my writing on stage?

Yes. We regularly host ‘scratch night’ events, where actors are brought in to workshop your material, and to share with audiences. Blank-Shift writers are also regular collaborators on new plays, commissioned by Playbox Theatre. Most recently, Blank-Shift writers worked on Gretel for Christmas 2020, and are in early preparations for a new adaptation of The Ancient Mariner for a major production in 2022. Blank-Shift recently completely an entirely new audio work, Midnight In Raisin Town, which is due to be recorded and released shortly.

What might a typical Blank Shift workshop be like?

There isn’t a typical workshop! We’ll usually begin with warm up, physical, activities, to ensure everyone is energised and ready to work, before moving on to discuss the meat of the session, our writing stimuli, we’ll have group discussions and debates, we’ll create stories, explore writing exercises, brainstorming, generation of ideas, development of work, review of our material…and so much more.

Will I need to do any work between the Blank Shift sessions?

We rarely set ‘homework’ but writers are always welcome to continue their own, personal, projects and to submit material for feedback from the director. Occasionally there will be a stimulus to consider in advance of the next workshop, but the primary focus for the work takes place during the sessions being attended.

What should I wear to my writers’ workshop?

Please wear comfortable and practical clothing to Blank-Shift.

How many people are in the workshop? Will I have plenty of individual attention?

The maximum numbers in a Blank-Shift workshop are 20. We ensure that everyone has a high level of attention, which is reflected in the individual feedback available between workshops.

Who is the director of Blank Shift?

Toby Quash is the Founding & Artistic Director of Blank-Shift. A graduate of both Oxford University and University Of Bristol, Toby is an award-winning writer with over 20 years of professional experience, writing for theatre, film and radio. Toby is also Literary Associate of Playbox Theatre and has written in excess of 30 original plays for the company.

Will we be working towards a finished ‘product’ or is it an ongoing process?

That depends upon our project. Some of our exercises are for training and development only, whilst others are specifically designed to work towards an end result. For further information on the upcoming season content, please email blankshift@playboxtheatre.com

Do I have to attend every week?

Each session is important and, to get the most out of the programme, we do encourage you to attend each workshop if at all possible. Frequently a session will build on the achievements of the previous meeting, so regular attendance is important.

Where do the workshops take place?

All workshops take place at Playbox Theatre, The Dream Factory, Warwick.

How do I join?

We’d love to welcome you to Blank-Shift! Please click the apply button above, if you’d like to join. We’ll then be in touch quickly, to let you know when we can invite you to come along. If you have any questions at all, please email blankshift@playboxtheatre.com

Our pioneering EARLY STAGERS workshops were first developed by Playbox’s Founding Director, Mary King, in 1987! They are perfect theatre adventures for preschool children and explore a wealth of wonderful, inspiring techniques, covering a range of topics, and truly enhance children’s confidence and imagination. This springboard is a powerful experience to bring out the best in your child, before they head to school.

What should my child wear to their workshop?

Children need to be comfy at Early Stagers as the workshops are very physical! Anything practical that they can move freely in is fine. We don’t have a uniform, but lots of our members enjoy wearing Playbox t-shirts or sweatshirts and these can be ordered at any time of the year, by calling 01926 419555.

Are parents allowed to stay in the workshop?

No – the aim of all of our workshops is to ensure that children develop in confidence and ability as swiftly as possible, in a secure and supportive environment. This happens much more effectively when children are free to interact with our directors and with one another, without the involvement, or distraction, of a parent being in the room. Playbox workshops at all ages are spaces for young people to engage completely independent of adults, and this is the case for our preschool workshops too. Of course, the most important thing is for a child to be happy, so our directors will discuss the approach with you and, if you need to stay with your child for a while, until they are ready to be left, then this is perfectly possible. We do ask any adult staying in the space to fully participate in the workshop, as this really helps the group to feel that the work is legitimised…and they don’t have someone to keep running back to!

Do the children perform at the end of a season?

Early Stagers is not a performance-based programme. The workshops are devoted to engaging children, using arts approaches, for the time that they are in the space with us. During this time, there is no pressure to work towards a final ‘result’, but is a joyful, energetic and focussed theatre experience. Occasionally, parents are invited to come and take part in an Open Workshop where everyone can share together, or there might be a very informal moment at the end of a season, when parents pop in to see what the children have been getting up to, but performance work begins when they are a little older, and if they are keen to go down this route.

My child would love to perform – will they have the chance at this age?

At this age, Playbox’s work focusses on developing the confidence, imagination and self-esteem of each child, whilst introducing them to a range of theatre techniques. When they are of a school age, limited performance opportunities become available, and these increase as the child gets older.

I’m not really interested in my child becoming an ‘actor’ – is this workshop still suitable for them?

Absolutely! Children come to Playbox Theatre for many different reasons. Some are looking to make new friends, others are keen to train for a career in the arts, some simply love the type of activities we explore and want to gain in confidence and the ability to articulate, collaborate and benefit from the vast array of techniques Playbox uses within each workshop. The skills, discussions and approaches a child will engage with during their Playbox journey can become an important factor in a successful, happy, articulate and confident future – both at school and in their eventual career.

My child is very shy – will this workshop be right for them?

Most definitely! One of the main reasons children initially join Playbox Theatre is to help with confidence and self-esteem. Within Early Stagers, we will support your child’s development with carefully structured workshops that will see them gaining in confidence across all situations. You will often see a very rapid improvement in your child’s confidence and this is feedback that we receive over and over again. Our directors are incredibly experienced and perfectly placed to bring out the best in every child that they work with.

What are the workshops about?

Every week, Early Stagers will take a story as a springboard for adventures. Each week it is something different! The story that has been chosen will inspire all of the activities that take place within the session. The central theme could be anything, from fairytales, to space, to undersea adventures, to dragon hunting! The exercises all relate to one another and gradually develop the theme during the course of the workshop, which is then consolidated by everyone sharing the story towards the end of the session.

What sort of activities will my child be doing in Early Stagers?

These will vary from week to week. Broadly, the approaches that are incorporated into Early Stagers include MIME, MOVEMENT, ROLE PLAY, VOICE, SONG, STORYTELLING, CRAFT & GROUP DISCUSSION. Each workshop begins with a ‘News-time’ sharing, before introductory songs and warm up activities lead us into the heart of the workshop, which is likely to include role play and improvised adventures.

Who are the staff running Early Stagers?

Playbox Theatre’s directors all come to us with a wealth of experience in both the arts and education sectors. Everyone has lots of experience with working with children of the appropriate age for the workshop. Our directors are professional arts practitioners and are devoted to developing the lives of children and young people using the arts as a springboard. Early Stagers will be led by one director, with one senior assistant to support the children at all times. All of our staff are DBS checked to an enhanced level. Currently, Early Stagers is co-run by Founding Director, Mary King, and Artistic Director, Emily Quash.

How will I know what my child has been getting up to in the workshop?

Communicating with our parents is very important! Each week, a blackboard or a poster will be placed outside the workshop studio and this will briefly tell you what your child will be getting up to in their session that day. You are always welcome to arrange to come and meet with your child’s workshop director, and we have regular ‘Member’ evenings where everyone has the chance to speak to the team about the content of workshops and the opportunities available to you and your child.

What happens when my child goes to school? Do they have to go back onto a waiting list?

No – once someone is a member of Playbox Theatre, they can stay until they grow up! When children move to school, they are automatically offered a place in ‘The Apple Club’, which is the next step up…continuing the great foundation work that has been achieved in Early Stagers. We run a number of Apple Clubs across the region, on different days and at different times. We will ask you to give us your first and second preference and will always try to offer your child a place in the group of their choice. All of this happens in the summer season, before the holidays.

How much does it cost to join Early Stagers?

Fees are currently £125 per season – our seasons run in conjunction with the school term and each season is between 10-12 weeks, depending upon the school holiday dates. Fees are payable in advance through our membership department. If, after 2 weeks, your child really doesn’t want to stay with the company, you are eligible for a refund for the remainder of the season. Refunds must be requested in writing within the first three weeks of membership and sent to membership@playboxtheatre.com

I’d love my child to become a member…what happens now?

We can’t wait to welcome your family to Playbox Theatre! Please contact our membership department by calling 01926 419555 or writing to membership@playboxtheatre.com Please give us your child’s name, date of birth, telephone number, address and email address, as well as which group you would love your  child to join. Some of our workshops have waiting lists, so if you can give us a couple of options, this would be really helpful. We will offer you a space as quickly as possible!

Is it possible to come along to a trial session before we commit to the group?

We don’t offer trial sessions as it can be really disruptive to have new members dipping in and our throughout a season, and we need our groups to feel settled. We regularly run holiday workshops for children of this age, and these are open to both members and non-members of Playbox. Holiday workshops are a great way to test the water with our company! We also have regular New Member evenings which are great for people who are thinking of joining and give your family the chance to come and meet with the team and answer all of your questions. Details of New Member evenings are always on our website www.playboxtheatre.com Our refund policy means that children have the opportunity to leave after 2 weeks, if the workshop really isn’t for them.

How many children are in an Early Stagers workshop?

We take a capacity of 15 children in Early Stagers, so that every child gets plenty of individual attention.

“Fight Lab” is a brand new course at Playbox Theatre and we are proud to host the only weekly training programme in Warwickshire for stage combat with young people. These are high energy, high skill workshops across a spectrum of armed and unarmed combat disciplines…become a part of this team and you won’t look back! Here are answers to some of your questions:

Who is the director of Fight Lab?

Liam Bessell heads up the Fight Lab team having trained as an actor at LAMDA where he received his theatrical fight training and qualifications from the BADC (British Academy of Dramatic Combat). Liam also has many years of experience in Wing Chun (Chinese Kung Fu) and his passion for combat has lead him to experiment with many different fighting styles. Liam has experience choreographing fight sequences for stage and screen and his fight work for Playbox Theatre includes ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘The Three Musketeers.’

He has distinction level qualifications in:

Group Fights, Unarmed Combat, Mixed Modern Weapons, Sword and buckler, Bow Staff, Sabre, Rapier and Sword and Dagger.

Where are the Fight Lab workshops held?

Fight Lab runs in studios at our own theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.

I don’t have any experience of stage combat – can I still join the workshop?

Absolutely! Previous experience is not required as we always start with the basics and expand from there. This approach enables young people with varying levels of experience to get the very best from the training. 

I’ve done stage combat before – will I be able to extend my skills in this workshop?

Yes. Fight Lab is designed to train participants to the highest possible level, with every participant receiving individual training and targets. There is no limit to the standards that can be achieved within this programme and every young person can keep challenging themselves to develop further.

What techniques does Fight Lab include?

Fight Lab will focus on various techniques, drawing on martial arts, historical combat, basic stunts and how to perform the fight from the character’s point of view. We’ll be looking at everything from unarmed combat to medieval broadsword ~ Fight Lab seeks to improve co-ordination, timing, agility, speed, footwork and explores how to choreograph one’s own fight.

Will we work on different skills each week, or the same ones for a number of weeks?

In order to explore the work in great detail we will focus on a specific fight discipline over a season, but within each discipline there are such a multitude of skills that the training will be ever-evolving and will certainly keep the members on their toes! To add to this, the training is individually tailored, and as the members’ skills improve, the more techniques they will be exposed to.

Does Fight Lab work towards presentations?

At the end of each season Fight Lab offers its members the exciting opportunity to take part in a performance solely dedicated to stage combat. Fight Lab’s – ‘Fight Night’ is a chance for members to showcase the disciplines they have been focusing on throughout the season in front of an audience – sharing skills with family, friends and members of the public.

What should I wear to my Fighting workshop?

You should always wear comfortable, practical and flexible clothing. 

Is there a uniform that I can choose to wear?

We do not have a specific ‘uniform’, but lots of our members love to attend in a Playbox t-shirt or hoodie. These are all available to order online at any time, or just give us a call.

Is Fight Lab dangerous? Am I likely to injure myself?

The techniques are taught in a safe and controlled environment, the attention being always on safety first. Stage combat is a skill designed to make fight sequences appear dangerous and violent whilst keeping the performers safe and in control of their own actions. 

If I’m only a member of Fight Lab, can I audition for Playbox Theatre productions?

You need to be a member of Playbox’s acting workshops in order to audition for our major productions. If you’d like to know more about these, or about the discounts available to combine Fight Lab with Acting, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com

Do I need to bring anything with me?

You should always come suitably dressed and it is a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you. All weapons and equipment are provided by Playbox Theatre.

How much does it cost to join Fight Lab?

Fees are payable each season, which runs in conjunction with the school term. The cost for the upcoming block of workshops is £125 (6 x 2 hr sessions) and you are invited to renew each holiday. There are discounts for members who also attend other Playbox workshops – send us an enquiry if you’d like to find out more about discounts.

Can I come along for a taster workshop?

We don’t offer taster workshops as these are focussed sessions that rely heavily upon group bond, dynamic and trust and we can’t accommodate people dropping in an out on a weekly basis. Registration is in advance, but if, after 2 weeks, you really feel that this programme is not right for you, you are eligible to request a refund by writing to membership@playboxtheatre.com The refund is subject to a £10 admin fee.

How do I join Fight Lab?

If you’d love to join, please send an email to membership@playboxtheatre.com for the young person’s Name, DOB, an email address, mobile number and postal address. We’ll then be in touch with you to discuss registration. Alternatively, just give us a call!

Will I have to go on a waiting list?

Fight Lab is a brand new course and we are recruiting members now…so this is the perfect time to apply! We anticipate the workshops filling up very quickly, and once the groups are on capacity, we will add names to a waiting list. At the moment, there are places waiting to be filled!

Who are the directors of the workshop – how can I find out more about them?

Juliet Vankay is the director of Musical Theatre, with Richard Norris being the Music Director. Every member of the department is a professional practitioner and has vast experience as both performers and directors of theatre and musical theatre. If you’d like to know more about their training and their experience, have a look at their biographies on the Team page of the website.

 

What space do we work in?

Musical Theatre trains in the main theatre at The Dream Factory.

 

What should I wear to my Musical Theatre workshop?

What you dress in is very important! You must wear comfortable and practical clothing that you can move freely and dance in, as well as trainers or dance shoes. If you do not arrive wearing appropriate clothing, you may not be admitted to the workshop.

 

Do I need to bring anything with me to my workshop?

Yes, you must always bring a pencil to make notes on your music (not a pen, as you will often need to amend what you’ve written)…and you should always bring a bottle of water as you will need to keep yourself fresh and hydrated.

 

Do I need to be able to read to join this course?

Yes, members of Musical Theatre must be fluent readers as there will be lots of lyrics to learn, and these are distributed as text.

Do I need to be able to read music?

No, although we will sometimes give you sheet music to take home so you can tackle any complex harmonies, for those that find it useful.

 

I don’t have any previous Musical Theatre experience…will I be able to cope?

Absolutely! You don’t need any previous experience to join this programme…although if you do have some, this is also super! Our directors are highly trained and are able to accommodate young people of all backgrounds and experiences. You will quickly be welcomed into the team and brought up to speed.

Will I have the chance to perform, as part of this workshop?

YES! Usually at the end of every season we stage an open presentation for family and friends to come and share. Occasionally, if we are working on a really big and complex musical we might work on this over two seasons and, if this happens, we invite parents to come in at the end of the first season to watch part of your rehearsals so they can see what you are working on. The presentation is an opportunity to celebrate the work that you’ve been doing, and to share the results with your family and friends. Usually the presentation will be on the main stage at The Dream Factory, other times it might be on our outdoor stage, or even in the front of house space as entertainment for people relaxing in the foyer! Members of Musical Theatre are eligible to audition for any musical productions that Playbox Theatre presents, although success is never guaranteed.

 

How much acting, singing and dancing is involved – I enjoy all three?!

Within Musical Theatre, the focus is primarily on singing, with musical ‘staging’. This sometimes includes choreography, but is all dependent upon the musical that we are exploring. In terms of ‘acting’ – on this course, the acting is tackled through your singing, where we will focus on the emotional interpretation, vocal and facial expression and your characterisation. If you want to explore acting in more detail, you should aim to be a member of one of the Theatre Training Programmes instead, or in addition, to Musical Theatre.

What’s a typical 2 hour session like?

Although our weekly workshops will vary depending upon the specific challenges of the day, we will always start with a vocal warm up around the piano, before working through the ‘numbers’ from the musical we are focussing on. We always work on the singing first and then start to add staging and choreography second, once you have conquered the basics of the music. There can be a lot of tough harmony work at the beginning with lots of note bashing and repetition – it is VERY important to understand that you need to work through this in order to be able to get stuck into the staging. As a musical theatre performer you have to be good at multi-tasking and you have to be hard-working and patient! We pride ourselves on achieving very high standards in the Musical Theatre department and you will be driven hard to achieve highly. This is not a ‘quick satisfaction’ workshop and you will need to put in a lot of intense work at the beginning of exploring a new musical, before you have the chance to start staging it (which is when the fun really begins!).

What sort of material does Musical Theatre explore?

Also sorts! We aim to programme an eclectic and far-reaching programme of material, so that our members are constantly challenged and able to expand their musical theatre knowledge. We will explore musicals from Les Miserables to Hamilton, from Billy Elliot to Into the Woods. We choose work that will challenge our young people in different ways each season, so if one musical has lots of complex harmonies we will use that as the focus for one season, but then next time, we might chose a musical that is simpler to sing, but with trickier choreography. That being said, we always try to select musicals that are fun to work on and often our members will put in requests for what they’d like to look at next season…where possible we will incorporate these ideas.

 

I’m really experienced…can I move up to the next group early?

No you can’t. The material that we explore with each age group is very carefully selected and is appropriate to the range of ages in that workshop. We have members taking part across a wide range of experiences…some who are complete newcomers with a passion for singing…others who have played ‘Matilda’ in The West End! Our directors will ensure that every member is well-looked after, challenged, stimulated and developing in the group that is appropriate for their age.

 

Do I have to do homework between my workshops?

Yes, you will need to learn song lyrics in between sessions and this is really important – it is always difficult to move onto staging when you have a script in your hand, so you need to support this process. The more effort you put in between workshops, the more you will get out of the workshop.

 

What happens if I can’t make a session?

We do ask Musical Theatre members to attend every workshop if at all possible, as we are constantly working towards a presentation. If you are absent, this really impacts on the rest of the ensemble and can have a big impact upon progress. However, if you really can’t make a session, we ask you to let us know in advance and we will endeavour to take you through everything you missed the following week. We can also send you the material you have missed via email, so you can familiarise yourself with the songs. It would be your responsibility to request the material and your job to get on top of it before your next session!

 

Can I audition for all Playbox productions if I only attend Musical Theatre?

If you only attend this specialist course, then you are only eligible to attend auditions for Playbox’s musicals (usually one is staged per year). If you would like to attend auditions across the range of work that Playbox stages, then you will need to also be a member of one of the Theatre Training workshops. Our Membership Team will be able to talk to you about availability and where the Theatre Training workshops take place. Drop us an email membership@playboxtheatre.com

 

How much does it cost to join the workshop?

Musical Theatre is a 2-hour weekly workshop, so costs more than the Theatre Training session. If you are only a member of Musical Theatre, the fee is £180 per season (same as school term). If you also attend a Theatre Training workshop, the fee is £170 per season.

I like the sound of this…how do I apply to join Musical Theatre?

We would love to welcome you to our wonderful Musical Theatre department! Spaces are very limited and some of the groups have long waiting lists, so you now need to contact the Membership Team on 01926 419 555 or email membership@playboxtheatre.com We will offer you a place as soon as possible!

Being cast in a Playbox Theatre production is the start of a wonderful adventure. You will have such an exciting time creating new work, and meeting talented young actors from across all Playbox Theatre’s centres. Being in a production is a large and intensive commitment…not just for the performer, but for the family as well…so you need to make sure you’re able to fulfil what’s required, before deciding to audition. The director will be under considerable pressure during the rehearsal period, so it is vital that all cast members, and their families, fulfil their side of the arrangement.

How will I be told about rehearsals?

Rehearsals are always listed at the time of audition, so that you can check your availability before you come along. Once you’re cast, we will email you a rehearsal schedule, which you and your family will need to read very carefully. Rehearsal schedules will also be posted on the Playbox website, so you can double check things!

Where do rehearsals happen?

Unless it is a special project at a different venue, rehearsals will take place at Playbox’s theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick. You will often start ‘blocking’ rehearsals in a studio, before transferring into the main theatre as time moves towards the opening of a production.

When do rehearsals happen?

Rehearsals always happen out of school time and each rehearsal period will be slightly different…depending upon how many rehearsals a particular project needs. Generally, rehearsals happen at weekends – Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday during the daytime. Rehearsals also take place during the holidays during the daytime. Shortly before a production opens, there will be Technical and Dress rehearsals…these will often happen in the evening, and there are likely to be a couple of consecutive evenings and these may well be school nights. Tech and dress rehearsals tend to be 5-9pm. You will need to pace yourself well, so that you can cope with the demands and pressures of both school and your commitment to Playbox…and your parents need to keep on top of this too!

What time do I need to be at rehearsals?

All rehearsal call times will be detailed on your call sheet. Often they will take place 3-7pm on Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays. If it’s during the holidays, rehearsals are likely to be 10am-4pm too…but do bear in mind that specific times for each project will really vary – some directors prefer to start rehearsals at 9am, so be prepared for an early start! You should aim to be at your rehearsal venue 10 mins before the rehearsal actually starts, so that everything can begin on-time without any pressure or stress.

Will I definitely need to come to all rehearsals?

You will definitely need to attend every single rehearsal you are called for…and this is non-negotiable! At the time of audition, you should make sure that, in theory, you are available for every rehearsal and every performance date. Once the show is cast, a ‘broken down’ schedule will be issued, where you’ll see exactly which rehearsals you are needed for. You will not be allowed to miss any part of any rehearsal…and absence is likely to result in the loss of your role from the production. Understanding the full commitment in advance is vital for you and your family.

What do I wear for rehearsals?

Great question…and it’s amazing how often people wear inappropriate clothes to rehearsals, which can make it really tricky for the actor. You should always wear really comfortable clothes that you can move freely, and practically, in…and soft shoes. Skirts and tight clothing is really unsuitable. Rehearsals are often highly physical and you’ll get very hot…you should never think about your own appearance when coming to a rehearsal, but rather what is going to help you to deliver the best possible work while you’re there! If you are cast in a period drama, your director may ask you to wear a practice skirt, or character shoes. If there are particular items you’ll need to wear to rehearse in, you’ll be told well in advance.

What should I bring to rehearsals?

This is a really good question and we would encourage you to get into great habits now…that will serve you well for the rest of your acting career! You should always take a PENCIL (not a pen!) so that you can make copious notes…but can always rub them out and rewrite them, as things tend to change such a lot during a rehearsal period. You should also take a note book, to write down anything special that you’ll need to remember, and so you can make detailed notes of physical sequences. Of course…if you have a script, NEVER forget to take this…and make sure that you write absolutely everything down on your script – don’t expect that you’ll remember things from one week to the next…your script should contain notes of everything that you do, and not just everything that you say.

What can I not bring to rehearsals?

Rehearsals need to be very focussed…with no distractions at all! No phones or electronic devices are allowed into the rehearsal room (unless they are silent and stowed in a bag). A director will react very badly if a cast member is seen using a phone during a rehearsal and poor attitude may result in the cast member being asked to leave the production. However, there are often long periods of waiting, when an actor is not needed in the rehearsal, or on stage. During this time you can read, relax in the foyer, talk with other cast members – so it’s fine to bring something to do…just be very mindful about what you actually take into the rehearsal studio itself.

What is expected of parents, if I’m cast in a production?

Parents will need to ensure that you are always on time for your rehearsals. Lateness is not acceptable. Your parents will also need to ensure that you are collected on time. Additionally, they will need to support you in between rehearsals – this involves helping you to learn lines, talking through your ‘moves’ and sourcing your costume. Importantly, your parents will also be expected to volunteer to help backstage at one, or more, of your performances. We need to have a full team of chaperones/parent helpers working backstage, and, legally, a specific number of Warwickshire County Council ‘approved’ chaperones. At the time of casting, we will ask parents if they would be prepared to become approved – this is not obligatory, but the more ‘Approved’ Chaperones we have, the easier it is for us to satisfy requirements.

How do parents become backstage helpers?

We will give out ‘chaperone’ letters at the start of the rehearsal period and ask parents to indicate which date/s they can help us with. We will also ask which parents are prepared to become ‘Approved’ via Warwickshire County Council. For full information on what is involved in becoming an Approved Chaperone, please email info@playboxtheatre.com and our Head Of Children’s Welfare will contact you directly.

What information will I need to give to Playbox, if I’m cast in a production?

We will need your parents to complete a medical form, telling us about any medication or treatment that you need, and also about any medical conditions that you have, so that we can keep you safe and well.

Will it cost me money to be in a production?

There is no charge to be in a Playbox Theatre production, although there may be costs associated with your involvement. You will usually need to provide your own costume, which may have an associated cost – see Qu.14 for details. Additionally, we hope that our casts will encourage as many people as possible to book tickets for the show they are in, and we actively encourage cast members to help us publicise the work.

Do I need to sell tickets for shows I’m in?

As mentioned, you are not required to sell tickets…this is a job for our marketing team…but we really do encourage all cast members to help support Playbox’s marketing efforts. We will ask you to invite as many family and friends as possible…you might want to take leaflets into school, drop leaflets through neighbours’ letterboxes, display a photo at your school or in a shop etc. Anything you can do to help promotion is always appreciated!

How do people buy tickets for a show I’m in?

We hope that lots of people will come and support you when you’re performing with Playbox Theatre. Tickets are often on sale even before a production is cast, so family and friends should book early, to avoid disappointment, once you hear you are going to be appearing in a production. The best way to buy tickets is through our website – you would go to the ‘What’s On’ page and click through to TicketSource, who manage all of our on-line sales. You can also book tickets by calling us at The Dream Factory and booking over the phone, or in person when you are being dropped off at rehearsals.

Will I have to provide my own costume?

It is very likely that you will need to provide your own costume, and sometimes this will involve purchasing fabric and arranging for someone to make your costume for you. Each production is different, and costume designs will vary in their complexity. Sometimes, costumes will be simple items that can be bought from charity or local shops…other times there will be specific items that you’ll be asked to order from a particular website…and, occasionally, the design will be more complicated and you will require specific fabric and a dressmaker to follow a pattern. Guidance will always be given in good time and we will have a volunteer Costume Co-ordinator to support parents along the way. Cast members are responsible for paying for their costumes. Playbox doesn’t often store costumes on site, so you will keep your costume, once the production is over.

What happens if I don’t know anyone in the show?

One of the things that’s really important to everyone at Playbox is building a tight, supportive, drive ‘community’. You can guarantee that by the end of your first rehearsal, you will already have made lots of new friends…many people you work on a production with will become friends for life! Our directors fully understand how daunting it can be to step into the rehearsal room for the first time, and we all work hard on that first day to make sure that everyone is happy, settled and really well looked after. If you have any worries, your director will always be happy to help you.

Will I have lines in a production?

Maybe…maybe not! At Playbox, the emphasis is always placed up ‘the ensemble’ – we seek a company of dynamic, talented, passionate young artists who will work together to create a piece of live performance that is exciting and challenging for everyone involved. We do not place value on ‘who has the most lines’, or who has most time on stage…and we ask parents to support this very important attitude towards creating art. If the piece you are in has text, some characters will have lines, but many won’t…this doesn’t mean that you are any less important…or that you should work any less hard! The more experienced you become through your training and your time on stage, the more likely you are to be given a speaking role…although, as in the industry, there are no guarantees! Some of our productions are entirely physical, so no-one has anything to say at all…and these are some of the most exciting projects you could ever work on!

Will I need to be at all performances?

Absolutely! We can’t do without you in rehearsals, and we certainly can’t do without you in performances. This is a professional commitment and we do not have the infrastructure to operate an understudy system. Sometimes, we will cast two teams of actors for a production, and we will give your specific performance dates at the time of casting. This is rare, so at the time of audition, you must know that you are available for the whole performance run.

What time will I be called before a performance?

Performance call times will vary and may be decided quite last minute, depending on how much work is still to be done before opening night. If it was a tricky final dress rehearsal, you might be called earlier, so that problems can be solved before doors open. Generally, you will be called 2 hours before opening night, then 1 hour before subsequent performances. Do be aware that this is a guide only, and each production is different. If there is a lot of make-up design in a show, then cast might need to arrive earlier, in order to apply this. If it is a particularly physically demanding production, cast might need an advanced call in order to do a thorough physical warm up. You must always be on time for your performance call, so that you can go through notes with the director, get into costume, set props and take part in the company warm up.

I’m only on stage a little bit, what can I do when I’m not on stage?

When you’re backstage, in the dressing rooms, you will need to stay really calm and focussed. Most of the time, cast members like to chat together, but you are also welcome to bring a book or something quiet to occupy you. It’s really important that you don’t bring anything that could distract you or take your focus away from the production. Chaperones will be in each dressing room, making sure that everyone keeps their mind on the work they are doing. There are tannoys in each dressing room, so you will be able to hear the production as it runs, so that you can ensure you’re not late for any cue.

Are there any handy tips to help me make a great impression during rehearsals and performances?

There are lots of things that you can do that will make sure directors and the backstage team will want to work with you again! Here are a few favourites…

  • Be punctual…never, ever arrive late for a call (and make sure your parents understand how crucial this is)
  • Always come prepared – don’t get a reputation for being the one that never has their script, pencil, notebook etc.
  • Do your homework in-between rehearsals! This is REALLY important…directors will notice who has put the effort in at home and who has come well-prepared having spent time thinking about the project…this will create a very good impression
  • Be an excellent member of our ‘ensemble’ – keep remembering that one of Playbox Theatre’s most important values is that of a company working together in harmony. DO NOT be an actor who is constantly trying to pull attention onto themselves…do not be vain, do not be ungenerous to other company members, do not be selfish. No matter how talented someone is, a director will not want to work with an actor who cannot see the value of the Ensemble.
  • Bring a great attitude to rehearsals…be enthusiastic, positive and supportive of the work and of the other cast members.
  • NEVER YAWN! Yawning in rehearsals is a big ‘no’…you’ll get tired, but please don’t yawn…directors hate it and it is very insulting. If you’re flagging, go and splash your face with water instead!

 

At the heart of Playbox Theatre’s work lie the THEATRE TRAINING WORKSHOPS…these are our core sessions, and explore a range of techniques across the arts spectrum. Through the workshops, members will experience rigorous training, let by some of the UK’s leading theatre practitioners, and will not only gain a breadth of theatre skills and contemporary knowledge, but also an increased confidence, articulacy, self-awareness…and an active engagement with the world in which we live. The Theatre Training Workshops are the gateway to the wider ‘Playbox’ experience!

Do I have to audition to be in Playbox?

No! There are no auditions to become a member of Playbox Theatre – we are open to everyone. We ask for members to bring a positive attitude to their workshop, and we do expect members to commit fully and enthusiastically to the work they are participating in…but we welcome young people of all ages, from all backgrounds, to our company. If you would like to take part in one of our productions, you would have to attend an audition, and these are very competitive. For more information on the audition and casting process, please look at the relevant FAQs.

Do I need experience?

You do not need any previous experience of theatre work to succeed at Playbox. Every young person who works with us is an individual and will develop at their own rate. Within the company, we have young people of all ages who are brand new to this type of work, working alongside members who have expansive experience – both with Playbox and in the arts industry. The workshop space is absolutely level and every person is valued for their individuality and no discernment is made for those with, or without, previous experience.

What skills will I use in a workshop?

This depends on the content of the workshop and will vary from week to week. Our directors will ensure that, over the course of a season, you will explore a range of material, from a wide spectrum of starting points. The skills that you will be using each week will vary, and will be the ones that are most appropriate for the material. In a typical season, you can expect to experience the following skills: voice, mime, movement, stage combat, physical theatre, improvisation, devising, text.

What’s the difference between the different age groups?

The programme of material for Theatre Training workshops is prepared very carefully, so that every young person can really engage with each exercise. The difference between the age groups will mainly focus upon the context for the exercises, and the type of response we expect to see from members. Sometimes, the stimulus material will be the same for Playbox 2, Playbox 3, Playbox 4 etc…but the way the exercises are set, and the way we expect members to respond, will be very different, and age appropriate. Other times, the material will be entirely different for each group, and will always be selected to make sure that it is totally appropriate for the age of the young people participating.

What should I wear to a workshop?

Your workshops are fast-paced and usually incredibly physical. You should always come dressed for practical work, so that you can participate fully. Loose trousers, leggings, tracksuits are all great, as well as soft shoes. You don’t need to wear any specialist clothing, but we can’t emphasise enough how important practical clothes are. If you are coming straight from school, please bring a change of clothes with you. If you don’t come suitably dressed, you may not be allowed to participate in certain aspects of the workshop. We don’t have a uniform, although many members love to wear Playbox Theatre t-shirts, hoodies or merchandise. All of this can be ordered via the office info@playboxtheatre.com

 

Who will be running my workshop?

Your Workshop Director will become one of the most important people that you know! The team of directors and practitioners at Playbox is kept small and tight, so that everyone is really well-connected and we can make sure that the experience of each of our members is the best it can possibly be. All of our directors are trained artists, with a wealth of experience working in the arts industry, as well as with huge experience of facilitating theatre workshops with young people. Your director will also have specialist skills that they will bring to your workshop – this might be writing, music, directing, physical theatre, literature. Your Workshop Director will be absolutely committed to you, and to ensuring that your time at Playbox is as enjoyable and beneficial as possible. If you want to find out more about the directors, please have a look at our Team page on this website.

 

Do we do LAMDA in the workshops?

Within your Training workshop, you will not work towards any kind of examination. These sessions are designed for the individual to work at their own rate, and to be celebrated for their uniqueness, and their personal contribution to the sessions. There is no assessment. However, our ‘Voice & The Young Actor’ workshops focus specifically on the spoken word, literature and LAMDA examinations – and we have a superb track record of 100% pass rate and most members achieving extremely high scores. The LAMDA workshops are for very limited numbers, so that the members receive a lot of individual attention. Please contact us info@playboxtheatre.com to find out more about ‘Voice’ – many members find that the ‘Voice’ workshop compliments their Theatre Training extremely well.

 

Will I have to do homework?

No! You will be expected to work really hard, really intensively, for the one-hour you are in the workshop, but it is very rare that any ‘homework’ will be set. Frequently members will be inspired to take the subject of a workshop further, and might read particular books that we’ve been exploring, or develop a piece of creative writing, or art, in response to a stimulus…and when this happen it is GREAT! However, you’ll never be expected to complete any assignment specifically for your workshop.

 

Do I have to come every week?

As your Theatre Training workshop is not specifically working towards an end result, if you need to miss the occasional session, it’s not the end of the world. Of course, the more fully you commit to your weekly workshop, the more you will gain from it, the faster you will develop and the greater your experience of Playbox will be. We understand that there are times when you won’t be able to make it…but we really do need all members and families to understand that this is not a ‘drop-in’ session – it is a carefully designed programme of work, where one week will be influenced by the previous week’s achievements. Please try to come as regularly as you possibly can!

What’s the difference between the different Playbox venues? Will I still get the same opportunities if I go to an outlying centre?

There is absolutely no difference in the experience you will receive, regardless of which venue you attend! Our directors are all based at The Dream Factory, but we run workshops across the region, to make sure that Playbox Theatre is as accessible as possible to all young people who want to be a part of the adventure! All Playbox members have the same opportunities to audition for productions and special events and your centre director will make sure that you are always completely aware of these. Some of the venues will have facilities for parents to wait in, during a workshop, others won’t. Some will have a place to get coffee, others will not! The heart of Playbox Theatre is what goes on within the walls of the workshop space…be that theatre, church hall, warehouse or garden…the rest is all superficial!

 

What are the workshops about?

The Training Workshops are about a huge range of things! Our directors meet regularly to discuss workshop content and to plan the very best material for our groups. We aim to ensure that the workshops reflect the lives and interests of young people today, as well as making sure that all members are given a thorough experience of theatre practitioners, both past and present. The workshops are designed to stimulate discussion, debate, imagination, creativity and action. The start-point for a workshop might come from a piece of art, a poem, a current world event, a story or play, an event in history, an open question or a theatre practitioner. The workshop plan will be devised to ensure that all members engage their minds, as well as their bodies, in the material. Discussion is a big part of the process, as is focussing on the importance of collaboration, valuing one another, and finding the ability to voice your own opinion clearly and articulately. The skills and experiences young people gain from Playbox workshops will support them for a lifetime, regardless of the career path they choose.

 

Will I have to read?

Sight-reading can be one of the most daunting and challenging tasks that an actor will have to face…whether they are a young person, or a seasoned professional! Our Theatre Training workshops are not text based and no-one will ever be made to feel uncomfortable reading within a session. We will sometimes take a text (poem, prose, extract from a play) as a stimulus for a piece of theatre…but the workshops are not about ‘acting out scenes from plays with a script in your hand’. In order to ensure that members are receiving a full and thorough training, occasionally text will be an important part of a workshop…if this is the case, the workshop director will talk carefully to the group about the play that we’re exploring, the characters, the situation, and we will then explore delivery of lines. You will certainly not have to be a good reader to enjoy these workshops – many of the best actors are not!

Do we perform in our workshops?

Not necessarily. Playbox’s Theatre Training workshops are not focussed on presentation or performance. People come to Playbox for a range of diverse reasons, and not everyone who joins the company wants to perform. The workshops are self-contained and intensive…but they are experimental spaces that enable members to be very open in the techniques and approaches they use. We work without the pressure of creating a polished ‘end product’, and without the need to select members for achievement, or drive rehearsals on a weekly basis. Occasionally we will throw the doors open and invite an audience to experience what we’ve been working on, but it’s very important to understand that these workshops are not about working towards an end performance. There are regular opportunities to perform, if you would like to, and we make sure that all members are aware of how to get involved in these.

Will we be working with scripts?

Occasionally we will use text from a play as stimulus, but this will be one of many different approaches to creating artistic responses within your workshop. Script work can be incredibly valuable and will certainly feature as a part of your training programme, but it is not something we do on a weekly basis – the workshops are about a great deal more than text!

Will there be any singing and dancing?

Within the Theatre Training workshop, we do not focus specifically on singing or dancing. There will be lots of use of physical theatre, tons of music, and plenty of devised choreography. For those of you that would like to focus on a more ‘musical’ approach, we would suggest you look at the Musical Theatre programme that we run – either instead of, or in addition to, your Theatre Training workshop.

Will we have the chance to play Theatre Games?

Theatre Games can be a really useful part of a workshop or rehearsal process. They can energise a group, they can be great for team bonding, for voice and for focussing the mind. We will often start a workshop with a quick physical game, followed by a more focussed warm up, to make sure the group are ready to take on board the challenges of the session. The ‘games’ will only feature at the beginning of your workshop, so that there is plenty of time to grapple with the main content. If it’s the final workshop of the season, you might find that your Workshop Director treats you to a few more than usual!

Can parents watch workshops?

Although we occasionally run ‘open workshops’ for parents to come and watch, or participate in, one of the most important things about our work at Playbox Theatre is that the sessions are not observed by outside eyes. Members must feel completely uninhibited and free to explore, experiment and must never feel self-conscious about anything they do. Theatre Training workshops offer members the chance to be absolutely engaged with the content of the workshop, and to work closely with their fellow group members – when a member walks into the workshop space, they must shake off any baggage from the day, or the week, and commit fully to the material being tackled. We all know that, when we’re being observed, total commitment and total freedom to explore if very difficult. We are keen to have great relationships with the parents of our members, and Directors are always happy to speak to parents on the phone, or meet up at The Dream Factory, to chat about the workshops and their content, so that the dialogue is always open and honest.

I’m really shy…what happens if I don’t want to do one of the exercises?

One of the main benefits our members discover through training is a rapid gaining in confidence. The effect is usually visible after the first week. Our directors are highly experienced in supporting their members, and those that are under-confident will be really well looked after. No-one is ever made to do anything they feel uncomfortable with, and you will find that your director is totally supportive of you, and someone who you will be able to speak honestly to. We will always aim to increase your courage as each moment with Playbox passes and you will soon find yourself leaping head first into every challenge…the more abstract and complicated, the better!

I don’t know anyone…how will I make friends in the workshop?

Starting any new journey can be daunting…even if it’s something that you’re really excited about. Our team have lots of experience at ensuring that everyone is settled and happy. If it’s your first week, you will be welcomed to the group, introduced to everyone, and another person in your session will be responsible for making sure that you are well looked after and happy throughout the workshop. Playbox groups are very welcoming and you will quickly make wonderful new friends.

Can I audition for Playbox shows?

Absolutely – as a member of the ‘Theatre Training Programme’ you are eligible to audition for all Playbox Theatre productions – as long as you are within the specified age for the project. Your Workshop Director will always make you aware of upcoming auditions, and you will be given a regular Casting Spotlight Newsletter which will tell you all about when auditions are taking place, and what the commitment the production would involve.

I have lots of previous experience, when can I move up to the next group?

Our groups are age banded, so that you are working alongside young people who are appropriate to you in terms of age. We do not arrange people according to ability or experience, so you wouldn’t ever move up to an older group early, for this reason. The material we explore in workshops is carefully devised so that members can squeeze as much as they can from it, and tailor-the response to their own ability and experience. Frequently we will set a similar ‘task’ to an 8 yr old, as we will to an 18 yr old. The exercise might be the same, but the response the performer can create will vary. Each member is expected to commit fully and to always work to the highest standard they can.

Why are all of the productions staged at The Dream Factory?

We are so lucky to have our own theatre! In 1997, we discovered that our major funding application had been successful and we received the funds to build UK’s first ever purpose built and designed theatre for young people…this was The Dream Factory, which opened in May 1999. The Dream Factory is our home – it is an arts complex that every member has total ownership over. It is not a space that we rent, it is not a venue that we have to vacate when the caretaker arrives, it is not a space where we are confined to sub-standard spaces because we are working with young people…it is a wonderful theatre where young people can be creating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (and many of them do!). Regularly we will take work on tour – both nationally and internationally – but we do not tend to perform work at regional venues. It is important to the ethos of Playbox that members from all centres come together to collaborate and to create staged work – and The Dream Factory is the best place for this to happen.

How much does it cost?

To be a member of the Theatre Training Programme it costs £125 per season. Our seasons run alongside the school terms, so there are three ‘seasons’ per year. If you take part in more than one workshop with Playbox, or if your brothers and sisters also attend, there are discounts available to you. If you’d like to know more about our fees, please email membership@playboxtheatre.com.

How do I apply?

We hope that you feel ready to apply for membership…it will be one of the best decisions you ever make! If you’d like to get involved, please email info@playboxtheatre.com – give us your name, date of birth, phone number and the centre/day/time that would work best for you. We’ll then contact you by phone or email to tell you when you can start!

 

There isn’t a space for me at the moment – how long will I be on the waiting list?

This depends…some of the waiting lists can be very long, other times we’re able to offer you a space much more quickly. It’s always difficult to say exactly how long you will have to wait, as it all depends upon when a space becomes available. If we can’t offer you a space immediately in your preferred group, we will always try to offer you an alternative, until your first choice becomes available. We also keep in touch with our Waiting List members regularly, as you are entitled to lots of special offers, just like our members are!

Playbox Professionals is an exceptional programme of work, aimed at young people aged 15+ who are keen to pursue a career in the arts as either performer, director or producer. It is a high commitment group and places are very limited.

Do I need to have a lot of theatre experience before I become a Playbox Professional?

We are looking for young actors who are determined to pursue a career in the performing arts. We would expect you to have a passion for theatre and to have seen a range of live performances.

Do I have to be a member of another Playbox workshop to join Professionals?

Absolutely! Playbox Professionals is a specialist course that is only available to fully registered members of the Theatre Training Programme. You must continue to attend your Theatre Training Programme when you are in Professionals.

How long do I have to have been a member of Playbox before I can apply to join Professionals?

There is no minimum length of time…you can apply to join Professionals as soon as you are a member of Playbox Theatre. If you feel the urgent need to prepare for a career route, then you should apply for Professionals straight away.

Do I have to audition to become a member of Professionals?

There is no practical audition, but the group is selective. You and a parent would be asked to attend an interview with the director, to ensure that this is definitely the right course for you.

What is involved at the interview?

There will be a discussion regarding the realities of becoming an actor, director or artist, to ensure that you are ready to face the challenges. We will talk to you about the programme and answer any questions that you have.

If I’m not offered a place after my first interview, can I reapply?

Of course. If you are not offered a place following an interview, we will talk to you about why this decision was taken and will advise what you should do in order to improve your chance of being offered a place.

How often are new places offered?

Every season we invite new members to join the group, as long as there are spaces.

How does the Playbox Professionals workshop differ from the core Theatre Training programme?

Professionals is a tight group of young people who have expressed serious interest in pursuing the arts as a career route. It is a commitment course, and members are expected to be absolutely dedicated to their training, and to involve themselves fully in the wider workings of Playbox Theatre. Members will be driven to work at an intense level and work is undertaken to help members to prepare for drama school and university. A serious attitude to an arts career is a major consideration, with members expected to achieve an advanced level of result.

What age are the Professionals?

15-21 yrs.

How many people will be in the workshop?

There will be a maximum of 20 young people – it is usually closer to 15.

Do I have to come to this workshop every week?

Absolutely! Playbox Professionals is a full-commitment programme and you must attend weekly.

If I have to miss workshops because of other commitments, will this be acceptable?

Not usually – you are expected to prioritise this commitment, and your family should be aware of this when you are offered a place. If there is a serious event which will affect your attendance, this must be discussed with the director well in advance. Failure to attend your training may result in you losing your place on the course.

What sort of material can I expect to explore in Professionals?

Our programme of work is varied and far-reaching, and is designed to reflect the current theatre landscape, contemporary practices and approaches, as well as exploring practitioners across theatre’s history.

What is a typical Professionals workshop like?

There is no typical week! Usually your session will be intensive, varied and invigorating! The group work incredibly hard, yet enjoy the challenges they are set. There will always be a warm up, debate and discussion, introduction to material, practical exercises and feedback/reflection time. Sometimes workshops are a ‘one-off’, other times we will explore material over a series of weeks.

Will I have the chance to present work through Professionals?

Professionals is not a presentation programme – it is an intense workshop event, where material and ideas are explored without observation. However, on occasions, we will open the doors for audiences to come and share your work. This might take place in a studio, site specific or on stage.

What should I wear to my workshop?

As with all of our work, it tends to be very practical and physical and must wear loose, comfortable clothing. No specialist clothing is required.

What should I bring to my Professionals workshop?

You should always bring a notebook and something to write with, as well as copies of any material that you have been given in previous workshops.

Where does the workshop take place?

All workshops take place at The Dream Factory in Warwick. You will be working in one of the rehearsal studios at the theatre.

How much does it cost to join this course?

There is a combined fee to cover both membership of the Theatre Training Programme and Professionals. The fee is £215 and this is payable three times per year (once per season, which runs in conjunction with the school term).

Who will be running Playbox Professionals?

The programme is directed by Consultant Director, Stewart McGill. Stewart co-founded Playbox Professionals with Executive Director, Mary King, in 1988. To find out more about his work with Playbox Theatre and beyond, please have a look at his biography on the Playbox Team page.

When does Professionals happen and how long is the weekly workshop?

Playbox Professionals takes place every Saturday within our season dates and the time is 9am-11am.

Can Professionals help me get into drama school?

It really can, although there are no guarantees, as is the case with any aspect of the arts! Professionals can prepare you, can give you increased confidence and will help you explore a range of texts and songs to present at your audition. You will also undertake interview practice and audition technique – and you will be well-versed in debate and discussion. Recently, Playbox Professionals have gained places at some of UK’s top drama schools including RADA, LAMDA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Guildhall and Royal Welsh College Of Music & Drama, to name a few! It can certainly provide a spring-board…but ultimately, it is up to you.

As a member of Professionals, will I definitely be successful if I’m auditioning for a Playbox production?

All of the usual Playbox Casting guidelines apply, so please have a look at the Casting FAQs to understand our criteria and casting process. However, the commitment you will have shown and the intensity of your training should stand you in very good stead, when it comes to auditions.

Does being a member of Professionals mean that I will be put up for professional auditions?

No – the workshop is called ‘Playbox Professionals’ because the group are made of young people who aim to become professional artists for their career. You will be expected to have a completely professional attitude to your work – however this is also the case for every member of Playbox, in whichever group they attend. If you would like the opportunity to be considered for professional castings, beyond Playbox, you will need to audition for the Playbox Agency, and be taken onto our books.

Shakespeare Young Company was launched by Playbox Theatre in 2008 and is the only programme of work of its kind in UK – devoted to exploring the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, with young people. It is one of the most exciting aspects of Playbox’s work and a department that we are enormously proud of! To be a member of SYC is a large and serious commitment, so do read our FAQs to find out if it’s right for you.

Do I need to audition to become a member of SYC?

Yes! Unlike the Theatre Training workshops, you will need to audition to become a part of this programme of work. Potential members will need to prepare 15 lines of Shakespeare and attend one of our auditions. Auditions are held twice per year at The Dream Factory. Places are very limited and only a small number will be invited to join each year.

What will happen if I audition but I’m not accepted? Can I apply again?

Of course – many return with a vengeance! We can only offer a small number of places following each audition, so you should adopt a very persistent attitude – as would be reflected in the adult arts world.

Can I join Shakespeare Young Company without being a member of another Playbox Theatre workshop?

No – SYC is a special programme that is only available to fully registered members of Playbox Theatre. Work in this programme builds upon experiences and techniques gained in the Theatre Training Programme. It doesn’t replace this core work.

Who will be running my SYC workshop?

The course is directed by Playbox’s Consultant & Executive Directors, Stewart McGill and Mary King. Stewart and Mary are also the Founding Directors of Shakespeare Young Company itself. Occasionally, colleagues from across the industry will join the team to offer specialist approaches to specific modules. Every element of the course is created under the directors’ supervision. To find out more about Stewart and Mary, please have a look at their biographies on the ‘Team’ page of our website.

What type of material will I explore in SYC? Is it only Shakespeare?

Shakespeare is at the heart of this course, but we do reach out to his contemporaries, those who influenced him and those her were influenced by him. Recently we have cast our eyes on Seneca, Marlowe, Kyd, Webter and as far back as Chaucer. Shakespeare cannot exist within a bubble of his own, and we enjoy exploring his work in relation to those of other influential, classical authors.

What is the difference between ‘Pucks’ and ‘SYC’?

Both courses are a part of Shakespeare Young Company. ‘Pucks’ is the foundation programme – generally, but not exclusively, for younger members. Everyone must take part in ‘Pucks’ before moving up to the full SYC session. Within ‘Pucks’, actors explore text, themes and potential staging, working at a high level, but always appropriate for their age and experience. ‘Pucks’ is the gateway to SYC and is absolutely vital to the training.

Is there a lot of text work in the programme?

Unlike the Theatre Training workshops, text is the root of ‘SYC’ and will always be the core of the training. From the plays to the sonnets, poems and source material, SYC explores, decodes, pulls apart and reimagines the text.

I don’t know much about Shakespeare – can I still join the group?

Of course – this is not a workshop for academics! SYC welcomes young people with a burning desire to explore, experiment and argue about the playwright, his times and his works. We would need all members to care passionately about the work we are exploring…and to really devote themselves to the material.

What might a typical SYC workshop involve?

Whilst there is no set format for a workshop, you can expect your session to involve voice, text, movement, argument and discussion…with themes being explored and many ideas being tried. Your workshop will never be predictable.

Will I get to perform as a member of SYC?

Each year we stage one or two major productions, alongside studio shows, with possible outdoor and touring options. This year, we will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as our largescale work, and Shakespeare’s Lost Children as an intensive promenade work for a conference at University Of Warwick. On Midsummer Night, our creation ‘Ring Of Fire’ will play at midnight…so you can see that there are lots of opportunities to share work. We must point out that the major productions are auditioned for, and are usually open to the wider population of Playbox. Casting and roles are not guaranteed when the audition is open to all members.

Will my parents have the chance to see what I’ve been working on?

As with all Playbox Theatre training programmes, the studio doors will open from time to time, for invited guests to come and see what you’ve been working on, in addition to specific presentations.

Do I need to come to SYC every week?

Absolutely! This is a commitment group and you will be expected to attend without fail. Being a member of this programme must become an absolute priority for you and your family, as  your absence will impact greatly upon the group, and upon your own development. If you do not attend a workshop, you may lose your place on the course.

What will happen if I have to miss a few sessions, because of other commitments?

We do need to stress that full attendance is vital. If a problem arises this must always be discussed immediately with both the member and their parent. We remind SYC members not to over-commit to other projects, both within – and outside – Playbox Theatre. Failure to make the full commitment is likely to result in you losing your place on the course.

Will I be expected to do homework between workshops?

We don’t call it ‘homework’ but we do encourage you to read and research around the work that we’re exploring. This will be advised from time to time and will serve to maximise your experience of the programme. Of course, if there are lines to be learnt, this will be essential!

What is the age range of the group?

Pucks is generally 9+, with the SYC workshops having members aged 14-21 yrs. The age guidelines are flexible and will depend upon the individual’s audition and progress.

What should I wear to my workshop?

Please come ready to undertake intensive, physical and vocal work. Comfortable rehearsal clothing is essential and if a member is attending directly from school you must bring a change of clothing with you. Please do not work in a school uniform.

Do I need to bring anything specific with me to my training?

Members will be asked to bring their scripts and other written material. You should make yourself an SYC folder, to keep everything in order.  You should also bring something to write with. We also suggest a copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and The Complete Works will be lifelong texts to own!

If I audition for a Shakespeare production with Playbox, and I’m a member of SYC, will I definitely be cast in the show?

We always encourage our SYC members to audition for our Shakespeare productions, and we hope that you will be very successful in casting. However, our casting policy needs to be fair and there are many criteria that we need to apply. Your chances are good, as you will already have lots of experience, but there are no guarantees. For more information on our casting process, please look at the Casting FAQs.

Do graduates if SYC go on to work in the industry?

Many members of SYC go on to enjoy successful careers in the arts. Each year we see a good number gaining places at UK’s top drama schools and universities and it is always a pleasure to follow their work with pride. Most recently, Ralph Davis made his ‘Globe’ debut as Edmund in King Lear, following his graduation from RADA – he is one example of a large number of successful SYC graduates (some others include Ferdinand Kingsley, Joshua McGuire, Daniel West, Owen Young and William Belchambers).

Where do SYC workshops take place?

At our theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.

How much does it cost to join SYC?

We offer a combined price, to cover both your membership of Playbox Theatre Training Workshop, as well as your SYC training. For ‘Pucks’ the combined fee is £195 per season. For ‘SYC’ the combined fee is £215. Each season runs in conjunction with the school term, so fees are payable three times per year.

I’m ready to make the leap! How do I join?

If you would like to attend an audition, please email info@playboxtheatre.com and we will let you know when the next casting workshop is taking place. If you are not currently a member of Playbox Theatre, please contact us to discuss which centre would work best for you, as you will need to be fully registered and regularly attending, before auditioning for Shakespeare Young Company.

I don’t have any previous experience, is this OK?
I do have previous experience of technical work, will the course still suit me?
What areas of technical work will we be exploring?
How large will the group be? Will I definitely have the opportunity to be very ‘hands on’?
Who is the director of Technical Theatre?
Where will the workshops take place?
Are the workshops practical? Will we have the chance to use real theatre equipment?
Will the course help to prepare me for a future career backstage?
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Do I have to attend every week?
Will there be homework between sessions?
How do I apply etc
Who runs the Voice workshops?

Voice & The Young Actor is run by Playbox Theatre’s Founding and Executive Director, Mary King, so you are in the best possible hands! Mary has many years of experience delivering Voice and LAMDA workshops…as well as being at the helm of this extraordinary company for over 32 years!

What skills will I explore in my workshop?

The primary skills you will be developing in Voice & The Young Actor are to be able to speak and articulate clearly, to be able to appear confident and in control of your language, your eye contact and your physical presentation when you are speaking (especially under pressure!). You will also be challenged to engage with debates and discussions, which might be stimulated by current affairs, by a specific topic, or by a piece of literature. You will be encouraged to read avidly, and to think carefully about your responses to written material, rather than just experiencing on a superficial level. Members are pushed to find their own ‘voice’ and to grapple with often challenging topics…but always within a calm and supportive environment. We hope that members of this programme will develop skills of persuasion, and will push themselves to take an active, rather than passive, role in their own development, and that of the world they are experiencing (at any age). Voice & The Young Actor is about so much more than LAMDA exams!

Will I do LAMDA exams?

Yes! This is the only part of Playbox Theatre that involves examinations of any kind! Every year, one season is devoted to members working towards LAMDA exams at all levels (up to, and including, P:Cert). You will work on your pieces and your theory within the weekly session, as well as being offered additional workshops and one-to-one guidance (all included within your membership fee). Playbox has a 100% pass rate, with most members achieving Distinction grades.

When and where do the exams take place?

The LAMDA exams take place annually, at The Dream Factory. They take place late spring (usually end April, early May) and you will be given plenty of notice, so arrangements can be made for a slot that suits you.

I’d love to take part in the Voice workshops, but I don’t want to do any exams. Is this possible?

The annual LAMDA exam is a pivotal part of this programme, so you would need to commit to being a part of this process. If you would rather not work towards any exam, you should consider one of the other workshops that Playbox Theatre offers.

I’ve already done some LAMDA exams, which group will be right for me?

We welcome young people of all different levels and experiences to Voice. The workshops are age-banded, but the director will also take into consideration the levels you have previously achieved and will discuss which group is best for you, at the time that you become a member.

Will I have to do homework?

Yes! It’s really important that members of Voice keep on top of the work that is set. This may be as simple as selecting an extract from a favourite book to explore the following week, but frequently you will be expected to learn pieces off by heart, in preparation for recitals, presentations and exams. We expect parents to fully support members when they are at home, to make sure that work is thoroughly completed. If a member isn’t able to fulfil the requirements of the course, they will be asked to give up their place.

I’m very shy – will Voice be an appropriate workshop for me?

Absolutely! Voice will be perfect for you! One of the major benefits we see from this intimate workshop is the development of confidence, self-esteem and the ability to put yourself across in a calm and articulate manner…skills that are invaluable in all areas of life. The workshops are incredibly supportive environments where everyone is received as an individual, and where their unique personality will be considered and celebrated. You will most certainly gain in confidence as a member of Voice…even if you are very nervous on the first day.

If I only attend Voice can I audition for Playbox productions?

No – to be eligible to audition for the major Playbox productions, you must be a registered member of the Theatre Training workshops. Lots of Voice members attend both sessions and we offer discounts to young people attending multiple workshops. Do enquire if you’d like to know more about these.

Will I have the chance to present work to an audience?

Absolutely! Members of Voice & The Young Actor regularly work towards presenting informal recitals, to share work that has been explored during the weekly sessions. Sometimes these take place in the workshop studio, other times they might be in the main theatre, or in the front-of-house Agora. There are plenty of opportunities to showcase your developing skills and to push yourselves in terms of performance.

How large are the groups?

We keep the groups very small, so that everyone has the opportunity to work in detail and to receive lots of individual guidance. Generally, a group will not be larger than 10 members.

Do I have to attend every week?

Yes! This is a commitment course and we need excellent attendance. This is to ensure that you are developing at the rate we expect, but also so that you do not affect the other members of your workshop. We frequently work towards presentations and group work, so if a member of these small workshops is away, it can have a very damaging effect. If attendance is poor, we will need to discuss with you and your parent, whether it is right for you to continue in this programme.

What should I wear to Voice?

You should wear practical and comfortable clothing to your workshop. Skirts/dresses are not appropriate and we do encourage members to change out of school uniform before entering the session.

How much does it cost to join Voice?

Membership fees are paid by the season, and seasons operate in conjunction with the school term (between 10-12 weeks per season). Current Voice fees are £130 per season and are payable in advance.

I’m ready to sign up – how do I go about this?

We can’t wait to meet you! Please use our online form to apply. You may have to sit on a waiting list for a little while, but we will offer you a place as soon as possible.