St Mary’s Acting Students Meet Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet
Third year Acting students at St Mary’s University, Twickenham were treated to a visit by two leading actors currently performing in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet.
Paapa Essiedu, who plays Hamlet, and Clarence Smith, who plays Claudius, were invited to campus to meet the University’s aspiring actors by Acting BA Programme Director at St Mary’s Julie Spencer.
The visit shows Drama St Mary’s continuing commitment to giving its students supportive and inspiring careers advice from top professionals working in the industry and, in this case, increasing emphasis on promoting diversity in theatre, with Paapa being the first black actor to take up the title role at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Paapa and Clarence, both of whom will also be in Antony Sher’s King Lear, told the students to be prepared for ‘everything and anything’ due to the ‘unpredictability’ of the business by making sure they are ‘always’ training, especially their ‘curiosity and imagination’.
They also urged the final years to go and see shows, learn about directors and identify which actors they like and why, so they can apply it to their careers as well as how to market themselves well when starting out.
Paapa drew on his own experiences of how he set up his own company with a small group of likeminded people to stress how the students need to be proactive once they graduate later this year.
Academic Director for Drama at St Mary’s Patsy Gilbert said, “It was fantastic to welcome Paapa and Clarence who were very passionate about their work and so generous with their time, advice and enthusiasm. It is so important that our students learn from the best.
“We are dedicated to recruiting and supporting culturally diverse students in our Actor training programme and it is vital that these students meet succesful, positive role models that they can aspire to emulate in their own careers. I am very grateful to Paapa and Clarence for meeting and inspiring our students through their visit.”