Friday, 15 November 2019


KATE POTTER (19) - Youth Advisory Board - Theatre for Life CIC 
Community Outreach actress  & workshop leader 

One of my biggest passions is making Theatre more accessible to everyone, I believe that no matter who you are and what your background is, you should have the opportunity to enjoy the arts. I’m also incredibly supportive of using the arts to support mental health provision, helping to open up conversations and explore issues creatively. 

Through Theatre for Life I took part in the Southampton Generals Simulated Patient Programme and took on the role of a young girl with ADHD who had taken a substance, suspected speed, and had a terrible reaction. It was such a good opportunity and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Being in that environment was super intense but it was such an interesting and eye opening day. It also opened my eyes to how POWERFUL theatre is to explore important subject matters, which is why being apart of Theatre for Life is a great opportunity. 

It was particularly rewarding working for the NHS and using theatre to support training. I’m also really looking forward to performing to professionals from the NHS and CAMHS during our community outreach performance at Cantell School in Southampton as part of our Youth Social action work. 

Being apart of Silent Mind and exploring mental health awareness and wellbeing has been such a supportive journey, it has allowed me to open up within my group and with the audiences we reach. It’s so great to be able to suggest ideas, liaise with community groups and plan how we will reach even more people with this important piece. Our planning meetings are so positive and productive, it’s such a great process to be apart of and I love working with the other group members. 

My role at Theatre for Life is focused on helping to support the community outreach programme, particularly on improving accessibility so we can reach as many young people as possible. 

We are really excited that we have also started to explore how we can also use our work to support education and health professionals. This year we performed Silent Mind as a CPD at Redbridge School, we are also performing at Bay House Sixth Form and Brune Park Community School in the new year. It was so insightful to perform our work to teachers and to gain feedback on our work.

 Very moving... I feel that young and old would benefit from seeing this, it helped to visualise the most confusing internal emotions .The workshops put the performance into context and gave resources for more information.

Enlightening and emotionally engaging. A very meaningful message and a worthy cause, keep up the good work! 

It was very insightful - offering a glimpse unto mental health issues affecting our young people and useful techniques to help support them 

I’m excited to see how we can continue to support young people and organisations such as the NHS with Silent Mind, I’m particularly looking forward to creating our new version in 2020, focusing on new stories with new coping strategies. 


As a team we have been working super hard to create some engaging community workshops using the arts to support mental health awareness and wellbeing. 

As part of my Youth leadership role and our community outreach we would like to offer  FREE tickets to 14-25 year olds to our upcoming Drama and Vlog workshop on the 25th January from 10.30-3.30 at the City Art Gallery in Southampton.  

Here is an outline of our Vlog workshop:

We will be using Drama techniques to teach young people about empowerment, we want to define what this is and how best to support ourselves, exploring how stereotypes affect our self-esteem and what constitutes a positive role model. 

Working with a professional Vlogger / film maker young people will have the opportunity to learn skills on how to use their smart phone to create powerful and compelling vlogs.

*We are particularly interested in working with young people aged 14-25 years old with limited access to the arts in the SOUTHAMPTON area*

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Monday 14th August  -  Acting Workshop with Theatre for Life by Holly McLachlan 

Now, I went into this workshop with a mindset of “you have to smash this!”, “you want to impress them!”, “you need to be great!”, and all I can advise in hindsight is... don’t do this. Just don’t. I come from a background of absolutely zero experience in performance until college, in which I took the Drama and Theatre Studies A-Level purely because I had one slot left to fill, and here I am now studying BA (Hons) Acting at one of the most prestigious arts universities in the UK; Arts University Bournemouth. So naturally, I wanted to go into this workshop and show off a bit... sell myself and my skills that I had learnt over the two years. Represent my university. Now that in itself, is fine, but the Acting workshop with Theatre for Life gave me so much more than just a kick up the bum I needed, it reminded me of my values as an Actor and everything I have learnt so far, in which, surprisingly, I did none of in the workshop.
A workshop is not an audition. You aren’t there to impress or be great or any of the silly things I had locked into my head before I went in. Theatre for Life did a fantastic job creating a safe bubble of creativity where you could freely express yourself... try new things... fail... mess up your lines... and re-evaluate yourself, just as I did. 
The first part of the workshop consisted of working with monologues that we had prepared, with professional working actor Ameer Choudrie, a wonderfully funny and ‘chilled-out’ man who’s energy was greatly appreciated, by not just me but many other young people who were equally, if not more, nervous than I was. Performing is a daunting task, especially when you’re 17 (or younger!) and you’re in a new environment, with new people. Ameer made sure that we were all introduced, all supportive and all feeling comfortable in order to get the very best out of us. 
Now as I said earlier, I flunked this part – but in a good way! Yes, it is possible to do that! I immediately jumped in with what I thought was a good idea and it certainly wasn’t. I forgot my lines multiple times, had too much tension in my body and had no real connection to my text, aside from the emotional capacity. When asked to contextualise it, make it relevant to myself, the words came flowing back... until I became aware of my surroundings again and the fourth wall dropped. Boom, back to blank again. And for some reason, I decided to go in with a preconceived idea of this pleading, pitiful typical Shakespearean woman. This woman was not relatable to me, I had no connection to her and so the context wasn’t there. I was simply performing a monologue, reading the words in a way I thought would sound and look just splendid, darling. One piece of advice from Ameer that proved relatable across many of us at the workshop was to not make it all ‘one level’ – to find the peaks and troughs of the monologues, highs and lows. Very important. I am very grateful for the feedback received by Ameer and Michelle, director of Theatre for Life, and am glad that I messed my monologue up. Sometimes you need to fail in order to learn, or be reminded. 
My advice to anyone preparing a monologue for drama school auditions or for any purpose really, whether that be an audition or a showcase, or simply to perform to your family on Christmas Eve, is this: do not treat it as a performance. A monologue is simply a snippet of the play, a brief glimpse into a period of time that is imperative to the character of the story. You are not just reading a piece of text from memory. This is pure truth. This piece of text has a reason why it is so long, why the character is going into such length to talk. Find that. Work on the truth. Contextualise it and make it relevant and resonant to you. Find the character in yourself, I can’t stress that enough. Do not pick up a piece of text and think “Oh, that’ll be great!” when you have absolutely no connection to the character, to the words or the story. They will know that you are just reading or reciting it. I promise you. The audition panel can see everything. Watching someone actually live through the words, using the text properly and conveying every objective, every need and necessity the character has in that short moment of time is something else. It’s beautiful. But don’t get stuck in one way of performing it, the audition panel will most likely ask you to perform it in a different way – I flunked my East 15 drama school audition in my contemporary monologue but as soon as the audition panel redirected me, it all came back. I got the waiting list too! Messing up is okay!!
In the second half of the workshop, we were introduced to Michael Balogun and Harry Jardine, two RADA graduates as part of the RADA outreach programme. Now if I hadn’t already learnt enough in the morning with Ameer, it was going to be confirmed and confirmed again for me in this session. Since a lot of what we did in the afternoon consisted of activities and exercises I had received in my own training at Arts University Bournemouth, I was able to let go a little and chill the [censored] out. And this is where the best work comes. When you are relaxed, sure of yourself – but not cocky – and able to be in the moment, rather than considering what everyone is thinking of your performance or if you get the next line right or if you are doing enough... bla bla bla, you can really let yourself develop, and development leads to greatness.
Instead of working on text, Michael and Harry established an environment of huge energy and, as I said earlier, offered a few exercises from their drama school training. We also were given Michael Balogun’s astonishing story of discovering how he wanted to be an actor, as a 30-something (sorry Michael!). For obvious reasons, I won’t put this story down here but safe to say if there was anyone who has inspired me more to keep pushing and ‘keep that vision’ it was him. Michael offered me a council that was invaluable. Both sessions enabled me to really look at myself and my development as an actor, see where I want to go and how I want to get there. 
And, most importantly, who am I as an actor? What do I bring? 

“Your reality comes from you. Make it work.” – Michael Balogun 

Friday, 23 June 2017





Top flight directors from the celebrated Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA),
The Urdang Academy and from The Voice are sharing their skills with youngsters
in Southampton to develop future stars of stage and screen.

Stephen King, international voice coach for The Voice (Belgium), vocalist on BBC Radio Two's Friday Night is Music Night and technical singing teacher at The Urdang Academy in London will be leading the professional Musical Theatre Auditions workshop.

"I'm excited to be part of such a forward thinking initiative" 

Carys Williams, the Widening Participation & Outreach Manager at RADA said the following about Theatre for Life. 

“RADA is excited to be working with Theatre for Life to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to participate in the arts. By offering a RADA workshop and Q&A session on drama school auditioning, we hope to open access to drama school training for talented young people in Southampton."

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) offers vocational training for actors, stage managers, designers and technical stage craft specialists. RADA was established in 1904 and has since built an outstanding reputation as a world-renowned centre of excellence, offering the best possible facilities, exceptional teaching and strong links with the industries that employ its graduates. RADA’s student population is a diverse community, united by a shared passion for theatre-making. RADA prides itself both on the professional standard of their student productions and on their track-record of employment in theatre, film and television.
RADA figures 2015-16 – based on BA Acting course

  • 27% of current students are from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds
  • 39% of current UK students (new to HE) have a household income of below £25k
  • 54% of current UK students (new to HE) have a household income of below £43k
  • 74% of current UK students (new to HE) receive some kind of financial aid, including meal vouchers
Professional tutors and directors from top London drama schools including RADA, East 15 and Urdang are coming to Southampton to help young actors prepare for their future careers.

In the Acting Auditions workshop, actors will be guided by Jason Warren (professional director at East 15 Acting School and artistic director of Axis Arts) in a three-hour audition masterclass. RADA will then continue the students’ professional development in a practical class, followed by a Q&A about the experiences of auditioning for and attending a full-time drama school. As a world-leading drama conservatoire, RADA not only nurtures the performing skills of its students, but understands the discipline required to succeed as a professional artist in today’s industry.

In the Musical Theatre Auditions workshop, performers will be guided by international singing coach Stephen King, who has worked on The Voice and teaches at the
Urdang Academy in London. Stephen will be exploring technical singing and how to prepare for audition. This will be followed by an acting through song session led by
professional actor, Ameer Choudrie (London Road, BBC Films / National Theatre).

Michelle Smith, Artistic Director of Theatre for Life: “We are very honoured to have such prestigious links such as RADA and international voice coach Stephen King working with the young actors and have every confidence that the young actors will truly benefit from such expertise."

“At Theatre for Life we want to provide industry standard workshops and opportunities in Southampton at affordable prices to ensure young actors are not hindered by financial constraints.”

Theatre for Life is a new company set up to encourage social inclusion through educational workshops and community theatre projects.

The company’s activities will provide benefit to young people (14-25 years) who cannot afford to participate in the performing arts in the Southampton area - they can join both the Youth Theatre group and Community Outreach projects for free, these groups will be starting later in the year.

Michelle Smith says: “Theatre for Life believes in unlocking young people's creativity, developing self belief and providing opportunities to help the next generation of performers".

Emily Hindle (19) is currently studying on the (BA Hons) in Acting & Contemporary Theatre at East 15 Acting School and is a Theatre for Life mentor. She spoke about her own experiences of using theatre to improve her life. 

"From a young age I struggled with socialising and confidence; since starting theatre and performing this has changed drastically. Not only am I more confident as an actress, but more confident in myself around people and in a professional environment, and I have began to accept and celebrate who I am as a performer and person"

As part of Theatre for Life's investment in local young actors and their career development the company have formulated links with R.D Casting & Production Ltd. Talented and committed actors who attend the Theatre for Life groups may be able to get representation and will be recommended to the Founder and Managing Director Michael Moor. Michael Moor (former Head of Musical Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting) is leading the way, with versatile performers who are also directors, writers and producers.

Young actors who come from low income households will be able to attend both the
Acting Auditions and Musical Theatre Auditions workshops at a discounted price. Other young hopefuls can also attend the workshop at a heavily subsidised price of £20 for Acting and £25 for the Musical Theatre workshops.


KATE POTTER (19) - Youth Advisory Board - Theatre for Life CIC  Community Outreach actress  & workshop leader  Credits: R...