• The Actors Temple

Act first, think later...

As a community we are always checking in with our students, exploring their personal journey. This week we caught up with Core student Matilda Knight. Matilda is a young actress who has just graduated from a creative arts high school in Australia. Throughout her time at school she studied many performance techniques from Japanese Suzuki Training to post dramatic performance. Since moving to London to pursue a career in the performing arts she’s been focusing on the craft of acting and settling into British life!

How did you get into Acting?

There was never really another option for me other than acting. Ever since I was a young child my parents put me in extra curricular drama programmes, however, there was one instance in a holiday theatre camp that sealed the deal. It was a three hour open improvisation with music, props and a group of teenagers expressing themselves artistically. It felt very primal, Dionysian in a way and the energy in the room was intoxicating. We then used material from that to make a very edgy show about teenage suffering (what else?). I was astounded by the creative process, the enthusiasm of the room and connection I felt with the work. After this, I knew I had to keep acting.

What led you to train at The Actors Temple?

Throughout all my high school training, directors/teachers have commended me for my efforts but told me I wasn't open or vulnerable enough. I never knew what this meant or how to achieve that quality on stage. After moving to London, I sort of stumbled upon 'The Actor's Temple' and the training has opened so many doors for me emotionally and physically not only as an actress but a human.

What is the biggest thing you have taken away from the training so far?

How risky acting can be. I find that when I allow myself to be in the moment with my partner or when I'm watching other people in their exercises, the tone, mood, action, feeling, WHATEVER can change at any moment. I used to be such a perfectionist when acting but now it feels real and authentic but only when I allow myself to be vulnerable and let my partner affect me.

What has been the most challenging part of the training so far?

Being vulnerable with another person in front of a group of people would have to be one of the most terrifying things I've ever done. Every week my mind tries to tell me that this is a bad idea, but once I'm in the space and I'm experiencing things that I would never be able to in what we call "the outside world" it's liberating. Sometimes addictive.

If you could play any character- who would it be and why?

I feel my dream roles either haven't been written (yet) or I'm too young to play them. Goneril from Shakespeare's "King Lear" has always been high on the list. She's ruthless, ambitious and greedy and unrepentant. It would be fun to play such a villainous character! I also recently finished reading Peter Carey's novel, 'The True History of the Kelly Gang' about the famous Australian bush ranger Ned Kelly. Throughout the entire book all I could think was, "Damn, it would be so cool to play Ned Kelly one day"... who knows... maybe a female adaptation in the future?

If you weren’t an actor, what alternate career would you have?

I've always had a penchant for fashion but I don't know if I'd ever be able to pursue a career in it. The fashion industry seems too ruthless for my liking... (the irony of that statement isn't lost on me).

What motivates you, when things get tough?

So many things! I often reflect on how great it feels to be performing on the stage, all the achievements I've made and characters I've worked so hard on in the past. If that doesn't work I take to good ol' YouTube and watch interviews with actors I admire - that usually gets the juices flowing again. Sometimes, it just helps to stop feeling sorry for yourself, get up off the couch and go to class. I'm always inspired by the efforts and dedication of my classmates.

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?

I feel I'm a little too young to write to my younger self right now (I'm still a baby myself as my classmates like to remind me) so I guess I'd just tell her to keep doing what she's doing because so far, so good!

How would you describe your tutor?

Jo is so supportive of every single student in her class. She holds you accountable for your actions on the stage whilst also guiding you through the challenging, messy and confronting situations. Her own experience in the training is evident in our classes as she embodies the qualities she is teaching us; empathy, authenticity, vulnerability. Jo understands the needs of each student and how to get them to reach their full potential within the work. Sometime's the technique can feel very serious but Jo can always turn a situation into something that is absolutely hilarious, fun and engaging to watch. Myself and my classmates have so much respect for her and I think that is such a positive sign for a truly great tutor.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about training with The Actors’ Temple?

Act first, think later ;)

Find out more about our Core Training here or give us a call on 0203 004 4537.

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