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Fordham in London: London Dramatic Academy

Location: London, United Kingdom

“I had the chance to discover things about myself that I didn't know were there. I developed a really great work ethic and desire to search deeper to find the motivation behind each character.“
— Caitelin McCoy

LDA students rehearse

The LDA Conservatory Acting Program is for Study Abroad students who wish to train in London, UK for one semester as actors. The training is based on the curriculum and practices of the great British Classical training academies. Many of the faculty teach in the best of these schools and are working professionals.

What You’ll Learn

The actors’ mind, body and spirit is their instrument and must be kept in tune. LDA provides classes in Acting (Contemporary & Classical), Physical Theatre, Voice, Speech/Dialects, Period Dance, Alexander Technique, Stage Combat and Movement. Academic classes include Theatre History, Literature and Dramatic Criticism, Space/Place/Time based on regular theatre visits and site visits in and out of London.

What You’ll Achieve

Graduates have gone on to train at some of America’s and Britain’s foremost actor training programs and are pursuing careers both in the theatre and allied professions.

The skills you learn as an actor are useful tools in any walk of life. You will develop your physical and vocal potential, your communication, analytical and ensemble building skills. A good training should last a lifetime, feeding the imagination and your understanding of human psychology.

Additionally:

  • Increase your knowledge of poetry, literature and drama. Research in art, music and dance.

Increase your critical skills. Question habits and assumptions. Take artistic risks in a safe.

Facebook: fordham.lda

Email: LDA@fordham.edu

Skype: LDA.Fordham

Program Details

Location

Fordham’s London Centre is located at Heythrop College, part of the University of London, where students will meet British and foreign students studying a variety of subjects. Students may choose to eat on campus, where a cafeteria serves three meals a day at reasonable prices, or off campus in nearby Kensington Square, which is well known for its cafés, restaurants, and shops. The square was once home to the great philosopher John Stuart Mill; the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones; and the great actress and creator of Eliza Doolittle, Mrs. Patrick Campbell.

The United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—is a diverse place full of contrasts, featuring a wide range of landscapes and cultures. London, the largest city in Europe, is a bustling cosmopolitan center of astonishing variety and interest that a visitor could explore for months without turning over every stone. The other regions of the U.K. are fascinating for their own reasons, each with a unique personality and history.

While based at Fordham’s London Centre, students may choose to venture from Cornwall in the far west to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the north. Cities such as Edinburgh, York, Durham, Chester, and Canterbury are reachable by an excellent rail network, as are areas of great natural beauty, such as the Lake District, the New Forest, and North Wales. And it’s only a quick trip to Dublin and the Republic of Ireland.

Academics

The London Dramatic Academy is a conservatory training for those serious about the art of Acting. Taught by working professionals who are passionate about teaching. Small classes developing the body, voice and mind. Learning to think like an actor and leaving with useful tools for the trade. The work is rigorous, demanding and focused. Ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary text. Alexander Technique to Physical Theatre. Voice, Speech and Dialect, Stage Combat, Period Dance, Movement to challenge your body and Dramatic Criticism and Space/Place/Text to sharpen your mind. The London Theatre cornucopia is on your comfortable central accommodation door-step. Twelve theatre visits including Stratford and guided walks to introduce you to this extraordinary world city. You will leave changed. Better equipped for a life in the theatre or the theatre of life. You will have one-on-one meetings with the program director. You will have the chance to meet theatre professionals and other experts in the field, and participate in a unique curriculum.

You will enroll in the following classes:

LODA 3010 - Acting [6 credits]
(Classes include: Acting; Acting Shakespeare; Audition Tutorials)

LODA 3020 - Theatre History, Literature & Criticism [3 credits]
(Classes include: Space, Place & Text; Dramatic Criticism)

LODA 3030 - Physical Training for Actors [4 credits]
(Classes include: Movement; Physical Theatre; Stage Combat; Period Dance; Alexander Technique)

LODA 3040 - Voice Training for Actors [3 credits]
(Classes include: Voice; Speech/Dialects)

View the detailed LDA course descriptions.

Unique Curriculum and Activities

Space/Place/Text
Is a site specific study of British Theatre History and Literature: Classical plays and history will come to life for you as you walk through the streets with Shakespeare or Edward Bond and view the theatres and spaces where their plays were performed. Followed by discussion and with a written element.

Alexander Technique
One to one Alexander Technique sessions each week will give you a deep physical understanding of posture and alignment. The Alexander Technique is excellent for voice production and as a starting point to change habitual physical patterns which may interfere with your movement and voice skills.

Master Classes' and 'Cultural Visits'
You will meet professionals working in different aspects of theatre, some of whom have used their acting skills to diversify. Q and As. Practical Workshops. Visit Stratford upon Avon and Brighton. Explore the delights of the world class cultural centers that London offers. For the past two semesters students have all performed in 'Pop-Up theatre' in one of the Royal Palaces and dance performance at City Hall.

Student Teacher Ratio
You will have one to one tutorials and feedback throughout the term, and be taught by approximately 16 teachers during the term. Audition tutorials and Alexander Technique are taught one to one, other classes are kept to a maximum of 14 students. Master classes and workshops further enrich the curriculum.

Regular Meetings and Tutorials with the LDA Director
You will be offered private individual meetings with the LDA Director to discuss any concerns, observations, problems, or just to chat.

Journal
Keeping a notebook is mandatory in classes. You will also be invited to write a brief week report for the LDA Facebook page.

Small Campus
You will have opportunities to meet and chat with other students (and teachers) at the Fordham London Centre who are enrolled in Liberal Arts and Business courses. Pub quizzes and social events are arranged. You can join a student union to access some sport facilities.

A Chance to Travel
Despite the rigorous curriculum, you'll have a mid semester break for a week to travel and/or explore London and most weekends at your disposal to do the same and reflect upon your experiences.

Artistic Director

Kathryn Pogson, LDA Director

My working life is as an actress, from Community Theatre through the politicising work of the Royal Court and the joyous classical leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Globe.

I became an actress because I had no choice; it is what I do best. After gaining years of experience I unexpectedly discovered I could teach. I understand the vital importance of a good core training and the elements that it must embrace. If you want to go the distance as an actor and soar as a performer, you need to understand what it is you are doing and the tools it requires.

Theatre is demanding and you must be able to look after your unique talents and to nurture the blessed gift of every creative performer -- the imagination. Discipline, hard-work, collaboration, focus, enlightenment, willingness and risk are the joys of the conservatory experience, and useful in every path you take in life.

The Ancient Greeks believed that theatre is an inextricable part of a healthy society and a blessing from the Gods. I agree and respect all those who choose to study her with an open heart and a rigorous mind.

I am honored to be the Director of this exciting program and have witnessed it develop and blossom under the careful guidance of previous directors over many years. The course has much to offer and we sit in the beautiful heart of a great cultural world city. London shines and so does the London Dramatic Academy. Come let us learn from one another.

- Kathryn Pogson, Artistic Director

Faculty and Guests

Teaching Faculty Pool

Kathryn Pogson, Program
Kathryn Pogson trained at Drama Centre. Theatre credits/leading roles include The Arbor and Aunt Dan and Lemon (OBIE Award) at the Royal Court, London, and Public Theatre, N.Y. For the Royal Shakespeare Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Balcony. London’s West End: Richard II, Richard III, and Hamlet. The Globe: Merchant of Venice.

Zoe Waites, Acting Shakespeare
Zoe is a RADA graduate with extensive experience in theatre, television and radio, particularly in the classical repertoire. After playing Juliet for the RSC shortly after graduating, she took on numerous leading roles for the company, working in both Stratford and London, plus touring throughout the UK, internationally and to New York. Zoe has gone on to play principal parts at theatres across the country as well as in London, where her work includes ‘Mrs. Klein’ and ‘The Play about the Baby’ at the Almeida; ‘Endpaper’, a one-woman play as part of the epic Sixty-Six Books at the Bush; and West End productions of the highly acclaimed ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ (which also visited Toronto) and Trevor Nunn’s ‘Birdsong’. As well as numerous television and radio credits, Zoe has most recently just finished a run of ‘King Lear’ at the Almeida playing Goneril to Jonathon Pryce’s Lear.

Leo Wringer, Acting Shakespeare
Leo’s theatre work includes: Blackta, More Grimm Tales, Hamlet (Young Vic); King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors (RSC); Julius Caesar, The Taming Of The Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Othello, (Shakespeare At The Tobacco Factory, Bristol). Medea, (Abbey, Dublin & Queens Theatre, London), The Winter’s Tale (Complicite); Sixty-Six Books, Two Horsemen (Bush Theatre); While You Lie, (Traverse Theatre); The Wheel (National Theatre of Scotland); Search and Destroy, (Royal Court).

Film and Television includes The Kitchen Toto (Skreba Films); Silent Witness, Judge John Deed, Rough Crossings, Canterbury Tales, Casualty, (BBC); The Bill, Law and Order, (ITV) and Rebus (STV).

Ally Cologna, Physical Theater
A teacher at the Webber Douglas Academy in London, Allison Cologna trained at Paris’ Lecoq School and Theatre de Complicité.

Gerda Druks-Kok
Gerda Druks-Kok came to London from The Netherlands in 1978 with a background in dance and education to train as a teacher in the Alexander Technique with Patrick Macdonald and Shoshanna Kaminitz. Since qualifying Gerda runs a private practice in Central London. She gives workshops for a wide variety of organizations such as The International Congress of the F.M. Alexander Technique and has been involved in training students to become teachers in the Alexander Technique. She is at present a member of the Training Course committee of STAT.

Gordon Kemp, Stage Combat (armed and unarmed)
Gordon Kemp trained as an actor and continued his stage combat training with Philip Stafford at the Globe Theatre. He is a certified teacher of Stage Combat at E15 Acting School, the University of Bath and LDA. He continues to act and choreograph stage fights. He is a founding member and resident fight director for the swashbuckling theatre company, LiveBlades.

Dee Purrett, Alexander Technique
An LDA faculty member since 1991, Dee Purrett has worked regularly in experimental and sociological theatre.

Rosamund Shelley, Audition Tutorials
Information coming soon.

Student Services

The London experience begins with a comprehensive orientation that acquaints students with health, housing, travel, academic, and safety information.

A series of informed guided walks will help you find your feet in London and meeting for social events with other Fordham study abroad students establishes a small friendly campus feel. There are a minimum of twelve exciting theater visits including Stratford (RSC), the National Theatre and the Globe. Masterclasses enrich the program and LDA endeavours to introduce you to classical, contemporary and unusual theatre along with some of the nooks and crannies of the great city of London.

Housing

Students are housed in shared student residences in residential areas in Zone 1 or 2, both of which offer a commute by public transport to classes at the London Centre and your chosen host university. The residences have self-catering facilities with a shared lounge. All of our housing is centrally located within London, in areas with shops and transportation and within reach of city attractions. Read more about living in London here.

Hear from our Alumni

Attending the London Dramatic Academy was one of the best decisions I have made in my life thus far. It may sound dramatic to say so, but it’s a three month acting conservatory—drama is where we live. In the future I will never doubt my ability to step up to a challenge, in life or on stage, thanks to the training I received at LDA. While the program is difficult even at a minimum input of effort, it—just like anything else— is the effort that you put into your experience that will leave you the most fulfilled, the most knowledgeable, and the most inspired. The staff and faculty at LDA are invested in their administration and teachings, knowing that enthusiastic students will leave with a wealth of experience, artistic growth and knowledge. I now have met peers who inspire me to be a more giving scene partner and a patient friend. I will always have Kathryn Pogson's voice in my mind if ever I am being childish rather than childlike (folks, that is priceless). And of course, to London, one of my true loves, thank you for everything.
- Ashley Crowe

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my time at the London Dramatic Academy and everything that I learned. If I could go back and re-do the past semester I would do so in a heartbeat. The kinds of skills that I learned have made all the difference in my acting. I now know how to make dynamic choices that get me,but also those around me, excited to play. I cannot wait to apply all that I have learned in the work that I do. A huge thank you to the faculty of LDA for giving me tools to put in my tool box and for not only being amazing teachers, but also incredible people.
- Caitlein McCoy

You will be in class from 9-5, read a lot of plays, learn, cry, scream, grow, explore, laugh, laugh until you cry, laugh until you pee (or close enough), befriend people you never thought you would, understand people different from yourself, hear some fantastic accents, hear some even better English phrases, be pushed, nurtured, entertained, and watched by teachers and peers, and you will miss home. Most of all though, you will leave the city fourteen weeks later a completely different person. Wiser, more grounded, and closer than ever to becoming who you want to be. It is not for the faint of heart. But, then again, what’s worth doing that isn’t?
- Evan Sibley

I wholeheartedly recommend this program for young actors who are looking to open their hearts and minds to a delightfully challenging and incredibly rewarding conservatory program. The growth as an actor I experienced in the classrooms at LDA fed my growth as a person at home in the world. The fourteen weeks I spent at the London Dramatic Academy proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
- Shea Kelly

Being in London with all of the Academy's Professors helped to mature me and elevate me to a higher level than I was before I arrived. Not only that, but I was also able to learn skills that would help me to continue to better myself in the future.
- Lukecus King

LDA was an incredibly fulfilling and enlightening experience for me. Every class, faculty member, and fellow classmate helped me grow into a better and stronger actor, student, and person and I will be forever grateful. LDA is more than an excellent acting program, it is a family away from home.
- Minou Clark

LDA was revolutionary for me. I arrived in 2003 as a mousy academic who desperately wanted to act but had none of the tools. I hadn't understood how important the voice was -- and barely even realized I had a body. LDA introduced me to both of them, taught me to value them, and showed me how to use them efficiently and effectively.
- Kelly Burke

 

Audition Information

Please choose a piece of Shakespeare that means something to you, no longer than 3 minutes. Only address the camera directly if it is suitable for the piece otherwise try to make a relationship to the person you are talking to. Please give a 2 minute talk about yourself, your interests or why you would like to come to LDA and please tell one joke.

YouTube Instructions:

1) Please film your audition on a camera (of good quality)

2) Upload the recording to YouTube.com (please following the guidelines on the website on how to upload)

3) Name your video 'STUDENT NAME - SPRING2019 - AUDITION'

4) In the description, please write your name and the piece performed

5) After successfully uploading, please send the link address to Kathryn Pogson in an email with the subject 'STUDENT NAME - SPRING 19 LDA AUDITION'