Thinking of studying a Bachelor of Acting?
Second-year student, Emily Crow, shares her experience at the Con, why she came here to study, her advice to students and her tips for auditioning at the Con!
Walk us through what a day is like studying at the Con.
Every morning, you bounce through the doors and you give the lovely Dominique Fegan a quick hello at the front desk before scurrying off to your class. It can be a bit of a journey to get to your studio, as you have to weave your way through multiple stretching circles or tiptoe around the rehearsal rooms where someone, pretty expertly, is belting out some tune. There are hallway conversations, vending machine lines; a sea of theatre blacks of which you soon realise does not mask the vibrant and colourful personalities of each and every individual. It is a buzzing atmosphere of students with a common ambition. I love coming to uni. Genuinely. I have had only one sick day. Against my will. I love it.
The teaching staff, whom I have been so fortunate to receive tutelage from, is world class. Aside from working with my fantastically talented classmates, the professionalism, the artistry, the care and knowledge of in particular Jacqui Somerville (Senior Lecturer in Acting) and Dr Melissa Agnew (Voice and Speech) forms much of my day to day rewarding experiences. After every class, you leave with another thing in your performer toolkit. At the end of the day, you discover a little bit more about yourself as an artist. And whilst reflecting in your ongoing journal, you are of reminded of the significance and power of a superbly resonant voice (as cultivated by Melissa) and the value of your storytelling (as inspired by Jacqui).
What do you love most about Queensland Conservatorium and why did you come here to study?
I don’t want to be cliché’ and say “it’s the people!”…but, it is the people. Studying with up and coming artists is a privilege. Studying with up and coming artists who have become a second family however, that is a blessing. You share these 9-hour days together (sometimes even 12!), so you get know each other incredibly well, and we STILL want to hang out outside of Burke St!
For a degree that asks so much of you physically, emotionally and mentally, we have received outstanding support from our teachers, who are all trained in mental health first aid. We have meetings regularly to see how we are faring, and what can be done to improve the course. There is this constant strive for excellence; a will to provide the students with the best chance heading into industry. That care is hard come by. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this institution.
At the core of it, this acting degree has been proficiently designed to give you that edge in auditions, make global connections, and sharpen up other skills that could come in handy as you dive into the creative industry. The smaller cohort number means that there is an intense focus on how you can develop as a performer in a way that is unique and makes sense to YOU. You won’t find a carbon copy here! And because individuality is celebrated, there is a complete lack of toxic competition which is often the nature of a performing arts degree. This makes for a dynamic, respectful and if I’m honest, magical ensemble of people who will probably be your colleagues in the future.
The opportunities to work with industry professionals has been multitudinous, and the strong theatre-based training has served me in making a smooth transition to film as well. If you are looking for the best and safest actor based training, the connections in both film and theatre, nationally and internationally, and the attention and cultivation of you as a unique performer and as an ensemble member, then acting at the Conservatorium will ensure you take that final bow.
Tell us about some performances you’ve been a part of during your time at the Con.
Throughout this course, we have worked extensively with practicing professionals, who have directed our shows, as well as provided guidance that coincides with a masterclass format. Earlier this year we became Shakespeare pioneers by performing Twelfth Night via Zoom with the highly renowned and wickedly funny, Travis Dowling (Associate Director at Queensland Theatre), where I performed as the character of Viola, a young woman who is constantly confused and thrown into sticky situations. At the moment, we are in early rehearsals for our New Australian Play written and directed by Brisbane Theatre royalty Elise Greig, where we have had the opportunity to participate and bear witness to the creative process of writing and performing a new work. It is entitled Night Sky Over Our Town, and I, along with one of my classmates, Brigitte Freeme, will be originating the role of Emily (yes, it does get very confusing) in October with the graduating class of 2021.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what drew you acting?
I am from Rockhampton originally, where I grew up in a family that loved singing, dancing, music and entertainment. From the get-go I revelled in the living room spotlight, trying to outshine my competition (my sisters). As I grew older, I got involved in the school musicals, drama and piano classes, exams, and eisteddfods. But stripping it back to the core interest, I just love stories! I believe in the power of stories and storytelling, and as an actor you become a conduit for many different stories of all sorts of people. I also believe in doing something you love, and then sharing with others, so at the end of the day, it became a bit of no brainer! And so here I am, surrounded by people with that same curiosity, passion and imagination.
What advice do you have for future acting students?
Be yourself! No seriously, just be. Who. You. Are. Leave any egos at the door, they don’t last long here when scrutinised by professional people observers. Who you are is more interesting than any character you’ll ever play. I promise. Do the work, challenge yourself, and ask the questions, because how you grow as a performer, and what you get out of this degree will mostly depend on the sort of person you are.
What are your tips and tricks for auditioning at the Conservatorium?
Be prepared; choose pieces that show your range and vocal qualities. Be yourself; I’m telling you it works! And have fun! Maintain that joy and that passion, that led you to the audition stage, in your audition performance. Also, if you aren’t successful, it really is not the end of the world. I have had more failed university auditions than successful ones, and a large portion of that successful audition is accredited to all of the failed ones. Your last mistake will be your biggest tutor.