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Since 2014, Methuen Drama’s Actors’ and Performers’ Yearbook has been guiding creative professionals as they pursue their dreams and progress their careers. With annual editions, each updated to reflect shifts and trends within the industry, readers are supported in their training and their continued search for work on stage, screen and radio.
A comprehensive directory, the A&P Yearbook features all manners of resources and listings, ranging from casting calendars and agent almanacs to breakdowns of how tax and National Insurance works for actors. With this depth and selection of content, the Yearbook saves creatives hours of research whilst also offering a clear path to progress their careers. Simply put, it is the essential reference book for actors and performers everywhere.
Equally, the Yearbook isn’t only a handbook for the year to come, but also a reflection on the year that’s just been, with experts and professionals offering thoughtful and informative guides on contemporary issues in the industry. From interviews that discuss the important role of inclusivity and allyship in training, to actionable guides on how auditions work in a socially distanced world, the Yearbook is the only directory to provide detailed and specific advice in-line with the times.
Foreword – Sam Stevenson
“’What is it that we are looking for?’ is a frequently shared frustration. I am going to attempt an answer that risks maddening you even more but which, for me at least, is a foundational philosophy that could apply to all auditions, regardless of role, director, or medium: we are looking for you – because if you have been invited to audition, there is something about the qualities that you have as a performer that interests us. We already believe that you have something to bring to the role; all that is left is for you to interpret the character and script in your own uniquely imaginative and creative way. Your job as an actor, a creative being, is to infuse the work of the writer with your individual taste, acknowledging for yourself that there is no right or wrong way, just your way. This takes nerve, of course, and a willingness to fail; qualities that are as essential to the actor-performer as talent. So as you begin this year, this book, I send you courage along with the wish that you too will find an open door and a way through.”
An Actor’s Journey Into Directing (and Back Again) – Harry Burton
“Returning after a break of fifteen years or so means being willing to begin afresh. No one remembers your work. Many of the industry people I knew twenty or thirty years ago have moved on. It’s humbling and exciting to see what might happen. Returning also means learning the joys of self-tapes, and of course re-acquainting myself with rejection — to say nothing of the possibility of success, however one defines it. “Success” is a charged word in our culture. The accepted definition has shrivelled to mean something merely material: an award, a cheque, a profile, a status. After forty years in this industry, my own notion of success has come a long way. I no longer glance anxiously sideways to compare my situation with what others are doing. Compare and despair, as the wise woman said. To be open to what comes, to be useful and of service — these are noble ambitions, sufficient unto the day. We all want to be chosen, to live our dreams and fulfil our potential. Often we’re not best placed to see how far we’ve come. When the outcome is far from certain and doubt creeps in, I try to deploy Mark Rylance’s gentle wisdom: ‘You are enough.’”
The Mentor and the Void – Mark Weinman
“It’s my privilege still to be acting today. I’ve managed it for 15 years now and I’m grateful, though I would be lying if I said I hadn’t come close at times to giving it all up. It remains an industry fraught with problems and, when you consider these alongside the competition for acting jobs, one might wonder quite what the attraction is. However, it’s the community that all my mentees love and of which they want to be part. It’s certainly the thing I still love the most. Mentoring has given me confidence that we can strengthen our industry and our circumstances from the inside. In very few professions do we encounter as many people as we do in ours. If we’re open to sharing and helping each other out and treat that as an enriching experience, maybe we’ll all find ourselves that bit further along.”
First Steps (As It Were) As a Disabled Actor – Zak Ford-Williams
“There’s a peculiar thing about encountering ableism as a visibly disabled person. In my experience there’s very rarely genuine malice or bigotry behind it. It’s often a lack of exposure, particularly in early life, leading to a distinct lack of understanding and therefore hesitancy or fear. People are often simply scared of getting it wrong. At a time of imposed paucity on our industry, we can make a clear statement that rolling back opportunities and shrinking spaces for marginalised groups is not an option. For those with invisible disabilities or for disabled people with less-visible roles, the statement for change happens within the industry.”
Auditioning for Stage and Television – Interview with Gemma Hancock & John Cannon
GH: “It’s wonderful when we can still be surprised by actors whose work we’ve followed for a long time.”
JC: “Which is why we should never stop covering an actor’s performances because as people age and change they develop new flavours to their work.”
Self-Tapes: An Agent’s Perspective – Interview with Gemma McAvoy
“Trust your instincts in terms of performance. This is what you’ve been trained to do, this is your skill. Trust that you’re right for the role and commit to it. Get organised with the technical aspect, then all you really have to do is think about your performance and telling the story. Trust yourself as you would in a room. This is the world we’re in now, so let’s find a way of doing it that’s joyful. Feel proud of what you’ve sent off; try to think of it as you would if you left an audition and said, ‘great to meet you’, and then walked away.”
Success and Not Getting Sacked – Interview with Paterson Joseph
“Life’s a confidence trick and even those who look confident, most of the time they’re like us, they’re not. You would think that being sacked is unlikely if you have a strong body of work behind you, but the feeling is still there. When I finish a job people ask, are you sad to finish? No, I’m always happy to have got to the end without being sacked!”
Acting, Writing and Making Work – Interview with Tuyền Đỗ
“Play the long game. If you have a story that you really want to tell, have patience and stick with it. It’s a process. Share your work with people you trust and ask for help when you need it. Put it in front of an audience, even just your mates, and see what happens. Feedback can be fuel.”