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June 1, 20150

act up has been running it’s courses in the same fashion for sixteen years and it’s time for a change.

In the last two years I’ve noticed a real difference in how people approach life, I could surmise a lot of reasons for this but that’s a discussion for another time.

The upshot is that act up is going to be offering a lot more creative courses to a lot more people. They’ll run as one offs, or as a weekend of fun. They’ll also run around the UK and not just in London.

We won’t have so many acting courses but those that we do run will continue to enable people to find their confidence, to trust themselves more and to really understand that acting comes from ‘within’, I’ve never believed anyone can teach anyone to act.

The new courses will include, film-making, producing, MMA fitness, writing, spoken-word, movement, the voice, pilates, talks and art classes in the guise of my true love Love Art that has already started, for both children and adults. If there’s anything else you’d like to see, do let me know.. all of this is for YOU.

act up has always been about showing people a good time.  To enable many people to indulge in the arts and for me to prove how brilliant they really are.  We’ve had some incredible success stories and I am very proud of many, many people. And of course, I bow down and thank absolutely everyone that has participated in the courses over the last sixteen years, whow that’s a lot of amazing people I’ve met.

act up was also born to challenge the inequality in the arts, it is still so exclusive and this is my main drive and I admit my main fear about losing the ‘old’ act up. In it’s time, I have encouraged so many people that normally wouldn’t have got a ‘look in’ to try acting that are now working successfully as actors.  I am hoping that I will still have the opportunity to meet these very raw and talented people, after all I need to keep my actor’s agency well fed.

So let’s all embrace fear, I have always been fascinated by fear and have always seen it as a positive thing as it drives us all forward.

So, are you ready to change too, take the bull by the horns and leap into the unknown?

I hope so – see or meet you soon down the arts.


Gemma XX

P.S. The last two courses of the ‘current’ act up start this Saturday 6th June, act for screen run by brilliant film director Jesse Quinones and the act for course that starts on Saturday 13th June, aimed at anyone that wants to become a professional actor.

May 21, 20150

1 – When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

I first knew I wanted to be an actor after a few weeks of wanting to be a vet, then a footballer then a pilot. I realised I was interested in the variety of different people and their lives. The second time was performing two lines in an amateur production of half a sixpence. Those two lines were met with riotous laughter every night and from that moment I was hooked.

2 – What did you first do about it?

I took every class I could and aimed myself at London and an established drama school to surround myself in the industry and like minded people.

3 – When did you first call yourself a professional actor?

I first called myself a pro when I signed with my agent off the back of my drama school showcase.

4 – Has it met your expectations being an actor?

It hasn’t met my expectations because if it does it stops you being hungry for it. There is always a new goal, something new to strive for. And I guess, I didn’t know what to expect in the first place!

5 – What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?

My hopes are for the industry to keep telling important stories, silly stories, funny stories, but stories of quality using people of quality regardless of class, creed, age or gender and that it is driven by talent not by privilege nor quota.

May 15, 20150

1 – When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

Honestly, I can’t remember ever wanting anything else. I mean, I probably went through phases same as everybody else, but even my inarticulate childhood ideas about a career involved acting. The idea of it has changed, but the concept stayed.

2 – What did you first do about it?

I was always in the school plays, role playing with my friends, the that sort of thing. I encountered a lot of dissuasion early on, but I knew it was a valid path and that I wanted training. For a couple of years I flew back and forth from Denmark to audition for drama schools until I finally moved over here to see where life would take me. To Act-Up, as it turns out 🙂

3 – When did you first call yourself a professional actor?

When I set up my Twitter profile about a month ago. Until then, I’d only identified myself as such to likeminded people, and even then, apologetically. Now I own it!

4 – Has it met your expectations being an actor?

The love of the work and the process has, absolutely, but then I never doubted that part. As far as the expectation of being a working actor it’s still a bit too soon to really answer that, but I’m very excited about experiencing everything there is, good or bad.

5 – What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?

An end to inequality, sexism. Actually, not just in our profession. On a global scale. Too much?

May 15, 20150

How to survive in this industry” is a professional careers advice workshop for actors, it next runs on Tuesday 14th March (7.00-9.00pm) at Love Art.

Gemma Lloyd, the owner of act up and producer and casting director in theatre and film and agent to several actors will be running a two hour workshop for anyone who wants to get ahead in this industry.

She’ll talk you through the whole process of the industry, remind you of the hidden truths behind it all and offer advice on how to seek work, look for an agent (if applicable), and how to market yourself more effectively.

She’ll switch your way of thinking, so you see it all from an employers point of view as well as the perspective from an actors.  The workshop will be tailored to suit the needs of the individual participants, so do come armed with lots of questions.

She’s worked and met with a lot of actors over the years and has watched the industry like a hawk since she began. It’s her turn to share it all….

So the date is Tuesday 14th March (7.00-9.00pm) at Love Art all for £18.00 if you pay in advance or £25 on the door.

If you would like to book a place, click HERE and find the £18.00 button. There are only 8 places available so get going if you know you want to enrol.

Any questions, let us have them.

“Brilliant few hours spent talking all things acting. Thanks Gemma! @actupcourses #actinglife” Anna Bolton

May 9, 20150

Drama school seems to be getting a bit of a bad press at the moment, I have noticed every time we run the act for course that far less people are interested in applying than they ever used to be.  Have a look HERE for those that have successfully entered drama school in the last seven years.  Of course it’s a very loose straw poll, not everyone keeps in touch with us but there is a definite trend for going ‘straight in’ now.

Funds are drying up, but right now there is still funding available and certainly if you don’t have a previous degree…Where the government has really ballsed up, I really believe the longer you can wait to be an actor the better.

It’s another long conversation another time, but the education system in this country means you’re virtually expected what you want to do with your whole life aged 12 now, which terrifies me.

But for me, every artist needs some form of training, you need to be challenged and pummelled before being let loose into the bear pit and drama school really does assist with this.

So are you in or out?

At least consider it as a real option and if you take the act for course, we’ll hold your hand the whole way through.


May 7, 20150

Of course this is not an exact science, not everyone keeps in touch but below will give you an idea of how successful people have been over the years. It is no mean feat getting into an accredited drama school and we’re immensely proud of everyone.

It’s interesting to note that far less people are now applying to drama school, we say do still audition if you can… and if you’re not on this list, do let us know, we’d love to show off about you.


Annice Bopari – The Oxford School of Drama

Martin Edwards – ALRA

Catherine Smiles – E15


Shireen Farkhoy – The Oxford School of Drama, Arts Ed, Bristol Old Vic (short list)

Jenni Mackenzie – Central School of Speech and Drama

Kate Evans – Drama Studio, London (DSL)

Carol Ellis – Drama Studio, London (DSL)

Elmina Ferguson – Central School of Speech & Drama

Lucy Wells http://www.cssd.ac.uk- Guildford School of Acting, Birmingham School of Acting & ALRA


Natalie Simpson – Drama Studio (London), The Oxford School of Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and LAMDA.

Kim Myers – E15

Jenni Mackenzie – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (shortlist)

Jack Staddon – Drama Centre, London

Suzy Gill – Drama Studio (London)

Claudia Errico – Drama Studio (London)

Robert Neumark-Jones – Drama Centre, London.

Augustina Amoa Drama Studio (London)

Thomas Flynn – The Oxford School of Drama. We met Tom in the Outreach workshops in Oldham.


Dan Mills – Drama Studio (London)

Oliver Wellington – The Oxford School of Drama and LAMDA (shortlist). We met Oliver in the Outreach workshops in Oldham last year.

Elizabeth Capper – Mountview. We met Elizabeth in the Outreach workshops in Oldham last year.

Mark Newsome – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. We met Mark in the Outreach workshops in Oldham last year.

Michael Williams – Drama Studio (London)

Jennifer Mackenzie – Drama Studio (London)

Karishma Navekar – Drama Studio (London)

Emma Kemp – Drama Studio (London)

Bethan Mogford – ALRA

Catherine Brown – Birmingham School of Acting and Drama Studio (London)

Natasha Videl Harmer – Central School of Speech and Drama, Bristol Old Vic (reserve list) and Drama Studio (London)


Laura Gardiner – The Oxford School of Drama (Foundation course)

Lucy Timmons – Drama Studio (London) and The Oxford School of Drama

Matthew Benjamin – Drama Studio (London)

Kirsten Foster – Bristol Old Vic, The Oxford School of Drama and LAMDA (waiting list).

Richard Tan – American Academy of Dramatic Art

Justin Carey – Drama Studio (London)

Paula Roberts – Arts Ed.

Victoria Allies – Arts Ed.


Paula Hamilton – Drama Studio (London), The Oxford School of Drama (shortlist)

Alex Kiffin – Guildford School of Acting, Rose Bruford

Martin Edwards – Drama Studio (London), ALRA & The Oxford School of Drama.

Laura Hanna – The Oxford School of Drama, Bristol Old Vic (shortlist), LAMDA

Richard Tan – E15, The Oxford School of Drama (foundation course)

Adam Seigel – Drama Studio (London) & Arts Ed. (shortlist)

Scott Karim – Drama Studio (London), Bristol Old Vic (shortlist), The Oxford School of Drama & RADA

Oliver Gunn – Birmingham School of Acting

Rob Langston – Drama Studio (London)

Danielle Binns – Rose Bruford

Michael Turner – The Oxford School of Drama. We met Mikey in the Outreach workshops in Sheffield this year.

Susanna Herbert – The Oxford School of Drama

Michael Green – Poor School, Drama Studio (London) – shortlist

Shannon Holmes – LAMDA

Catherine Rodgers – E15


Catherine Rodgers – Drama Studio (London)

Jody Stevenson – Drama Studio (London) & The Oxford School of Drama

Melissa Advani – Drama Studio (London)

Scott Karim – LAMDA (Shortlist)

Dike Ugonna – Drama Studio (London)

Louise Thompson – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Lucy Pearman – in her second year at LAMDA has just won The Lilian Baylis Award

Danielle Binns – The Poor School

Meeghan Shillington – LSDA

Adam Seigal – LSDA

Mayuree Cunningham – The Oxford School of Drama

Jennifer Grogan – Arts Ed.

Deborah Jones – The Oxford School of Drama. We met & worked with Deborah at the Outreach workshops in Plymouth this year.

Carly Jukes – Drama Studio (London).

Samantha Pearl – The Oxford School of Drama. We met & worked with Samantha at the Outreach workshops in Plymouth this year.

Alexandra Bergeron – LSDA


Jeremy Drakes – Drama Studio (London)

Anna Bolton – Mountview (1 year) & Oxford School of Drama (1 year).

Leila Okafor – The Stella Adler Studio of Acting (New York).

Michael Ansah – The Oxford School of Drama (3 year)

James Rose – The Oxford School of Drama (1 year) & Mountview (1 year)

Jessie Lloyd – The Oxford School of Drama (3 year)

Bishanyia Vincent – The Oxford School of Drama (3 year)

Chris Scott – ALRA (1 year)

Sophie McDonnell – Rose Bruford

Paula Hamilton – participated in the London Outreach programme. The Oxford School of Drama (3 year – waiting list)




April 24, 20150

1 – When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

Well I didn’t to be honest. Performing has always been in my being from when I could walk and talk. From the practising dance routines with my twin brother to Tom Jones’ ” KISS” at 7, hilariously serenading the household with my attempt to sing opera at 16 to pretty much taking part in all manner of performing arts that was provided by my secondary school (which is specially a performing arts school!). Street dance, choir solo lead singing, contemporary dance etc and throughout all of this I was the ever-energetic class clown, the “character”. Looking back, I think I knew the performing arts was what I was to do in my future but I didn’t know that acting was to be my vehicle for my success. I didn’t find acting, acting found me.

2 –  What did you first do about it?

Well, first of all I wasn’t very academic and having the constant reminder that my twin brother was the academic one, panicked me. The additional stigma that black people couldn’t make it because they were black often acted as an anchor to the kind of thinking that it would require for me to make bold, confident and conscious choices regarding my future. But glory to God for great teachers that genuinely wanted to help me! With the help of a music teacher and eventual course mentor I went on to do my Diploma in performing arts with which I passed with the highest marks on the board and this qualified me for drama school at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. The irony is that I didn’t actually want to go to acting school at first Consciously my first love had been singing and I had been so comfortable in this art that I wanted to go and study something along those lines instead but my course mentor insisted that acting would open more doors and widen and deepen my skill set! So! I took the plunge and auditioned for what would have been my first time (with professional intentions)

3 – When did you first call yourself a professional actor?

Ha! Well I certainly didn’t feel like one when came out of Rose Bruford.
I’d spent most of the time fighting off the level of ignorance within the walls of a drama school based in a BNP lead part of Kent. It was an underlying distraction. To be fair they’d probably say the same thing about me in regards to the ignorance because I just didn’t know what I was doing half the time. My skills were nurtured but when came down to what it would take to do good acting, it just flew completely over my head. I didn’t understand at all. I felt like a baby goldfish in an ocean and no one knew what to do with the black girl who was a consistent, almost uncontrollable ball of energy. So I felt alone and defeated in my thinking of being “a professional”. I just remember not having anyone from the selection of acting teachers that I could really relate to. When I got out of Rosey B, I spent two years in the industry and it had felt harder than ever before and that was when I attended Identity Drama school. Within the first class, everything that I thought wasn’t there, came to life. What had happened was I constructed and strengthened the foundations of the fundamental principles of acting because when I got to Identity, I totally got it. I felt an overwhelmingly delighted and beautiful freedom in my brain. I shone and for the first time and I could identify with professionalism and was doing it in a very organic way. For me, professionalism didn’t mean the being the popular actress that the tutors adored in the training room or having the agent for the sake of it. The desire was growth. Growth of self, growth in my learning, growth in the craft, growth in my self esteem.

4 – Has it met your expectations being an actor?

Not yet. My journey has allowed me to experience firsthand what it’s truly going to take to reach my goals in the craft and it’s pretty huge because I want to be the best of the best. It’s like one, big, fat training ground with God as my teacher and I am firmly standing on the foundations in which he has helped me build. As far as I am concerned the training continues. Understanding the craft is one thing to get your head around but the industry itself is quite another!

5 – What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?

Well like fellow actor Alvin Ikenwe, I also agree that racial stereotypes need to be thrown in the bin. The truth needs to be told and there are a wealth of stories that have endless possibilities attached to them. The ratio of students that attend drama schools, the actors and actresses that walk the red carpets and win a bafta or golden globe and the negative messages attached to any representation in the performing arts needs to level out. Ethnic minorities need to STOP thinking they can’t be a successful performing artist because they are black, Asian, Chinese, Indian etc and have more examples to look up to, whether it be an actor, mentor, tutor, teacher.

April 23, 20150

1 – When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?
All started in year 5 or 6 when I used to go to an after school drama club and I was a main character for the play. Sadly I couldn’t do the major showing because it fell on a school day, during school time. I cried. But this here made me realise how much it meant to me.

2 – What did you first do about it?
Decided to continue studying performing arts and continued in college. Got involved with a small drama group whilst in college. Went to the theatre more & watched a lot more movies to open my horizons. Applied for drama schools was accepted by one but decided another route.

3 – When did you first call yourself a professional actor?
I wouldn’t say I am yet. As I haven’t done a majorly professional project(been paid lol). But I guess having/being apart of an agency is a little big step.

4 – Has it met your expectations being an actor?
Yes and no. I knew it wouldn’t be easy at all. And I knew/learnt that hard work & talent doesn’t always have the upper hand when someone knows someone. But that’ll change 😉

5 – What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?
To create and play roles that don’t consist of the ongoing stereotype. & just be someone people can look up to as an actor & get paid from doing something I love.

April 16, 20150

Right now I’m working on two plays simultaneously and it’s an interesting experience, I’m loving it.   I’m producing Shemirah and I am associate producer on Lady Precious Stream.

Theatre has been really tricky for me for a while, but these two productions have been proper adventures and have made me realise there is a place for theatre in the world if it acknowledges the world around us.

All the while I have act up waving at me and my new enterprise Love Art beating gently at my side.

act up is the backbone to all of my work and without it I wouldn’t be producing and I wouldn’t have met so many brilliant people. I’ve also recently begun representing actors as an agent and many began with act up courses.

If they hadn’t trusted me and I hadn’t trusted then we wouldn’t be in the brilliant situation we are in right now.

So the moral is, if there is one at all is never say never to anything and if you are looking for representation or are interested in producing, you might just want to start with an act up course.

Lady Precious Stream directed by Natasha Betteridge


March 25, 20150

1 – When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

 Since a young age and I had to act as if I didn’t break my mums lamps and thought hmmm im pretty good at this.

2 – What did you first do about it?

Well luckily for me my mum noticed my nack for acting as I broke her lamp in front of her and still tried to act as if I hadn’t and got me and my sisters into an agency and we started modelling and going for castings for film, tv shows, commercials etc.

3 – When did you first call yourself a professional actor?

After my first paid job.

4 – Has it met your expectations being an actor?

Yes indeed I enjoy every moment spent on set and becoming this new person each time.

5 – What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?

To become a well known actor for my acting skills, to be hated, to be loved, to capture the audience in every scene every role every word!