This annoying conversation happens a lot:
“So where did you go to Uni?”
“Oh I went to Rose Bruford. It’s a Drama School actually, got a degree in European Theatre. Did lots of stuff from performing, directing, writing etc.”
“And now you work in events? Like in a marketing team? That’s weird…”
The reason this conversation really gets my back up, and I dread it in social situations, is because it’s not so weird at all. I learnt a hell of a lot at Rose Bruford that prepared me for the work place/life on a number of levels. I felt like I could conquer the world once I finished there, nothing was too big.
So here’s a list of things that Bruford taught me. And I’m not talking about Lecoq or Grotowski or Kantor. Or even how to take pretty headshots. I’m talking things it generally taught me, about life and work and how to be bad ass.
1. Your energy knows no limits. At Bruford we could put in 14 hour days at a time. So when people moan how tired they are sometimes I’m like, ‘pull yourself together guys, push through it’. Tiredness isn’t a thing until you’re struggling to keep your eyes open.
2. Read everything and anything. Educate yourself as much as you can. There’s a wealth of knowledge that can be acquired by picking up a book. Granted, I don’t have as much time on my hands to read at the moment, but when I do pick up a good book I think of Thomas Wilson and grin.
3. Look after your body. So yeah okay, I know when I was at Bruford I was pretty much living on a diet of hash browns and I often struggled to get the ‘cat under the gate’ in movement classes. But I understand even more now what they were banging on about when they said to ‘look after your body, listen to it and give it what it needs.’ You only get one. And my diet and exercise has a serious impact on how I function on a daily basis, so it’s important to pay attention to it. I’m not talking about downward dogs on a daily basis, but it’s just something to consider.
4. You snooze, you lose. Basically, don’t half arse things. In the theatre world, if you do a shitty job there will be someone right behind you who will swoop in and do it better. In the words of Eminem ‘You only get one shot..’ Lolz. Give everything 100%, or just don’t bother.
5. No budget? No bother. There was never much budget for any shows/projects we did at Bruford, but this put me in really good stead for the real world. Guess what? There ain’t much money knocking around here either. And when people say to me now ‘Oh we haven’t got the budget for that’, I say ‘So what? Who needs budget?’ Beg, borrow, steal. Do-it-yourself. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That was the name of the game for ETA, and boy has it paid off.
6. Networking is key. We were constantly being pushed to speak to theatre companies/professionals/directors at Bruford. It used to make me feel a little queasy at times ’cause I’m not the best in social situations, but my gosh I’m grateful for it now. In the real world, life is a networking game. And you only get what you want by communicating with people. Shmooooze them and bat those eyelashes gal.
7. Don’t ever be late. It kinda speaks for itself, but the amount of people that don’t have this basic rule of life installed into them is unreal. At Bruford, if you were late you couldn’t enter the space. I bet if we used that rule in life, people would make much more of an effort to be on time.
8. ‘RIDE THE BEAST’ This beautiful expression was passionately uttered by one of our tutors before a performance in third year. It came out rather unexpectedly as she willed us to give the performance of our lives so far. Bless her. But this wild lady taught me that if you’re passionate about something, then express it. Nothing to be shy about. Passion for something goes a long way.
9. Don’t TALK about it, DO it. Nothing ever comes from talking about stuff. Bruford installed the ‘MAKE IT HAPPEN’ gene into me. Actions speak louder than words.
10. Take every learning experience as a positive. There were times at Bruford when I would go home and cry and fret and stress because things weren’t going how I wanted them to go. I’m a control freak by nature (and I wonder how I ended up in events?!) But I soon learnt that when things went wrong, THAT was when the learning experience happened. If everything always went as I first expected, gee life would be boring. I learnt to take every outcome as a positive. Heck, I now work in marketing, of course everything has a positive spin.
11. Be curious. Never stop asking questions. It’s the only way you learn.
12. You are the brand. I remember really clearly a lecture we had in our third year of Bruford with Rupert Dannreuther about selling yourself. It all seemed really silly back then – ‘You are the brand. Be clear about who you are and what you do.’ He made us write down our names and three things that summed ourselves up. At the time, I jotted down:
Creative Person | Doughnut Eater |Pirate Lover
So I might not have been taking it quite as seriously as some, but it’s something that’s really stuck with me over the past two years. It’s so important to be clear and concise about who you are. And I’ve worked on it since then, and you’ll be pleased to know it’s not quite as silly as that now.
13. Don’t rely on technology. Despite the rise of ipads/tablets/smart phones, we were always encouraged to use good old fashioned pen and paper to make notes. The reason for this? Because technology can fail you, and then what you gonna do? I still live by this at work. Give me hard copies over digital any day.
14. ‘Just play’. So you ETA’s will know that this phrase haunted us for the full three years, but like seriously, some of the best ideas come when you’re relaxed, mucking about and throwing silly ideas round the table. And this can be applied to the rehearsal space or the office.
15. Speech Please. Before Bruford, there was only one other time I had to get up in front of a large group of people and do something that wasn’t acting. This was a music recital and I literally pooped my pants. At Bruford I had to read out seminar papers in front of large audiences (after performing, sweaty and all that). It was something I truly worked at, because “I didnt wanna look like a twat in front of everyone.” – End quote, Jade Withrington, 2015. (ETA’s, that one’s for you) But on a serious note, public speaking is one of those transferable skills that I now have with me for life, and I’ll continue to work at.
16. Take risks. Be brave. Some of the best things happen when you throw caution to the wind and do something that could go either way. Taking risks can open up new opportunities and potential success. And if it goes wrong, please refer to point number 10.
Basically, what I’m tryna say is, Bruford made me into a multi skilled machine that was ready to take on any kinda job I wanted, whether that was in theatre or not. And yes, some of those skills I use more than others – project management, people skills, public speaking – all the time. Headstands, biomechanics and comic timing – not so much. But I’m seriously grateful for all the awesome things I got out of that place.
And now I’m reminiscing about my three years there WAH.
In the words of Thomas Pickles:
Bruford bosses it
*The photos of Bruford aren’t my own. Can’t find the original source where I nabbed ’em from I’m afraid.