The Dialects Archive
The Dialects archive is a great tool to help actors improve accents and dialects. Enya Hendrics is recommending this website, as it is different to other similar websites in the way that you can choose which specific gender, age, profession, area and background you want to read out the text to you. This ensures you listen to someone as closely to the accent you are trying to portray as possible. Say you need to touch up on your German accent; it has 25 different voices reading several minutes worth of speech. If you need a 33-year-old female German accent but with an ancestry of Russian and Venezuelan, it has that too!
There’s so much to get started on, but we suggest this tool is ideal if you need a touch up on very specific accent. There’s so much more to explore on the website, and it is free! In case you work better with a teacher present, the Actor’s Centre offers private, half an hour accent workshops every Saturday for the mere price of 25 pounds.
The Vaults Festival
If you’re in the creative industries, you probably know about the Vaults festival. But in case you don’t, the Vaults Festival is a massive fringe arts festival that runs in the beginning of every year since 2012, this year between 23d of January – 17th of March, Wednesdays to Sundays. This year it features more than 400 shows from more than 2,000 artists, so it’s safe to say it’s London’s biggest festival for arts and mainly theatre. If you haven’t been before, make this your year. There are numerous shows that celebrates new writing, cabaret, circus, comedy, drag, late night events, immersive theatre – there is something for everyone!
The Vaults is based in Waterloo, in an underground space of disused railway arches, so don’t be alarmed if you hear the trains during your show – it’s part of the experience. You’re even likely to see some of our very own Play Actors performing there.
The Donmar Warehouse always aspire to put on world class theatre and they’ve done it again with Sweat. The play, based on endless interviews with the people of a small town in Pennsylvania, is written by Pulitzer prize winner Lynn Nottage. It really captures the misery in a country that inevitably leads to the election of Donald Trump – although it doesn’t take a lot to realise the message is global. This show is remarkable because of its fantastic cast and impeccable acting. But hurry, it’s only on till the 26th of January.
Another thing to note about the Donmar Warehouse, is that if you are under the age of 25, you can sign up for the YOUNG+FREE. They want to encourage young people to engage with them and therefore they ballot a certain amount of free tickets every month and you could go see great theatre – completely free.
It’s July and summer is finally here! Next month, many creatives will be travelling to the world’s largest arts festival – Edinburgh Fringe (August 4th – 28th). It’s considered the largest because there are more than 3,000 shows, with 300 plus venues across the city hosting them. While theatre, musicals and comedy make up about two thirds of all Fringe shows, you can also enjoy dance, circus, exhibitions, children’s shows, cabaret, and a huge variety of performances. Now, that’s only the Fringe festival. If you happen to be in Edinburgh in August, you can also check out the Edinburgh Art Festival, the International Book Festival, International Jazz Festival, and Edinburgh International Festival that all take place at the same time; certainly a city filled with inspiration for the creative mind!
So, what’s the festival spirit really like in Edinburgh? Well, whether you’re going as a performer, creative or just audience member, be ready to be on your feet most hours of the day. Our actress Marta Da Silva performed in three shows with two companies in Edinburgh Fringe 2015. She says it was an amazing experience, and since one was in the early afternoon and the other at night, she spent 14-16 hour days on her feet and performing, not to mention spreading the word about her shows (and probably seeing other shows and attending events too!) Still. She says she’d do it again in a heartbeat!
But, not to worry for those of you who are looking for inspiration, yet aren’t able to travel all the way to Scotland; there will be plenty of shows that are testing the waters on London audiences all of this month before they march on up to Scotland.
So, where exactly can you catch these work-in-progress performances? Well, there are many theatres across London that are hosting previews. Now, a good place to start would be to catch shows at two of the “Big Four” venue operators at Edinburgh Fringe (Assembly, Guided Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly) that are also based in London.
The Islington sister of the well-known Edinburgh Pleasance is offering Londoners the chance to see a season packed with exciting and memorable Edinburgh Fringe previews all this month. Their previews include many comedians, with highlights such as Ed Gamble and Annie McGrath, as well as sketches, plays and dance shows.
Be sure to also check out Underbelly Festival at the Southbank, where you’ll be sure to find affordable comedy, circus, cabaret and children’s shows, as well as be able to enjoy a hot summer’s day at one of the largest outdoor bars in the city-centre. This festival goes on until the end of September, so even if you don’t get to see any previews, you can still enjoy the entertainment they have all throughout summer.
If you’re really eager to tickle your funny bone, and overwhelmed with choice then check out TimeOut’s recommendations of the Ten Best Comedy Gigs this month or catch Five of the Best Fringe Previews! If you fancy more options to choose from, the London Evening Standard has also highlighted some previews that serve as a handy guide all things Fringe, happening at the venues such as Bush Theatre, Young Vic, Soho Theatre, The Old Red Lion Pub Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, and Theatre503. All in all, you’re spoilt for choice in London too!