Updated: Jun 8, 2020
Where do I start. Best but hardest year of my life! I met the most amazing friends. I believe the friends that you meet at Drama School are so special, you have this kind of unique bond that no one else can ever really experience. You go through sooo much together and they become your family.
There's literally so much I want to say so I think i'm going to find condensing this into a blog really hard. I'll explain how the structure of the year worked and talk through some of my highlights.
When we first arrived at Mountview, We were laid down the rules. "The only real reason you should ever have the day off is for a Funeral." The discipline was set straight away. You were absolutely not allowed to wear any makeup. If you had Ballet first period but were not dressed properly or had forgotten something that you needed, that was you sent home for the whole day. Now this was quite intimidating but I do think that I strived on the discipline and for some people this way of working is amazing. Of course you have to remember that all of the people on the foundation course are doing the course to get a place on the BA, not necessarily at Mountview but the majority fell in love with the school and only a very small percentage of us would get in. This meant to me that every single day was an audition. The teachers we had were the same teachers that taught on the BA course. I felt constantly judged, not in a bad way but in a way that made me pull my weight.
There was the Mountview Challenge in the first week where you were assigned a group with members from the MT BA course, the BA acting, MA, Production etc and were given a famous person to make out of writing about yourself. It was a lovely way to integrate the courses. This was the winning picture:
I lived with three lovely people and actually shared a room for the year with a girl who is now one of my best friends thankfully! Being an only child and then suddenly moving out and sharing your space, I look back and I think I dealt with it really well considering. We had a great laugh, we were both really considerate of each other and things went smoothly. We had a lovely flat and we all used to walk to school together every day and we all ended up being in the same group so literally spent every minute of every day with each other.
Eddie Gower was the head of the course and he made the year very special, I learnt so much from him with laughs along the way. There were 30 of us on the foundation and we were split into classes of 15. Every day was 9-6, full day of skills. Lessons were an hour and a half. We had Acting, Ballet, Jazz, Movement, Voice, Singing, Rep as a kind of basis and then we had projects every now and again where we would have a team of creatives come in and direct us in a sharing that we show in-house to teachers and to the other group. Projects included a Legit - Musical Revue, Contemporary Musical Revue etc. Leading up to our Mock Auditions we had professionals come in and lead Acting through Song classes and Audition Technique. Kelly Price taught our acting through song classes and I absolutely loved them. Insert classic drama school photo here:
One of the main highlights was the Improvisation class. We had a six week block of Improv and every Thursday we would get to experience a class like no other. The first week of Improv, the teacher, Richard split the class of 15 into 3 groups and each group became a different family. That week we had to come up with our characters, in detail, and work out how we were related to the other members of our group. We discussed where we lived, what we did and how we got on as a family.
Now every week on from this, 2 out of the 3 groups would do a completely improvised performance. Richard gave you a scenario, for example one of my groups was Breakfast, Sunday Morning. If it was your turn to go, that day you'd have to bring in everything you could to make the scene as natural as possible. Bowls, spoons, milk, cereal, table cloth, kitchen spray, interior decorations for the room. Whatever you could carry you had to bring in. One of the other groups had a takeaway curry night and had to go and heat up curries to eat in their improv.
We all had each others phone numbers saved but without names and Richard would get the people in the audience to interfere with the scene, for example, if someone had mentioned that they had had a falling out with a friend in the scene, an audience member would then text something as the friend and you would see the actors reaction to this and see how it changed the scene.
In my story line for the whole six weeks I was having boyfriend trouble and he was pressuring me to run away with him. All by text I might add! On the last week it all kicked off in the scene and there was a huge argument, I was getting so many pressurising texts from "my boyfriend" and a fight blew up in the family when I announced that I was going to be leaving. All of a sudden the door flew open and a boy whom I've never met or seen before walked into the scene and was Sam - my boyfriend! The scene carried on and eventually me and Sam left together. As soon as we got outside, I introduced myself properly and said thank you and he said he had to rush off as he was late for class. He was an MA actor. Richard, our teacher had recruited this guy without us knowing to add to the drama. Honestly, fantastic. You couldn't write it.
Forgot to add, in every family, one girl had to be pregnant. In the last week that girl had to give birth. Richard would casually walk into the scene and show playing cards to the actor. The higher the numbers got the further along she was. It was honestly some of the best acting I've seen, the girls were so in it. I remember them being absolutely exhausted afterwards. I distinctly remember one of my best friends, Amelia leaning over the side of a sofa and Richard went and poured water down her legs to signify that her waters had broke. How she kept in the scene I have no idea. It was phenomenal. So that class was a massive highlight of my Mountview experience.
Later on in the year we worked on a new Musical being written by Dougal Irvine called Angry Birds. It was about the suffragette movement and it was so great to get new material that you could make your own. We performed it at a New Musical Theatre event, BEAM 2016 at the Park Theatre and from that later in the Summer a group of us were asked to attend an event at the Leicester Curve Theatre to show a snippet of Angry Birds again. The other group had the same project but a different musical called The Assassination of Katy Hopkins!
The year ended on a big high. We did our end of year showcase. Julie Atherton was our director, Susanna Marie Cork was our Musical Director and Sam Spencer-Lane was our choreographer. It was a dream team. Our theme was Women's Rights and everything was just perfect. We started off in a really sarcastic way with songs such as "I enjoy being a girl" with super girly choreography and super put on smiles and then the showcase took you through the rebellion, through the force feeding and the time in Jail to a feeling of unity at the end. We all sang "Make them Hear You" to finish with the most amazing harmonies and having that as our goodbye to the year was very very emotional.
Overall I look back at Mountview so fondly. It has a special place in my heart. Tensions were always high as everybody is auditioning for the same BA courses and sometimes you feel like you are constantly comparing yourself to your peers but I couldn't have asked for a better group of people.
To finish, I just want to recommend this course. I had never heard of a foundation course when I auditioned for Drama School. I didn't know that it existed but for me, who had very little training before applying to Drama School it was absolutely perfect. I learnt from scratch, I soaked everything up and any bad habits I had were completely ironed out. It was a year of growth and of determination and I have no regrets. I don't know the standard or what to expect from other foundations at different drama schools and I know the price is high but I felt like it was completely worth every penny and the best decision I made in my life.