Acting Master Class

Yesterday I spent the day in Sydney at a master class with Denise Roberts. If you don’t know who Denise is (really?) then take a look at this page: 

It’s a real eye opener for someone like me, who has worked mainly in live theatre, to attend a class like this. Quite apart from reminding me just how much talent of all ages there is in Australia, the learning aspect I found to be without parallel in my experience.

I don’t think I have ever seen character and motivation broken down quite so comprehensively and in a way that is so readily usable. At the end of it, I couldn’t help wondering how many of those present looked back, like me, to screen auditions they had done in the past and cringed at how wide of the mark they had been.

I came away realising that the gap between screen and stage is much wider than I had previously thought, particularly in the case of film, as opposed to television. Which raised another question for me; do I continue to concentrate on theatre or do I retrain in an attempt to expand my career at this late stage in my life.

There is a lot of work to do. Each of us was given a dvd of our work at the end of the day, and when I look at mine I see a performance that is far too big for the screen and has all the hallmarks of someone performing for a 500 seater theatre. In a cinema it would be close to grotesque. Changing all that would not, I realise, be easy. It would take a lot of guidance and a lot of hard work on my part. That level of training would also cost.

One thing I am sure of; if I do decide to pursue this path it will be to Denise and her Screenwise operation that I will turn. There is no room for second best when it comes to the performing arts and I have just experienced, if not the very best, then certainly something very close to it. If you would like to know more about Screenwise and why I think it is the ideal training ground for aspiring screen actors, visit their website at

Mark Sheridan


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