From LAMDA short courses to full time training
Written by Calli Taylor, MA Classical Acting Student
My Journey to LAMDA
My name is Calli Taylor, I’m a 23-year-old American actress currently completing LAMDA’s Classical Acting MA for the 2021-2022 school year. My journey in professional acting, though short, has taken me all over the world and given me some of the most profound insight into not only what it means to be an effective artist, but also what it means to appreciate the human experience. With this said, none of the environments I’ve found myself welcomed into have affected me as deeply and positively as my previous and continued time at LAMDA.
At LAMDA, an actor’s training finds the perfect balance of classical integrity with modern ingenuity.
Raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles by a production designer and a publishing executive, I’ve been surrounded by the industry on all sides for as long as I can remember. I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to be a performer at a young age, and after years of classical ballet training, performing with a youth improvisation troupe, traveling with a top show choir and taking countless theatre and dance workshops, at 18 I decided to pursue acting full time.
I began my career in TV and film in the City of Angels, working with names I’d grown up only hoping I could stand alongside one day, including the great Gary Oldman and childhood idols Megan Fox and Vanessa Hudgens. Even more incredible than the professionals I had the chance to work with were the places I traveled to. South Africa, Romania, Monaco, and Honduras are a few that especially touched my heart.
It was during the London-based filming of one production, “The Courier” released by Lionsgate in 2019, that my love for live theatre and my desire for a classical education was deepened. I fell in love with the city, with the people, and after a heartfelt conversation with the one-and-only Gary Oldman about the value of legitimate theatre training, I knew what my next career goal was going to be.
I, of course, had always known of LAMDA and its reputation as one of the top institutions of its kind. After speaking extensively with a friend’s sister about her time receiving her BA and subsequently her MA at the academy, I knew it was exactly the kind of school I was hoping to become a part of a receive my education from.
I had never applied for this kind of program or anything like it before.
After scanning the LAMDA website and reading through the options, I decided that the 12-week Short Course would be the perfect fit. After filling out my application, spending hours perfecting my essay to make sure it was just right, and speaking with the incredibly friendly and knowledgeable admissions advisors, I was informed that I’d be accepted. I was almost in shock! The application process had been both easy and extremely thorough, and I could hardly contain my excitement and gratitude.
Upon beginning the course in January of 2021, I knew immediately that I was about to experience something unlike anything I’d known thus far. Through our weekly movement and singing classes, not only did I strengthen the physical elements needed for my intended craft, but I inadvertently healed parts of my mind and habit-forming centres, that I didn’t even realise were ailing...something that moved me forward by leaps and bounds.
Rodney Cottier, who is currently our director on the MA program, gave us the most profound and insightful education in understanding, dissecting, and appreciating Shakespeare’s works in the way they were intended to be consumed. I found tremendous confidence and grounding as well as technical growth in Paula Stephen’s twice-weekly voice classes that continue to pay off, and was impassioned most of all by the knowledge and guidance given to us by our course directors Matt Wilde and Nick Hutchison as they led us through our scenes taken from Shakespeare’s histories, tragedies, and my personal favourite, selections from the Comedy of Manners genre.
As the short course came to a close, I had the impending feeling that what I’d done thus far was simply not enough. I needed more time, more expansion, more matriculation at this incredible place with these incredible people who had quickly become my dearly respected friends.
Exploring my options, it became clear that the next and most fulfilling step I could take would be to apply for a place on the MA Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre course, set to begin in the fall. After repeating a similar process, with the inclusion of a friendly and relaxed online audition with Rodney Cottier, my greatest wish was realised and I was again invited to attend LAMDA.
We are a community built on mutual passion, respect, and a genuine drive to lift up and encourage one another.
I’m about 6 weeks in, and to say my love and gratitude for my school and cohort have doubled in size would be an understatement. We are a community built on mutual passion, respect, and a genuine drive to lift up and encourage one another. We cultivate a welcome and open space, so that each and every one of us feel strengthened and prepared for the careers we have ahead of us.
Simply put, there’s no place else I’d rather be at present, and taking the leap to become a part of the LAMDA family will always be remembered, in my mind, as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you’re considering beginning, or continuing, your education LAMDA I would say that starting your journey today wouldn’t be soon enough. Who knows, it could be the start of the best decision you’ve ever made too.
Explore our Short Courses here.
Postgraduate courses and further information can be found here.