LAMDA Exams: Q&A with Kirsten Charters
As well as being an actress and drama teacher, Kirsten Charters is an Examiner with LAMDA Exams who has contributed the duologue Bailey and the Bee to the new Monologues and Duologues for Young Actors anthology. Find out more about Kirsten, Bailey and the Bee and some top tips for Learners and Teachers below.
Can you tell us a little about your background? How long have you been an Examiner, and why did you want to examine with LAMDA?
Hello! I’m Kirsten and I’m an Actress, Drama Teacher and LAMDA Examiner (I’ve been examining for 5 years).
I trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts – gaining an MA in Professional Acting. Prior to this I completed my degree at Coventry University – studying Theatre and Professional Practice on the Performing Arts Scholarship.
I wanted to be an Examiner as I loved seeing my own pupils come out of an exam beaming and I wanted to create a positive and fun experience for LAMDA Learners too!
What was your inspiration for writing Bailey and the Bee? Can you tell us a little about the writing process?
I wanted a piece that gave the Learners the opportunity to really use the performance space and explore their comedy skills. Animal and human interaction is an interesting dynamic, and the scene is topical with the decline in bees!
What advice do you have for LAMDA Learners approaching the characters of Bailey and B for their Examinations?
I hope Learners will feel free to explore the characters' physical and vocal qualities in any way they wish. Have fun in the rehearsal room trying out different ideas.
What do you think are the benefits for Learners of taking a LAMDA Exam?
I think building confidence is so important and LAMDA Exams provide that opportunity. I hope that the confidence discovered will carry through into that job interview, an important presentation at work or that speech at your auntie’s wedding!
What advice would you give teachers preparing Learners for a LAMDA examination or qualification?
When learning two pieces, try to work on a little of both at each lesson rather than working on one for weeks and then cramming the final one. Similarly, I also think working on the knowledge alongside the pieces really helps to cement the theory. Some Learners find it tricky to learn lines, so explore different ways in approaching this – what works for one, may not work for another.
What has been your favourite moment as an Examiner for LAMDA Exams so far?
When a pupil leant on my table after the exam and said, ‘So how did I do?’ It really made me chuckle! It’s fabulous when Learners feedback that they have enjoyed their examination experience.
Why do you think speech, drama and performance is an important part of education?
Not everyone gets to access speech and drama in education. We are so lucky with the wide-ranging syllabus LAMDA has created – from speaking in public to miming skills! There are lifelong skills to be gained.
Rehearsals and performances create memories and friendships to be cherished forever. I love it when someone asks what I do and they reply, ‘I loved doing LAMDA when I was younger!’
Explore the anthologies further:
Monologues and Duologues for Young Actors and Monologues and Duologues for Teenage Actors are now available to order through the LAMDA online store. The books are designed to provide options for Learners’ own-choice pieces, and to spark your curiosity beyond the LAMDA Exams set piece selections.