Whilst in London, I attended a 'four day acting course' at The Poor School. It was the only acting course I could find to squeeze in over the time I was there. What became obvious as time passed was this course is a selling tool for places in their long term programs.
The Poor School appears just as its name suggests: a run down venue with limited facilities and a challenging floor plan, to say the least. I'm not fazed by this though - NIDA originated in tin sheds and we all know constraints can help boost creativity. In general the staff were professional and experienced (especially voice coach Christian Fellner), but Paul Caister, The Poor School's founder and director... I don't believe so much in mollycoddling actors. Acting's a tough game and training should be challenging. But I do believe when I teach it is my responsibility to create a safe atmosphere where actors will develop freely and confidently. Paul Caister rules over his kingdom with impatience and sarcasm. Not at all my style.
In the last session on the last day, players gather to have their efforts brutally critiqued and places are offered to those worthy of the The Poor School's Two Year Training Course. In a way I admire their pluck. To have operated since 1986 in the heart of London's Kings Cross, they must be doing something right - albeit preying on London's desperate wannabe actors. I won't be taking the place in the Two Year Training Course that I was offered.