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MonologueSlam UK at the Birmingham Repertory Company

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 22nd May 2014 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

During a recent visit to New York I went to a diner where the waiters are wannabe Broadway stars and sing when they are not serving their customers, hoping they may be discovered.

MonologueSlam

In the UK, however, aspiring actors, film makers, writers - and just about anyone else in the industry, don’t have to go to such lengths. They just need to apply for one of the many events organised by award-winning actors Fraser Ayres and Jimmy Akingbola under the umbrella of TriForce Promotions.

A few years ago Fraser, who also writes, directs and tutors, and Jimmy, AKA The Malick in BBC’s Holby City and Mick in BBC’s Rev, and now making a film with Dustin Hoffman, started a networking club for people in the industry to connect and make things happen. Now they not only have a monthly ‘Welcome’ social event in London but they have also created a platform for new writing, a short film festival, workshops and the MonologueSlam showcases for aspiring actors.

Held regularly in London, the Slam has also been to Los Angeles and Manchester and, last week, it made its Birmingham debut at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

As always there was a distinguished panel to judge the young hopefuls who opted for a one-minute or three-minute speech or an improvisation. This time it was the turn of actress Lorna Laidlaw (receptionist Mrs Tembe in BBC’s Doctors); Peter Lloyd, a senior producer from the BBC; Hannah Miller, head of casting at the RSC; agent Siobhan Kendall, and Tessa Walker, associate director of Birmingham Rep, to pick out the best from 22 competitors who ranged from an 11-year-old to young actors who already run their own companies.

I’ve been to one of these MonologueSlams before and it’s amazing, and invigorating, just how wildly enthusiastic and supportive the audience can be, and how diverse and well-performed the audition pieces are.

The evening, however, is no doubt inspired by Jimmy (known in the industry as Mr Nice), who began his career at the Birmingham Rep in Bill Alexander’s The Nativity in 1999.

Said Jimmy at the last MonologueSlam I went to: “These (MonologueSlams) help you as actors. You are shaping your acting skills. We can’t promise you jobs, but things happen. Basically, it’s about doing it and whatever comes after is a bonus. It’s affecting and changing people’s lives in a positive way.”

This is live theatre in the raw, and things really do happen for people who choose to go to TriForce Promotions for help.

Log on to their website www.triforcepromotions.co.uk for future events and auditions.

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