Policy Cygnet accepts flexible young actors with a mature attitude who are expected to work with a fully professional commitment from their first day. High standards of technique and flexibility are aimed for and, amongst others, the disciplines of Stanislavsky and Michael Chekhov are in constant use. Cygnet has good professional standing as a touring company and aims to provide maximum contacts and work opportunities for its actors at the end of their three years with the Company. The ethic on which the Company's work is based is strongly influenced by Peter Brook.
Because Cygnet's method of training in a working theatre environment is unique, it is not a conventional drama school. Cygnet actors have an exceptionally high success rate in obtaining professional work as a result of appearances and contacts made during training and as a result of the professional polish that so much experience of public performance gives them.
This, and the fact that the fees are low because the actors are in part working for their training, should encourage local education authorities to give financial help to applicants who obtain places, of which there are only eight each year.
The Trustees and staff of Cygnet feel strongly that, in the present economic climate, worthwhile and meaningful theatre needs nurturing for the future, for the sake of both actors and audiences. The fact that Cygnet's training includes touring and day-to-day working experience in a theatre company, gives new actors the necessary knowledge to generate work of their own if they wish to do so.
The Company Founded in 1980, the Company grew out of an association between Monica Shallis, Mary Evans and the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, then under the direction of Richard Digby Day. Cygnet has since grown into a full-time training company with its own Studio Theatre. It functions as a small-scale touring company, drawing its members from all over the UK and abroad. Applicants must be 18 or over. There is no set upper age limit and Cygnet's training is suited to a wide age range of actors, from school-leavers to mature students.
No specific academic qualifications are required but adaptability, stamina and a good sense of responsibility and personal discipline are essential.
Professional acting course Formal training in voice, movement, music, dance etc are all part of the daily work of the company but rehearsal and performance remain strong features of the experience-based training. First year actors play small parts proceeding via medium roles and video film experience during the second year to leading roles chosen to give them the best possible showcase during the third year. Each year is divided into three terms of 12 weeks, and in-house performances and touring in the South-West during the remaining weeks. In the summer term there is more extensive touring, often including open-air performances, and the Company usually takes one or two productions to the Edinburgh Festival or to London.