Sharing the most magical moment that can ever happen to an actor makes Mark McGann almost evangelical in his enthusiasm. He describes this moment as the point at which everything comes together in performance, when the actor is no longer being led by thoughts of where they’re supposed to be standing or what they’re supposed to be saying.
“It’s one of the most magical things that’s happened to me in my life,” he explains. “In my classes I describe it as ‘flying.’”
“The only thing I can parallel it with outside of the profession was the time when my father took the stabilisers off the back of my two-wheeler bike for the first time and I suddenly realised I was actually riding. It is so exhilarating.”
“As an actor you’re probably lucky if it happens to you on a dozen occasions in your whole career, but it only needs to happen once to be changed forever and I wanted to share that experience with people.”
“Even more than that, I wanted to let them know it was waiting for them if they followed a few rather simple acting techniques.”
It led to this member of one of Britain’s most famous acting families to set up Drama Direct 4 years ago
which has seen thousands of people benefit from Mark’s expertise and skill gained from many years in the business.
Surprisingly perhaps, those who sign up for the company’s various courses and projects like the Acting for Stage and Screen Masterclasses, aren’t all from theatrical backgrounds – though Mark is less surprised.
“The lovely thing about the process of acting is that it’s available to absolutely everybody, because we’re all born with the ability to do it, so we all can experience that feeling of the stabilisers coming off our bike and the sense of personal empowerment and exhilaration this brings.”
“I think this is one of the things that’s so exciting for me, if I see people coming from all walks of life into this class and taking something tangible away with them every single time.”
“In some ways it’s better if they come in with few preconceptions because it leaves them more open to sharing, discovering and taking direction.”
“One of the greatest thrills of all for me is watching how participants come together as a group.”
“There’s something about the rehearsal room environment which makes it arguably the most beneficial and enjoyable part of the process of acting. I think if professional actors were honest about it, the majority of them would say it’s probably the most rewarding of the process – even more so than being in front of an audience, first night notwithstanding!
“This is the thing I really wanted to share with people further afield. I wanted everyone to know the sense of privilege and excitement one feels to be a company member in the rehearsal room. This uniquely safe and nurturing environment, which is created through group trust and support, is not only incredibly empowering for all who participate but also enables us to examine some of the more extreme facets of our own humanity together, either through ourselves or others, in a way which leads to a shared experience that is unforgettable.
“If people then walk out of these classes and take some of these positive qualities into their own lives – I feel that I’ve done something that I can be truly proud of.”
email mark@dramadirect for further details or call 01373 471486