Be weird, wear all the colours, burst into song….

Our community is diverse and creative with many of our Students working professionally, creating their own work alongside their training….as well as working ‘muggle’ jobs too. Marketing team and Core Student Natalie Durkin talks juggling, inspiration, emotions and sleeping!
Why training?
I originally did a performing arts degree at university and moved to London a few years after to pursue a musical theatre career. When I got to London I realised I wanted to keep finding new ways to develop and grow, I believe that being in class helps keep my ‘muscles’ flexible. When I did the foundation course something about the work here really resonated with me. As a musical theatre actress it is quite easy to have your attention on yourself and the simplicity of placing your attention on a partner allowed me to feel less self conscious on stage.
Once I’d completed the foundation it took me a while to commit to the Core Training. As much as I loved the work, as a working actress I was worried about the implications of a 10 month course. We have a huge amount of students at Actors’ Temple who are working – even our teachers are still working professionally and I think that made it clear to me that the training can work alongside your career. Another penny that dropped for me was that I regularly go to singing lessons because it’s so important to maintain your instrument and I realised that was the same for acting.
What is the best part of the training?
The freedom to really experience a huge range of truthful emotions. In daily life we have so many societal expectations and responsibilities it’s actually exhausting. The freedom to express how you feel is so liberating – it’s almost like a high. It has also really helped me feel more confident walking into an audition room as I know my job is to put my attention on my partner and go from there.
What is the hardest part?
This work is very deep and raw. I remember thinking during my foundation that I would never stop crying….. I did. I think what I found is that when you’re not used to expressing how you truly feel it breeds fear of the unknown. Will I be able to control myself if I let go? Will the pain stop? But the more regularly you experience the unknown the less scary it becomes.
I also experience what I have named the ‘Rep Hangover’ – If you don’t fully express everything during a rep it can linger or pour into your daily life which makes it hard to separate the work. I now make sure I give myself the permission to limit this, it doesn’t always work but the awareness always helps me to recognise the missed moments.
How do you juggle training and work?
I’m very lucky to work in the Actors’ Temple office however I also teach Singing at Italia Conti so I’m constantly on the go! I also audition regularly and produce my own work and festivals so I have actually found the training has helped with this.
I’m a bit of an overthinker/worrier and find myself constantly distracted panicking about something that is happening, tomorrow, next week, next month. The training has helped me focus on the moment in hand, moment by moment. I also find it’s really important to find a good work life balance. Acting is a full time job so getting a day job that doesn’t sap your energy is a priority.
Another thing which I try and keep on top of is remembering that sleep is important… and that if my body is telling me i’m tired…..sleep!
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
I’m massively passionate about representation and am proud to have worked on the Accalia Arts Festival this year which showcased female-led work. I also performed in 110 in the Shade at The Rose and Crown which was so much fun. Another thing I try to be proud of is getting to finals/recalling for jobs – it’s important to celebrate the small wins alongside the big ones.
If you could write a letter to your younger self what would it say?
Oh goodness so much. Don’t worry about ‘fitting in’ – you are different and celebrate that. Be weird, wear all the colours, burst into song…. life is too short to worry about about what other people think. I’d remind myself to stop comparing, my journey is completely different to anyone elses, don’t judge yourself for not ‘achieving’ by societies standards. You are enough….and don’t give up.
Any advice for someone considering training at The Actors Temple?
Take the leap and do it! This work is about being fearless and taking that leap into the unknown – embrace it.
What’s next for you?
Now that Accalia Arts festival has come to an end I’m looking forward to have a small summer break before getting back into organising. Keeping up with my auditions and training and I’m hoping to do a little travelling!
Want to take the leap? Call the studio on 0203 004 4537 today to find out more!
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