What Is It Like to Study Theatre Sound Design? | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama


The Royal Central School of Speech and
Drama is an international leader in the fields of Performing Arts and Research.
It’s a rigorous and intense course that takes the student through every stage of
the design process that starts with text analysis, all the way through to
technical rehearsals. One of my students, Will, is working on a version of Hamlet’s
together with their director Geoff Colman. The first thing to understand is the
material of the production and show you’re working on and the context behind
it, before meeting the director and discussing their vision and seeing how
your visions match up. Once the vision is clear I can go away and experiment with
sound design and and try it out in rehearsals I try and see how I can support the show
through sound, and then create a powerful experience for the audience.
They’ll source, record, edit their own sounds and manipulate them and then take them into rehearsals to try out in real time, where they will then receive
feedback from the director. That’s really the key thing about being a sound
designer is being able to work creatively as a member of a creative team, with a
director. Once I sort of like decide what my designs, themes and elements
are I’ve also got to create a system that gets that across to you in the audience in the best way possible and with the support that Central gives you, it’s a safe
environment to experiment with the system and what find out what works best for your design. It’s very much hands-on, so it’s very much learning
through the experience of doing. It’s that experiential learning that sets
our students up to succeed after they graduate and begin their professional
careers because they know what it takes. Sound to me is the most important
element in the rehearsals because without it I can’t dream, I can’t imagine
the world that I’m trying to create and nor can the actors. The sound is the
world of the play and therefore we need to make it this three-year specialised course gives
you the freedom to explore that discipline as much you want, which means that I’m not focusing on lighting and stage management, I’m just doing sound.
After graduation you come out as a fully fledged practitioner, ready to work in
the industry. It’s the perfect experience.

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