Izzie Tyner OE (2017) has just been accepted onto an MA Course at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts). Our Director of Drama, Kerry Robinson caught up with this inspirational young woman to ask her about her future ambitions and to discover how some of her experiences performing at Eltham College have influenced her.
KR: Congratulations on your recent success gaining a place on the MA course at RADA. What have you been up to since you left Eltham College?
IT: The support and guidance I received at Eltham gave me the confidence to go onto my undergraduate degree in Drama and Theatre at the University of Chichester. This was three years of theoretical and practical exploration of English and Drama. The degree allowed much more creative freedom to explore politics and themes that intrigued me and my time there was filled with successes (and failures!) but, most importantly, it gave me accountability as my own creative director. Chichester always prioritised the idea that they were not there to tell us what we should do, but to guide us in what we wanted to do, and that felt very valuable during my studies.
Since May, I have been writing for two review companies; I received my first paid and professionally published commission; I became a copy-editor for a student-led zine; hosted online zoom workshops; regularly wrote articles; and applied for my MA! As well as this busy schedule, I am currently working as a teaching assistant at a local secondary school with SEN children. This has given me a lot of purpose during the lockdown.
KR: What appealed to you about the course at RADA and what are your ambitions for the future?
IT: Sometimes we are often pressured to know what the next step is right away, but the pandemic involuntarily made me take a step back to reflect on what I wanted to do after graduating. Though I am grateful for my year of work at a school, it solidified my choice to specialise in an MA. Not only is RADA renowned for its top-tier training in the arts, but this MA sounded like the perfect step up, whilst also introducing elements I hadn’t focused on before. The MA Text and Performance runs in partnership with Birkbeck University, offering academic and practical guidance. I’m particularly excited about the movement and voice classes, but generally just can’t wait to be back in a creative space!.
I hope to pursue a career in dramaturgy (the theory and practice of dramatic composition), art journalism and theatre critiquing. But I wouldn’t rule out directing or producing either! The RADA MA is going to allow me, not only to work alongside creatives who are skilled and talented in different areas to me, but to take the most accountability for my work thus far. I’m very excited to begin in October!
KR: You came to the Edinburgh Festival with our Theatre Company Peake Productions as a student and then as an OE, what did you gain from the experience?
IT: Edinburgh is undoubtedly the highlight of my whole school experience, it brings complete nostalgia when I think back and, in all honesty, I can’t listen to certain songs from our productions because there are too many memories attached to the scores. I did my first Edinburgh debut in Sweeney Todd before I even joined the sixth form. I’d never had the feeling of a true cast bond before Sweeney Todd. We were completely dedicated to putting on the best show we could, supporting each other and being immersed in the magic of the fringe.
I took part in a further two productions, and each one presented its own challenges and rewards. I gained the most confidence I’d ever had during the rehearsal process. The patience and family-like environment allowed me to be inspired and committed in a safe space. If something went wrong during a rehearsal or a show, you knew that everyone there absolutely had your back and you were going to make it work…somehow!
Edinburgh has a special place in my heart and I’m so grateful to have been introduced to the fringe while being at Eltham and I hope to support and see future productions that Eltham take up. I dearly, dearly miss those rehearsals!
KR: When you were at Eltham, you gained distinctions in grade 8 in your LAMDA exams for both Musical Theatre and Acting. How did LAMDA develop you as a performer?
IT: Being a latecomer to LAMDA and jumping in at Grade 8 took a lot of guts for me to do, but this is where Eltham helped me. Alongside my A-levels, I wanted to gain as much experience of performing and reading plays before university and so LAMDA allowed me to have 1:1 feedback about my monologues and songs. The rehearsal process for these exams specifically strengthened my approach to characterisation, sub-text analysis and delivery.
I also loved using the time away from academic studies to express myself creatively in the school day, to go to the ABH and practically apply my skills. In the world of theatre, both academic and practical plays that I read in my LAMDA rehearsals are referenced, which shows the high standard of teaching I was lucky enough to have received.