When Saint Kentigern College year 13 student and aspiring actor Sam Ashton stumbled online across a young artist programme in Geneva, Switzerland, run by the prestigious Juilliard School, he set his sights on gaining a place.
The Juilliard School in New York is a world leader in performing arts education. Their mission is to provide the highest calibre of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens.’
What followed was an exhaustive process of submissions detailing Sam’s abilities as a thespian. Audition tapes included a monologue, a song, and an extensive self-introduction.
Sam heard the good news of his acceptance into the course during the last rehearsal for the school production of Fiddler on the Roof.
Beginning in the heat of a European summer in early July, each day began with a three-and-a-half-hour class in the morning which touched on different aspects of drama such as improvisation, stage-fighting, and team-building exercises.
The afternoon was devoted to preparing monologues, and in-depth script analysis which was a new experience for Sam, as he says “I had never done that kind of scrutiny of a text to that extent before and it is something that I will regularly put into my acting work from now on.”
At times the experience seemed surreal.
“Here I am, in Switzerland, being taught by teachers from Juilliard itself and professional actors alike. I am the luckiest person in the world!”