The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) is an arts conservatoire that has produced household names ranging from Anna Chancellor to David Oyelowo to Benedict Cumberbatch. Achieving a LAMDA qualification demonstrates that a young person has the confidence, skills and self-empowerment to “delve into a character” and own a dramatic role. At Halcyon, we are pleased to offer a training programme for LAMDA exams.
Young people who want to succeed in LAMDA must be prepared to dedicate a significant amount of time to developing their skills and confidence. In the weekly lunchtime slot dedicated to LAMDA preparation at Halcyon, Ms Kelly Foster and her students engage in rehearsals, prepare two monologues each, practise voice exercises, conduct character work, and become more acquainted with staging considerations. All of this - an extensive programme of exercises led by our own trained practitioner - is at the core of how our students prepare to face LAMDA examiners at nearby examination centres.
How Halcyon’s LAMDA programme prepares students for success
Although students may self-teach in preparation for their performance - leading to the award of a bronze, silver, or gold certificate that adds UCAS points to university applications - it is the hard work and camaraderie of the Halcyon team that has led Ms Foster’s students to, as she explains, successfully take on the “high stakes” challenge of “meeting directors and performing in front of them.”
“I’m a practitioner, so I know what the examiners are looking for. We practice monologues, duologues, and devise our own pieces as part of the preparation process,” explains Kelly, “and doing this in a group is the best way to achieve results. We’re able to do a lot of voice work together - working on intonation, clarity of speech, using punctuation to deliver emotion, creating tension, using pause, hotseating, thought-tracking, understanding the characters and their relationships, expressing this through gesture… the students need to be trained to ask these questions about a text and a character.”
This thorough preparation will equip young performers to articulate answers to three questions during the LAMDA examination, often in relation to the staging and characterisation of the performance. It’s not just the theoretical background to theatre that students need to grasp, but the confidence to take ownership of their pieces - and Kelly explains that there are a number of opportunities that students can engage in at Halcyon to help them reach this stage.
Further support for LAMDA
“Students can take the School Show Exploration, where they can work with other students to perform short plays or devise their own pieces. They can also take Theatre Arts at Diploma Level!” encourages Kelly.
“Students can also make the most of their timetabled Theatre Arts lessons. In Grade 9 at Halcyon, every student creates their own monologue - this can be great preparation for LAMDA too.”
Kelly adds that students should, in their own time, use our vibrant city to go on theatre trips (view Last Minute for affordable tickets) and watch actors deliver performances on stage. A key part of this real-world preparation involves reading novels and plays (either in-person or via National Theatre Online); understanding how characters are created and drawn, and developing empathy for them.
“You can’t be an actor if you don’t read!” says Kelly. “You wouldn’t understand how to see the world from a different perspective - that’s absolutely essential.”
Beyond the world of theatre: what else LAMDA preparation brings
As well as preparing students for the LAMDA exams, Halcyon’s LAMDA programme provides students with a foundation to tackle unfamiliar challenges. As well as building confidence through ‘theatre sports’ - lighthearted warm-up games in which Kelly is a firm believer - the examination itself is a tough exercise that tests young people’s presentation skills.
“Putting something together yourself and presenting it to a stranger is a great learning experience, and one that we often find we need in working life!” Kelly explains.
We invite you to read more about Arts at Halcyon and our enrichment provision, and to explore Subjects to see how we support students with ambitions in STEM, languages, humanities, and more.