The range and ambition of an actor has changed hugely since RADA was set up in 1904. Adrian Lester presents three programmes following the progress of two present day students as they face the challenges of their training, set against the stories and very different approaches of the past 100 years.
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art was founded in 1904 by actor manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. For the past century, behind the masks of comedy and tragedy which adorn the entrance to this unpretentious building on Bloomsbury's Gower Street, generations of actors have learned their craft.
Richie Ridell from Sunderland and Yvonne Wandera from a Kenyan family are two of last year's intake of just 34 students out of over two thousand who auditioned.
This series follows their progress, eavesdropping on their classes, recording their highs and their lows. But how different is their experience to that of their predecessors? Intercut with Richie and Yvonne are the memories of past students before the First World War. Athene Seyler, class of 1908, and Fabia Drake, class of 1913, provide intriguing insights to the syllabus of their day.
As it celebrates its centenary, Adrian Lester follows Richie and Yvonne, two students coming to the end of their first year at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and compares their training to that of some illustrious predecessors, including Kenneth Branagh, Glenda Jackson, Richard Briers, Richard Wilson and, from the class of 1908, the much loved Athene Seyler.
After three years at drama school, Daniel and Georgina are about to become professional actors. Adrian Lester looks at their final weeks.
class of 1908, Athene Seyler.