Performer Remi Rachuba moved countries, switched careers and studied in the UK as a mature student to make his acting dreams come true. He shares his journey as inspiration for anyone hoping to do the same.
In my opinion, when a drama school auditions you, you also audition the school.
Having moved to Scotland from Poland in 2005 to build upon my existing eight-year teaching career, I’d never have imagined I would end up where I am now: acting.
Acting is something I’ve always wanted to do but in my home country, I’d been told I should abandon my dream. Three months after my arrival in the UK, I got a small part in a semiprofessional production of Volpone at the Ramshorn Theatre in Glasgow and it made me realise that making my acting dreams come true was possible.
I had been teaching English in Glasgow’s schools for three years before I did a short t acting course at RADA. It was after that experience that I decided to take the plunge and audition for drama school. I had previously taken part in various acting courses in London and New York so when an offer came from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) to study on their brand new one-year MA Classical and Contemporary Text programme, I accepted it gladly. For me, the course was right for a few reasons:
- Practicality, as I was already living in Glasgow
- The school’s reputation
- The uniqueness of the course.
At my audition, I had a nice wee blether with the three-member panel (which included Hugh Hodgart, the current Director of Drama) before delivering a contemporary and classical monologue. They drilled me about the speeches, which I then had to deliver in various circumstances. This was followed up by two improvisations with another auditionee.
The panel was very interested in me as a human being, what made me tick, what I liked about people etc. – something I didn’t experience at other drama schools. In my opinion, when a drama school auditions you, you also audition the school. You get a feel of the place and meet the teachers and students. I auditioned at four drama schools but it was only the Conservatoire that had this down-to-earth vibe.
The programme put a huge focus on new writing and classical text, a collaboration with the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland and three leading Scottish playwrights. In my year we worked with David Harrower, Linda Mclean and Douglas Maxwell, plus a month’s residency at the Globe was the cherry on the cake! I learnt a lot from theatre practitioners and it opened my eyes to a lot of creative processes that I hadn’t been familiar with before but came in handy when I started creating my own work.
Whilst at the Conservatoire, I fell victim to assault. I never thought I’d create a piece of theatre out of it but I found the experience became the foundation of my bilingual English-Polish solo-piece titled lntruder/lntruz. Over the years, I went through various aspects of the theatre-making process from Research and Development (R&D), redrafts, rehearsed readings, assembling a team, and becoming a producer of my work. However, when the solo-piece got to the BBC Writersroom Drama final shortlist, I took further steps to stage the play. One of them was submitting an Arts Council of England application for a UK tour of two versions of the piece (the play has a Polish version as well). So when Arts Council England granted me funding towards the full production of my play after a re-submission, I was over the moon.
Unfortunately, after the first week of lntruder/lntruz rehearsals, we needed to stop due to C-19. ‘Creative-19’, as I’m referring to the pandemic, has had a profound impact on my creativity, part of which is releasing Intruder- Theatre in the Making, a podcast about the various aspects of the epic journey of my play.
For anyone else thinking of moving from abroad to work in the UK I’d recommend looking into selfemployment and things like invoicing, single-entry ledgers, income, expenditures, selfassessments. Many actors in the UK have two or three jobs e.g. working as a barista, which would qualify as employed income. However, when a voice over job comes, an invoice needs to be raised. Doing your own accounts is cost-effective and can save money.
I’ve found that bilingualism has many advantages; you can do voice overs, be an interpreter, a translator or even a community manager on social media platforms. The opportunities are vast and for storytellers, it’s a great source of material.
Making your acting dreams come true may take time but when you focus on your passion, people will notice and help you. The universe may very well chip in too.
Remi Rachuba is an actor originally from Poland. Since graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he has appeared in ‘Before I Sleep’, ‘In the Beginning was the End’ by dreamthinkspeak, worked with Katie Mitchell on ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at the Royal Opera House and been selected to the Berlin Talents at the Berlin International Film Festival. His solo-piece lntruder/lntruz was on the final shortlist in the BBC Writersroom Drama. His new podcast is available at www.intruderplay.com.
Headshot by Benjamin Matthews.
Main image by Adam Marikar via Unsplash.