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We asked the graduate finalists at this year’s Spotlight Prize what is the most important thing they’ll take away from drama school.

The Spotlight Prize finalists come from some of the most prestigious drama schools in the country where they’ve spent years learning their craft and honing their skills. Fresh from their impressive performances at the Spotlight Prize and looking forward to a life after graduation, we asked them what lesson they learnt at drama school that they’ll take into their careers. Here’s what they had to say:

Keep learning after drama school

Bill Caple: I think a work ethic. Understanding that acting is a craft and theatre is an art form and that even though you graduate from drama school you’re not the finished product and that you still need to keep learning and keep training.

Be unapologetically yourself

Angela Jones: “The main thing that I think I’ve really reiterated in my learning at drama school is to just not be so apologetic, especially about who you are and especially if you know what you want to say and know your point of view.”

Blaize Alexis-Anglin: “If you’re not true to yourself, this is yourself, you, first and foremost, if you’re not true to that, how can you be true and genuine to anyone else?”

Victoria Wyant: “I, for one, spent so much of my life being like ‘oh people seem to really like that, I’m gonna try and be like that’ but actually you’re going to shine the most when you’re being yourself and you’re doing speeches that you connect to and that you feel passionate about, whatever that may be.”

Os Leanse: “Don’t try and make yourself more interesting than you are because fundamentally everyone is interesting, you don’t have to try and prove it.”

Imogen Ogden: “Own who you are, where you’ve come from and what you’ve experienced in life to get you there because that’s valid.”

Aaron Hodgetts: “Trust in my own image, and identity and how that correlates with my art. Since finishing drama school it’s never felt out of place and I know that my reason for making work and my reason for pursuing work is completely different to everyone else’s but that also works and that’s successful and it’s my own.”

Be open to possibilities

Blair Malone: “Being open, knowing that tomorrow could completely change and I change every day so it’s just to be honest with that and to be ready for whatever it is that’s around the corner.

Have fun!

Nina Mahdavi: “I think it’s really easy as an actor to take it all very seriously and drama school taught me to be playful.”

Lewis Shepherd: “It’s called a play. Play! Like have fun and that’s so much easier said than done but as soon as you start being like ‘I’m just gonna like do something weird’, do that. Have fun!”

If you’re thinking of going to drama school but aren’t sure where to start, we have helpful articles on formal training options for performerstips for auditioning for drama school and how to fund your training and performing arts career.

Alternatively, if you’re not sure that drama school is for you, take a look at our articles about improving your acting skills without going to drama school and alternative performing arts training available.

Photo credit: Joanna Nicole Photography