Confidence as a look comes much easier than the inner feeling of self belief and self worth. As performers you are trained to look confident, believe in your character and make others believe too. Without this, the performance wouldn't come alive!
I guess this also doubles up as a description for masking. The ultimate tool in the kit for J. He is so good at masking people can doubt his diagnosis and describe him as confident and self assured. As J will tell you, it is all in the look. And whilst he has every right to be confident in his ability to perform, he doesn't always feel it and he's not quite in the right place to fully understand what he is feeling instead. Emotions are a minefield and with a racing mind and a literal interpretation it is practically impossible for him to dis-cipher.
Over the holidays J went on a journey to discover more about himself. It involved a residential theatre school with BYMT that he was awarded a place on through audition and some more in-depth work with Triple A Performer.
The theatre residential brought opportunities that every young performer would benefit from. Not only did it provide the obvious theatre training but also life skills beyond measure. Young people of various ages, difference and culture under one roof learning about each other and the art of respect and self belief. J came away with a fuller understanding of difference and how mutual respect plays a huge part in our social society. The end performance was also phenomenal made better by 18 months of pent up energy from being unable to get on that stage!
J has also been hard at work recording training videos on neurodivergence in the performing industry, getting ready for our project launch ( date to be revealed soon!) The videos are complimented by infographs and a training pack that will become available for all theatre schools for free. To compliment this further, J has started to interview other neurodivergent performers/actors and these fabulous insights to the industry and real life experiences are available on the You tube channel alongside the training videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkBgWf9hg0nzyPLiURvVaQA
If you are interested in receiving more information for a theatre/ acting school, or would like to be interviewed please make contact on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are positive that the benefits of this project will make such a difference but we didn't give enough credit to the fact that J would also learn so much about himself too. Hearing other neurodivergent performers talking about their difficulties and how they overcome them has given him a realisation that he isn't on his own and that his struggles are real. However, his dream is still very much in reach and his struggles will become his strengths. We are already seeing this as he starts his professional journey.