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  • NAB. Circle in the Square 10/08/2018  8:17am

    Can anyone let me know their thoughts or experiences of Circle. I am looking into going but am afraid most of the really interesting teachers are no longer there and don’t know how it is. Thanks

    When oh Wen

    If you have any professional experience or training, NO. There is so much kool-aid about how good the school used to be and how intense it is (oh but if you want to waste an hour of everybody's trying crying about it as a way to cover up the fact you simply weren't prepared for the scene, go right ahead. You'll be wildly praised for your emotional "honesty".) The wankfest is real and it's toxic.

    It is basically a how-to-get-into-a-real-college program with a majority of teachers who have been there for WAY too long (talking 40 years teaching the same thing as though the business hasn't changed and everyone still turns up in their jewel toned dress) and engage in damaging unsafe practices in the name of "technique". This ranges from the straight up verbal "You're too fat to be an ingenue" to an 20yo girl with a spectacular soprano and high belt, to encouraging a boy to punch a wall repeatedly, to telling a I-think-she-was-19? girl to demonstrate "the sound of her orgasm" before a sister scene where she defends her husband, because there's obviously no way she could understand what having a sexual relationship is without putting that on display in a classroom. But this was a man who idolised Marlon Brando and basically straight up says that if you're not in pain it's not real, so hey. Totes fine.

    The administration is (as all places I'm sure) understaffed and will reject any complaints brought to them by students as being "resistant" to the work. The teachers are not observed on any kind of annual basis and do not see each others' work, so they have a perfect excuse for never being aware of what goes on in their classrooms.

    There is little to no personal attention on technique when it comes to voice, and so the one-size-fits-all approach leaves most of the students struggling and vocally worse off than when they started. There are a couple of teachers there who are indeed great. They teach at other schools. Go to the other schools.

    All this said, some people love it. Going in from my 10+ years in the industry, I spent most of my time discerning between wank and "Oh great, there's a tool I can use" and "No, actually, you can't do/say that to a person let alone an actor anymore ..." I'm super fine with saying yeah, I fell for the hype when I got in, I was super excited. The reality is shockingly bad, with again, a few exceptions (and to be specific, the stage combat, dance, music theory - all the "extra" sort of classes that you only got an hour of once a week - were excellent, look up those teachers on their list and find out where else they teach).

    TLDR: F*** any school that prioritises its kool-aid "reputation" over the mental health and physical safety of its students.

    iKruse 10/10/2018  12:12pm

    A couple of things. 1 I never went to CitS. 2. What’s wrong with idolizing Marlon Brando? 3 They might not tell you you’re to fat to be an ingenue but they think it when you go to an audition and leave the room. Trust me. 4. How fragile is your mental health? The world doesn’t look to good and not everyone studied at Circle

    Oh and also 10/10/2018  12:26pm

    Re Marlon Brando, this was the kind of thing he would talk about being "committed to truth":

    Re mental health, that's my exact concern. I would hope anyone would be concerned, watching 18, 19, 20 year olds who don't have the capacity to tell a bully from a teacher getting told "this is the way the industry is". Again, if you have any professional background or training, you'll be better off because you'll know it's BS. But not everybody does or can.

    Re too fat to be an ingenue - the girl was a size 8. I didn't mention it because it shouldn't actually be relevant what her size was, especially given that that class was supposed to be song interpretation. This same teacher also told other girls they were too fat to wear a dress for their end-of-year showcase, scream at people through unscheduled extra dress rehearsals, and lose her shit at the accompanist on a regular basis. Super rational and professional.

    If it was just the one teacher like that, I'd say have at it with a caution. But more than half your day will be spent dealing with scenarios like the above, which is just a lot of unnecessary toxic drama. I was lucky enough to have attended other training and programs where all day every day was actually about the work (not the wank), so it's definitely possible to find amazing programs that come sans bullshit. The more you know!

    iKruse 10/10/2018  12:57pm

    Again I don’t really have much of a problem with Marlon Brando. I do believe that the actor should go through things otherwise he is just a representational artist and not creative artist. I think part of why arti is suffering so much is it is just surface. And again I’m not quite sure of your sense of what mental health is. Have you thought about therapy?

    Oh and also 10/10/2018  1:12pm

    LOL :P Thanks, your anonymous troll-posting is an inspiration for the importance of mental health.

    iKruse 10/10/2018  1:21pm

    Actually not trolling. I am more concerned when people throw around “mental health” and “bully”. You are entitled to you opinion. But then you start throwing around provocative knee jerk words in order to create an effect. I work on casting and I can tell you the issues you think are not on the table are on the table. Look at the stage look at TV. When we have to cast a trans actor do you think we look around and find some trans kidnon the street or do you think we look through model books. Don’t you think we choose a size xx because it’s in vogue. Come on get real. On one hand you think the schools is out of date and on the other it is telling you too much like it really is. In my opinion anyplace that goes out on a limb and tells you like me it is, is doing you a favor. They are not telling you that you won’t work, but that you might have to bring something different to the table. Like it or not

    Oh and also 10/10/2018  1:39pm

    Taking you with a handful of salt at your word - sure, and the teachers who are still actually out and active in the industry are great. They are the ones I specified above. Unfortunately, they are the minority at the school. My encouragement to the OP and any person seeking acting training is to look for a school where ALL the faculty are still out and working in the industry as it is today, so that, yes, outdated and unsafe practices are not part of the curriculum.

    Ultimately, I'm unsure as to why an anonymous "casting" person would question the mental health of any actor or person encouraging other actors to find the best and thriving environment for them to develop their craft in. So yes, I still call BS and wish you well in your "work on casting on the stage on the TV from vogue".

    iKruse 10/10/2018  1:51pm

    Wait isn’t Circle a drama school. I know it has a Musical dept. is the OP talking about the musical or the acting dept?

    even faker name 10/10/2018  3:46pm

    Ikruse. Don’t claim to be a Casting director in other post? What’s the deal?

    Oh and also 10/10/2018  3:53pm

    Circle definitely has its flaws, but the teachers and the training is excellent and if you want to become a better actor and can handle an intense training experience then it's a great choice to consider. The school isn't for everyone but the students that are chosen for the second year program and have graduated from Circle are some of the best actors I have seen.

    Dreaminggirl 10/10/2018  5:01pm

    Yikes, you really have nothing better to do, do you? Yep, I do indeed work both sides of the table. Well spotted. Bye-bye now.

    Good luck OP wherever you decide :-) you’ll rock it!

    iKruse 10/10/2018  5:37pm

    Ha Ha Ha busted

    even faker name 10/10/2018  5:45pm

    Busted? You do realise it's possible to do both, right? I work in casting as often as I get the opportunity to take on a project, I'm not claiming to work for TRC. Though, maybe one day! :)

    iKruse 10/10/2018  5:52pm

    To quote you" I still call BS and wish you well in your "work on casting"

    Oh and also 10/10/2018  7:30pm

    Well, yeah, I do indeed call BS. Not sure how that = busted. But your need to keep posting is making me sad, so look, here’s my email: Yup, it’s my real email, because idgaf. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, right? You can talk about the industry or what’s going on for you or whatever you want. But leave off the trolling so that OP has a chance of actually getting some more input on this, yeah?

    iKruse 10/10/2018  8:01pm

    Hello! As someone who is a recent alumni of this school, Id like to talk about a few things:
    Yes, Circle has its problems with the facilities, as a whole, which IS in the works of being fixed. They are trying to renovate and catch up on the "modern technology." HOWEVER, the education and training is beyond what I could have asked for. The personal efforts that the teachers put in for you (due to class size) is wonderful and directed towards helping YOU grow. You get out what you put in, which is what happens anywhere you go. Circle is for people with a willingness to learn. They give you TONS of techniques and training, so that you can choose what works for you and keep it in your "actor's toolbox," as they say. Spending 2 years at Circle is challenging, but the growth on an artistic and emotional level does people wonders. ALSO, speaking my opinion for the teacher who was slandered above for his "Marlon Brando" technique, Lady Gaga thought of him as the PEAK acting teacher, continually quotes him on social media, and if you've seen her recent performance in "A Star is Born," that should be enough.

    SpoopyQueen 10/10/2018  10:20pm

    To address the OP. Circle is a method based program. Using the work which was taught by Strasberg which means they are looking for something deep. If that isn’t of interest go somewhere else. The scene classes are there to help you learn how to breakdown a scene and achieve needs. Using sensory work to enliven the scene. So some of the other post seem to be reactionary to going deep in that way. Which is fine but this training is about access to that deeper self.

    Dustinseymorehoffman 10/11/2018  1:50pm