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30 Innovative Brands of the Year 2022

Democratising Theatre the Right Way: Act'in Theatre

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“Our objective is that of our students — to respect their rhythm and accompany them to discover themselves, to surpass themselves with the help of our exercises and techniques.”

Act’in Theatre, a London-based bilingual theatre company, offers drama and cinema workshops for everyone in the city. It was founded in 2015 by Candice Desmet — a French origin actress, theatre artist and an emerging entrepreneur. She’s an open-minded, people person.

To highlight and further understand what Act'in Theatre stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Ms. Desmet. Below is an excerpt.

Head to Head with Candice Desmet

Q. What’s Act'in Theatre known for? And how uniquely does the company prepare actors seeking theater, improvisation, and cinema lessons?

Act'in Theatre is a bilingual company based in London. It has a reputation for providing a quality service in a friendly atmosphere in the heart of London.

Act'in Theatre is for people who don't want to make a living out of acting, but who want to practice an artistic activity in a friendly group. Our school aims to offer a place and space of total freedom; a place without judgment, where expression and creativity are the key words. Our workshop groups are small to personalise our courses as much as possible. Our objective is that of our students — to respect their rhythm and accompany them to discover themselves, to surpass themselves with the help of our exercises and techniques.

Q. How do you plan and run your workshops?

Our workshops are formed in small groups to personalise them as much as possible. We always start with a moment of relaxation and then move on to exercises to explore and manage interactions, control communication, and emotions. Then we finish with a short play. In the acting world, our ‘tool’ is us. It is therefore important to understand, control, and accept ourselves completely.

Eighty-five percent of the texts I work on are my own. I have written about 50 sketches for the drama workshops and written six plays for the end-of-year shows. This makes it possible to balance the characters’ interventions (no main roles in the plays) and to structure the objective of the sketches and plays (to insist on certain types of emotions, acting, etc.).

Q. Where does Act'in Theatre stand at the moment relative to other participants in the industry?

We are one of the three largest French-speaking theatre companies in London. We have been based in the heart of the capital since 2015. We manage to grow every year while keeping our core identity: friendliness and proximity.

Q. From your perspective, how is the industry you serve currently evolving? And what are the trends in the different categories?

With the pandemic, we are one of the sectors most affected. In order to adapt as well as make things possible, we have had to evolve, for example, by developing digital theatre. After all, artistic creation is our leitmotiv so we are not afraid of change, but let’s not forget the human contact, the direct exchange, and the sharing.

Q. How do you plan to counter challenges that you think Act'in Theatre might face in the next five years?

Diversity and specialisation! Besides, we plan to expand our footprint to other countries and develop our specialities and offers to individuals and businesses alike. That’s how we are countering challenges that might come our way.

Importantly, one can dream of development and progression, but it is difficult to anticipate the future. Therefore, the best way for Act'in Theatre to counter challenges is to preserve its identity and foundations.

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

Act'in Theatre is a company democratising theatre; making it accessible to everyone. Public speaking, body language, voice, breathing, etc. techniques are not specific to professional actors. They can be used in different strata of everyday life. At the end of the day, there is no difference between life and acting, so dare!

Candice Desmet | Founder

Candice Desmet started taking acting classes in France while studying biology. She has been involved in various theatre and film projects across France: Nantes, Paris, etc.

When she arrived in London in 2012, she got her first role in the feature film NABORU by Stéphane Morel Mogoma and joined an improvisation troupe: French British Improvisation (shows in London, France, and Morocco) and a theatre company such as Excuse My French, among others.

In 2015, she opened Act'in Theatre where she invested a lot of her time and energy. For two years now, she has been slowly getting back in touch with the stage as a special Europe micro-theatre tour in the Grand-Est of France. As well as a short film and teaser shoots as a model and actress in English and French. Her projects include a play in France in 2022 with the troupe “La Petite Flamme” in France and a TV Show project in late 2021-2022 in English for a major broadcaster.

“We are one of the three largest French-speaking theatre companies in London. We have been based in the heart of the capital since 2015. We manage to grow every year while keeping our core identity: friendliness and proximity.”