Eloy Verstraeten, acting in English and French Student in Paris now in London
- Can you tell us about your background before starting your studies in the Acting in English department at Cours Florent in Paris?
I come from Charleroi in Belgium from a Dutch mother and a Belgian father. My three siblings and I went to school both in French and Flemish and are quite similarly passionate about travelling, languages and creativity. In 2007, I started studying International Management both in French and English at ICHEC in Brussels and ended up in 2012 with a Master’s Degree and a specialization in Developing Countries Management. This led to a first four months job in Brussels before improvising a one-week workshop at Cours Florent in December 2012 that would quickly start my two and a half years adventure in Paris.
- How did your training at Cours Florent prepare you for your current life in London?
Acting in English has been for me the most valuable preparation towards my Master’s at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, a drama school in London, (I finished in London in 2016). Its approach of English literature and acting methods (Stanislavski, Meisner, Laban, Alexander…) opened my eyes towards something new and offered a broader vision than what I could find in my French classes. Nevertheless, those courses also helped me gain knowledge on different aspects of the art of acting thanks to the multiculturalism and the various backgrounds of its teachers.
- Why did you decide to build your career both in Paris and in London?
The job is hard! The more doors you can open, the more chances you give yourself. Moreover, it is very important for me to enlarge my opportunities but also the skill-set in order to be as flexible as possible. On top of that, the London scene is very attractive and different than the one in Paris. Their cinema industry is also way larger than in France and in my opinion very qualitative.
- What do you remember about your first workshop experience at Cours Florent?
My very first souvenir was with Antonia Malinova and the discovery of Anton Chekhov. It was a liberating experience to enjoy the playfulness of the writing and dig into the different characters. Also, Marc Bell and Stephen Jameson have had their impact during AIE workshops and brought a real piece of London and Shakespeare to Paris on those occasions.
- What advice would you give a future workshop participant/student at Cours Florent?
Open your ears, your eyes, your hands… throw it all in. Everything is to take. And don’t be scared to give. Go on stage. Playfulness is key. And keep the focus. Enjoy!
- Do you have any ongoing projects or upcoming ones?
For the moment, I am organizing writing workshops to keep creating and bring friends together on stage. And besides small productions in various theatres in London, I did take part in the movie “Polina” by Olias Barco, which should be released in 2018.