Roberta Palumbo, Acting in English student 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 am half English/ half Italian and before starting the Acting in English course I had lived most of my life in Italy, studied History of Art in York, England and studied theatre in French for just one year at the Cours Florent. I used to be part of a circus performing arts group in Italy, which helped in my actor training, but I had very little experience in acting and never acted in English before Acting in English at Cours Florent.
- How did your training at Cours Florent prepare you for your current life in London?
I can confidently say that Cours Florent gave me a solid base for my current acting career in London and without it I would have never managed to enter the MA course in Acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
The Acting in English course was intense and very physical. It taught me to breathe and project properly through specific exercises that I still remember and do to this day;
It introduced me to interesting acting methods like Strasberg and Method acting;
It opened the door to the magical world of Shakespeare and taught me how to correctly approach his plays;
Most importantly it taught me to believe in myself and acknowledge that with great work and willpower every challenge can be surpassed.
- Why did you decide to build your career both in Paris and in London?
I always told everyone that I discovered my love for acting while I was in Paris after my university studies but the truth is I always wanted to act but I wasn’t confident enough and was too afraid to start acting in a language that was familiar to me so I thought that acting in French would help unblock my fears.
Indeed it did help but when I started to act in English I noticed it was much easier for me and I probably was better at it.
I therefore felt that moving to London could create new experiences and open more doors for me in the acting world.
In addition, the teachers at Cours Florent are so skilled and passionate that they transmit an infectious passion for Acting in English.
Claire Olivier introduced me to a new world of training and Isabelle Duperray helped me prepare monologues to enter drama schools in London.
I now finished my MA in Acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts a year and a half ago and since then it has not been easy but I have played a lead role in an indie feature film, a lead role in a short film and I will soon play the role of Liccia in a short film about Italian prisoners of war in England during WW2.
Once I gain more experience in London I hope to soon return to Paris so I can have solid working experiences in both countries.
- What do you remember about your first workshop experience at Cours Florent?
I remember that there was this incredible energy in the room and on our first lesson we started playing very physical games and then the teacher asked us one by one to go on stage, introduce ourselves and explain why we want to act and what would we like to take with us from Acting in English.
It is really funny to think back at that day because back then I couldn’t see the reason why we were playing those games.
I am now ironically a drama teacher myself here in London and not only I use many of the exercises learnt at Cours Florent but I know how those warm up games are essential for focusing, energizing and creating that ensemble feeling with the other students that is so important in theatre.
- What advice would you give a future workshop participant/student at Cours Florent?
DO acting in English. Try to always be focused, available, positive, attentive, help the other students and grab all the knowledge and skills you can from the teacher.
Every single exercise and feedback is invaluable.
Try and write the exercises too if you can because you can use them for your own practice later on.
Be on time and always dress for class appropriately (normally it used to be gym wear).
Finally, be prepared, work hard and do not be afraid of failing or taking risks.
It is the best way to improve and discover your capabilities.
- Do you have any ongoing projects or upcoming ones?
Yes, in April I will be playing the role of Liccia in a short film called the “The Deal” directed by emerging director Marco Petrucco and funded by the Isle of Man.
It is a short film about Italian prisoners of war in the Isle of Man and I play the wife of the main character, an Italian young man who becomes a prisoner of war during WW2 in England.
I’ve also been cast for the role of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli in a feature film called “The Riviera Files” to be filmed in September.
Read Isabelle Duperray's interview, Headmistress of Acting in English Department