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<September 2018>

Nobody Puts the Babies in the Corner

Published on 22 August 2017

"I want to act"

Whenever adults peered over me and asked me what would I like to be when I grow up, I answered within a heartbeat. I wasn't boasting or trying to impress with my far-fetched dreams. Nor was I joking or shy to answer the question. I just answered. Because to me it was just a fact, I loved performing so it seemed like a logical answer to one day become an actor. Eventually I started to clock the way the patronising adult, all smiles and bent knees would suddenly stand straight and with their raised eyebrows would proclaim,

"Gosh", "Wow" and "Are you now?"

As a kid I used to think it was because I'd impressed, picked an interesting and suitable career. It wasn't until I was 13 and a choice was laid out before me that I realised why they'd reacted in awe.

"Choose your options. The path to your career starts here."

It was the end of Year 9 and if you didn't have a clue what you wanted to be you were lost and if you did have an idea then you had your fingers crossed you wouldn't change your mind when it was too late. But as people chose Science and History it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks how unrealistic my dream was. How the hell does someone become an actor?

Considering my dreamy career aspirations, I wasn't a stupid kid; I knew how to keep my head out of the clouds. But it was as if I'd got so caught up in my passion and determination that I hadn't really thought about how I would do it. Sure I'd attended a couple of dance clubs and auditioned for all my school plays but I suddenly knew it was without a doubt, not enough. My mum was beyond her depth, most drama schools and clubs would leave a hole in your house never mind your pocket. So what was I supposed to do?

Despite my lack of answers I pushed the nasty fear of the unknown to the back of my mind and chose the subjects I wanted. I thought about a younger, littler me and how confidently she would have picked what she loved. In my opinion, it's better to be doing what you love rather than a job you despise out of fear of failure. A few months later I found myself performing for the first time on the Royal Court Theatre's main stage.

Youth Theatre on stageYouth Theatre on stage

A short play about a girl with magical tears was pretty much doomed from the get go. But hell, when you get a bunch of 13 year olds to devise a piece of theatre they aren't going to make a masterpiece. But through that devised piece I learnt how much I could love the entire theatre process and it drove me to want to do better. So when I was asked if I wanted to join the Royal Court Youth Theatre (RCYT) beyond the short access weeks I'd stumbled upon, I leaped.

I attended the RCYT for just over four years. I performed in four full out performances on the main stage and a showcase. From Dreamchild to Badfellas the shows became an obvious reflection for me on how I and the Youth Theatre grew. With each performance, we became stronger tighter and more professional. However, it wasn't till the time had come to choose yet again that I realised how much the Royal Court had supported me. Now I was 17 and needed a plan of action for university, another brick wall. Or at least I thought.

On Stage during Badfellas

On stage during Badfellas (2015) where Amara played Tinkerbell

When I started writing a plan for my personal statement I realised how much experience the Youth Theatre had truly gave me. I'd not only performed in the annual shows but I'd also performed in numerous charity performances such as a flash mob, a street performance and a choir piece or two. I'd played a role in the Terriers short film, acquired a peer mentoring qualification, participated in master-classes with professional lighting and sound designers and even performed in the official Christmas show Pharaoh cross the Mersey.

Lindzi Germain starring in Pharaoh 'Cross The Mersey

On stage during Pharaoh 'Cross The Mersey (2015) with Lindzi Germain (centre) and Amara Bjorkhaug (left)

I looked back and thanked fate for letting me stumble upon the Royal Court Theatre because I had no idea the kind of experience you needed to apply to drama schools and universities. Without it I wouldn't be studying in London now and I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to even apply in the first place. I honestly believe the RCYT is an amazing place run by some of the best professionals in Liverpool. And what makes the Youth Theatre so awesome is that it's free.

The RCYT is one of a kind, it's the only free form of theatre and drama education available to young people in Liverpool. The numerous clubs and groups I tried over the years where impossible to keep up with financially. And even though my mum offered to try and keep up with the payments I chose the Royal Court! I chose it because it was run by real actors and directors and dance professionals and it felt like they wanted to be there, to teach you.

Royal Court Youth Theatre

Workshop at the Youth Theatre

So, no matter where I end up, whether I alter my career path or I end up in my dream job, the Youth Theatre helped me realise how much I could grow as an actor, as a person and how I could forward my own career. And most of the time I didn't even realise what I was learning because really, we were all too busy just having fun.

Amara Bjorkhaug

Check out our interviews with some of the members of the Royal Court Youth Theatre.  The Youth Theatre is open to young people aged 11 - 25 free of charge.  For more information about the Youth Theatre and how to join, click here.