Orange County School of the Arts

A RAD(A) summer

The summer in London is quite an experience—bustling city streets, skyscrapers reaching into the warm night sky, and constant chatter. One OCSA student is in the middle of it all. Jamie Ostmann, who will graduate from the Film and Television Conservatory in 2017, is spending her summer in London at the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts.

A picturesque London view

Established in 1904, the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts is an esteemed vocational school. While researching summer programs in acting, Ostmann came across the RADA program. Ostmann describes herself as “in love” with Shakespeare, so she was particularly eager towards the program that focused on Shakespearean acting. Students have classes for at least two hours that focus on techniques for Shakespearean acting as they focus on specific scenes and monologues. The rest of the day, other classes cover everything from “clown to stage fighting.”

The Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts

Moving nearly 6,000 miles away isn’t easy though. Ostmann describes London as “quite a culture shock.” She writes, “Practically, everything is in reverse. They drive on the left, which you would think wouldn’t be a problem if you’re not driving, but by extension, everything else is backwards too. Stairs, grocery shopping, and crossing the street all present a new challenge. The people in London tend to view Americans as loud and pushy, which isn’t necessarily untrue. But when in London, do as the Londoners do, so I now talk more softly and use words like ‘cheers.’”

But these challenges haven’t been without rewards. Ostmann describes the amazing opportunities as “life changing,” particularly a master class with actress Michelle Terry. Terry, a Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts Alum, is an esteemed actress who’s “played most of Shakespeare’s women” and won an Oliver Award, the British equivalent of a Tony. Ostmann is also enthusiastic to get to play Beatrice (her “favorite literary character of all time”) in an excerpt from “Much Ado About Nothing.”

michelle terry
Michelle Terry in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The list of RADA alumni includes famous actors like Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hiddleston, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Alan Rickman, and more. You can expect to see the name “Jamie Ostmann” on that list pretty soon.