October 28, 2020


These days we have a whole world waiting to judge others but how can they do that without knowing them? And can you ever know anyone else? The old Native American saying “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you judge” seems a good place to start.

As a young drama student, I used to do this for real. I used to walk quite a way behind someone and try to capture their way of walking without anyone, especially them, realising. If you do this, you discover that the walk can change everything. A bit like putting on your best clothes or wearing a uniform – you just feel different. The famous actor Sir Lawrence Olivier used to say that he couldn’t live the character until he got the walk.

As a performer it’s your job to become someone else. That’s not easy at first because that means you somehow have to escape being yourself. You might have the script, the song words or the dance but how can you stop being you and become them? Aren’t you trapped by being yourself? Well yes but it’s mainly down to the power of your imagination. You may be playing the part of a murderer, but you don’t have to commit murder to play the character.

If your job as a performer is to take us, the audience, somewhere else then we are only going to do that if you the performer believes in the reality of that person or the feeling they have. At a simple level didn’t we all do that aged three when we pretended to be a shopkeeper or a customer or a teacher and a pupil? This was called playing or acting out.

“perhaps it’s the best part of us to be able to lose a sense of yourself and gain a bit of someone else – if just for a moment”

When we learn to perform, we are still players, still acting out but maybe a bit more thought out. It is a pretence; it is imagined but it’s what connects us to other human beings. Perhaps it’s the best part of us to be able to lose a sense of yourself and gain a bit of someone else – if just for a moment. And if we can capture the feeling of that person and share it with an audience than we have made something special – especially if we make that audience feel it as well.

So, if at a distance, just for a few steps, you imitate someone’s walk don’t just move, try to do the harder thing of sensing what it is to be them, how they might feel at this moment. And wonder why.

I’m thinking the world needs some of this.

For 28 years Theatretrain Performing Arts Schools have been providing superior quality classes in acting, singing, and dancing to 4 –18-year olds. Our theatre schools provide young people with an opportunity to develop their life skills and explore the world in which they live. To find your nearest centre please visit www.theatretrain.co.uk. 

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

Related Articles

Winners and Losers

Ringing in our ears are the sights and sounds of the Euro Cup Final and the England Men’s Football team. Today, we announce our theme for next year: Winning and Losing. But let's highlight a different winner: Gerardine Sacdalan, an ex-Theatretrain student, who has just opened in the title role in &Juliet on a nationwide tour. Her journey exemplifies the true essence of dedication and success.
Read more >

The Greatest Love

In the late 80s, Kevin Dowsett would have made more money if he had a pound for every audition featuring The Greatest Love of All. The lyrics, while sometimes seen as cheesy, truly resonate. He witnessed many off-key renditions, but one moment at the Royal Albert Hall transformed the song into pure magic.
Read more >

Break a Leg    

Kevin Dowsett, Theatretrain's Artistic Director, delves into the intriguing origins of "Break a Leg" and shares his recent experience watching Madagascar Junior by Waltham Forest Theatretrain. His heartfelt reflections highlight the joy of seeing young performers grow, their ensemble spirit, and the bittersweet farewell to long-serving student Ben Owen as he heads to university. Break a leg to all our talented performers!
Read more >

Meeting in the Middle

Theatretrain Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett, explores the significance of space and personal boundaries in British culture, linking it to theatre training. On National Handshake Day, he reflects on the handshake's role in defining personal space, from crowded trains to the stage. Discover how stagecraft teaches us to own our space confidently.
Read more >

In the Room    

Welcome to Theatretrain's blog! Kevin Dowsett, the Artistic Director, shares his recent experience returning to the classroom. In a movement workshop at The Place in London, he worked with a Laban expert from Brazil, exploring creativity through movement. Discover how these exercises inspired flexibility and connection, and the lasting impact they had on him and his peers.
Read more >


Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, recently attended a captivating production of Matilda Jr. The young cast, many performing for the first time, dazzled with their enthusiasm and stage presence, especially during those powerful songs. 🌟 From Roald Dahl's book to Tim Minchin's musical, Matilda's charm continues to captivate audiences. 🎶✨
Read more >