Budding Bearsden actress graduates from world-famous RADA - with some advice for other young hopefuls hopefuls

If at first you don’t succeed … be like Rachael McLaren who graduates this year from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 9:50 am
Rachael McLaren RADA

The talented young Bearsden student refused to give up after trying for four years to get into the world-leading drama school.

Rachael, who is in her third and final year at RADA, told the Herald: “I auditioned every year from the age of 17 and seven years later, here I am nearly finished my training!”

The young drama student has been involved in theatre since the tender age of eight.

She said: “I always knew I would end up at drama school. I hope to do outreach work in Glasgow once I graduate to teach young people that nothing is impossible.”

Her message to aspiring thespians is “don’t give up”.

Rachael told the Herald: “There is an aura of prestige attached to the RADA name but I want to break that idea down.

"It creates an ‘out of reach’ mindset and I want to encourage any aspiring actors or technical creatives that it is not out of reach.

"I will definitely be doing workshops back home once I graduate and would love more Scottish people to be accepted into the school.”

Rachael added: “Training to be an actor is a mystery to people who aren’t involved in that creative world but it really is a ‘training for life’.

"I strongly feel that acting is a way to tell stories with purpose and change society.”

Training during the last year has been a challenge for acting students because of covid.

Rachael said: “RADA had a nine-week online term in the first week of lockdown that consisted of zoom classes.

"As zoom and online learning was novel at the time, it wasn’t as tough as it would be having to do that now. But it certainly was draining.

"Doing a voice and movement class on your own for example can be an isolating place, when you’re used to feeding off of the energy of others in a studio space.

"We then had a full 12-week term in person back in the RADA building before Christmas which was exciting because it had been so long since being there. We took all precautions expected and RADA was the only drama school not to have an outbreak.

"We were able to be ‘mask-less’ in the actual performances of King Lear which we were all very grateful for.

"I am now back in the building for my second term and masks and all precautions are still in place but it doesn’t feel as stressful. The sad reality of adapting to this pandemic!

"Our upcoming second third year show will be open to the public to watch which is very exciting.

"Live theatre has been so greatly missed and overall I feel extremely privileged to have had RADA as an anchor throughout this crazy time. I’m also so proud of what we, as a school and year group, have been able to achieve in spite of the chaos around us.”

Before she was accepted for drama school, Rachael completed a course called ‘Epic Stages’ at the National Youth Theatre in London in 2015. She was one of just 100 people chosen from 4,500 to take part.