The Arts & Everything in Between

September 5, 2023 | Duration: 22 mins

Rising Stars: A Conversation with Young Performers on Arts and Culture 2.0


Lizzie Austin
Elias Prosser
Chloe Wright

Being a professional artist has always been challenging but rewarding. It is a competitive industry, where you have to have persistence and a thick skin to make it. But what do young performers think about their future in the industry?

We sit down with three young actors Lizzie Austin, Chloe Wright and Elias Prosser who are embarking on the next phase of their careers and learn what they hope for in the future and what challenges they face. They share some of their wisdom and lessons learned.

We touch on why drama schools are important for a future in acting and hear about how many young actors are looking towards the small screen rather than the stage. We also talk about how the rise of new technologies has created shorter attention spans, but that even for young people – traditional theatre still has its place. 



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About Our Guests

Featured Guest

Lizzie Austin

Lizzie Austin is pursuing a BA in acting at East 15 and was most recently cast in Goodbye Rosetta.

Featured Guest

Elias Prosser

Elias Prosser is currently playing the Artful Dodger in Theatre Royal Brighton’s production of Oliver!, opening in 2024. He has also had roles in Grease and Sister Act. He is also planning on auditioning for drama schools this year with a focus on musical theatre.

Featured Guest

Chloe Wright

Chloe Wright is taking a gap year to focus on preparing for auditions and hopes to pursue a higher level degree in acting next year. She was most recently cast in Goodbye Rosetta.

Speaker A: Welcome to the Arts and Everything in between podcast brought to you by ticketsolve.

Priya Patel: Welcome to the Arts and Everything In Between podcast. I’m your host Priya Patel and I work on the communications and content side of Tickets Off. So in this episode, we thought it would be nice to get some fresh voices on the podcast and celebrate back to school given that it’s September. So today we are talking to Chloe Wright, Elias Prosser and Lizzie Austin, who are young performers just at the start of their careers. We’re going to be talking to them about their hopes and aspirations as well as understand a little bit more about the challenges they face as young performers. We’re also going to touch a little bit on technology and its impact on live theater and attention spans as well. Thanks TikTok. And we’re also going to chat a little bit about the importance of drama college in young performers careers and how that can help them kind of kickstart their careers.

Speaker C: Very welcome everyone. So I thought that we could kick off and maybe you could introduce yourselves, give us your name, explain what your plans are for next year, the areas that you’re most interested in terms of performing art. And maybe Chloe, we could start with you.

: My name is Chloe. I am taking a year out after college to work, save money and audition for drama schools and then I will hopefully be doing that next year.

Speaker A: I am also taking a year out to basically just do the same work, save that money to just doing a show at Theater Royal in Brighton. And so I’m playing dodger in Oliver. And so, yeah, just also focus more on other aspects of theater world.

: I’m Lizzie.

Speaker E: Next year I’m going to drama school. I’m going to east 15, which is in Essex. I’m doing just the acting course there, the BA acting degree.

Speaker C: So, talking to three of you today and two of you have said that you’re going to take a break rather than going straight into drama school. What prompted that? Why did you want to take a break? And Elias, you said you wanted to work a little bit in different parts of theater. I’m just curious what prompted that? Why not go straight in?

Speaker A: Well, I either had the option of take a gap year out and get into a better place next year, or less known and less like drama school and building on it, working up my CV, working up my repertoire. As well just making myself look better for drama schools, because I think they would especially like someone taking a whole year out, being more rounded before going to uni.

Speaker C: Chloe, what was your thoughts about taking a year out?

: I’d done three years of college when most people only do two. I’d done three years of education and I had the mindset where I wasn’t really in a place to audition because I was stacked up with college work and I didn’t really want to think about anything else. I always knew I was going to go to drama school, but I feel quite confident in taking a year out and that I won’t lose the motivation to go because it is something that I’ve always wanted to go. It’s on my agenda of things to do. Yeah, I think I needed to save money and gain experience in just living by myself. Being my own person, I think is very important because I don’t think I was ready to move out and go into uni for three years and then I just don’t think I was prepared enough for that. So that’s what this year is about for me.

Speaker C: Do you think it’s really important in terms of your future career that you do drama school? Why not just dive into your career now? How important is it for you to have that drama school stamp?

Speaker E: Definitely like an easier way in. It’s practically impossible to get an agent unless you’ve done work. But then you can’t get work unless you have an agent going to drama school at the end of the three years, you do like your big showcase and they just invite so many agents and that’s how you get your way into the industry. That’s like an easier way than just completely going out on your own alone, watching you in drama school. That support and also will obviously look great on your CV, say that you’ve gone to a proper drama school three years. It’s not necessary, but it’s definitely helpful to good connections. Look, unless you’re like a nepo baby. Again, I wouldn’t say it’s a must, but I couldn’t imagine now not going to drama school and just like somehow crying the industry, like, it is practically impossible to get your foot in that door.

Speaker C: What would you say would be some of the kind of significant challenges that.

Speaker E: You see getting a good agent? I have an agent, but it’s so impossible for our age group as well because the people who are playing our parts in TV, like 18 year olds, they’re all in their 20s, but now at our age, I definitely couldn’t pass as a 14 year old. Now, for our age group, there is almost nothing out there. So I think it’s yeah, I suppose.

: It’S harder for our age group. I think between 16 to 1928, it’s quite difficult to find roles because a lot of short films or feature films or whatever, they all want actors that one have experience. And at that younger than age, you don’t always have the experience. A lot of the time you need an agent. And again, it’s really hard to find an agent unless you go to drama school or you have those connections with people. And also the people that they want are a lot of the time they want you to be over 18 for contract purposes. And so when you’re under 18, it’s very hard to then fill that role again. And also a lot of the roles they have are age like 22, 23, and so you have to be able to play or pass as that age, which is quite hard for a 1617 year old.

Speaker A: Very similar the musical theater realm, because for me, especially fresh 18, like just come out of drama school. There’s also no roles for any 18 year old on stage. Normally they’re either just kids or adults.

Speaker E: Playing teenagers, like in Heather’s right now, they’re all in their 30s.

Speaker A: Every single high school person, absolute adults.

Speaker C: Are there other things the industry could be doing to help support younger performers, to be able to start getting a foot in the door?

: I think a lot of agencies and directors and casting directors are scared to go with the younger people because they could find someone new that’s younger that hasn’t really done any movies or musicals or stage plays. And they don’t have the experience that they’ve been to maybe a drama school or they’ve done an acting class outside of their studies. Or they could choose someone that’s really experienced, they know is going to do a good job and that has the sort of rep that the younger people don’t have. I feel like it’s more of an easy option for them to pick the more skilled, the older that have had all that experience.

Speaker C: In terms of looking into the future. How do you see the future performing arts in the UK? Where do you see it evolving? What would you like to see in the next decade?

Speaker E: Let’s say definitely just going towards Netflix. Basically all the alumni from my drama school is just on Netflix. I was talking to someone about from my work. They have a friend who went to east 15 but then dropped out. But now apparently their whole class is just on Netflix. There are some schools, Lambda and Rada, which I feel like do push towards the more traditional training, which works for stage. But the school that I’m going to is very much like modern and the new way of the industry, I think.

Speaker C: How do you think that’s going to impact, though, the future of performing arts in the UK.

Speaker A: In different realms, in different areas of theatre? It depends because musical theatre, I think West End shows are always going to stay alive because that’s paid to go and see the big dances, the choreography. But with live theater, they can post it online, they can film it, turn it short film. So a lot of plays could be radicalized and turned into something else online or something on Netflix.

Speaker E: Feel like the West End.

Speaker A: The West End.

Speaker E: Definitely feel like big things like West End and Broadway. Tourism. Like when people go to London, what else is there to do? It’s nowhere near as big as theatre used to be. Like, people don’t just go to the theatre on their weekends for fun because we have TV. I think it won’t just happen like that. People won’t just suddenly decide to stop going to the theatre. But I think it will dwindling out, maybe.

: I think that I know personally, a lot of people, when I’ve said to them, do you want to go and see this show that’s on in London? They’ve been like, no, that’s so boring. Why would I want to go and see a play? Like, I’d much rather just watch Netflix or something and feel like it just reflects everything that everyone’s just said. Because people just they don’t want to go and see live theater anymore unless it’s got famous actors in that they’re watching on Netflix and that’s how they get the word out about these plays.

Speaker E: Yeah, stunt casting is so big.

Speaker A: Oh, it’s so big. I feel like that’s how theatre is staying alive. Especially musical theater. Like they’re just casting famous people so actors just to get that name, so people will come see their show because they’re seeing that actor.

Speaker E: Everything I’ve gone to see recently, there’s been a famous person from the Crown who played Princess Diana. I went see them in something. Paul meskell from normal people, david harbour from stranger things, tom felt and harry potter.

Speaker A: All as much as you like.

Speaker E: But also because of media TikTok attention spans, I find it now, I used to love going time. I could go and see as many as in a week. I’d love it. But now just having to sit through the whole first act and then the second act boring. As much as you’re interested in the play, it’s just, okay, this is really dragging. Now it’s like that just that constant flow of media. And it’s 10 seconds. It’s new every 5 seconds. Having to go and then sit a play and be invested in a storyline for that long.

: And that’s why things like Netflix are very good, because you can pause it and come back and the episodes tend to be about 20 minutes long. And then after that, people get bored. So when you watch shows on Netflix and it’s about 40 minutes per episode, people will pause it halfway through, go and do something. Go get food, do something. Then they’ll come back to it because they can’t sit still for that long. And I definitely think social media, like Instagram, TikTok, they’ve all got YouTube, even as like they’ve all got parts to play in. Our lack of attention span, what do.

Speaker E: You think about that?

Speaker C: Do you think that theatre needs to adapt and change for that short attention span?

Speaker E: I don’t think it should change better, but I don’t think it should because if everything just starts conforming to TikTok, we’re all going to be like brainless zombies because the most intellectual thing on this planet. I think it’ll be fine.

Speaker A: I just hope our genesis keep it alive. And many young people like our age are in love with live theater and especially West End shows like The Amount.

Speaker E: Of Crazy and just Collect.

Speaker A: Go to see all their favorite West End performers. I feel like that’s what will hopefully keep it alive, just all like into it. I also hope to be on that stage one.

Speaker C: Yeah, as a performer. Elias, are there some things that you need to invest in in order to keep a sustainable career going in performing arts?

Speaker A: To me particularly, I’m going to have to work so much more on dance and things like especially in West End, you have to be triple threat. If you’re not an incredible an incredible actor, an incredible dancer, they just won’t sign you because there will be someone else in the room that can do it ten times better with you. And so it’s like you just have to try and be the best. You can not give up. Especially going to a college.

Speaker E: Yeah.

Speaker A: At college it was very compelling. Even just doing the shows, there would be about seven female parts and then there would be like 20 girls in my class all trying to go for them parts. And it got very personal at the end of it and talent wise, everything. I think everyone was just getting stressed out and it’s just very competitive because everyone just wanted to be each other.

Speaker E: Especially when you’re all auditioning for drama schools at the same time. One person got foundation at one place and the other person got like degree at that same place. They’d be like, you’re auditioning against your friends, you’re for a spot at drama schools in plays and everything.

Speaker C: What sorts of changes would you want to see within the UK performing arts scene that would benefit young performers? You’ve mentioned that teachers are really important and having to be professional from a young age is really important. Are there things that you would like to see that could support some of that for young people to make it a little bit easier?

: It is very competitive anyway. So if you train it, you do that for when you’re young. I suppose it helps to expose people to the competitive nature of it because when you’re like 1718 trying to go for a role and then your best friend gets it, it feels like a kick in the teeth to you. But at the same time, it helps you become aware that’s how it is. And no matter where you go, it’s always going to be someone might get it over you and you just can’t take it personally because it obviously wasn’t.

Speaker A: To the next thing ever. I come out of an audition not think about it until I hear back from them. And if news is positive or not positive, you just have to live with it. And it’s very tough, like, having to hear those words from people just straight up, we want you, we don’t. And I remember being in theater school, they would always tell us the industry is a very tough place. They will literally go on the second if you’re not good enough, they’re going to be teaking you. So it’s just building up the stamina of self worth and just being like just know you are good enough and try and make yourself as you can be what be all or nothing. And they have to take that on.

: Something that I’ve noticed about drama schools and things when you audition for them, a lot of the time you can tell the people that are going to become let be accepted the drama schools, because they have the look of that drama school. It’s not always about being the best of the best, it’s about what they look for. And I think that is something that I would like to see changed because I think it’s not necessarily fair for people to just get in because it’s like they’re producing the same people every year and you want to see something different. You want to see people that have different skills and different qualities. You don’t want to see copy and paste every year of the same students coming out of these places. I think we’re lucky.

Speaker E: We went to a really nice dramas college.

Speaker A: Yeah, they very much helped.

Speaker E: Yeah, we had great yeah, we had great student support. We had great support from our teachers. So we’ve seen of the industry so far, it’s pretty nice. In a lot of the drama schools they were all talking about how they break you down as an actor to build you back up and that’s just so damp and they don’t bother building them back up because you just give up because drama schools can make you feel like that. So I think that for the industry to change in a better way, I think that idea that you need to be broken down and then rebuilt to be what the industry wants you to be or whatever, you don’t need that. You don’t need to be destroyed.

Speaker C: Any words of advice or encouragement that you give performers that are just starting out younger than you probably just go.

: On your own time. Don’t compare yourself to where other people are at. Because I know that when I was younger I was always like I need to just get into the industry. And I was like twelve. It’s not going to happen at twelve years old unless you start acting when you’re like a baby. And I would always compare myself to the successful actors and the young actors that I see on TV and stuff and I think just don’t do it. Don’t compare yourself to that. Because I’ve seen a lot of motivational things where it’s don’t compare yourself. You’ll get there when you get there and I think it is very true. Just like work at your own pace, don’t stress about it and just go when it’s right for you.

Speaker A: I feel like taking two years, especially at somewhere in theater. College was definitely better because I remember when I was in school doing school plays, not being able to dance at all, not being able to act as well, only having one secure talent. Just taking that two years or even five years and time even out of college just to work on the things that you feel like could better you as a performer. I just told myself, focus on these things, get yourself to the goal you want to reach and then you can put yourself out there and show yourself design. Otherwise you will just become, I think, more of a rounded performer if you just spend more time focusing on what makes you good. She can do a pirouette way better than me. He can sing that song way better than me. It’s like I can sing it just as well and I can do that pirouette just as well, but in my own way. And you just have to let them see you as a performer and the clones are coming out of I agree.

Speaker E: Definitely going to drama college is really smart because then also you have professionals who used to be in the industry helping you with auditions for drama school. Drama auditions really are not that bad. When me and my mum would go up to London for drama school auditions, I’d literally just be sobbing in the hotel room the night before. I could not eat dinner. I was like absolutely terrified. And then after every single audition, I’d usually come out saying that was actually really fun because everyone’s in the same boat. Like, you expect to go there and everyone is amazing and professional when really they’re literally all the same age as you and have had the exact same preparation as you, sometimes even less. I always forget that we literally went to drama college and like half now just doing a levels.

Speaker A: Literally. Part of our audition preps for me, it would be you need a monologue, two songs and a dance piece. And they had whole classes devoted in our course to find you those songs, finding you those monologues and helping you do that and then literally sending you off to do those auditions. And most people used that material in their auditions and everyone got in. Every single person in my course has managed to get into one of the top schools in the UK. Preparation helps.

: Eliza and Lizzie, you guys work for.

Speaker C: A ticket solve customer, I think, right?

: Yeah. Comedia brighton somewhere.

Speaker E: Where’s my shot? It says comedia on. It.

: Yeah.

Speaker C: Do you think that’s been good to get experience being in that kind of environment?

: Yeah, we get to watch, literally.

Speaker E: Last night I watched Eddie Izard. Who she’s running for? MP, I think, or she wants to. For Brighton. Really cool. Sub harry Hill. It’s just yeah, your whole other part of the industry, stand up comedy and having access to it every night and just getting to watch it on our breaks. Yeah, we watch all their sound techs and lighting techs because they’re always doing that whilst we’re setting up the bar and it’s in the same room.

Speaker A: We also get to see into the background of formers because we get to go and serve them backstage.

Speaker E: There was this American comedian once so we get like people from all over the world at comedia. No one ever does this. He shook my hand and asked me what my name was and introduced me to all his team backstage and I was like, wow, you are really lovely.

Speaker A: So you never know like one of these people could in the future be like I remember that girl Lizzie, she served me a burger. She was very nice. I want her. You never know. A bagging burger. I’m going to give her a jump.

Priya Patel: Thank you for listening to the arts and everything in between podcast and a big thank you to our guests, chloe Wright, Elias Prosser and Lizzie Austin. It was really great to hear from young people just starting out in the arts and culture and to get a better understanding of their perspectives. Check out our show notes for their BIOS and more information about our guests. And if you want to hear more about organizations that are supporting young creatives, listen to our conversation with Daniel Cartilage, General Manager of Creative Youth. Creative Youth is the biggest youth arts festival in the UK. You can find that podcast episode on our website at and you won’t want to miss our upcoming episode, social shifts and the changing tide of audience engagement. We’ll be talking to HDK Associates Marketing Manager Meg Edwards who will guide us through the major shifts that are happening in social media marketing today and give us insights into how to best engage with younger audiences. Thanks again and see you next time.

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