Imelda Staunton - Actress gave a talk to sixth form students on the 14th September.
On Monday 14 September, the Sixth Form had the pleasure of greeting Imelda Staunton, who most of us recognised as the diabolical Dolores Umbridge of Harry Potter fame!
She opened the assembly with a light joke on her short stature then wrestled briefly with the microphone before beginning, and true to her profession, the assembly was less like the stock motivational speech and much more reminiscent of a grand performance. She was brimming with energy, full of humour and receptive to her audience’s every expectation. Staunton talked at first about her career, stressing the importance of her early elocution lessons in school, which helped immensely when she later successfully applied to the prestigious RADA. Following her time there, she entered the world of theatre. Although you would imagine that she might become absorbed in a lavish Kardashian-like celebrity ‘high life’, Staunton made a particular effort to note that a ‘1000%’ commitment was essential to choosing a career in acting and that any budding thespians in the crowd should get used to the idea that they probably would not get to lurch from party to party. Indeed, her focus and amazing acting ability was made extremely clear in the course of the assembly; she effortlessly transformed into different characters with different accents and mannerisms, sometimes speaking in one of the voices of her various roles as though they were simply hats to be tried on.
Acting is a ‘great education’ according to Staunton, one where you are able to dive into the lives and experiences of others. For this reason she enjoys taking the roles of baddies and holds hope for a society that can thrive on the understanding of others like and unlike us. Nerves and stage fright are not omens, she said, but rather callings to a great performance.
This assembly was simply remarkable, imbued with theatrics and valuable snippets of wisdom in equal measure. I doubt I will forget it.