September 19, 2012 | by Nadine White |It’s September and school’s back on! Cue the hustle and bustle, the new syllabus and ‘The Sutara Academy of Performing Arts’ (SAPA). It was fantastic catching up with Lorna ‘Sutara’ Gayle – 90s British Reggae Icon, Actor, in her own right, and this Academy’s founder. As a youngster, the prospect of becoming a successful actor seemed like a world away, for Lorna. Since then, one of her goals has been to give young people the platform to thrive in Performing Arts. ‘SAPA’ is all about gathering unleashed potential and nurturing society’s up and coming ‘stars’. In a metaphysical sense, stars are –quite literally – full of such energy; stars are beautiful; stars spark thought and inspiration. Interestingly, the name, ‘Sutara’ itself, means ‘divine star’ and was given to Lorna Gayle by a Spiritual leader, during a sabbatical to eastern realm of India in 2010. Once she returned to London and started up the Academy, she gave it her adopted, very profound name. Clever intertwining of concepts, right?! The Academy’s grand launch took place on the 28th July and its first course of twice-weekly workshops has lasted for 6 weeks. The exciting end product is their play – ‘Bracelets’, which is showcasing on Monday 10th September at ‘The Lost Theatre’. ‘Bracelets’ is a social commentary – which deals with a plethora of issues from our ‘Big Brother’ society to the madness of the Internet, fundamentally asking the question ‘what went right/ wrong?’. As well as boasting a brilliant cast, this contemporary piece was written by Helen Comerford, who is known for her sophisticated but current style and has previously penned some truly ground-breaking plays. The 6 week ‘Sutara’ journey has been full of exciting twists, turns and surprises and acclaimed actor Will Johnson made a few appearances, to give ‘master-classes’ to the pupils. Will’s credits include The BBC’s ‘Waterloo Road’; ‘BabyFather’; ‘Waking The Dead’ ‘Holby City’…and that’s just to name a few. He also starred in hit Channel 4 film, ‘Babymother’ (1997), which Lorna Gayle actually featured in, herself! We’ve seen ‘showbiz’ literally chew and spit some people out. The Industry’s ‘cut-throat’ nature is no secret. It was, therefore, refreshing to learn that mentoring comes as part of the ‘package deal’ in ‘The Sutara Academy of Performing Arts’. There is a real emphasis on personal development, as well as theatrical aptitude. The pupils are not lulled into the expectation of instantaneous acquisition, but told all about the value of enterprise and appreciation for one’s craft. “This business is not an easy road…we do not promise ‘easy riches’ but we do promote the development of skills both on stage and life skills, we do advocate empowerment and motivation. These are things which you can bring to any vocation.” The next workshop commences on 15th September, for 12 weeks and will feature a singing master-class with Lover’s Rock royalty, Carroll Thompson, a special appearance by a celebrated Thespian – who is currently touring with ‘Royal Shakespeare Theatre’, amongst more surprises! I hope that you don’t think that you have to be a teenager or even at ‘intermediate’ level to participate in ‘SAPA’ workshops. All you have to have is a willingness to join!
One of the best parts about this is that the tuition fee for joining ‘SAPA’ is extremely reasonable!For more information: www.sutaraacademy.com or: 07950 394 718 Also, a big ‘congratulations’ goes out to Lorna ‘Gayle, who will be picking up a ‘Creative Achievements Award in Dancehall Music’ at this year’s ‘Hidden Creative Economy Awards’, taking place in West London on 20th October. This is testament to the fact that good deeds oughtn’t go unnoticed! Speaking of which…who’s coming to see ‘Bracelets’, then?!