The Acting Lab in Dundee is run by acting and public speaking coach Elaine Newton. The service has successfully moved online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
A. I trained first in business administration and I worked in that area for a while at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.Top five tips for speaking with confidence after the Q&A.
I did Esol teacher training and taught in Salamanca, Madrid and London.
Then I realised, eventually, that my passion was acting. I came to it relatively late, in my 30s. I then auditioned and won a place at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. It was the most amazing experience.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
A. A lot of it has come from my own drive but I’ve had great support from Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Station and Elevator.
Also every student and coaching client I have ever worked with has taught me something.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted the business?
A. It’s been very difficult. Straight away in the spring I had to cancel courses that were set to go ahead. Gradually I adapted all my ways of working. By summer I was operating completely online, teaching and coaching one-to-one sessions via Zoom.
At the beginning I wasn’t sure how it would work as so much of what I do is about connecting and being “in the room” but this term’s classes and coaching online have been a revelation – really inspiring and exciting.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
A. I don’t really think in these terms. I’m sure I make mistakes in business all the time.
But seeing people transform and their confidence soar as a result of my work is the most important thing for me.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?
A. Keeping my business going during 2020 and keeping myself positive during this time.
It’s really not been a great time for people running a business on their own.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
A. I’d love The Acting Lab courses and coaching to continue but I’d like to teach elsewhere now and then as well. I had some teaching work in the south of France set for summer 2020 but of course that didn’t happen for obvious reasons. It’s always good to try new environments.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
A. Having to do everything yourself! I love the teaching but I’m not so keen on dealing with financial matters or marketing – it’s never-ending.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
A. Yes – get yourself an acting/voice coach. Actors are some of the best communicators in the world. An acting coach like me can help you work on confidence, charisma, presence, timing, posture, voice, impact and influence.
The Acting Lab’s 5 Top Tips for Speaking with Confidence
- Find a good breathing technique you like and practise it regularly so it’s second nature and will be there to support you even when you’re nervous.
- Presentations are not just about content. Schedule in plenty of time for practising aloud and timing yourself in front of real people, or the dog if necessary!
- Join an acting class or improvisation workshop – you will have fun and learn real skills to help you communicate creatively and spontaneously (even in stressful situations).
- Learn about the 5 Ps in public speaking – pitch, pace, power, pause and poise.
- For video conferencing, don’t just wing it. Do some research – learn how to create good lighting, and adjust the camera so your eyeline is level with the camera lens.
Article taken from The Courier
The Acting Lab (est. 2015). Passionate about training, coaching and empowering actors and public speakers from beginners to experienced. Professional, friendly, interactive courses and bespoke one-to-one coaching.