Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That’s the game I want you to learn.Alan Bennet, The History Boys (2004)
Sarah Davey-Hull (1965-2022) was luminous. When she entered a room, you knew ‘it’ was going to be alright. At the celebration of her life, a huge red balloon was passed between the 200+ guests; floating, bouncing, flying, teasing, playing, challenging. We kept the game alive together.
Sarah’s thirty+ year career as a teacher/director transformed the lives of countless actors, actor trainers and directors. Continuing in the tradition of familial apostology in acting, her knowledge was passed between those who were fortunate to have been taught and/or directed by her: starting at Kensington and Chelsea College in 1995, then at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) on the MA in Actor Training and Coaching and the MA Acting (2005 – 2020) and with her companies Bold and Saucy (1996-2019) and BOLD (2020-). Her teaching has and continues to produce ripples of affect, passed on by the creatives whose practice she has influenced now scattered around the globe, many with leading positions in the field. However, like many practitioners, she never documented her practice and so we, her students, friends and colleagues, have come together to try to document it – to pass it on; a legacy project to celebrate her teaching. In the spirit of collective endeavour and reflecting the fragmented, multi-faceted and layered experience of teaching and learning, we share a pedagogy patchwork of signature exercises, life-changing feedback and observed qualities.
The are some core ingredients which make a standout and memorable teacher: the ability to be inventive, imaginative, and inspirational; to know when to challenge and push students that little bit further, when to nurture and when to balance praise with honest feedback; to be a generous communicator; someone who also learns from their students and continues to challenge and develop themselves; to be student centered, to listen, to give support and guidance but also to be boundaried. Sarah possessed all of these qualities. But there was one particular aspect of her work which made her especially impactful – her focus on collaboration. This was woven into everything she did as a teacher, trainer and director. It is evident in her expertise in the classroom, in the many shows she directed at Central and at her company BOLD where she continued to offer opportunities for her alumni to grow as professionals, making space for them to rehearse, refine their skills and create new and exciting work.Continue reading