This session was originally intended to spark conversation around the expectations of drama schools, and whether they would prefer prospective students to have more strings to their bow than acting alone. There were plenty of fascinating brains to pick and the session transformed into a warm discussion between actors and industry professionals about what it's really like to work (or not work) in the industry. I also asked the group their advice to someone at the start of their journey into the industry.

We asked and discussed the following questions:

-The importance of actor/creators, from the entry point of auditioning for drama schools: We discussed that the change in requirements of drama schools in the last few years reflects the changes in the industry. Drama schools are preparing students for the step from training to working in every possible way, including the ability to be proactive and create/seek out your own work. It was felt by most that writing, directing, producing etc alongside acting increases your probability of finding work as well as maintaining a creative channel when acting work was not available.

-Social media presence: All were in agreement that a strong social media presence is likely to positively influence the chance of finding work in the industry. We also felt that this is something that students would benefit from learning about in their industry preparation classes.

-What are drama schools doing to prepare students for the future? Will students feel prepared for the way the industry is likely to look in 5-10 years and are schools shaping their programmes to reflect change? It was said that it is also the responsibility of prospective students to pose these questions to the schools they are applying to. Students should be assured that they will leave their education prepared for the industry of the near future, not the industry of the past or as it stands today.

-London/Agencies vs Local/Theatre Companies: Discussion about a gap between the two sides of the industry. It was felt by some that you have to choose one direction or the other and there isn't much occurring in between the two. Is there a way of bridging this gap?

-What does acting success look like to us? Actors felt a need to reduce the stigma surrounding working multiple jobs in order to support their creative channel. Working a part-time job to financially liberate our artistic ventures feels like a success to most actors, so why do we feel the need to justify a bar/nanny/box office job to family/friends?

-Time out of work not time out of practice: Actors should be proactive in their time between jobs and continue to train and research the industry regularly. Networking, making theatre and researching the growing industry e.g. like Motion capture mean that you always have a hand-in, and you aren't just waiting for the work to come to you.

-Is it possible to afford to be an actor when you have a family? We spoke of the struggles in pursuing a creative career whilst trying to support a family and agreed that it's hard enough to support oneself, but there's often less guilt associated with the choice when you don't have a family relying on your income. How can we make it possible for parents to afford to act?

-Where do we meet? There's a need for networking spaces across the country for people interested in creating work to meet and collaborate.

I found the session inspiring, honest and informative and thanks to all who made it and offered me some invaluable advice.