ALRA Acting Schools in London & Manchester

Alumni Update: May 2017

Alumni Update: May 2017

This month's alumni update highlights stories from ALRA graduates Sam Donnelly, Rebecca Vaughan, Roslyn Paterson and Ben Bland.

Sam Donnelly stars as lead actor in The Return

Sam Donnelly, who graduated in 2007 from ALRA's Three Year Acting course, is starring as the lead actor in BIFA-nominated film The Return.

The Return, a psychological thriller, is Sam's debut feature film where he plays the role of Jack, a small time criminal who discovers a shattering secret about his brother's murder. In a recent interview about his experience working on this production, Sam commented:

"There was a lot of preparation for this shoot. Ollie [the director] and I would regularly meet in cafes and bars and bounce ideas off of each other about script, character development and where the motivation for certain scenes comes from."

As the film uses narrative layers, Sam was also asked to share what it was like navigating these as an actor, to which he responded:

"There isn’t a huge amount of dialogue in sections and it was sometimes difficult to know what exactly I wanted to portray in those moments. But that’s why you rely on your team and with Ollie in the driving seat there was no shortage of ideas and inspiration for where to take Jack."

The Return will be showing at Hackney Picturehouse for a special screening on Wednesday, 31st May at 6pm, also including a Q&A session with Director Oliver Nias.

Rebecca Vaughan stars in acclaimed Jane Eyre adaptation

ALRA 1999 graduate Rebecca Vaughan is currently performing in five-star one-woman show Jane Eyre: An Autobiography at the 2017 Sydney Writers' Festival.

According to the organisers, Rebecca "embodies everywoman Jane" in this "gothic subversion of fairytale romance... distilled for the stage in an intimate study of love's realities told through Jane's eyes".

The production, which has been praised by critics as "the best adaptation of Jane Eyre, in any medium" is running at the festival from 22nd - 28th May.

Roslyn Paterson lands leading role in Macbeth

2012 Three Year Acting course graduate Roslyn Paterson has secured a lead role in a brand new production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which she will be starring as Lady Macbeth.

Roslyn told The Greenock Telegraph: "I'm really excited about it, absolutely in my element".

According to Sutton Coldfield Local News, Roslyn delivers "a Lady Macbeth that lingers in the memory and is not a little disturbing in her ruthlessness".

Catch her performing at Sutton Coldfied Town Hall at various times from 23rd - 27th May.

Ben Bland features in The Grapes of Wrath

Ben Bland, 2012 graduate of the Three Year Acting course at ALRA, is featuring in The Grapes of Wrath - a story of survival, equality and justice.

Ben will be playing Connie in the production based on John Steinbeck's classic novel, a piece praised by The Guardian as "one of the greatest of the great American novels".

You can watch The Grapes of Wrath at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 24th May - 10th June, visit the website for more information.

If you are an alumni and would like to share your story and / or recent projects with us, please get in touch via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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5 tickets for ALRA showcases | that's alumnights

At each Friday night performance of any ALRA show there will hold back 5 complimentary tickets for our ALRA graduates.

To find out the forthcoming shows, please see the ‘What’s on’ section of the website.

Alumnight tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; to book tickets please email info@alra.co.uk

Please note: ALRA still offer free tickets to all ALRA shows to alumni that are within their first year of graduation.

To learn more about ALRA’s graduate package please email dylan.stafford@alra.co.uk

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