Kiran Sonia Sawar

Kiran Sonia

Kiran graduated from the One Year Acting Course in 2012. Her first theatre work included productions for the Cockpit Theatre, iceandfire theatre company, the Arcola, Tron Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Southwark Playhouse and most recently she was in the national tour of English Touring Theatre’s adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. Her screen work started with short films and an appearance in Holby City. In 2016 she played the lead in BBC3’s Murdered by Father for which she won Best Actress in a Film at the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Awards.

What made you choose The Oxford School of Drama over other schools?

When I arrived to audition in Oxford I fell in love with the farm and knew instantly within myself that it was the right place for me. I also was a lucky recipient of the Dance and Drama Award which meant I could afford the course in the first place! No make-up, black clothes, school bus every morning made for an honest and tight-knitted environment. During drama school auditions I was going through a difficult time personally and Oxford embraced all of me wholly – no judgment.

What do you think makes the training at The Oxford School of Drama so special?

For me it was the schools quest for truth in every aspect of my work. Being honest with classmates, teachers, scripts, text, performance and mostly yourself. It’s a hard lesson to learn but the end result is the skill to create truthful performance only once you’ve settled (relatively…) with yourself. You’re taught to fail, on a regular basis – to recognise your flaws, your strengths, your bad habits you didn’t even know you had… but mostly we’re reminded constantly that the industry is tough, that nothing will be gifted to you, but that there is space for you within it, if you’re willing to do more than just want it.

Can you remember a time at the school that was of particular significance for you?

When our acting teacher, Steve said to me “Remember, a child crying is horrible, but a child trying not to cry is completely and utterly heart-breaking.” He taught me so much about creating subtle, nuanced performance but it’s the above sentiment that I’ve really carried through every job. Also that time in movement class when Kirsty taught me to walk and breath at the same time…who knew eh?!

Looking back, what aspects of the training do you particularly value now you are in the profession?

Oxford provided me with a toolbox of techniques and learnings that I carry with me to use in every job I’ve done since leaving. I’m extremely self-critical so having all my notes and feedback from drama school helps me recognise how I can improve in certain areas. From Laban to Shakespeare to Clowning to Poetry, there isn’t one aspect of the training that hasn’t proven to be useful and that’s a testament to the tutors the school provides. My training there was invaluable, something I felt I needed and craved – I’m not the lucky type that can busk it, I needed structure and theory and thanks to Oxford I now have the foundations that I can build upon as I continue to learn and grow.

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