Forge Initiative – One-year practical skills programme for Actors, Directors and Writers

The Forge Initiative - One-year practical skills programme for Actors, Directors and Writers

Acting at The Forge InitiativeThe Forge Initiative is a one-year programme in practical theatre for actors, directors and writers to take their destiny in their own hands, create their own work, set up viable companies and make a difference. The initiative has been devised and delivered by Brian Astbury, a leading light in the UK for theatre training and Paul Taylor, a professional actor who is also one of the UK’s most respected arts marketing specialists. The Forge Initiative is based in Paddington, visit the website:

The programme is aimed at theatre practitioners - actors, writers and directors - who want to:

  • take their destiny into their own hands
  • learn how to start creating their own work
  • devise their own plays, based on issues - social and political - that are important to them and, more importantly, to their audience
  • learn advanced skills in the art of acting, directing, writing and marketing that will enable them to survive and prosper in the increasingly tough world of theatre
  • find and set-up theatre venues in non-theatre spaces: be inventive and innovative
  • find other kindred spirits with whom they can set up sustainable companies and drive their own careers forward.

The Forge Initiative has been devised to teach the practical skills an actor, writer or director needs and is taught by practitioners with real-life experience and respectable track records in these fields. Actors from the Forge Initiative will create plays of their own during the programme and be encouraged to tour these to Fringe Festivals, as well as to compassionate venues around the country.  Find out more about The Forge Initiative on the website

The Forge Initiative

During the one-year programme you will be equipped with these tools to enhance your career:

Programme leader, Brian Astbury, is clearly a popular character amongst his students. Stephen Moyer, star of True Blood, says: "if you think this {initiative} is just about acting you would be very wrong. Brian Astbury could easily have titled it – “Everything you will ever need to know about Acting - and even then not have come close to describing its worth...I cannot recommend it highly enough."

Coronation Street’s Julie Hesmondhalgh, says of him “...a truly inspirational teacher. He taught me that you can have a social conscience and be an actor; that you can affect change through your work”, whilst  actor Jason Flemyng mentions: “Brian Astbury was, without a doubt, the biggest influence on me while I trained at LAMDA. Brian’s teachings are still what I go to in trouble, and more importantly, way back in a church hall in Earls Court, he taught me to be proud of whatever talent I had, and confident. Without confidence no actor can risk, fail, brush themselves down and try again. It’s in the taking of risks, and being brave, that we can really excel”.

DirectingJessica Beck sums up the philosophy of the course and its teachings, “…actors and directors are capable of making their own work. Why wait for a theatre to give you a job, or to find the perfect play (a very rare phenomenon), when you can just go ahead and make your own work? So I did. I still do. I make my own work; taking ideas from inception to production in collaboration with actors and writers”.

Fiona Geddes talks about her experiences with The Forge Initiative: “A struggling actress in a saturated industry, I was valiantly swimming upstream; dutifully writing letters to directors I dreamed of working with, praying for my agent to call with an audition, and regularly attending workshops to continue developing my craft. Because… well… because that’s what they tell you to do when you leave drama school, and whilst this is good advice, there comes a time when a little voice begins to whisper in your ear, ‘stop waiting around, just do it. Make your own work.’ For me, that gentle, yet incredibly persistent voice was Brian’s. Brian made me realise that I had had the power to take charge of my own career by making my own work, and he provided me with the skills, confidence and tools to do so.”

The success of The Forge Initiative can be seen through the achievements of the productions its students and tutors have produced which have ventured all over the UK, and some have even received productions in New York.

To find out about our next audition date or more information about the Forge Initiative, please visit or email us at