Acting Gym

Athletes go to the gym to train and keep fit for an upcoming event, but what happens to actors who are in-between jobs? Where can actors continue to push themselves post-youth theatre, university or drama school?

Our Acting Gym is a playground for Hull and East Riding actors to take risks and develop their skills in a supportive environment. It involves regular free workshops on specific themes, such as readthroughs, self-tapes and auditions, with individual exercises and group work, at the Middle Child rehearsal space.

The Acting Gym is designed to suit the needs of individuals with the sole intention of giving actors a space to try new things and improve their craft.

The Lab

The Lab is an extended edition of the Acting Gym, starting in June 2022.

A small company of performers and other theatre makers will rehearse a new play as a ‘model production’ over six weeks, for the sole purpose of skill development.

Regular one-off Acting Gym workshops will continue on an ad hoc basis. Subscribe to our artist development newsletter to keep updated.

Abstract illustration of theatre seats, a stage and lab equipment with text that says 'Acting Gym - The Lab'

The Lab

Directed by Middle Child artistic director, Paul Smith, the company will bring to life a high-quality, published piece of new writing through character, voice, design and staging.

Each free two-hour session will mirror a ‘rehearsal process’, working on an existing play that won’t be performed – giving participants a safe space in which to stretch muscles and try out roles to widen their range.

The Lab will focus on process and practice, supporting people to discover new skills and try new things.

We are offering two separate opportunities for involvement in The Lab to increase access for freelancers: one in the evening, the other during the day.

  • Option 1: 2pm – 4pm every Wednesday from 8 June to 13 July
  • Option 2: 6pm – 8pm every Wednesday from 8 June to 13 July

Please note: in order to apply you will need to be available for all six sessions at the time of applying.

Who can apply

The Lab is designed for actors with professional experience or aspirations, based in Hull and the East Riding, who:

  • Want to build confidence
  • Want to push themselves to try different characters, different kinds of work and different rehearsal techniques
  • Have a specific skill or focus they are keen to develop, for example a new accent
  • Feel out of practice and want to sharpen their skills ahead of an audition or a new job
  • Want to spend time developing their craft amongst other actors
  • Are keen to play in a low pressure environment

The Lab is also open upon request to any other role who may spend time in a rehearsal process. The experience will be bespoke to each role, for example a designer will develop set and costume ideas, while a deputy stage manager will work closely with the actors and director.

While there is no budget for this process and nothing will be physically made, we hope this will offer invaluable experience for those looking to grow their confidence in rehearsal rooms.

Participation in The Lab is completely free, but there are only a limited number of places available. We will provide each participant with their own copy of the chosen playtext.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to take part, please send either a text up to 450 words, or a video or voice note no longer than five minutes, to outlining:

  • your experience so far and where you’re currently at in your career
  • why you want to take part in The Lab
  • the aspect of your craft you’re most interested in working on
  • whether you are applying for Option 1, Option 2 or both

If you are an actor, please include a headshot and a brief description of yourself, including any information that may be useful for casting purposes.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 2 May 2022.


Following the application deadline, we will put together a complimentary group with common interests and pick a suitable play.

Decisions will be made with a consideration of the group as a whole to ensure the process is useful for as many people as possible.

Selected participants will be informed no later than Friday 13 May 2022.

If you aren’t selected this time, please don’t be too discouraged as we are looking to repeat The Lab in the future.