What is it like to film a ‘Period Drama’?

What is it like to film a ‘Period Drama’? 

We asked some of our fabulous young supporting artists, to put pen to paper, and tell us all about what it is like to film for a ‘period drama’! A period drama is a drama, usually for television or film, that is set in a time that is not modern – think Downton Abbey, Victoria etc!

Recently, lots of our young students have been filming as ‘support artists’ (extras) on period drama ‘Gentleman Jack’, for the BBC, starring Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster). We asked Articulate Kids Susie Kennet, Austin Haynes, Robyn Beaumont and Josh Wilson to tell us all about it!

We asked Susie, what was your costume like? 

“Hi, my name is Susie and I have been going to Articulate drama classes for 4 years now, since I was 5. Gentleman Jack is a costume drama and I played a ‘posh kid’ from 1832! I loved wearing my costume but it was very uncomfortable and restrictive – I don’t know how people wore it all the time! On my feet I had to wear fabric boots with a metal sole and tights. Then I had to wear an underskirt with straps over my shoulders, and on top of all of that, a pretty dress with pink and white stripes, with flowers on. I also had to wear thick cream gloves and a cream bonnet with flowers and feathers all around it. This was very different to my normal clothes as it had many more layers and took lots of time to put on. Whereas my normal clothes are more comfortable and I can change them whatever the weather. Everyone had intricate hairstyles and I enjoyed having mine curled and styled.”

We asked Josh, what happens on a typical filming day? 

“Hi, my name is Josh. I am 11 years old and have been taking Drama and LAMDA classes at Articulate for nearly 2 years now.  I have just finished filming as a supporting artist (SA) on a BBC production called ‘Gentleman Jack’. On filming days, I was dropped off (sometimes really early in the morning) by either my mum, dad or gran.  Parents don’t usually stay (they leave after the bacon butties!), but the chaperones are really fun and take good care of you.  When we got dressed we went to our trailer to wait for our scene.  Then we would get on a mini bus to go to the part of the set we were filming on.  The sets were all local (Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford and York) except one which was in Grantham (early start!).  They were like normal everyday places that had been made to look like they had when they’d first been built.  There were lots of people in Victorian costumes around and then the crew in their jeans!  Sometimes, we were allowed to look through the cameras and see what the director would see – it was very exciting.

At lunch times – which were great – we had a big choice of what to eat.  The funniest thing was that everybody had to wear a plastic pinny over their costumes – even the grown-ups!!  There is loads of fruit and snacks to eat during the day as well as lots of bottles of water.  These were in the Green Room (which is not green at all!) a posh name for tent where you hang out.”

We asked Robyn, what was the set like?

My name is Robyn, and I have been coming to Articulate for about 2 years now. We filmed outside and did multiple takes at all different angles. They even had a wind and rain machine. The set was amazing and it was just like an olden days street. I had to come down a gangplank of a huge ship.”

We asked Austin, what was the best part of your day? 

Hi I’m Austin Haynes I have been coming to Articulate for just over 3 years now and recently I have been filming for a BBC drama called Gentleman Jack. The best part of the day was being surrounded by a lot of amazing actors (Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle, Stephanie Cole, Timothy West, Gemma Whelan), and learning from them. I would love to experience the feeling of being in a period drama again, I loved everything about the filming.”

Anything else to say, Josh? 

“The best part of filming days (apart from getting paid and missing school of course) is learning new skills, making new friends and feeling like I fit in.  My friend Harvey and me even got into the newspapers! I’m really looking forward to watching small clips of the show when it airs. Being at Articulate has helped me grow in confidence, make amazing friends and realise I am good at something.”

Articulate Agency provides child actors and child supporting artists to a range of shows in Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale, Halifax, Sheffield, Lancashire, The Lake District, Manchester, Birmingham, Yorkshire, Liverpool and London. Our reputation as a kids agency is well known within the film and TV industry. 

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