Student Story: Utku Guder

City Academy | Utku Guder

City Academy acting student Utku Guder talks us through his experiences on our courses. Having always wanted to give acting a try, Utku (having put it off for some time) signed up for a Beginners Acting course and never looked back. Utku is now a member of the Actors Company – City Academy’s premier dramatic performance group. 

When I first moved to London in 2010 I didn’t know many people. I wanted to get out of the house and do something different, so I decided to take the Acting Beginners course at City Academy. I thought it would be a good way to practise my conversational English and improve my communication skills for work.

I’d never done any acting before. I remember wanting to join the theatre club back at university in Istanbul, but I wasn’t able to muster the courage to do so.

There are people from all over the world with different perspectives and stories, united in their passion for acting

Before my first class with Jake Lyons I really didn’t know what to expect and was a bit nervous. It was a class of about seven people who had never done any acting. I remember the warm-up exercises we did and being really impressed with how effective they were in breaking down our inhibitions. And I was looking forward to the following week straight after the class!

I’ve met a real range of people at City Academy classes. It’s London so there are people from all over the world with different perspectives and stories, united in their passion (and craziness) for acting as they are doing this on top of their other commitments. Some of my best friends in London are people whom I met through City Academy. We often socialize after classes and it’s definitely an important part of the experience. Some of my fondest memories are of going to the pub exhausted but exhilarated after a Drama School session, having had so much fun!

I found it amazing how it made me feel strong emotions and react in ways I never thought I was capable of.

There have been countless funny moments. There are also moments of discovery, where you are surprised by the results of the exercises and techniques. One technique was Meisner which I practiced in Drama School: This is a technique where two actors sit facing each other and make mundane observations over and over again until they start to feel something. It is entrancing to watch and feels uncanny when you are the one doing it. It’s such a simple technique, but I found it remarkable. It made me feel such strong emotions and react in ways I never thought I was capable of.

I am now a member of the Actors Company at City Academy. It’s certainly different from a normal class as we are working towards a performance. This makes it more stressful but also more fun. One thing I really enjoy is the feeling of a “company”, working together to put together this performance we can call our own and seeing it come together.

If you’re thinking about taking a City Academy acting course I’d say: Don’t hesitate. Don’t think about it. Just book a class and go for it. After I started doing acting I regretted not starting it sooner.

One of my goals when I started was; “to improve my communication skills” but then I realised it’s not quite that straightforward as classes offer a safe environment where you can fail and make mistakes, whereas in the workplace there are various pressures at play that can make “going for it” difficult.

Once I realised this,  I just let acting “seep” into my life over the years. I just focused on having fun and over time things started clicking and I started using the skills in my life naturally. Things like controlling voice and pacing when speaking, observing people’s reactions, cracking better jokes and seeing large presentations as performance opportunities rather than scary things that you need to deal with.


If you’d like to find out more about Acting classes at City Academy from Beginners to Stage Combat, click here.