‘Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved film. It’s still one of my favourite interests, but aside from regular trips to the cinema, I’ve never actually done anything about it. I’ve been a viewer, yes. But I’ve always wanted to know more about how actors do what they do, how they learn their craft.

It’s been an ambition of mine for a number of years to finally do something about that – to take a drama course.

So, after moving to Dublin earlier this year, I decided I’d take up the opportunity to attend the Gaiety School of Acting’s Introduction to Drama course.

Reading the course description, it sounded exactly what I was looking for – a great place for beginners, while the school also had a reputation for looking after people at all levels.

Ahead of my first class I was feeling a bit nervous, unsure of what to expect. But at the same time I was also eager to get started.

My first impression on entering the building was that it had a nice, relaxed atmosphere and I felt at ease straight away after receiving a warm welcome at reception.

It was then onto the classroom, where we were introduced to our tutor Donal Courtney.

There were about 25 people in the class – a good mix of guys and girls of all ages, from 18 up to 60s.

To loosen everyone up and settle the nerves we started by gathering in a circle and playing a game of passing a ball around, while saying our names out loud. Then we were asked to remember the names of our classmates, which wasn’t the easiest thing in the world with about 25 of them to remember!! But it got everyone enjoying themselves and relaxed.

This was followed up with some group work, first in pairs and then groups of four.

Donal explained that the purpose of the exercises was to get us used to working in groups and help us build relationships with new people quickly.

He also talked us through some of the other exercises, such as walking around a room with your eyes closed and not bumping into anyone. This helps you build up awareness of others around you, which makes sense when you think of actors on a stage.

The class ended with each of the groups writing and staging their own little sketch, which was fun to work on and then to act out.

After the first class, I can definitely say that I enjoyed it. The games were good craic, everyone was relaxed and having fun and I soon got over any nerves I might have had at the beginning.

The two hours flew by and it ended on a high, so I’m really looking forward to getting back next week.- I’ll let you know how I get on!’

Paddy Ferry, Introduction to Drama student, Week 1, October 2014.