Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Stage School Trouble

E4’s new structured reality TV drama ‘Stage School’ has caused a lot of controversy recently.

So much so that after its very first episode a petition to have the show taken off air arose online. The argument is that the show is an utter misrepresentation of what stage school is actually like.

Orbital spoke to Roho’s very own MTS president Stephen Johnson who felt that, ‘E4’s Stage School is a false representation of studying at drama school. Not only does it make for appalling TV, but is frankly dangerous to prospective drama school applicants who may be put off applying and for the entertainment industry in general. Performing arts can provide a stage for current important societal and political events. Stage school however, empresses the stereotypical vindictive and venomous behaviour the entertainment industry is all too often plagued with.’ And while I can completely understand why people, especially those who are either training to be in, or are in the profession, have taken some offence, I feel that however we all need to step back and remember the words, ‘structured reality’.

E4 is not pretending to any of their viewers that the show is an exact representation of a school of the arts. In fact the show is so different from the reality that it is rather comical. Viewers took to twitter straight away after the episode aired with one commenting that “#stageschool is so bad with a hint of okness! It’s hard to put into words how it’s making me feel! There’s no sense of reality whatsoever” (Lilly Roberts, @MsLillyRoberts). After all we have to step back and look at it from E4’s prospective. The show is written with the aim to entertain, not inform. It is exactly the same as watching ‘Made in Chelsea’ or ‘The Only Way is Essex’. No one in their right mind would watch these shows and believe they are an exact representation of everyone who lives in that part of England. The same goes for this show too.

What heightens the entertainment value is the fact that the characters in the show, and I call them characters because although they keep their own names that is what they are, break out into song at random parts of the narrative. This is clearly not what happens in reality.

So instead of signing petitions, let’s just let the show run its course and see it for what it is. It may not be the best show ever but it is not trying to be an exact representation of a stage school.