Skip to the content

Spaces of preparation: The Acton ‘Hilton’ and changing patterns of television drama rehearsal

Hewett, RJ 2014, 'Spaces of preparation: The Acton ‘Hilton’ and changing patterns of television drama rehearsal' , Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 34 (3) , pp. 331-344.

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (434kB) | Preview


It is only comparatively recently that performance in arenas other than theatre and cinema has begun to receive serious academic attention. The ‘Spaces of Television’ project and the University of York’s ‘Playing the Small Screen’ symposium have each opened up discussions regarding the impact of production process and space upon television acting, yet little consideration has been given to those spaces in which performances were traditionally prepared prior to studio transmission or recording. This article attempts to address this by focusing on the BBC’s ‘Television Rehearsal Rooms’, better known by those who used them as the ‘Acton Hilton’, which offers a precise model of the ‘outside’ rehearsal process which characterised multi-camera studio production. A creative hub for not only drama, but also sitcom and light entertainment, the Hilton represented an extended community for the many performers who gathered there to rehearse – a community that has all but disappeared in the modern era of single camera location work, where prior rehearsal of the type conducted at Acton has virtually disappeared. Drawing upon a combination of archive research and interviews with practitioners, this piece examines the important role played by the Acton Hilton in the history of UK television acting.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: BBC, acting, rehearsal, performance, multi-camera, Television Centre, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0143-9685
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Richard Hewett
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 13:20
Last Modified: 11 May 2016 01:38

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year