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From Graduation to Olivier Award-Winning Tour: Selin Balcioglu’s First Year Out

Selin Balcioglu's story is nothing short of extraordinary. After graduating from Fourth Monkey's MA Collaborative Theatre course in September 2022, Selin's career rapidly took flight, leading her to an Olivier Award-winning tour within months of completing her training.

Just three months after graduation, an opportunity was presented via Spotlight and Selin auditioned for Dinosaur World Live, booked the role and kicked off a whirlwind adventure performing in multiple countries and in multiple languages.

In January 2023, Selin embarked on an intense two-week rehearsal period before making her first professional debut. With Turkey as the initial destination, her ability to speak the language was a fortunate advantage but rehearsing a new role in two languages is a tall order for even the most experienced actors. The challenges were only just beginning; the next location was Belgium where Selin was tasked with learning yet another version of the show – this time with a Flemish speaking co-host.

The experience of learning three versions of a show in the first three weeks of her very first acting job, she recalls, was a "baptism by fire."

The UK tour saw Selin performing to packed houses in prestigious venues, including a month-long stint at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

Remarkably, she achieved all this without the representation of a talent agent and, as the Dinosaur World Live tour set its sights on the USA and Canada, Selin's continued participation was not guaranteed. It was down to her to seize the opportunity and negotiate the terms.

Her hard work and dedication paid off when the Director agreed to audition her through a show watch which, ultimately, earned her the coveted spot.

There were three months off before the USA/Canada tour commenced and Selin, knowing the demands and disruptive nature of touring, used the time to recharge and catch up with family and friends. This was a wise decision considering that she would only spend four nights out of the entire five month tour in a hotel room – the rest of the time was spent on the tour bus with the rest of the cast (eight in total) and, given that they played a new venue every day, the effort required to do get-in and load-out on top of performing was herculean.

Reflecting on her whirlwind journey, Selin does wish that she had a representative to handle some of the finer points of contracts and her biggest advice for tour life… it’s so important to maintain strong relationships within the company. Alongside performance skill, she notes that effectively managing personal dynamics is vital in ensuring a successful, supportive environment on the road. This is a great reflection of the ethos of her training with Fourth Monkey which focuses on the power of the ensemble and the art of collaboration.

A career-defining moment arrived mid-tour when Selin learned of the show's Olivier Award nomination, based on their stellar run at Regent's Park. Despite being scattered across the globe, the nominated cast eagerly awaited the results, with Selin discovering their triumph as she came off stage after a performance. The win, she says, was not a personal victory but a testament to their collective effort.

Having initially studied for a History of Art degree at UCL, Selin's passion for performing arts was too strong to deny and she joined Fourth Monkey's MA Collaborative Theatre programme which offered the multi-disciplinary approach she sought. Although her initial plans involved developing and producing her own work, fate clearly had other ideas.

Now the tour is complete, Selin has rekindled her maker mindset instilled by Fourth Monkey.

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