London, Nov 28 (ANI): The British government has spent 120,000 pounds of taxpayers' money for drama workshops that teach civil servants how to breathe properly and stand up straight.
Officials and diplomats from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office attended courses at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the most prestigious drama schools in the world whose previous students include Alan Rickman and Kenneth Branagh, reports the Daily Mail.
The envoys were taught how to breathe more efficiently to improve communication. Others took seminars on posture, which highlighted how to stand properly and project an air of confidence.
The courses were led by former director of the National Youth Theatre Jane Boston, now a 'senior voice practitioner' at RADA.
"You could not make it up. If this was a plot in Yes, Minister it would be ridiculed as too far-fetched," Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers' Alliance said.
"There is no chance these officials would spend their own money in this way, so why should they be allowed to fritter away ours?" he said.
The expenditure emerged as the Foreign Office is expected to make redundant thousands of staff in order to meet cuts of 300 million pounds to its annual budget.
RADA business development manager Jenny West said the diplomats and officials were taught communication skills that will "help them to come across better in new environments".
"How to breathe is one element. They received similar training to actors to help improve their breathing and project their voice," she added.
Jenny said posture was crucial in diplomacy.
"If you walk into a room, people make their mind up about you very quickly. If you are not standing up straight, you will not be breathing properly and your voice will not be heard," she added.
The Foreign Office said, "The Foreign Secretary and the FCO Board have already ordered a review of all FCO training courses.
"The RADA course was originally a two-year contract running from February 2008 to February 2010. In November 2009, under the previous Government, the FCO extended the contract to February 2011," the office said. (ANI)