Attending Drama School Auditions
Drama School Auditions All drama schools are different in their approach to training. Before deciding which drama schools you would like to apply to, be sure to read the prospectus carefully so that you can make an informed decision. Some drama schools also have open days that allow future candidates the opportunity to get a feel for the place before making an application. Apply to the schools that give you a “good feeling”, not just because your friend went there or you’ve heard they have a good reputation. Every actor works differently and drama training is a very personal thing – try to choose the schools that excite you as an actor. For a full list of members of the UK conference of Drama schools click here.
What are Drama Schools looking for? This is almost impossible to answer. The criteria vary from school to school, year to year, and individual to individual. However, there are certain things you can do to improve your chances. When attending a drama school audition, make sure you are as prepared as you possibly can be. Spend time choosing your speeches. Sometimes it is better to choose characters that are close to your own age and personal experience – not only can you play them more convincingly but it also gives the panel a little insight into who you are. If you are looking in monologue or audition speech books for inspiration remember that lots of others will be doing the same. If you find a speech you like from one of these books, sometimes it’s a good idea to read the play and see if you can find another speech by the same character that might not be so widely known. Whatever you decide, don’t make the mistake of choosing the speech and not bothering to read the play. It is very likely the panel will ask you about your feelings on the character or their journey through the play; these are difficult questions to answer when you are only familiar with one speech. Some drama schools give you a free hand to choose your own audition material whereas others have a list of pieces (usually classical) that the panel would like to hear you have a go at. Either way, make your selections carefully and once you have decided make sure you spend considerable time preparing them for your audition.
On the day of the audition. As with all auditions, give yourself plenty of travelling time. There is nothing worse than being out of breath from having run all the way from the bus stop and having to go straight into the audition room and deliver your speech. Aim to arrive with plenty of time to spare – if you do this, you might also get the opportunity to have a look around. Remember this is your audition. Often there is a lot of talk among auditionees in the waiting room about where they have applied, and what success they have or haven’t had. Be wary of entering into these conversations as they can prove a distraction; that doesn’t mean be rude and not talk to anybody, just don’t forget the reason why you are there. Just as drama schools have a different approach to training, each drama school has a different audition process. At some schools you will just be expected to stay long enough to deliver your speeches. At other schools the audition process can mean staying for the whole day. Make sure that you eat and drink enough to keep your energy up for the duration, and try not to lose your focus as the day wears on.
After your audition. Once your audition is over it is out of your hands, there is nothing you can do to affect the outcome. Forget about it and start to focus on whatever you have coming up next – whether it is another audition or a part in a play. If you focus on this you will likely forget about the audition, that way if the letter arrives and it is a no, you are already focused on your next activity. If, on the other hand it is a yes, it will come as a pleasant surprise. Don’t give up. I know actors who have tried for three years in a row to get into the drama school of their choice and failed – only to get in on their fourth attempt. Be persistent and if members of the panel give you advice take it and come back next time as a stronger candidate.