Audition for Drama School

It’s coming up to a very interesting, and for many, stressful time of year: the time when everyone must audition for drama school. A time when monologue books are dusted off and website hits for No Fear Shakespeare go through the roof.

Between November and July of this year, thousands of young people will apply for vocational courses at some of the most prestigious Conservatoires in the country. Around 10% of them will be successful in gaining a place at one of twenty industry recognised drama schools in Britain. That’s not a lot.

So, for someone preparing to audition this year, the question really is ‘How do I get to be one of the 10%?’ The answer isn’t that simple. So much of it is down to luck. What the panel are looking for, how you are on the day, uncontrollable things.

But fear not. There are things within your control that you can do to give you the preparation and confidence to smash your drama school auditions. It’s a tough couple of months, but when the going gets tough… the tough get working.

Is Drama School for You?

Especially for younger actors, this is a question that often gets ignored. Drama school, first off, is not the be-all-and-end-all of the creative industry. Switch on your TV and many of the actors you’ll see will either have a part-time University training, or no training at all.

Drama School isn’t for everyone. I would argue that you can get the same knowledge from spending 3 years as a jobbing actor, learning on the job, while at the same time making those all-important contacts. Similarly, University training can give you all the experience you need to survive in the entertainment industry.

Drama Schools are renowned for their rigour and thoroughness, but also for their stress and long hours. If that’s something you’re not up for, there are so many other things you can do. The only thing they all require is hard work.

“Personally, I disagree with the notion that it’s essential to go to drama school to be able to dip your toe in this industry. However, having said that, I believed drama school was for me and I would recommend it to the vast majority of young actors who’re attempting to have a crack at entering the creative industry. I believe that, through watching a variety of trained and untrained actors, I find that the majority of the time, upon flicking through the programme, the actors I’m most impressed by tend to be drama school trained, the major contributing factor to this will be through the vocal projection they apply which is comparatively better, for the most part, than non-trained actors.”

Charlie Barker, Arts Ed

Choosing your Schools

An audition for Drama School isn’t cheap. Audition fees range from £30 to £85. Unless you want to forgo a holiday, you’ll want to pick your schools wisely. Not only does it save money, but by researching the schools and what kind of training they offer, you’ll get an idea of whether you fancy spending three years there.

This kind of information becomes invaluable in interviews when you get the classic question ‘Why do you want to train here?’ By carefully picking your schools your passion for the ones you audition for will shine through in an audition.

Of course, you have your RADA’s and LAMDA’s, which offer fantastic training, but do some digging on the up and coming schools. With an ever-growing reputation and brilliant courses, these smaller schools produce the same quality of actor, and also have a forward-thinking approach to devising and creating your own work.

Pick the schools that inspire you, and look at where some of your favourite actors trained. Apart from being an interview talking point, it’s a great way to find schools that you would have otherwise overlooked.

“As someone who stumbled into this particular passion fairly late in my life, I’d also recommend a full-time foundation course to test the water and get a feel for the training. Also, instead of solely applying for the top schools, go to open days, poke around various schools and read their syllabus’ to find one that suits you as an individual and analyse if it matches what you want from the training.”

Charlie Barker, Arts Ed

Enjoy that? Why not check out Part II – Preparing For The Big Day – what you’ll need to have rehearsed and ready for your audition.

Elliott Reeves Giblin
Elliott is Liverpool/London based actor and director. A graduate of the Liverpool Everyman actors course, he has been a professional actor for a number of years, performing all around the country and even at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. When not acting he helps dozens of applicants gain places at the countries most prestigious drama schools, as a one-on-one monologue coach. His other hobbies include writing and playing the guitar.