Getting Into Drama School: The Reality

This post is me being the Devil’s Advocate, I don’t completely agree with what I’m about to write but I think that it’s an important thing to explore. This is also kind of UK based, not sure it it’s the same elsewhere in the world but I’m going to stick with what I know, it’s also based on being a teenager/finishing secondary school- it still applies if you’re older but stick with me for now.

So, you decide that you want to be an actor- great- now what? Well, if you live in the UK the conventional route is to apply for the BA Acting course at a drama school, different schools will offer slightly different courses but they’re all basically the same; vocational, practical lessons on how to act.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Well there’s one small snag- there are about thirty places on each year’s intake and around 3,000 applicants. You could have to go through up to four rounds of auditions that will go on for months… oh, and you’ll have to pay from £30-£60 for the privilege.

To put it bluntly, it’s a fucking miracle if you get into drama school.

When you get in there you could be asked to do all sorts of things- in my long and varied experience I’ve been to auditions where you walk in, do your two monologues and leave, auditions with monologues and interviews, group workshop style auditions, auditions where you perform your monologues in front of other people and auditions where they do all the ‘rounds’ in the same day, knocking people out hour by hour.

However they do it it’s a tough, emotionally demanding process that can leave you exhausted on all levels- and that’s not even factoring in the time and money that you’ll spend travelling to these places.

There’s no way in hell that the drama school audition process is fair. For a start if you’re a bloke you’ve already got a head start on everyone- some schools give 70% of their places to guys- and it’s much, much rarer to find a guy who wants to go to drama school than a girl. If an audition panel see a guy who’s relatively good they’ll put him through- they could see thirty or forty other girls that day.

Also, for those of you who don’t know, the audition panel is looking for people who look different- they’ll want a tall blonde, a medium blonde, a short blonde, a tall brunette, a medium… you get the picture. Essentially they’re trying to make sure that they can cast whatever show they’re given- which means that if you turn up to audition and you’re the only tall red-head in the room you’re in luck.

Acting is incredibly subjective. I’ve had audition panels love me and audition panels hate me- I can usually tell what they think of me when I walk into a room, it’s so dispiriting sometimes when I walk in and I know they don’t want me. I have to carry on and perform to the best of my ability when all I want to do is turn around and start the long journey back home.

Thanks for reading!

Here are some fun links:

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/oct/25/drama-school-waste-money-time-paul-roseby

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/oct/24/drama-schools-waste-of-money-national-youth-theatre

http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/guest-blog-do-you-need-to-go-to-drama-school/

http://www.spotlight.com/news/archive/2013/11/26/how-to-train-without-drama-school.aspx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/9678384/Sir-Ian-McKellen-there-will-be-no-more-British-acting-greats.html

’til next time,

Wren x

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One thought on “Getting Into Drama School: The Reality

  1. Pingback: ‘Tis the Season to Submit UCAS Forms; University and Major Life Choices | The Druid Bird

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