In an interview for BAFTA, Imelda Staunton spoke of the importance, for her, of being able to fail on the job after drama school. Repertory theatre afforded her the opportunity to continue to mould herself into the kind of actor she wanted to be.
“I remember thinking that I didn’t want to go to the RSC and stand at the back. I wanted to be at the front making a fool of myself. I didn’t care as long as I was doing it. I was given a lot of responsibility when I was very young. I was 20 when I left RADA and I went straight into a leading role. I wasn’t very good at it but I was giving it my best shot and really learning my craft. I certainly didn’t come out fully formed when I left drama school.”
Audition Doctor gives actors the similar chance to advance their technique and artistry albeit in a less public setting.
Sarah Frankcom, who has directed Maxine Peake in Hamlet, spoke of the need for actors today to manage their own careers: “[Peake] is part of a generation who are having to shape their work and opportunities in a different way, and that is about taking control rather than serving an industry.”
With the demise of repertory, actors today are increasingly looking towards spaces such as Audition Doctor to avoid stagnation between jobs and to forge ahead with their professional development.
Actors value Audition Doctor sessions because they endow them with the ability to tell a story which, at its most basic definition, is an actor’s job. Tilly’s students are often successful in auditions for simply being true to the part and not embellishing it with any falsity or “acting”.
As Staunton said: “You’re privileged enough to dive into someone else’s life and tell their story. That is your only responsibility; not to make it bigger than it is or more extraordinary than what it is, it’s just what it is…Doing it in the moment is the most important thing.”
Staunton also went onto mention: “ [When rehearsing] Entertaining Mr Sloane the language is difficult and technically it’s quite difficult. I thought [my character] had terrible problems and she needs delving into in my head. That was for me to do work on in my own time. not discussing in rehearsal “Oh what do you think she’s feeling?” That’s my job. I do that privately.”
Audition Doctor has proved indispensable for those applying to drama school who understandably need guidance with mastering difficult texts and also the private work that Staunton speaks of. Audition Doctor’s students have proved that they are remembered in the right way by audition panels – for serving the role authentically and not for any artistic choices that might be perceived as attention-seeking.
Sarah Frankcom said of Maxine Peake: “Her great gift is that she makes you feel like she is going through something. She helps an audience makes sense of what is happening between people.”
This is what Audition Doctor helps all her students achieve and pushes them closer to following Peake’s own mantra about acting: “Just be honest, be interesting, be alive.”