Geoffrey Colman, head of acting at Central, wrote an article on the danger of aspiring actors disregarding the merits of professional training. “The cult of the untrained reigns supreme. Why wait three years, or even one – why make the effort to be trained at all?”
Many young actors, who routinely see the untrained catapulted into the spotlight, understandably feel that training is not a prerequisite to forging a career. However, the longevity of such a career is usually short. Colman encourages vocational training as a way of committing yourself to “a craft that has bestowed such meaning and continuity” and raging against the prevailing view that “all is instant, all is now.”
“…the cultivation of knowledge is worth the risk; worth pursuing for nothing more than its own sake. The vocation of knowledge and the vocation of training are old terms that identify a set of standards and assumptions not immediately associated with the click-and-download generation of today – and therefore are terms and ideals that we must fight for and protect.”
Colman also talks about the idea of surrendering and this is what Audition Doctor sessions encourage students to do. The act of surrendering is linked to a willingness to be open and vulnerable. Those that attend Audition Doctor sessions quickly begin to realise that their progress is dependent on how much of themselves they are willing to proffer.
This can feel exposing and requires a kind of bravery. However, the reason why Audition Doctor continues to be in such popular demand is because the sessions never make you feel unsafe. Any vulnerability is channeled into the role and it is this courage, which is cultivated in the sessions, that breeds work.
In a recent Guardian article, Alex Jennings stated: “I love to keep working,” he says, “but you have to wait and you have to be brave.”
This is the reason professional actors come to Audition Doctor between jobs. Many of them see waiting not as a static state, but as a time to push their craft further and to prepare them for roles which require more of themselves than they have previously ever given.
An Audition Doctor session is also the place to experiment and see the kind of roles that, as an actor, you would like to aim for. Ralph Fiennes recently commented on these roles, comparing them to “the gift of a garment”. “You go: ‘That’s perfect, I love that. That feels like that’s me.”
Those that come to Audition Doctor are serious about their careers and are focused solely on the betterment of their craft. Colman wrote of the subjectivity of what great acting is, however, he said that the one “common unifying quality, the greatness I hope to encounter with each new intake of students, is actually very simple – honest, full commitment to a craft that lies beyond the scope of apparent ambition or easy-won fame. In my long experience of training actors, I think that it is this single quality that distinguishes the real acting elite.”
The act of coming to Audition Doctor is an honest and full commitment to acting and a step to inching closer to the greatness that every actor hopes to reach.