Although Michael Simkins’ article in the Guardian was hardly a paean to the acting profession, it was an honest account of the fickle nature of the business with all its highs and lows. In “Is Acting Today Just Too Tough?” he talks of the harsh demands of cash-strapped producers, the paltry salary of theatre work and the fact that the defining difference between professional and amateur actors is not talent but “whether you have the stomach for the lifestyle – one in which rejection, disappointment and despair are part of your daily routine.”

The buoying narrative doesn’t stop there as he asserts: “The cruellest aspect of the acting business is not that it’s unfair, but that it’s merely indifferent. It gives everything to some and nothing to others; talent, ambition and virtue have little to do with it. What’s more, with no qualifications or tests to assess how good (or bad) you are, the only benchmark is success.”

Despite all of this, there are still several thousand applicants to drama schools each year and all of them will no doubt have heard all of this before. While the adage “all art is subjective” is largely true, getting into drama school is a way of testing how good or bad you are – albeit an unreliable one. Although success in the profession is in no way guaranteed, it is interesting to see that actors who have found success very early on in their careers have chosen to take a break from the profession to go to drama school. It’s an acknowledgement that drama schools don’t just churn out graduates that are industry fodder; they prepare students for the demands of the profession.

In an article entitled “Life After Potter – Where Are All Hogwarts’ Graduates Now?”, it was interesting to note that many of the young actors were graduating from drama schools such as The Royal Welsh Conservatoire of Music and Drama, LAMDA and RADA despite having spent the ages of 10-21 on a set. Harry Melling said: “I went to LAMDA. The films were a great learning experience, but I wanted to do theatre, get better, to have a process.” While Frank Dillane declared: “Arriving in an establishment (RADA) where everyone is better than you, you can’t uphold any kind of arrogance for very long.”

Drama school may not be a necessity for success, but chancing it in a profession that is routinely prefixed with the word “unstable” is a caveat to all its potential practitioners to be as prepared as possible. A 3 year training does exactly that. With more students coming to Audition Doctor, it is clear that in spite of the warnings, drama schools are more popular than ever. Making yourself distinguishable from the throng has become even more necessary. You are watched at every single stage of an audition; while this makes the process sound rather like a stint in a high-security prison, it is the truth. This means sessions at Audition Doctor are an integral part of ensuring that you are on form every single time you are in front of a panel. There is (literally) no time to mess up, with many panels timing the length of your speeches with a stopwatch.

Although the 26 selected for entrance into each drama school are entering a profession in which 92% are out of work at any given time, the students that come to Audition Doctor are undeterred. Why? Michael Simkins acknowledges that “The answer is that it’s a drug – and once it gets in your system, it’s difficult to break the habit. In any case, despite the withering odds, if you’re an actor, you’re a dreamer. As David Mamet put it: “Narrative always wins out over statistics.”