Alternative Training at Audition Doctor

Alternative Training at Audition Doctor

CRW_4931At the Cheltenham Literary Festival, The Times reported Judi Dench disagreeing with the  commonplace practice of understudies playing the roles of leading stage actors in matinees. She credited her training at drama school as the thing that equipped her with the stamina: “That doesn’t faze me at all – eight performances a week, I know it’s rather fashionable now to get someone else to do two performances but that’s not the way I was trained.”

However, she also recently mentioned the difficulty for actors without significant private backing to receive professional training. Earlier this year, The Times carried out research in which “a study of 100 British actors to have been nominated for Bafta or Olivier awards in the past decade showed that state-educated actors outnumbered their privately schooled peers until 1957, when the trend reversed. Even before that turning point, products of a state education were still at a disadvantage as they represent more than 93 per cent of the population.”

With drama schools now charging £9,000 in fees and complaints about the dearth of working-class stories portrayed on television, acting is understandably seen as being a profession monopolised by the wealthy. Furthermore, Dench lamented the fact that “there aren’t [repertory theatres] where you get to learn about how other actors do it. Where do you go to learn, and to make mistakes?” The disintegration of the repertory system has meant that drama school has increased in importance as a space where young actors can learn and make mistakes.

Dench went onto warn that “it [is wrong to assume that good actors will rise to the top. It doesn’t hold that the actors who are good actors are in the jobs. It’s if you’re lucky, you’ve got the job”, reinforcing the idea that getting a place at drama school has become even more important.

However, as Jake Gyllenhaal said on the On Acting blog of the Bafta website: “Education is essential…it doesn’t mean you have to go out and get it from an institution but educating yourself is the most important thing, otherwise you’re making blind choices that you’re not sure about.”

Audition Doctor has become an alternative place for both professional and aspiring actors to educate themselves with professional guidance. Gyllenhaal stated that what he looked for in a role wasn’t “about a genre or even about a specific character, it’s if I feel that there’s an honesty and a sort of beating heart that exists underneath the material…it’s the honesty and truth between characters.”

It is this that Audition Doctor focuses on: the creation of a truthful and three-dimensional human being. Audition Doctor’s students come regularly because unlocking the beating heart that is underneath the material that Gyllenhaal speaks of, takes time and a commitment to both failure and experimentation.

Furthermore, Audition Doctor students understand what Gyllenhaal means when he said: “For a long time I was looking for a sense of resolution at the end of a movie or a scene, feeling like as Chris Cooper said to me once “Never having regrets”, but that’s impossible, there is no resolve. You never fully get there and it’s a constant search.”


Achieve Spontaneity at Auditions with Audition Doctor

Achieve Spontaneity at Auditions with Audition Doctor

CRW_4961Speaking of the rehearsal process and the nature of being part of a company, Simon Russell Beale commented: “I personally would be unable to develop a part by myself at home…I need the stimulation of other people.”

One of the reasons for Audition Doctor’s popularity is the need for professional actors and drama school applicants to have a professional sounding board when creating a character. Especially as the drama school audition process is protracted one, rehearsing monologues countless times at home is unsurprisingly not conducive to preserving the vitality and originality that perhaps you had at the beginning.

In an interview on The National Theatre’s website, Nick Hytner said: “Good actors can’t learn their lines unless they know why they’re saying them and you can take an infinite amount of time finding out why you have to say the lines that are written for you. The best acting gives the impression of being spontaneous. In order to be spontaneous every night, you have to feel like the words you say are the only response to the situation you find yourself in…Rehearsals are the process of discovering those reasons.”

Audition Doctor sessions are the closest thing drama school applicants will have to rehearsals and the final recalls that students achieve are testament to the uninhibited freedom of expression that Tilly instils each of her students with. This quality is also why Audition Doctor is increasingly regarded as a necessity for professional actors preparing for jobs.

Judi Dench spoke out this week against the financial constraints placed on actors without significant private funding to pay for conservatoire training. She mentioned: “Anyone who’s in the theatre gets letters countless times a week asking for help to get through drama school. You can do so much, but you can’t do an endless thing. It is very expensive.”

The Guardian commented: “She accepts that talented aspiring actors can make it without going to drama school. “But it’s a hard and rocky road,” she added.”

The collapse of the repertory system – which Dench describes as  “where you went to learn and make your mistakes and watch people who knew how to do it” – has meant that drama schools have become increasingly important for actors learning their craft.

Despite the increase in fees, the competition is no less fierce. The National Theatre website states: “Acting requires a wide range of skills, vocal, physical, imaginative, expressive, intellectual, intuitive, and work can demand different dialects, languages, accents, vocal control or body language, improvisation, observation and emulation, mime and often dancing or stage combat. A stage actor will often be required to research around a character or a period of history. In an ever changing world it is a continually evolving profession”. Students understand that the industry is a demanding one and that the skills taught at drama school are essential to survival and longevity as an artist. 

Speaking of her imminent return to the London stage, Emma Thompson said that she was suffering from nerves and nausea but that she was adhering to the advice of the late choreographer Agnes de Mille: “You have to keep flinging yourself, leaping into the dark.” Whether you are preparing for a professional role or a drama school audition, Audition Doctor prepares you for that leap and makes it far less terrifying.