Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 23.18.31In the Telegraph this week, Judi Dench questioned the at times bleak nature of the acting industry towards its newest recruits: ”There are no reps anywhere any more. There’s very little work, young actors have to get something and hope that it’s a success. They go to an audition and now nobody ever writes afterwards to say, ‘It was a terrific meeting, I’m so sorry it hasn’t worked out this time.’ There’s a complete silence. What is your encouragement as a young actor? Where do you go to learn? Where do you get to make the mistakes?”

Luckily for both professional actors and drama school applicants, Audition Doctor has proven to be that place. Audition Doctor is where actors are encouraged to take big risks, fail and subsequently become better.

Lyn Gardner wrote recently about how theatre should be a risky business and how venues should not be afraid of making choices that could alienate their established audiences. Playing it safe, in both programming and performance, betrays a lack of creativity. As Gardner states: “In fact, there is no such thing as “an audience”; only a collection of individuals sitting in a shared space.”

Audition Doctor sessions are sought after because Tilly discourages students from being risk-averse. The choices that students end up making are often daring and different. Drama schools are looking for those who are fearless in defying convention in favour of the unexpected. As Gardner states: “An audience that is up for being challenged and surprised, when it comes down to it, probably won’t like everything it sees.”

Many speeches that students rehearse at Audition Doctor – particularly for drama school – are well-known. Often they are part of a literary canon and have been performed by stalwart actors. Consequently, many people find it difficult to break away from how they preconceive the character to be, whether it be the thoughts behind the lines or even how the line sounds. On the BAFTA Acting Guru site, Idris Elba gave his advice to young actors starting out which is also encouraged at Audition Doctor: “It’s important to have an open mind, you are the vessel and on top of which and added onto are these personalities that you have to portray. [Have] a blank sheet and throw away any ideas and build from the beginning.”

Similarly, in the Guardian, Lenny Henry spoke of his process to approaching Shakespeare, which closely resembles the way text is approached at Audition Doctor: “Think of long speeches as a series of connected thoughts, not one big clump of dialogue. Each thought, each sentence, is a separate piece of your armoury. Think through each sentence: about how you glue it together; what it means; how you feel when you say each thing. You’ll find it comes together like a kind of delicious soup.”

Audition Doctor is about building up an arsenal of authentic emotional responses through risk and failure. Consequently, Tilly’s students get parts and places at drama schools because their performances challenge not only themselves, but also whomever is watching.