When interviewed on the BBC, Juliet Stevenson was asked whether she would have become an actress had she not gone to drama school. She confirmed that she would have done through a more indirect route. Without resorting to over sentimentalising romanticism, she acknowledged that acting was, for her, a vocation – “I do feel alive on stage, sometimes I don’t, but very often I feel like this is what I’m meant to do whether I like it or not.”

Drama school can feel like the only option to get into the Industry but it isn’t necessarily for everyone. Stevenson admitted that she nearly left drama school on several occasions as she found it extremely emotionally taxing: “I was very young, you’re using who you are to play other people when you don’t know who you are yet at that age.” However, the process of delving into the uncomfortable recesses of your psyche is going to be draining whether or not you do it within the peripheries of an accredited institution.

The tightly structured days, the personalities of your peers, the quality of your teachers all have a huge bearing on the nature of your drama school experience. Drama school is a gamble and many have succeeded without it. The pre-audition talk at one drama school entailed a sober reminder from the Head of Acting that “You’ll have RADA graduates that never get a job, you’ll have untrained people nabbing all the roles that you’ve trained 3 years for. There is no fairness in this profession” as we all stared wide-eyed at him and blinked – rewiring our naïve brains to accept the fact that he was telling us with realistic- not pessimistic- reasoning, that a place at drama school by no means guaranteed an immunity to failure.

However, attending drama school gives you the possibilities to know how to deal with the unavoidable setbacks that come with being an actor. Lyn Gardner recently held a lesson for acting students at drama school on theatre criticism: “There’s real value in trying to hone their critical faculties so that they can appraise their own work honestly, as well as that of their peers. If you’re training to work in drama, stringent evaluation of your own and other people’s work is crucial. You can only fail better –to quote Samuel Beckett – if you admit failure in the first place. But the bottom line is that these youngsters going out into the profession will, if they get work, be reviewed. Sometimes those reviews will make them dance with joy, and sometimes they’ll want to hide under the bedclothes. I hope that, when that happens, they’ll…remember that judging your own work honestly is as important as anything the critics might say.”

It’s being given opportunities like this which makes drama schools invaluable to the aspiring actor. The likelihood of Lyn just popping into your theatre company’s rehearsal and “[reading] a complete set of newspaper reviews from Theatre Record, marvelling at different responses, and how revealing they can be of the critics writing, rather than of the shows themselves” is highly unlikely. Nor is it probable that she’ll organise an outing for you all and “take [you] to the kind of shows many of [you] have never experienced before…such as Dreamthinkspeak’s In the Beginning was the End, (a peripatetic piece played out in the basement beneath London’s Somerset House).” Maybe she would if you wrote to her and asked her nicely, but drama schools have easy access to respected professionals such as Lyn on tap. Why wouldn’t you want to go?

Audition Doctor has proven to be indispensable when it comes to drama school auditions. Competition is now so much more fierce and being taught by someone who is a professional actress herself and who runs a weekly auditioning workshop at the Actor’s Centre marks you out from other candidates. Audition Doctor’s students are people in all different stages of the profession – from drama school applicants, current drama school students, professional actors to businessmen who want to improve their public speaking skills. What Audition Doctor gives all of them is confidence and peerless advice that means the prospect of failure is significantly less likely.