When asked what advice he would give for any actor starting out, James McAvoy replied “Advice is difficult for me, because everyone’s journey is so personal and different. Everyone’s style is so personal and different. What makes anyone good is so personal and different. Some people just try to be truthful and are brilliant at it, but I work very differently to that. A lot of the industry is down to luck, and being ready at the right time.”

Being “ready” is vital but, as McAvoy emphasises, whatever your chosen method, it’s up to you to inhabit your character as believably as possible.

“You should do whatever works for you, and trying to be a method actor doesn’t work for me at all. Maybe it will do one day, but I try to keep an eye on what story I’m telling. It’s not just about what character you are and being truthful to that; it’s about keeping your eye on the narrative. I see acting as more about mimicking truthful situations. You’re a storyteller, and naturalism and realism and all that stuff are just a style. I prepare by spending a lot of time working out what story we’re telling exactly.”

When asked what they do to prepare for their part, most actors will cite reading and re-reading the play. Yet it’s surprising how many drama school applicants fail to read the play which their speeches come from. Often when workshopping speeches, the audition panel will ask what has happened in the scene before as a gormless candidate squirms and gabbles something palpably vague. It is mortifying whether or not the panel put it down to nerves and soothes you by saying “don’t worry, take your time”, or in one case, defiantly write the word “NO” across a hapless candidate’s assessment sheet.

The Stage cited the reason as being because “many students and actors are frightened of the verse in Jacobean and Elizabethan plays and, in some cases, of the language itself. Odd when you think about it given that 95% of the vocabulary Shakespeare uses is still in current use and that the heartbeat-like iambic pentameter sits very comfortably in the rhythms of modern English. Think about “I left my brief case on the Northern Line” or “When Susan wants to rant she shouts a lot”.

Evidently, however, the key is striking a balance as the publication simultaneously lamented how many times they had heard actors “gabble [words] so fast that they’re incomprehensible” and were adamant that “you cannot make Shakespeare sound like a bit of dialogue from Eastenders and it’s very misguided of actors and directors to try.”

Making Shakespeare sound both unforced and convincing takes an inordinate amount of preparation.. To be dexterous with Shakespearean language requires you to understand the text. After comprehension comes practice and this is what Audition Doctor sessions afford you. It is uncommon to have an interrupted hour purely to work on Shakespeare, especially if you practice in the comfort of your own home – distractions abound. Having the space to concentrate solely on your speeches with an experienced actor at hand is a rarity which more and more applicants are realising. With the drama school audition season officially beginning, time with Audition Doctor is getting booked up. Those who want a fighting chance this year should book lessons well in advance to ensure availability.