The auditions process for drama schools is a sobering harbinger of the brutality that characterises the acting profession. The need to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other candidates who not only look and sound just like you, but of course who are doing the same speeches as you, can quickly drive some to despair. But they are also a realistic indicator of what professional actors go through everyday. As Freddie Fox said in his Ideastap interview : “In no other business will you be turned down for three jobs in one week.”
Rejection occurs so frequently that it feels hard to exercise control over your career. Drama school auditions feel similar; the desire just to get a foot in the door means that you forget that, as Hayley Atwell said, “you audition them as much as they audition you…I applied to a lot of drama schools – As much as I wanted to go to RADA, when I got there I didn’t feel like it was me. When I went into Guildhall, I just felt so relaxed. We had a whole term of classes about failing – ironically, a lot of the best work came out of that.”
Drama school is famously emotionally and physically exacting with 12 hours days and learning lines every night. It’s important that you like the place where you will be devoting the next 3 years of your life. The recession and £9,000 a year hike will make the decision to go harder to justify, but no amount of hoping or arrogance will ensure that you will be one of the lucky few who “don’t need training.” Successful and well-respected actors who haven’t trained – such as Tom Hollander – are a rarity. There is no certainty in any job sector anymore, let alone in acting, and thinking you’ll be as fortunate is risky.
Yet drama schools aren’t the only way to receive training and to get noticed by agents. The Industry is trying in some ways to give young hopefuls who can’t afford drama school a leg-up. Vocational alternatives like Fourth Monkey’s £2,000 training scheme, Frantic Assembly’s physical training courses and NYT Rep are financially viable and thrilling opportunities. These involve Industry mentors, workshops, Q&As, weekends in Stratford with the RSC and a showcase performed in front of Industry professionals with the chance of representation. However, like with all jobs in the Industry- unless you are Derek Jacobi – these schemes must be auditioned for as they are highly competitive.
Anyone who is auditioning for either professional acting jobs or drama schools at the moment will be uncomfortably aware that you need every bit of help you can get. Audition Doctor sessions have proven to be unique because Tilly’s students are able to receive peerless direction coupled with insightful practical advice. No actor can control the outcome of any audition, however, going to Audition Doctor means that you can be confident in the knowledge that you have at least managed to control the fact that you are the most prepared you can possibly be.