Auditioning Speeches for Drama School

Choosing audition speeches for drama school can be a minefield, with different drama schools stipulating varying requirements. They do, however, all maintain that the choice of speeches is the most important aspect of the process. They are the vehicles through which you must flaunt talent – both physical and vocal, potential and understanding. They should be speeches that you feel speak to you; as RADA states: “Choose a speech about which you are excited as a performer and can imagine playing one day.”

However, the wrong selection can also be fatal; the stringent process is difficult enough without performing speeches that you struggle connecting with. As Anne Henderson (Casting Director of the National Theatre of Scotland) advises on the Drama Centre website: “Remember that what you are trying to do is impress us with your talent, so do not use the audition as a place to experiment. Choose pieces with which you are comfortable and which will show you at your best.”

Although drama schools may have different demands (e.g. Some encourage applicants to look for audition speeches in film and TV scripts while others strongly advise the contrary), the general advice offered to candidates by all of them is largely similar. All drama schools dissuade applicants from picking a piece that involves an accent that is different from your own; they constantly remind students that Shakespeare does not have to be done in RP. Henderson goes onto note : “For your contemporary piece, if you have a regional accent, then choose a piece in that accent – you will feel more comfortable in your own accent rather than worrying about another accent.” Drama schools also strongly counsel applicants to stick to characters of their own age and gender: “It is a very difficult task that you have taken on, trying to persuade a panel in a bare room that you have transformed yourself into someone else; don’t make your life more difficult.”

Audition Doctor is unique in that Tilly will work together with her students to create the perfect cocktail of audition speeches that highlight the individual’s talents while simultaneously showcasing their flexibility and versatility. Audition Doctor ensures that the selection of audition speeches not only contrast with each other (as RADA recommends: dramatic/comic, serious/light, active/reflective), but also makes sure that there are varying tones within the speeches themselves . Going to Audition Doctor mercifully guarantees you won’t deliver a monotonous speech on one note, but a colourful and truthful performance that encapsulates all the contradictory and varying aspects of human existence.

Why Come to Audition Doctor?

In conjunction with last week’s programme ‘Nation’s Best Am Dram’ on Sky Arts 1, the Guardian asked several actors to give advice on how to act. Suggestions ranged from the importance of breath: “If you stop breathing properly, you get a sore throat. And if you stop breathing, you die” (Miriam Margolyes), “Never go dead for a second on stage. Even if you are doing nothing, do it actively. Listen” (Roger Allam) to “Don’t be a twat. There’s always one: make sure it’s not you.” (Julie Graham).

Paterson Joseph mentioned the vital point of “choosing a play you feel confident you understand: liking a play isn’t the same as understanding it.” This is where Audition Doctor is instrumental. Although Tilly always insists that her students must love the speeches that they pick, she always emphasises that the text (and by extension – the character) is fully understood and insists that her students re-read the texts multiple times. Re-readings often unearth subtleties of the character; these are subsequently discussed with Tilly and the resulting interpretation undoubtedly adds depth to your performance. It is these insights into your character which will distinguish you from other drama school applicants.

Another tip that Joseph gave was casting to the performer’s strengths. The initial stages of working with Tilly for drama school auditions involves auditioning speeches themselves. While a speech can be well-written, seemingly the right length for drama school auditions (no longer than two minutes) and the right gender, it simply might not showcase your abilities in the best possible light. Audition Doctor ensures that the combination of your speeches exhibits your natural strengths.

While the flippant dictum “Know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture” has been taken as a general rule for acting, clearly, drama school hopefuls know it isn’t as simple as that. Ralph Richardson said, before you leave the dressing room, ask yourself: “Is it human?” Audition Doctor does just that. Tilly guarentees that each student embodies the character which is what every drama school candidate must prove they can do not just if they wish to gain a place at drama school, but also if they ultimately want to become a professional actor.