When applying for drama school, its common to only see your immediate goal – getting in. The audition process is such a lengthy process that often candidates forget that securing a place is only the very first step to even possibly beginning a career in acting. I use the word “possibly” because like law students who end up in advertising, or trained medics who go onto become playwrights, drama school students frequently end up doing something different from what they studied.
There is so much hype surrounding getting into drama school ,but it is a misapprehension that everyone who wants to go to drama school wants to be an actor. This is undoubtedly the majority’s main goal – made crystal clear by many candidates when asked to “approach the panel individually and state why you want to become an actor”, leading to the audition to descend into a situation horribly familiar to anyone who has ever had the misfortune of watching X Factor auditions, with people citing ill-ridden family members who “inspired them to act” – but many fail to realise that drama school is often the springboard into different areas of the industry, as well as other fields entirely.
Rufus Norris recently declared in The Stage: “I absolutely think, hand on heart, that an acting training is the only way to train for directing.” The article went onto talk about how his training at RADA suggest “that acting is a valuable route in right to the top jobs in British theatre. And it’s far from unprecedented, of course – Michael Grandage and Jonathan Kent, who would go on to lead the Donmar Warehouse and Almeida Theatres, were once actors, but both gave up their acting after turning to directing (interestingly at the Almeida, Kent shared his artistic director duties with the still-acting Ian McDiarmid).”
In another article, journalist Matthew Hemley, wrote of how his training was “three very formative years of my life, which [he] wouldn’t trade for anything” despite realising that “acting wasn’t for [him].” Now he writes about television for The Stage. When asked what training gave him, he responded: “What I did get…was an understanding of the works of practitioners such as Artaud and Brecht. The ability to work alongside others (even though I couldn’t stand the sight of many of them) and the chance to work with a variety of directors, and experience different techniques and approaches to staging a production. I refined any acting skills I may have come to my training with, and also began to understand how disciplined the industry requires people to be. I also gained confidence and communication skills.”
Audition Doctor specialises in drama school applicants. However, it is worthy to note that increasingly more students are booking lessons who earn a crust in other sectors. The skills that an actor acquires at drama school – effective communication and understanding how to connect with an audience to name a few – are basic requirements in most jobs. Promotions in the corporate sector depend heavily on self-presentation, as well as the confidence and nous to market your company effectively to potential clients. Even if you don’t want to be an actor, drama school and Audition Doctor lessons can pave the way to success in other sectors.