You would have thought that a profession whose primary concern is reflecting the complexities and contradictions of the multifaceted nature of human existence would celebrate the diversity of its practitioners. To be an actor (unless you seek to be one of the Hugh Grant variety) means fulfilling the job description of being a chameleon. Yet frustratingly, graduates out of drama school have the cheery prospect of not being given opportunities to get the most out of their training.
Typecasting is still endemic and this week Stephen Poliakoff conceded: “I still think we tend to cast black people in working class roles all the time, much more so than America as they have a much larger black middle class,” he says. “I think there is a little lack of imagination in that casting, and I know one or two black actors that come across as posh and find it very difficult to get hired because people are always looking for drug dealers and gangsters on the street.” On the other side of the spectrum, Benedict Cumberbatch was also portrayed as a “moaning, rich, public school bastard who complained about only getting “posh” roles.” At least there is some justice in the fact that it appears no one is immune to being pigeonholed.
It is surprising that an industry that is by its very definition relates to creativity, fantasy and make-believe can have so little imagination when it comes to casting. There is a risk that despite having received peerless drama school training, and proving that you can indeed successfully transcend the baggage of your education, provenance, skin colour, accent (and in some cases – even gender) to inhabit everyone from Lady Macbeth to a starving Russian peasant amidst the throes of the Revolution, you will be given roles of a certain type.
The only thing you can do to get any part is to stun the drama school audition panel or director with something that is totally unique to you which they can’t get out of anyone else even during extensive rehearsals. This is what Audition Doctor excels in; as much as acting is about overcoming yourself, it is also about exposing aspects of your own experience and personality. Audition Doctor always endeavours to pick and approach speeches that enhance your own currency – the simple fact of being you.
Today, Hattie Morahan was interviewed about working with Katie Mitchell straight out of university and said: “”I hadn’t trained [at drama school], so it was the first time I’d encountered any structured approach to getting under the skin of a play or a character.” The benefit of coming to Audition Doctor is precisely that – it is the rare advantage of having Tilly guide you through the practicalities of inhabiting a character as well as having the relaxed space to experiment artistically. It is this that has meant that Audition Doctor has become indispensable and is now internationally recognised, with students coming to see Tilly from as far as Austria, Hong Kong and South Africa to seek audition advice.