Making a Shakespeare Part Your Own at Audition Doctor

Making a Shakespeare Part Your Own at Audition Doctor

This weunnamedek, Mark Rylance spoke about the trap that many actors, including himself, fall into when acting Shakespeare.

“[The acting ] is too slow. It’s too reverent. It is like taking a rap song in 400 years from now that we think is really wonderful and deciding it should be said slowly so all the lovers of rap can hear every word. To take a song like Honky Tonk Woman and study it for its literature is fair enough, but if you are going to revere it as literature, you are doing a disservice to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who would like it to be revered as a great rock’n’roll song. That is what I have always felt about Shakespeare. By all means revere him and love him, but revere him in the way he would want to be revered – as a playwright.”

However, saying the lines quicker is not an excuse for under preparing and not understanding the text. If anything, as Audition Doctor students can attest, it requires a commitment to an even deeper comprehension of the play as well as heightened verbal dexterity. Students have found that regular preparation at Audition Doctor gives them structure and they are able to see results quicker under Tilly’s guidance.

Even experienced actors such as Geoffrey Rush, who is rehearsing for King Lear, acknowledges that with Shakespeare: “I had to do my homework. I knew from when I did A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum that it took me a long time to cram in Stephen Sondheim’s very fast patter lyrics at a comfort-zone level. So I started working on Lear early, absorbing it, talking around it, finding out about the history.”

Audition Doctor sessions take a lot of the pain out of the homework through targeting specific aspects of the speech students find difficult and practically solving them in the doing of it. Through this kind of experimentation, students find that they end up discovering their own version of the character.

Rush said: “If you look at Hamlet – not that I’ve played him myself – each actor has to find their own Hamlet. Certainly with Lear, you have to credibly enter an acceptable zone of seeming like an octogenarian. And you can reference behaviours and family members to get there but, ultimately, it’s got to be your own.”

Making a Shakespeare part your own is what Audition Doctor pushes each student to do. Tilly also makes certain that they enter every audition with confidence – both from knowing that they have an original take on a role and also from being ready to make bold choices and not being too precious. The readiness to abandon their performance altogether in favour of trying something new if the panel asks is a quality that Audition Doctor students possess.

Fisayo Akinade, who recently appeared in Russell T. Davies’ Cucumber, commented: “In a weird way, you don’t act the same way in an audition as you do when you get to set. It’s a slightly alien environment. A lot of the technique to an audition is understanding that it’s a very different thing to a performance.”

Audition Doctor gives students this understanding and Akinade also stated that in auditions, “you’ve got to be the better you”, which is absolutely what Audition Doctor enables each one of her students to be.

Making Shakespeare Comprehensible at Audition Doctor

Making Shakespeare Comprehensible at Audition Doctor

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 09.36.12One of the many reasons why professional actors and drama school applicants come to Audition Doctor is Shakespeare.  Harry Mount wrote in the Telegraph of the ofttimes default tendency to “treat Shakespeare with too much reverence, as an English literature exam question…” Shakespeare’s plays have become more associated with monotonous readings in English lessons at school than where he intended them to be – acted out on stage.

Mount went onto explain that Shakespeare’s unquestionable place in British culture has meant that “he has rightly become a mainstay of the academic world. [However,] that shouldn’t mean he should be confined to the classroom and the lecture hall. Shakespeare didn’t write for academics – or for the well-heeled, early 21st century theatre-going middle classes. He wrote for the rough and ready rank and file of Elizabethan London.”

Audition Doctor sessions don’t encourage the untouchable and venerational approach to Shakespeare. Instead, the Elizabethan language is tackled just as a contemporary speech would be.

This means that students at Audition Doctor avoid what Nick Hytner called “over-colouring”. He explained in the Guardian of the “overt musical poeticise which was very much what people wanted 30 or 40 years ago” going out of fashion.

“I believe that that poetic grace can come through and should come through, and we work on it, but it relies most importantly on people speaking it as if its how they think. If that happens, it’s comprehensible.”

Mount even cited Richard E. Grant’s Hamlet soliloquy in Withnail and I as an example of how Shakespeare’s language can be seamlessly and comprehensibly woven into modern day speech.

“The insertion of a Tudor speech into a film about late Sixties London seems entirely unstagey because Grant acts it so convincingly. He understands what the words mean, and communicates that understanding so expertly that the audience doesn’t have to strain to understand it.”

Hytner has admitted of Shakespeare productions that “The first five minutes is always tricky. But I think by 15 minutes in, most people have tuned in.” Audition Doctor’s indispensability to actors lies in the fact that students end up commanding the language so fully and using the writing to their utmost advantage that the audience is immediately drawn in. Initial auditions, especially for drama schools, are rarely longer than 15 minutes. There simply isn’t the luxury of time to allow the panel to ease into your performance.

The volume of drama school auditions mean that each candidate is given a very limited time slot. Audition Doctor sessions have given students the assurance that this isn’t wasted. The few minutes that you are given to impress your prospective future teachers can seem hugely intimidating.

Gemma Arterton recently spoke of how important her experience at drama school was in terms of launching her career.

“I didn’t come from a background where I knew anyone in the industry so I went to drama school and luckily here in the UK we have that opportunity that anyone from any background can apply to drama school. We have government funding to support students there so I auditioned…and then I got into RADA…I suppose it gives you a platform which is taken very seriously…and a lot of people come and see you when you’re there…I got an agent…but it was all thanks to drama school.”

Audition Doctor immeasurably improves your chances of reaching this platform and consequently, of forging a sustained career in the industry.

Just Saying the Words at Audition Doctor

Just Saying the Words at Audition Doctor

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.06.54Today’s interview with Frances Barber in the Guardian discussed the unnecessary obligation that actors sometimes feel to “act”. Barber spoke of how the text was compelling enough to sustain a performance and how any extraneous “acting” was unnecessary, particularly in the works of Shakespeare, David Mamet and Patrick Marber.

“All is required is the sense, it doesn’t require your embellishment. David Mamet has this rather po-faced attitude towards acting and he has this kind of strange theory that when you are in one of his plays, he hopes that you’re wondering whether you’re going to have fishcakes at the Ivy while you’re in an emotional scene. I’m not quite sure I subscribe to all of that but I think I kind of know where he’s coming from, which is don’t embellish what he, the writer, has given you…It’s anti Victoriana and anti showing off and being rather indulgent in having pyrotechnics in your performance which I really do subscribe to. I don’t like that I want to see an actor’s personality within the character but I don’t want to see an actor showing off because he’s a clever clogs and he can do all sorts of things to fascinate me. I don’t want that because I’ve come to see the play. Mamet has a very valid point and I bet Shakespeare would be on Mamet’s side. He’s given you everything, you don’t need to do more than that, you just need to say the words. When I played Goneril I didn’t have to [signal] “I’m the Wicked Witch now, look at this”, it’s in the words….You can do it in a myriad of ways but I don’t need to come on as the Wicked Stepmother with lightning and pirouette across the stage…because it’s all done in the writing and the rhythm.”

Professional actors and drama school candidates realise that Audition Doctor sessions always steer them away from pyrotechnics and embellishment and towards using the text as a means of authentically portraying a character. However, students find the requirement of “just [saying] the words” is often harder than it sounds because the desire to “act” often dominates the desire to pare down. This is why most students come to Audition Doctor at the beginning of the audition process so lessons can focus on building the character from the ground up, as opposed to focusing on unpicking the theatricalities that may have creeped in.

Coming to Audition Doctor at the start of the process is often useful in terms of picking speeches. As Barber’s interview shows, the speech you choose is hugely important. For drama school auditions especially, there is a fine line between showing ability and showing off. A perfect speech is one that shows off your abilities without you having to resort to showing off yourself.

Clive Owen recently said in the Independent that for him, the most important thing was the text – “The reality is that when as an actor you come across a piece of material that sets you alight and reminds you of why you do what you do, that’s the be-all and end-all.”

Coming to Audition Doctor at the start of your audition journey gives you time to find the right speech and really inhabit the character so that just saying the words is enough.

Avoiding the Mid-Audition Slump

The reason why Audition Doctor has proved so popular is because it is known for helping students achieve that most difficult yet necessary thing – saying your lines as if for the first time. Everyone who auditions for drama school knows how cadences in the voice that initially added colour and variety become stale and choices that were once bold and interesting start to appear mechanical.

Speaking of playing Hamlet in the Independent, Rory Kinnear said how he felt that because the audience knew the play so well, the result was that “a lot of the time Hamlet [seemed] to be playing catch-up with what everybody else already [knew]”. He spoke of hearing people murmuring Hamlet’s lines along with him. However, he also expressed the satisfaction of people commenting: “it was only after a while that they realised that I was doing such-and-such a speech. I suppose it can be surprising to discover these well- known words in the context of the narrative of a play, rather than as verbal set pieces. I suspect that secretly we might believe such great – and famous – outpourings of eloquence and wisdom should be heralded by a pause in the action and a suitable fanfare.”

Theatrical pauses and fanfare are precisely what drama schools are looking to avoid. Audition Doctor sessions offer the space to organically find your own truthful portrayal of oft-performed texts. The result is genuine storytelling which eschews performing your monologue as “a verbal set piece”. Although independent work is an unavoidable requisite, students have found that progress is much quicker with Audition Doctor booster sessions throughout the audition season.

Kinnear acknowledged that if he were to go back “I’m sure that for each role I would want to give a very different performance now. But however I did them, I would still want to focus on those moments when the characters become something they weren’t before. I would want to try to hold on to who they were, with all the weight of their histories, and yet follow them in the successive moments of becoming who they are, as they are faced with those big questions.”

Even Kinnear admits that tackling all this alone and “doing soliloquies to a wall [was]…isolating” and expressed relief when he finally performed it in front of an audience. Audition Doctor is like drama school in that it’s where students receive both professional feedback and direction.

Rarely do candidates get recalls for every single drama school they apply for and it is easy to get disheartened. Audition Doctor sessions mean you avoid the mid-audition slump and continue to achieve noticeable advancements in your development as an actor throughout the audition process.



In an article in the Independent entitled “My life on stage with Shakespeare”, Rory Kinnear spoke about how crucial the rehearsal process was in creating a character. “It seemed to require identifying the particular conundrums that a play and character threw up, the various forks in the road ahead, examining them thoroughly, and then making a decision. There wasn’t necessarily a right decision – especially, as I discovered to my delight, with Shakespeare – but there had to be a decision.”

Decisions are why people come to Audition Doctor. Unless you are auditioning for new writing, chances are that countless actors will have tackled your part before. For those auditioning for drama school, many find the thought of entering the audition room as the fifth Cressida horrifying. However, it is comforting to read Kinnear’s assertion that “Shakespeare gives his actors quite a lot of open-endedness within which to work: you’re not often given much back-story, and you’re certainly never guided by him to any particular decision. You have to make your own.”

The open-endedness that he talks about is what Audition Doctor sessions focus on. The freedom that Shakespeare affords the actor means that there are endless choices that can be made to make sure that the character you present is wholly different from the one that the next actor performs after you. Kinnear mentioned that he approached parts “initially just by thinking about them, and then afterwards [trying] to figure out what works well in the doing.”

Thinking – you can do on your own. However, the reason why Audition Doctor is so popular is because the “doing” is nigh-on impossible to achieve repeatedly by yourself. Kinnear, speaking of his experience of Hamlet, said “What surprised me most with Hamlet was that, having gone through that rehearsal process, it wasn’t until the first time I performed it in front of an audience that I realised that it’s only in relation to that body of witnesses that Hamlet discovers himself. If you’re rehearsing in a white room, doing those soliloquies to a wall, even though it’s quite self-reflective and leads to a number of important insights, you’re not really getting anything back.” The feedback you get from Tilly is not only helpful artistically, but also crucial in simply understanding how to respond intelligently to direction.

On Newsnight last week, actors such as Simon Callow, Harriet Walter and Helen Mirren spoke of their experience of Shakespeare. Walter said: “I came to Shakespeare late, I was very frightened of him because I thought there was a way to do it and I was told I had a rubbish voice at drama school…Once you stop being frightened of him, once you stop thinking its high-brow, once you let him in, go with it and not worry if you don’t understand every word, it becomes electric.

Above all, Audition Doctor sessions demystify Shakespeare and there is never a prescriptive way of approaching the text. After a certain number of sessions, there comes a point when the language ceases to be unwieldy and it becomes to feel natural to speak in blank verse. The speech is no longer stilted and you begin to inhabit a character that, despite being Shakespearean, is wholly present – in both senses of the word. It’s why students keep coming back.


Shakespeare’s Birthday

The fanfare surrounding Shakespeare’s 450th birthday has proven Johnathan Bates’ assertion that “Shakespeare has never fallen out of fashion but in the past 25 years or so his reputation has become truly stratospheric.”

There are articles delineating how phrases Shakespeare coined centuries ago are still in common usage and the fact that his birthday celebrations are being put ahead of festivities for St George’s day. There is no doubt that there is still an appetite for his plays to be performed.

However, Dominic Cavendish – the Telegraph’s theatre critic – conceded: Is this week not as good as any to admit just how intellectually challenging much that lies in the complete works can be and how borderline incomprehensible his language can get, both in terms of the now archaic and obscure nature of his references and the complexity of his poetic expression?”

Amongst all the interactive Bard games and video uploads of people reciting their favourite Shakespeare quotations, there have also been admissions from leading figures in theatre over the inaccessibility of the language. Cavendish’s article was entitled “Admit it – most of us don’t understand Shakespeare”.

Nick Hytner’s confession last autumn has also been reprinted:  “I cannot be alone in finding that almost invariably in performance there are passages that fly straight over my head. In fact, I’ll admit that I hardly ever go to a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays without experiencing blind panic during the first five minutes. I sit there thinking: I’m the director of the National Theatre, and I have no idea what these people are talking about.”

Even actor Ethan Hawke, who was in The Winter’s Tale at the Old Vic, said: “I can’t even read the plays, I know some people can but I literally have a tape of the production of the play and read it while I [watch] it.”

There has been a renewed determination to make Shakespeare productions even more accessible. There is a push to ensure productions communicate energy, emotion, the vital essence of the work, and do its utmost to be as lucid as possible for the modern ear.” This, of course, is down to the actor.

As Audition Doctor stresses, if you don’t understand the language, the audience won’t either. Hawke’s admission is reassuring as that it doesn’t make you less of an actor not fully understanding the language and having to discover the language. It’s in sessions such as at Audition Doctor that the text can be unpicked and pored over.

As Hawke said: “I love breaking down the text and figuring out what the words mean.There’s a great joy that comes from at one point not knowing what a series of sentences mean and then later being able to get a laugh on it. Not only do you know what it means but you can actually translate it to a thousand people…That comes from building the character and inhabiting the circumstances with such commitment and force.”

Audition Doctor is about the exploring as well as the resultant performance. The satisfaction that comes at the end of every lesson is why students return time and time again.

Ethan Hawke went onto admit that while writing was the most peaceful part of making theatre,  “there is a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress that comes along with performing…I feel like I’ve spent a great bulk of my life at war with my nervous system.”

Audition Doctor sessions are all about preparation which greatly reduces the stress that comes hand in hand with an audition. As Hawke said: “Shakespeare becomes so alive in the doing.” The “doing” at Audition Doctor ensures that you “live” the character honestly, thereby giving a truthful performance.




Finding the Right Monologues for You

Last week, Susan Elkin wrote in The Stage: “I happened to be visiting a prestigious London drama school recently while it was auditioning potential students. The applicants were huddled, anxious and nervous in a stark corridor waiting to go in one by one. Each was wearing a large placard bearing a number as if they were anonymous runners in a race. What price human dignity?”

While this week, when Vicky McClure was asked if auditioning had got any better the longer she’d been in the profession, she replied: “No! I think it’s getting even scarier for me… I lost out on a job just before Christmas and I was devastated. It really knocked me because I did all the prep I could possibly do… and yet you don’t get it, and it’s not because you can’t act, it’s because the chemistry doesn’t work or you’re slightly too short. It does knock you for a bit.”

Auditions, for both professional and aspiring actors, are unavoidable prerequisites for any job. However, much of the time, the outcome in an audition rarely resembles the perhaps stunning rendition you gave in the privacy of your bedroom. As Simon Russell Beale said last week: “I always used to joke that the best performances are done in the bath.”

When auditioning for drama schools, the speeches are key. Although the content is paramount, there are other things that have to be considered. Most drama schools will have guidelines as to the length of your speech. Many panels will simply cut you off if you go over the time, with some even starting a stopwatch as soon as you stand in front of them. Yet it is surprising how often candidates go over the allotted time. When questioned as to why they didn’t adhere to the audition advice (with “advice” read “strict instructions”), an applicant will proclaim that the speech had to end then because of the nature of the monologue’s emotional arc. However, due to the large volume of applicants, the panel simply don’t have the time for protracted monologues. This means that the speeches that you choose are incredibly important as they have to highlight your strengths, as well as showcase your vulnerability and versatility, in a considerably limited amount of time.

It takes students often multiple trips to French’s or Waterstones to find the right speech. However, it is worth it. Audition Doctor lessons are a bonus because they are opportunities to discuss the speech that is right for you specifically. Although a speech may be interesting, it may not suit you at this stage of your development.

Furthermore, Audition Doctor sessions are vital both before and during the lengthy process of auditioning. As candidates get more recalls and reach the final stages of auditions, it becomes even more critical to ensure that you make bold and original choices that also have emotional depth. Audition Doctor sessions offer students the gift of knowing that their best performances will not be in the bath, but in front of the audition panel.

Shakespeare’s Relevance

Much has been written on the fact that too much time at drama schools is devoted to Shakespeare and not enough given to acting for screen, with heads of acting at top drama schools lamenting the fact that they are training pupils for a fast disappearing theatre industry. However, three of Britain’s arguably biggest television actors are performing in various Shakespeare plays to packed houses in the West End – Jude Law in Henry V, David Tennant in Richard II, and Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus. The Telegraph mentioned in an article entitled “Why the stars come out for Shakespeare”: To have three such charismatic leading men starring in three relatively underperformed Shakespeare plays at the same moment is a rare treat.” It appears that Shakespeare is still as culturally relevant as ever – enthralling both actors and audiences.
Shakespeare even plays a surprisingly heavy role in the creation of unlikely characters, such as Tom Hiddleston’s character Loki in Thor. In an interview for The Telegraph, it was noted that “Together, Branagh and Hiddleston created a character who was, in many ways, the film’s centre point. ‘We made Loki out of Shakespearean characters,’ Hiddleston says. ‘We talked about King Lear with its two brothers, Macbeth with his ambition, the way Iago spins every situation for self-interest”.
This is why when potential students query the validity of drama school training, it is worthy to remind them that there is no substitute for three years of being surrounded by professionals who have performed Shakespeare themselves.  It was Hiddlestone’s years at RADA which gave him the skills to lead him to win an Olivier for Cymbeline. As the interviewer notes of his early career: “While his film career faltered, his reputation in theatre started to gain momentum….and “It wasn’t until Michael Grandage cast him in Othello at the Donmar in 2007 that Hiddleston’s ascent really began. Watching the dress rehearsal was Kenneth Branagh, who was sufficiently impressed to cast Hiddleston as Christian in a Radio 3 production of Cyrano de Bergerac”.
If debating over whether to devote a large proportion of three years to Shakespeare, it’s worth remembering that the Bard still continues to open doors for many actors.
Like Audition Doctor, drama school gives you the time to experiment with language, physicality and voice. It also gives you the space to explore all the ranges of human emotion that future work will require you to express. Attending Audition Doctor or drama school is an acknowledgement that you want to become a better actor, an actor that contributes something to the general debate.As Tom Hiddleston eloquently puts it: “At its absolute best, a play like [Coriolanus] can unite its audience. They can go into the theatre as strangers and leave as a group, having understood and been through something important together. If I am somehow contributing to that then surely my work is of some consequence.”
The valuable nature of Audition Doctor is the way which Tilly pushes you to discover the different colours of emotions that will occur during one speech which means performing a speech on the same note will never happen.
As Hiddleston remarks: “We have the capacity to experience every aspect of life, don’t we?’ he asks, looking intently down at the imaginary keyboard on the table in front of him.”There’s love, generosity, hope, kindness, laughter and all the good stuff. And then there’s grief, hatred, jealousy and pain. The way I see it, life is about trying to get to a place where you feel happy with the chords that you are playing. I’m lucky because I can experiment with all the different notes, via my work. And when I hit the right notes, I like to think that I’m conveying some sort of truth.”This is what Tilly gives each students at Audition Doctor – the ability to explore the myraid of notes and deliver the truth – which is arguably all drama school audition panels are looking for.


University Drama Courses vs. Drama Schools

Susan Elkin, columnist for The Stage, commented on the regularity of students asking her whether university drama courses are a safer choice than conservatoire-style drama schools. This was due in part to the discussions last year of drama schools moving to model themselves more on academic institutions.

Principal of Rose Bruford, Michael Earley, said: “For many years, places like Rose Bruford, RADA and Guildhall have sold themselves as drama schools only. Now, with students paying full fees of £9,000, they really have to look at themselves as universities.” He said this involved “improving facilities and providing more academic teaching alongside vocational training, such as essay writing and critical thinking.”

However, Susan Elkin, with her extensive knowledge of drama schools and university courses contends: “Parents tend to like the bets-hedging university idea, but the course may not be sufficiently practical if you really are after hands-on training for industry-readiness. I could, in fact, write a whole column about poor quality university courses whose embittered students have complained to me that they simply aren’t getting the vocational training that they thought they’d signed up to – but I shan’t because the evidence, although powerful and plentiful, is anecdotal.”

Elkin doesn’t dismiss all university drama courses, she recommends one – in Hull. While this may not be immediately appealing, it’s interesting to note that the Culture Secretary awarded the prestigious prize of City of Culture 2017 to the city – pipping Dundee, Leicester and Swansea to the post – so Hull is clearly worth keeping in mind.

In response to Joanna Read, Principal of LAMDA responded in a letter to The Stage entitled “Acting is a craft, not a thesis” in which she stated: “At LAMDA, we believe these are best taught by practical exploration and application. Our training is vocational – because drama is a vocation – and we are training students for careers in the industry. The training is practical because drama is about doing and being….Actors and technicians do not need to write essays to be critical thinkers. The best preparation for these professions is a practical one that explores the craft, technique and art of the disciplines. The truest way of capturing and measuring our students’ achievements, therefore, is practically – on stage, onscreen or behind the scenes – not through an academic paper.”

As Matthew Henley said in The Stage “In a crowded market, performers need to learn how to be seen and heard, and how best to position themselves.” This cannot be learnt at a desk in the library. Going to drama school is about practicing in front of professionals, in front of your peers and eventually performing in front of casting agents. Universities cannot offer nearly the calibre of intensive teaching that drama schools can.

If you want to be a professional actor, Audition Doctor is the place for you. Shakespeare is unavoidable if you want to train professionally, yet many understandably find the language daunting and inaccessible. Audition Doctor sessions are where you are allowed to pick through the language. Elkin also mentioned that those who are overwhelmed by Shakespeare tend to engage in “inaudible high speed gabbling” which she also mentions is a misplaced effort “to make it sound cool.” Audition Doctor ensures that the language is understood before embarking on any acting.

Simon Russell Beale said in his interview this week in The Telegraph that “I always used to joke that the best performances are done in the bath”, but happily for Audition Doctor students, most often, the best performances have proven to be in front of drama school audition panels. Audition Doctor lessons are about failing and exploration – a precursor to what drama school will be like. They are also assurances that auditions will – as Russell Beale states – “just sometimes [go] like a Rolls-Royce.”



Drama Schools Adjust Curriculums

In an article in The Stage entitled “The camera never lies – how well do drama school prepare their students for TV?” Matthew Hemley was adamant that “drama schools could do more to prepare actors for the reality of a working life, particularly in front of a camera. More and more, performers come out of drama school and land television work, but most of those I speak to talk of how unprepared they are for this…. Very often when I speak to actors, particularly young ones who are in a new television series, they talk about ‘learning on the job’, and about how terrified they were on their first day on a TV set, because of the fact they have so many technical points to remember (alongside learning their lines and actually acting). Of course there is an element to learning on the job for anyone – no training in any profession can prepare you for what the reality of a job is like.  But it seems to me that for actors working in television it really is a shock to the system”.

Even Geoffery Colman, Head of Acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama, admitted earlier this year that “[Drama schools] are training actors in the best canonical tradition – to play Hamlet or Hedda Gabler – for an industry that isn’t there”.

However, drama schools are responding to the demands of the profession; Arts Ed decided to restructure its acting degree in 2010 “with a stronger emphasis on television and film because it was felt that students should be better equipped for these genres.” The subject of acting for screen has been much written about this year. While drama schools such as RADA, LAMDA and Mountview already offer acting for camera lessons, many drama schools are being encouraged to review their courses to include film and TV modules.

Many aspiring actors erroneously believe that with their concentration on stage acting, drama schools are not worth applying to. However, as Jane Harrison, principal of Arts Ed, emphasised  “We have kept the core skills – of voice, movement, text and theatre work”. Furthermore, Philip Hedley, former artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East stressed the opposite view that drama schools should avoid stressing any particular medium at all. Instead, they should focus on  “the ‘commonality’ of acting skills, which applies across the board whether you are doing cabaret or serious tragedy.” Although TV and theatre are different mediums, the fundamental principles of acting apply to both.

Audition Doctor coaches professional actors for both screen and theatre auditions. Drama schools such as the Oxford School of Drama and Bristol Old Vic incorporate taped auditions at later stages. While they say these are used as necessary aide-mémoires due to the high level of applicants, candidates can’t help but feel that these are also screen tests. Audition Doctor sessions prepare you for all eventualities. Ultimately, the panel aren’t looking for either screen actors or theatre actors. They are looking for artists. Tilly ensures that you have the best shot at showing them that you have the ability to interpret a character and the flexibility (as well as the intelligence) to explore the infinite number of alternatives.