No one in the arts world would deny the advantages of having a commercial success. Money is always short and the profits from lucrative shows often fund less economically viable, yet artistically daring productions. However, England is currently saddled with a Culture Minister who recently asserted that arts funding should be regarded as “venture capital”. Maria Miller’s expectation that art should yield fat fiscal returns is a clear indicator of how there is less patience, time and money for any kind of creativity, let alone any risk-taking, which so often the most compelling art involves.
Drama schools offer fewer bursaries while having no choice but to increase their fees. However, drama school has always been only one (albeit successful) way of entering the Industry. This month, The Stage wrote about how training companies such as Fourth Monkey and Bridge Training Company are on the increase. The launch of the National Youth Theatre’s rep company this year is a sign that industry practitioners are eager to offer students without the financial means an alternative to drama school. NYT’s rep company comprises of 15 NYT members who are given the opportunity to work for nine solid months on productions, as well as given voice and movement lessons. Students also receive bursaries from the Kevin Spacey Foundation, are taught by the likes of Nick Hytner and Michael Grandage and perform their shows in The Ambassadors Theatre in the heart of the West End. It seems that repertory companies might look as if they will return as a reasonable substitute for drama schools.
Training companies such as these are garnering more publicity as they are seen as“effectively an alternative to the third year in drama school”. That, along with “each one [having] a personal mentor from the top reaches of professional theatre” which allows for “masses of networking opportunities” means that aspiring actors will increasingly look to training companies such as these to hone their craft. That and not being £27,000 in debt makes it undoubtedly a more attractive option.
While the competition is not currently as stiff as entry into drama schools, this is set to change. Audition Doctor has noticed an increase in the number of students applying for acting schemes such as these which are advertised on Ideastap. Because the opportunities are usually so unique, competition is fierce, which means more students are coming to Audition Doctor for help. While it seems crude to view yourself as a marketable commodity, you are trying to make it as an actor at a time when the Westminster agenda is at odds with your chosen profession. This means you must make the most of what the Industry is fighting to offer you for free. Audition Doctor sessions mean that you present the best you – the you that is worthy of investment.