At some stage during lessons at Audition Doctor, Tilly will inevitably ask you to start to envisage the kind of actor you want to be. Whether you hope your career focuses on treading the boards at The Royal Court or in the movie studios of Hollywood, it’s worth noting that the two are not mutually exclusive.
Interviewed in the Metro, British actor – David Oyelowo, who has recently appeared in Lincoln and is tipped to be on the brink of stardom in the US, asserted: “A solid grounding in theatre…is the reason why so many British actors take the lead spots in US film and TV. ‘You look at the actors who are in Lincoln,’ he says. ‘Most of, if not all of them, came out of the theatre. The theatre is generally what takes actors from being good to great. There’s nothing more terrifying, more exposing. And being around such seasoned actors – for me, it was standing in the wings watching Alan Bates – there’s nothing like that in terms of learning.”
Increasingly, drama schools are offering courses that focus exclusively on film and TV mean that theatre training is often ignored. It is illogical to view theatre and screen to be polar opposite disciplines; in both, the actor is required to inhabit an authentic person. Discussions with Audition Doctor always stress the importance of not only picking the right drama school but also the right course for you. Tilly frequently advises students to be open to drama schools that offer courses that involve training in all mediums. These give you more opportunities in the future, as you are equipped with skills that are not exclusive solely say to screen acting.
That being said, Audition Doctor will concede that attending any course at drama school is better than not going at all. As Lyn Gardner stated: “Great acting, like great writing, is often in the eye of the beholder, but audiences almost always know when they are in the presence of something special. Talent may be enough to get by on screen and TV, but with a few notable exceptions such as Kelly Reilly, the untrained actor often fares badly on stage. The performances that most often thrill us are those where instinct and technique are both in perfect balance but also opposition, and flamboyance and inner life collide head on, transforming feeling into thought and words. When this mixture of abandon and control ignites, what happens is as mysterious as alchemy; the theatre crackles; it leaves the spectator reeling. It makes you believe Eric Bentley’s thesis that “the purpose of theatre is to produce great performances.”