There has recently been talk of how to address the disproportionately large number of freshly trained actors entering the industry every year. Equity President Malcolm Sinclair asserted: “Compared to when I started there are so many more drama schools and university courses,” Mr Sinclair said. “There are far more young actors coming out and it feels like there is less work around. There are too many actors and too few jobs.” The Stage reported that a Casting Call Pro survey found that over three quarters of actors earn less than £5,000 a year from the trade they trained for.

As Susan Elkin wrote in The Stage: “It simply wouldn’t be tolerated in other professions… Nobody embarks on medical training, an accountancy degree or business management training in the knowledge that she or he is highly unlikely ever to be able to make a living from it. It simply isn’t how training and work operates in a sensible world.” She advocated institutions becoming even more selective than they already are: ” “I think colleges should be contracting not expanding”. It goes without saying that those who train at accredited drama schools have a far higher chance of successfully making a living as an actor than those who attend newer university drama courses.It’s important to assert that it isn’t the nature of training that is under attack, but the proliferation of newer establishments that purport to offer professional training without accreditation. The importance of picking the right drama school is paramount to ensure durability in the profession and to avoid “effectively being conned by a numbers game”.

When interviewed by Ideastap, Adrian Lester emphasised the importance of training: “Always always always work on your weaknesses. When I left school I didn’t really have a great understanding of Shakespeare and I knew I wanted to be the kind of actor that could handle that. So, I made a conscious effort to work on my weakness which was Shakespeare and the eloquence of emotion that it provided. A few years ago, I turned around and looked at my career so far and realised that I had been regarded as a modern Shakespearean actor.”
With words like “finite”, “saturated” and “competition” routinely used to describe the nature of the industry, vocational training at top drama schools is more important than ever. Audition Doctor’s high success rate is why so many are beginning their training with Tilly.
Lester went onto comment on how “work can get stale if you are doing a long run”. The protracted length between auditions means that students often lose momentum. Audition Doctor sessions dotted regularly between each audition mean that many students have found that their auditions have improved exponentially and consequently, so have their recalls.Lester counselled: “The best way to keep things fresh is to understand why your character is saying what he’s saying. Not just what words you have to say, that’s important but it’s not as important as why they’re saying it. If you understand why…then you can use the words that you speak to try and achieve your objective in slightly different ways every night. No one knows what’s going to happen to them at any given moment, yet actors will say “Well this happens in scene 12 so in scene 10 I have to prepare for it. No you don’t. What happens in scene 12 should be as much of a surprise to you as the audience. Maybe then you’ll surprise yourself.”

Audition Doctor sessions ensure that students go into every audition prepared – not just in terms of understanding the text and their character, but equally in terms of being prepared for the possibility of spontaneous discovery.