It is commonly acknowledged that the final year showcase at drama school is the figurative starting gate to an actor’s career. There are stories of actors whose trajectories segue seamlessly from showcase to well-known agent to BBC1 television series. Rather depressingly, Susan Elkin’s article in The Stage confounds the expectation that drama school showcases are vehicles which celebrate students’ variety and skill.

She criticises the showcase model as a considered and reasonable method of judging talent – “Does this industry really expect to judge a student’s ability, after two or three years of intensive training, based on a stressed, strained, out-of-context two minutes at the Criterion Theatre (or possibly the Soho)? Surely any casting director or agent worth even the tiniest pinch of salt takes him or herself out to the colleges to see the students in action in proper full length shows?”

The problem is that many drama schools do not allow the public to see their students in action until their final year. Michael Billington has spoken about his desire for this to change, arguing that the earlier students are exposed to criticism, the better they are able to understand the profession.

However, drama school is one of the few places where students can experiment. An actor’s profession is by its nature public. Increasingly, there is less time or space to engage in genuine trial and error without it being meticulously documented. (The Telegraph reported today that the “State of Play: Theatre UK” survey revealed that audience members tweeting/using social media during live events was on the rise.) Exposing students who are not – as of yet – fully trained actors may stifle the freedom that closed productions afford them to push their boundaries of perception without the risk of a critic’s review.

However, unfortunately this is the reality of the acting profession. For the vast majority of actors, it is a successful audition rather than the merit of previous work that is the reason why they will land a job. Professional actors, as well as drama school applicants, are judged to be suitable for parts in the frequently small amount of time that an audition takes. The number of actors for each available role has been documented ad infinitum and it goes without saying that there is no time for casting directors to assess the minutiae of every single actor’s CV. An audition is the only way to pass judgement.

Elkin’s article also claims “…if a student is to appear more than once the two pieces should – obviously – be contrasting to demonstrate versatility. And yet, I’ve lost count of the showcases I’ve seen in which a student is effectively typecast in the same role – black guy with racist chip on his shoulder, for example – two or three times. If the purpose of a showcase is to highlight breadth of ability then many fail dismally.”

This is why Audition Doctor is essential for all actors – whatever stage you are in your career. If you are applying to drama school, the reassuring thing about Audition Doctor is that you know the speeches you will work on with Tilly will not only showcase the varied nature of your abilities, but also highlight what comes to you naturally. Entering an audition having confounded the panel’s expectations means there is far less chance you will be typecast.

It must be emphasised that although Audition Doctor gives a huge amount of guidance in choosing speeches, they must be chosen by you. The speeches that will challenge your acting, vulnerability and flexibility will be the ones that excite you and speak to you instinctively. When the right speech is chosen, a large amount of the work is already done. What Audition Doctor is exceptional at is pushing you to discover intentions and choices that you didn’t even know were open to you.