Getting into drama school is nerve-wracking enough as it is, especially when you're not sure how to go about it. Follow our simple steps to help understand what to look for when applying and what do for your drama school audition.
Know your stuff:
- Research the school. Find out about the quality of teachers and what their backgrounds are in the industry. Look up the people auditioning or interviewing you.
- Have a good understanding of what you will be studying on that course, the lessons you will be taking, the practitioners you will be studying and the contact hours. Understand how this course sets itself apart from others and also why you want to study there.
- It can be helpful to go to an open day or watch a showcase at the school. Seeing the place in person can help you see the atmosphere, which you won’t get from just researching online.
- Research the school’s graduates, especially those who took the course you are wanting to study. See what their career path has been since graduating.
- It’s also a good idea to look at the result of school’s satisfaction survey, which you can find online. This will give you an idea of how current students rate the school.
Nail the audition:
- Firstly, make sure you have really looked into what the college is asking of you. Do exactly what they say (length of monologue, time period of monologue etc). Gill Amos, artistic director of first and third-year studies at Drama Studio London, says: “Read the requirements of each drama school carefully. Often actors turn up with badly prepared or ill-advised speeches – a film or TV speech which is completely the wrong age range and in a different accent from their own, for example. Know your speech inside out, which scene it is from, who wrote the play and who you are speaking to.”
- Make sure you understand the monologues you are performing, read the whole play. Work out what the character’s motivations are throughout the play and in particular with the monologue you have chosen.
- For a Shakespeare piece, make sure you understand every single word that you are saying. If you are unsure of how to get to grips with Shakespeare, it may be helpful to get an Acting Coach or ask for help from someone who has experience with Shakespeare.
- Choose a piece that you really like and have a connection with. Choose a character who you could be cast as, and use your own accent.
- Practice your speech out loud and to others, try to avoid using props.
- Keep it simple, don’t over stage the monologue.
Be yourself – but how?
- Try not to get wrapped up in other people too much on the day and absorb their nervous energy. If there’s a bit of waiting around before your audition/interview with other people in the same room, think about what keeps you focused and calm; listening to music, breathing rituals, or reading a book. Read our blog on How to tackle nerves and anxiety if you need more help with this.
- Sometimes you may be asked to workshop with others. In these situations be open and playful and really throw yourself into what is asked of you. They want to see how you interact with other people and collaborate.
- Don’t try to be anyone else, they want to see what you have to offer.
Have confidence – but how?
The best way to have confidence on the day is to make sure that you are well prepared, know what is in your control on the day and what is not. You want to be able to walk away from your audition or interview and know that you have done everything you can in your power to show the best you that you can be. The best way to do this is think about the things you can control:
- Preparation; know your lines, learn your monologue so well you can say it in your sleep!
- Be on time (better still, be early!) Pre-plan your travel well ahead of time.
- Sleep well the night before; do whatever relaxes you in the evenings (bath, book, watch a film)
- Wear appropriate clothes; wear something that make you feel confident – you don’t want to be worrying about what you look like on the day. Bear in mind that you may be moving around/getting physical on the day, so ensure it is practical.
If you have all of these factors under control then you can relax a bit more on the day and concentrate on being yourself, having a big smile and being friendly. If you are busy worrying about whether you have forgotten a line then this can block your personality from shining through and this is the most important part of any audition.
Photo: Les Parkinson
Published: 04 March 2019