Drama schools offer a variety of offstage training opportunities for people of all abilities, including theatre design, stage management and theatre directing. Following these easy steps will ensure you are as prepared as you can be to get into the drama school of your choice.
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 interviewing you
- Have a good understanding of what the course is - Take a look at 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
- Attend and open day - This can be helpful 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
- Previous graduates - Research the school’s graduates, especially those who took the course you want to study and see what their career path has been since graduating
- The school's satisfaction survey - It’s also a good idea to look at the school’s satisfaction survey which you can find online. This will give you an idea of what current students think of the teaching
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Nail the interview:
- Make sure you have understood what the school has asked you to prepare. Each school may ask for different things, so double check you know what you need to bring along with you on the day
- Most drama schools will ask you to bring in a portfolio of previous work, however small or big that might be. Before you apply, perhaps ask a local theatre or company if you could volunteer to help build up a portfolio. Or create some designs of your own in your spare time that you could include. Read our blog on How to make a portfolio to help you more with this
- Remember to be yourself in any interview. The questions they ask you aren’t a test, the panel just want to get a feel for the type of person you are. If you don’t understand a question, it’s okay to ask for them to repeat it or if you need to think about an answer it is okay to take a bit of time to think and take a couple of breaths before answering
- Have a think of people in the industry who you admire, look up to and why. Really think about the field of work you want to pursue and know who is ‘hot’ right now, as well as knowing a few other understated people that you like. This will help highlight your passion for the industry and show that you are interested in keeping up with the industry as it currently stands. Go and see some theatre before your interview, so you have some shows to talk about and discuss, especially ones that are interesting to you in the field you are looking to pursue
- It’s okay to ask your own questions too – remember that you need to make sure this is the best place for you too, you are also interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you
- Go along to events such as TheatreCraft, where you can find out more information about backstage roles within theatre
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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 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 How to tackle nerves and anxiety if you need a little 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
Be confident – 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 interview and know that you have done everything you can in your power to be the best you can be. The best way to do this is think about the things you can control:
- 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 (have a bath, read a book, watch a film)
- Wear appropriate clothes; wear something that makes you feel confident, you don’t want to be worrying about what you look like on the day. Have a look at the weather before you travel, if you have a long journey maybe bring a change of clothes you can quickly change into so you feel fresh before going into the school
If you have all of these factors in control then you can relax a bit more on the day and concentrate on being yourself, having a big smile and being friendly.
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Photo: Royal Opera House
Published: 04 March 2019