Industry Advice: Nailing Your Drama School Audition
Young aspiring actors intent on making acting a career path attend drama school after secondary education to become professional actors. However, getting into a reputable drama school like Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, or Guildhall School of Music and Drama is not easy. Enrolling yourself in drama schools takes a lot of smart planning, determination, hard work, talent, and even emotional maturity. Slots in drama schools are limited, and the number of applicants each year may reach thousands, so we’re talking about tight competition. But the payoff is worth all the persistence it took. Many of today’s greatest and most decorated actors have gone through the rigorous training programs of drama schools.
Need help breaking into a drama school? Here are tips to get you ready.
Tips for a Successful Drama School Audition
After sending in an application and being invited for an audition, here’s how you prepare and increase your chances.
Don’t just choose one drama school.
Accept it: competition is high. No matter how trained or good you are, you may not make the cut due to several varying factors. This is why we recommend sending in as many applications as you can to give yourself more chances to prove yourself. Spend time researching as much as you can about drama schools around you and go over the qualifications and requirements on their websites. Many aspiring actors audition for a few different schools, and if you are lucky enough to be selected for more than one, you are in a great position to decide what is best for you.
Research all these drama schools you’ll be auditioning to.
You will be chatting with the panellists or answering an interview at some point. Being informed about the school is a great way to make an impression. Ask specific questions and express an honest opinion on why you want to study in this drama school. When talking with the acting teachers, however, be yourself. Don’t try too hard or show off.
Set aside money for it.
Getting to an audition is going to cost you money, but it’s not going to break the bank either. There are usually audition fees you should be aware about, and if you don’t live close to the audition venues, you may need to take into account travel and accommodation.
Prepare all the necessary requirements.
Expect to fill out forms and hand them over at the audition. So if possible, download them all beforehand, print them out, and fill them in so you can spend your time preparing mentally for your performance rather than spend time stressing over forms later.
Also, make sure you book your train tickets in advance. Having all this arranged and in place before your audition will mean you will have one less stress to worry about on the day. The audition will make you nervous enough, so it will help if you don’t have to worry about your travel tickets or accommodation on the big day.
Pick the best monologues for you.
Choosing the right monologue is the most important and perhaps most time-consuming decision you will have to make when auditioning for a drama school. If you’re working with a great piece of text, then your job becomes about ten times easier.
Show the school that you can follow instructions and work on something that presents your craft at its best. This means you should pick a monologue from a play, not a song or a poem or anything else! Most drama schools have a recommended monologue list, but they may ask you to source your own. If it’s the latter, be sure that it’s definitely a piece that you think represents you as a performer. Show yourself in the best possible light!
Most schools require you to have prepared a contemporary monologue and a classical one. However, some schools require a third monologue, so be careful to check each school’s requirements.
For more tips on choosing the right monologue, check this article out.
Hire an acting coach.
Get at least a couple of sessions with a great acting coach. They will be invaluable. A good acting coach will offer you professional advice to make your performance stronger and more coherent. It will also be good practice for you to do your performance in front of a critical eye. Some drama coaching is especially useful if you have not had much experience in acting.
Private coaches, however, may be expensive. As an alternative, you can explore acting classes and workshops to attend in the evenings or weekends to learn techniques and hone whatever needs improving.
Rehearse and master your monologues.
No matter what monologue you have decided to do, you are probably connecting with other characters, whether they are in the scene with you or not. Unless you picked a play that’s a one-man show (which is not recommended), you need to be aware of the characters that exist in your world.
This is why it is essential to understand the whole play and put yourself into the imaginary circumstances. Through this, you create a world for your character. Your character is not the whole focus of the monologue and the other person should be constantly involved with you as well in some way.
Rehearse as often as you can with your coach, and if possible, ask for feedback from supportive actor friends. This is the time to make mistakes and improve, experiment and fail, to ensure you are as ready as possible for when you do your performance in front of the people who will make you nervous.
Learn to take direction.
Actors like you are part of a bigger picture—a picture the director understands best. So occasionally you may need a few adjustments in your portrayal of a character to better suit a scene. Early on, show that you’re open to taking direction if you are given direction or feedback from your coach or actor friends. Trainability and adaptability are important to your success in drama school, so don’t just ignore direction if it’s offered. This skill will demonstrate to the panel during the audition day that you’re willing to take advice and/or criticism and adjust accordingly. The panel may ask you to repeat a section of your monologue in a different way. Even if you don’t nail their directions, showing that you are willing to give it a try is vital.
Remember, actors will always have to work with directors in the real world, so being resistant to direction will only mean you don’t have what it takes to become a professional actor.
Own the room.
The audition space is yours. This is your room. You’re not renting it for two and a half minutes. So take some ownership and show your confidence. Be the best version of yourself, and at the same time, treat this as an opportunity to learn.Industry Advice: Nailing Your Drama School Audition by Holly Bissonnette