This article discusses what steps you can take to audition productively for drama school. The most effective way involves thorough research, narrowing down and picking out the right schools, ample training, monologues preparation, taking extra coaching classes, a lot of commitment, and resolve.
A considerable number of today's distinguished and most competent actors have gone through drama school training programs. Such actors are loved and respected by the audience, critics, and directors alike. So it only seems natural to incorporate drama school training as one of the first steps to venturing into your acting career. However, ensuring you're fully prepped before you go into your school's audition is crucial.
What Goes On In A Drama School's Application And Audition Process?
All drama schools have their own application and audition process. Some schools hold auditions only over a day, while others will do three to five rounds of recalls. This is why applicants must always check their individual requirements and the costs involved.
However, the basic process involves submitting your application containing your CV and headshot. You will be invited to your first audition and interview after being considered.
If you pass that round, the school will recall you for a second audition and a third one later down the line. If you pass all the requirements, you'll be considered for shortlisting and hopefully be accepted into the drama school.
And that's not even all of it! Some drama schools also invite you for workshops with your auditions. These folks really don't mess around. As you can see, the process is not easy for the most reputed, prestigious drama schools and takes numerous steps.
It is vital to be clear about what is most needed when auditioning. So read on and learn the steps to nail your drama school audition.
How You Can Audition For Drama School
1. Research Thoroughly
We recommend you take the time to research anything and everything you can on drama schools at least a few months before you actually have to apply for an audition. That should always be the first thing on your list.
Their websites are a suitable place to begin, but you can also talk to friends who have attended an audition at the drama school and take a look at the institutes' social media. It helps to be informed about the school as it provides an extra boost to make an excellent first impression on your interviewers.
Explore the schools carefully, and don't just dream about certain drama schools only because they are well-known or an actor you idolise studied there. Please make a list of all schools and try to categorise them, either by location or standard, or anything else to organise the list, so it's easy to comprehend.
Most importantly, take budgets into account as well. Usually, applicants don't think of external costs apart from the audition fees (which goes £40 to £150 in the UK), such as transport, accommodation, and so much more.
2. Choose Multiple Drama Schools- Consider All Options Equally
All drama schools have diverse natures, styles and processes. In a highly competitive field, it is best to select more than one potential drama school, at the minimum 3-5, giving you a higher chance of getting accepted.
If you get accepted to more than one school, you will easily be able to figure out what institute best suits you. But then again, always keep budgets in your mind!
Note to consider: It would be best to check your region's regulations regarding how many schools an individual can apply for at the same time.
3. Prepare a Properly Written Application
Once you've narrowed down what drama schools you will be auditioning for, you can work on your application. Most drama schools will provide an online application process where you'll fill out all the necessary details along with your headshot.
You do not need to go the extra mile and do a photo shoot with an edited version of yourself. A simple headshot works best. (You can also include passport-size pictures)
Some schools may also ask you to write a statement or request a CV. Your statement will allow the panellists to gauge who you are as an aspiring actor, so be sure to clarify your interests as concisely as possible. Be sure not to add anything you won't be able to back up. The same goes for your CV as well. Higher experience points don't mean you'd immediately be accepted.
Please don't leave anything towards the days nearing the auditions themselves. Staying up to date with everything will give you the upper hand. Besides, we're sure you'd be ramped up with training even to consider organising your paperwork.
4. Consistently Improve your Acting Skills
Actors are not solely accepted in auditions past the concept of pleasing looks and associations. A true knack is needed to illustrate the sophistication of any character, to show the panellists your determination for the role; hence, you must ensure that you’re well-trained in your acting skills. It shouldn’t even be a question at this point.
Walk through and rehearse each and every part of your routine as frequently as you can and, if practicable, try to get some feedback from other acting mates. You can also record yourself and analyse each second, check for errors and try again.
It would help if you practised diligence to be as ready as possible for your audition. Search for short (weekly at best) courses that cover acting topics. It does not have to be something expensive at all. You’d be surprised at the things you can pick up on, even the smallest or cheapest courses.
5. Invest In Sessions with an Experienced Acting Coach
Many people don’t take up acting coaches as they cannot understand the difference between a “coach” and a “teacher”. They believe all they can learn is through drama school. We highly recommend taking acting coach classes.
However, acting coaches can significantly help in getting accepted in the first place. A coach motivates students to find answers for themselves, challenging and uplifting in equal effort. Coaching is more personal. It is about comprehending the student’s perspectives and evaluating their existing opinions.
Even just an hour of one-on-one sessions with an acting coach will be of some help to you. Not only will they provide tips to make your audition stronger, but they will also do it in a way that is specialised and easy to learn for you.
Instead of just explaining something, acting coaches aim to set goals and enable their students to advance above their awareness. They are excellent for receiving constructive criticism, as a critical eye can immediately point out where you can work to improve.
Nevertheless, taking on an acting coach is not cheap. But you can still find affordable options that offer hourly sessions that you can take once or twice a week.
6. Work on Your Voice
An actor’s voice requires flexibility as it should be able to convey a broad scope of sentiments. It must have transparency so that every phrase and expression can be heard with adequately force and pitch to fill the room. If you are a beginner, we suggest finding voice teachers to understand its importance and technique.
You can also do vocal exercises to improve your range, dynamic, enunciation, lung capacity, volume, and more. These exercises are great for relieving tension within your voice box and aid in keeping your voice grounded and aligned.
7. Practice Movement
When we say movement, we mean technical stage combat. Okay, it is not as complicated as it sounds. And there’s no ninja fighting involved unless your character is, in fact, a ninja.
Think of it as making your favourite drink. You need to add the right amount of ingredients for it not to be too overpowering or bland. Similarly, if you move too much, it may shift the focus of the scene, and if you remain still, it may come off as awkward given the dialogue.
Try to create a routine that best works for you. You can search for classes that offer such services or find helpful videos on YouTube. Some standard approaches to practise your movement include yoga, Feldenkrais and Alexander technique. Fancy words, but they do wonders!
8. Pick a Monologue That Best Works for You- and Enhance on that
Some drama schools will appoint or provide a specific monologue list, mostly classic works like Shakespeare. But they may also ask you to source a few of your own. You must make sure you choose monologues you correlate with and understand them inside out.
But don't spend all your time stressing out over the monologues. Follow the institute's regulations, and you'll be set to go. If you are working with an acting coach, they will guide you on the most critical elements.
If you are unfamiliar with the words and the emotions they portray, you cannot envision the panel you will be auditioning in front of to comprehend what you are representing. At most, your performance may come off as poorly prepared and irresponsible.
If you're passionate about the old Shakespeare classics, go for it! But do not be afraid of picking out something more modern. Research is fundamental. Study as much as possible.
Don't just memorise the monologues; read the whole play, so you get the bigger picture. Consider the character's emotion, voice and movements and aim to be in sync with all of them. You've got this!
9. Take the Time to Prepare for a Cold Reading
Oh, the dreaded cold readings! Usually, drama school auditions don't include cold readings, but there have been some which do. It's better to be prepared than to be sorry.
Cold readings involve actors getting scripts only minutes before the audition. So you have no idea what you're getting into, and there's no warning either.
The only cure to beating a cold read is to fight it with improvisation. Try skimming through a random script, then practise making a specific choice and holding on to it. Avoid changing rapid directions. You can also ask your acting coach or the internet for detailed tips.
10. Be Yourself!
Last but not least, BE YOUR UNAPOLOGETIC SELF! Think of your talent as a complicated system that includes many diverse elements. Putting on a mask and trying to be someone you're not isn't one of them. Write it down and stick it all over your room if you want to.
People often start comparing themselves to other actors in the audition room. And that adds to the stress of doing well. While this may be seen as a competition, think of using this opportunity to see other actors' work first-hand. Who knows? Maybe you'll pick up something that you couldn't before.
You will be standing in front of experienced professionals, and we know you'll nail it. That takes guts. Give yourself a big pat on the back for that.
- Imagine you're doing a two-three minute play. That way, it would be easier for you to focus on changing directives and tone when needed.
- Make sure you wear clothes that contrast with the theme of your audition (No, not costumes).
- Don't be nervous about engaging with others.
- Be polite (not much of a pro tip)
So there we have it. We sincerely hope these steps come in handy when auditioning for drama school.
We cannot stress this enough. Nobody is perfect! If you give up because of one rejection, you genuinely haven't understood what it means to be an actor. If you get rejected, pick yourself right back up, try to look for anything you can further improve on, accept constructive criticism, and try again.
Remember, the audition panel is not looking for a flawless performance but more for familiarity, character understanding, and the capability to merge the performance with emotion in its most vulnerable form.
The more at ease you are, the more focused you'll be. We believe in you. Break a leg! (Not literally).