The 3-4 years at drama school will be some of the most challenging training you will ever get in your life. You'll explore advanced techniques in drama, develop your originality, learn how to become more confident and disciplined, and build connections. Here, we'll be discussing all that and more.
If you’ve come here right after finding out you got accepted to your dream drama school and aren’t sure what to expect, Congratulations! And if you’re here because you want just only started gaining an interest in drama and would like some insight on what goes on in this wonderfully complex environment, Congratulations again! All of you are at the right place.
So, What Do You Do In Drama School?
The goal of an acting or theatre course at a drama school is to acquaint aspiring actors/performers with the skills and craft they need to perform professionally in the competitive industry. Without this training, most actors will struggle as professionals on both the business side and career sides.
The list we made does not necessarily cover a large scope of everything about drama school and is in no particular order, but it will give you some concept of the differences you can anticipate when you start your drama school journey and the things you’ll learn in the three to four years of training there.
What You Can Expect
1. Workload and Timings
Studying at a drama school is both emotionally and physically demanding. Most days, you won't be able to see daylight, as you'll be within the walls of the school building, learning theory in the morning, and then going to use everything in practice with your peers after lunch.
You'd have to confirm the exact timings of the school you plan on going to, but normally, they go from 5 am to 8 pm on the weekdays.
Essay writing in drama schools is rare compared to what you'd encounter in other universities. Still, your instructors will teach you about the history and narrative enveloping the art that is drama, as it's integral to comprehend where the form has originated from, how it has evolved, the people and places it has influenced and why we do what we do. This should help with becoming a full-figured person concerning what directors look for in general.
Your workload doesn't end with essays and homework. Your weekends will be filled with rehearsals, with little to no chance to skip any class unless you're a genius who can cover everything when falling behind. You must take full advantage of this training; there will be no
second chance. We advise you to aim to be the most dedicated student but also find time to appreciate the full experience.
2. Productions & Showcases
You will have numerous chances to team up with fellow trainees and perform. Drama schools also bring industry directors and mentors to help coach and guide student productions.
These schools will also promote an end-of-program showcase, which will pose to be a great advantage for students who aim to directly work after graduation. Students will be presented to the industry and agents to kick-start their careers.
3. Building Connections
Most instructors, coaches, and teachers in drama school you'll meet will already have been involved in the industry for quite some time. Often, if a student catches their eye, they will recommend them to their associates on bigger platforms.
So if you ever happen to be one of the lucky ones, take the chance and be brave to say yes. This is the moment to test and drive yourself outside your comfort zone yet still be in a safe environment. You'll always have the school to fall back to.
What You Will Learn
1. Address Physical Issues
When we say ‘physical issues’, we mean that drama schools will aid in fixing the student’s inadequate stance, scarcity expressionr, vocal strain, breathing irregulations, controlled diaphragm, superficial thoughts, disconnection between mentality and physical body, and any bad habits or ‘tics’ that hinder their performance, and more.
Phew! Try saying all that in one breath.
You’d probably be wondering how the school manages to fit all that. Well, that’s one of the reasons why class strength is kept small in numbers, with 8 to 10 students at most in one class. Hence, providing a more individualised experience.
Note to reader: We’d advise you to take note of all the teachers you’ll be working with at your preferred drama school. Research each one (Please don’t stalk them) and gather what information you need from them and what they can prepare for you on this difficult journey. You’d feel safe in knowing that your teacher is qualified to satisfy your precise requirements and will let them encourage your development without you opposing any form of change.
2. Learn Discipline
As soon as your first year starts, you’ll witness dedicated actors and those who seem to loosen a lot in their training. And trust us, you definitely want to be part of the former group.
Drama schools demand that you understand how to handle your life. More than other pupils, you are compelled to pick between keeping up with accountabilities and doing things you’d instead do. Here, you will learn to manage yourself in a way that doesn’t affect your creative stance.
You’re disciplined when you can successfully focus on your tasks when something more alluring is available. It is basically the footing of a fine artist. How you choose to implement these teachings is your responsibility.
3. Advanced Training Methods
At drama school, you’ll be introduced to so many new and advanced training methods that not only aid in preparing your linguistic voice but stimulate you to sustain your voice from deep in your body.
Some schools also encourage you to try your dialect around tricky languages, employ your voice with more imagination, uncover your vocal scope, and conquer different inflexions.
Apart from the academic side, studying at drama school consists primarily of body, movement and small gestures, voice, Shakespeare (of course), screen and voice acting, and similar exercises related to drama. And contrary to popular belief, you will not face any exhaustive teaching techniques known in the acting industry, such as The Meisner Technique, unless specified by the school curriculum itself.
Oh, and if you don’t know what inflexions mean- they are a change in the form of a word that expresses a grammatical function or attribute.
Say thank you, Google!
4. Sharpen the Senses
In your training, the school will aid in developing your visual, touch, hearing and sensory imagination, so when you express phrases, you also catch glimpses of the things you are talking about in your mind and regard them in your body.
A great drama school teacher will help you access your own emotions freely and allow you to direct them in a creative and complex form. They will provide the necessary tools for researching and analysing scripts and characters and assist in grasping complicated topics in a short period of time, making you relaxed and reactive to your peers and teachers and yourself.
Acting classes particularly emphasise the importance of concentration, which can then be shared with other exercises once you have realised that talent as an actor.
5. Adaptability and Flexibility
Students will be motivated to try new concepts, take in unexplored challenges, and have the capability to adjust to frequently changing circumstances and requirements.
The training to be more flexible will allow for more splendid play, practise and experimentation in the process, making for a more prosperous, intricate performance and more satisfying to watch.
A versatile, adaptable and flexible individual is favourably appreciated by most employers as these qualities demonstrate that you are competent enough to be a part of their project. To infinity and beyond!
6. Accepting Failure, And the Power to Bounce Back
Students learn to deal with crushed expectancies and rejection on a frequent basis. Almost everyone at the school will have at least once failed to get a part they wanted more than anything or a coveted seat on the theatre crew.
You understand how to bear that sort of blow, the dissatisfaction that comes with it and move forward to the next part. You push again. The world of drama needs artists who are strong enough to reflect and bounce back from this kind of discontent.
7. Self-Confidence and Enjoy the Process
You will realise that your achievements can help you endure a variety of positions, tensions, hardships and obligations. With consistent training, you’ll form a “Yes, I can!” mindset. That self-belief will also jump to action when altering to different characters at command.
And you’d think, even if all of this is tiring and you practically lose sleep, you still enjoy and don’t feel any sense of negativity towards my profession. To find pleasure in what you do is certainly a valuable quality.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that we’ve discussed. There is SO MUCH MORE you’ll learn and experience.
And one thing is certain, the most promising drama schools will not try to confuse you or break you down. A reputable drama school will have only the best teaching staff who understand the industry, know what their students need as people and not robots, and spend years working out the most suitable methods to help you hone your skills without the negative energy.
But you’ll need to put in your effort as well. You need two hands to clap.
The 3 Types of Courses You’ll Learn in Drama School
1. Acting foundation courses
These introductory courses can go on for a few months to one academic year at most. Drama schools offer such courses to students to improve their acting skills and guide them in preparing to audition for an acting degree, either in their own school or any other school of the student’s choice.
They are favoured by students who have just graduated from high school or college. While it is not compulsory to take the foundation course, it does make it a little easier to get a seat than to get straight on auditioning for the degree.
2. Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degrees
A bachelor's degree may generally last three years, where you can apply straight from high school or college. Though getting a foundation course is desirable, especially if you plan on getting a degree from the same school you'd do the foundation course at.
3. Master’s Degrees
Master's degrees in drama schools are sought out by individuals who've already completed and gained their bachelor's degrees. Commonly they cover a similar scope to what you may have learnt in the bachelor's studies but at a more advanced and quicker pace of term.
One year is standard, but some master's degrees can also go for longer durations. It eventually depends on the institute you're at.
End Note on Drama School
So there you have it. We hope this article helps you figure out what you can expect and learn in drama school. One thing that is certain, though, is that drama school will absolutely change you.
By the time you graduate, you’ll hardly realise your old self. After almost four years of relentless training, you’ll evolve to be a more satisfactory version of yourself, or rather, you’ll be a few steps nearer to the point you want to fly to.
In essence, drama school training will effectively groom you, helping your free yourself of all the mental blocks, physical jams and messes so that you can judge, feel, articulate and move in habits that express clearly with your audience.
It is an eye-opening experience that will take all your bravery and devotion. It’s not for everyone, especially not for the faint-hearted, given the strictness and the hurdles to even get accepted!
But having read this far, if you still think drama school is where you can make your dreams a reality, give it a go and may luck be in your favour!
P.S: Can we have your autograph when you make it to stardom?