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Surmounting the student audition hurdle

I think about auditions a lot. I know how difficult it is for school students, often lacking any sort of professional advice, to audition effectively for drama school. So they fail – repeatedly and it may not be for lack of talent or ability. And on top of that they have to pay audition fees. The hurdles, for some, must feel insurmountable.

Two (well three, really) pieces of good news on the auditions front have crossed my desk this week.

First I learned that Dorset School of Acting is teaming up with The Actors Centre in Covent Garden to run a one week how-to-audition course in August (5th-9th inclusive). It costs £400 but that’s a fraction of the price of a one year foundation course to get the same information. And Dorset School of Acting has an excellent track record  in getting students into  Drama Schools including. RADA,LAMDA, RCSSD, RBC, BOVTS, E15, ALRA, GSA, RCS, LIPA, Italia Conti and Arts Ed. James Bowden and his colleagues really know what they’re talking about.

Second there was a very welcome announcement that Leeds College of Music is dropping audition fees for all its courses. Well, we need a few colleges to take this line and perhaps others will follow suit. Some of the big colleges, including drama schools and music conservatoires, are making large sums of money from audition fees and it’s a scandal.

When I tweeted my approval of the Leeds College of Music decision, Mark Griffin, Head of Humanities and Drama at St Mary’s University Twickenham, contacted me – and this is the third bit of good news – to say that all his auditionees receive a full audition process with panel, feedback & group workshop.  “We see 400 actors a year for 70 places. We’ve never charged audition fees.” Mark tells me.  “It [charging fees] goes against our commitment to inclusivity & nurturing talent regardless of background.”

So you see: It can be done. Nearly every other provider of vocational training in the land, please note.


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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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