We had a great time this term putting together our video trailer about a young man and woman preparing themselves for their audition at drama school. We are well aware how exciting, daunting and overwhelming auditioning for drama school can be so we asked Adrian, our Principal and Chris, our North Course Leader, some questions we thought might be useful for you preparing yourself for the day.
How do I choose the best monologue:
Adrian Hall: Pick your age and type, then you can concentrate on staying calm and doing your best.
Chris Hill: Read as widely as you can so that your choice is really informed. Try to make sure that something is happening to the character in the monologue - not just delivering facts. Even if the character is telling a story, think about how that effects them. What emotions are prompted? Lastly, make sure there is some development in the monologue. How does your character change throughout the monologue?
Adrian Hall: And for a classical monologue I’d give the same advice as for the modern monologue above and remember the words are different, but the people felt the same things as we do.
Chris Hill: Read the entire play that each of your monologues is from so all your choices come from a detailed understanding of the text. Read up on the school you are auditioning for and the courses they provide. There are slight differences so make sure you're informed.
Adrian Hall: We ask for one classic and one modern but learn as many as you can comfortably have ready to perform. Then you have options. Two of each to start with.
I've never been very academic, and the Shakespeare monologue is a bit daunting. Are there easier and harder monologues? If so, and I choose an 'easy' one - will that count against me?
Chris Hill: The key thing is that you understand and connect with the monologue so that we can see your potential. It's no use choosing a piece that is difficult or obscure if you aren't passionate about performing it. Shakespeare is covered in some detail within the course so what we want to see is a willingness to engage with this kind of text that we can work with if you join us.
If I'm really nervous - will the panel still be able to see my potential?
Adrian Hall: We are used to people being nervous, that's usual on audition days!
Will I have to dance at the audition?
Adrian Hall: No but there’s a warm-up and group workshop.
Chris Hill: Movement is a large part of the curriculum at ALRA but the focus is on generating an understanding of your own body as a tool for creating characters. The workshop includes some movement work, but there are no steps to learn or anything. It’s a great opportunity for us to see your creativity away from a text of any kind.
Will I have to sing at the audition?
Adrian Hall: Not at ALRA although some other schools ask for a song.
If I play a musical instrument should I bring it with me?
Chris Hill: You don't need to bring instruments that you play. However, it might be interesting to talk about your other skills briefly in the interview portion of the day.
I sing, dance and act and I'm not sure if I should study musical theatre or acting - how do I decide?
Adrian Hall: Your first auditions will give you an idea of the competition and where you stand in the context of the others auditioning.
I'm dyslexic - will I have to sight read at the audition?
Adrian Hall: Possibly, but you will have time to prepare.
I didn't take drama at A Level. Will this be a disadvantage?
Chris Hill: Absolutely not. It’s really important to us that actors can follow a variety of routes into the industry and the auditions are structured to show people at their best regardless of their history with the performing arts.
I'm worried that I will be much younger/older than the rest of the people auditioning - is that a disadvantage?
Adrian Hall: We just don’t care as long as you have the talent.
Chris Hill: What we look for is a readiness to take on the rigour of training at this level. It’s very demanding but readiness doesn't necessarily correlate with age. Some people are ready at 18 and some are ready much later. We don't judge people on when they have decided it is time to train, just on their readiness to get the best from what we have to offer.
Good luck with your auditions! Remember you are choosing the drama school as much as they are choosing you, so research well and be prepared. We hope this information is really useful and helps you prepare yourself and puts your mind at ease. We hope to see you here auditioning at ALRA soon.