ALRA Announces Free Second Round Auditions
We’re delighted to announce that as of today, ALRA is scrapping the second round audition fee for all acting courses.
Over the past year our sector has faced many challenges throughout COVID, but many drama schools have also come under scrutiny for their internal practices which has revealed that institutional inequality is still present throughout many of the top organisations.
ALRA has committed to delivering equitable practice at all levels in our organisation, so that we can help nurture actors from all backgrounds.
We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to audition for our training regardless of background or financial situation. Although we previously offered a means-tested free audition scheme, the very fact that people had to take time to apply for this created a barrier for some applicants. Although there is still a £5 administration fee to apply for the initial audition, we hope that scrapping the £30 second round fee will help reduce the financial strain on everyone, as we know that £30 can be a steep cost for some, especially if the applicant is applying to several schools.
Sonia Watson-Fowler, ALRA’s Director of Culture and Creativity, has recently joined the team full-time to ensure consistency in embedding equitable practice. Sonia was initially brought in as the Equity and Inclusion Cohesion Lead at ALRA, and now oversees widening participation for outreach and recruitment. She is delighted with the decision to drop the second round audition cost, and says:
“This is a small yet necessary step towards the long-term goal of creating and maintaining a more inclusive organisation. In collaborating with Working Group Chairs and affiliates, we are embracing the power of positive action and accountability and have also added an access rider to the process to promote transparency and our commitment to progress.”
ALRA partners with schools and colleges across the UK to offer outreach auditions. One group is the National Youth Theatre. Here’s what Libby Devereux, Playing Up Course Coordinator at the National Youth Theatre, had to say about the change to the application fee for 2022 entry:
“Free auditions are a life changing opportunity for our Young People on Playing Up. Since we have been receiving free auditions for ALRA I have witnessed many of our students go on to train at their school and are having the most amazing time. Many of our students are not in a financial position to be able to afford the cost of an audition which would have previously prevented them applying. Without this financial barrier the ambitions of our students feels achievable and I am incredibly grateful for the support and care that ALRA have provided to Playing Up.”
The financial costs of studying at a UK drama school are notoriously high, and government funding leaves a shortfall which many struggle to meet. Although many ALRA students benefit from Dance and Drama Award funding which covers their tuition and, in some cases, living expenses, we know that there is still a long way to go to ensure that tuition costs are affordable for all.
We hope that this change to the initial entry process is the first step in opening the door to a more diverse student body, which will benefit the wider industry in the long term. All those interested in applying for 2022 September entry should go to our Apply page for more details.