arts

The Drama School Diaries Part 3

How I am Preparing for my Drama School Auditions 

Having had the experience once, I’m now in a position where I can look back at my previous auditions and decide what I need to improve on, what went well and what I can do differently. If you have auditioned before and are auditioning again for drama schools, make sure you reflect on your previous auditions as this experience will give you an advantage. If you haven’t auditioned before, you can use these tips to help you prepare for your first shot at drama school auditions.

  1. I’ve joined the gym. This is not only for me to improve my stamina, my fitness levels and my image, but also to boost my confidence. I’ve fallen in love with going to the gym, as you can have the time to really focus on your goals and self improvement. Drama school is strenuous, and if the panel can see you are physically fit and healthy, they will instantly view you as a candidate who is taking their passion more seriously. I know going to the gym isn’t for everyone, as it is expensive, time consuming and not something everyone will enjoy, but even being more active in general will help you connect with your body and mind. Go for a run, do a dance class, do a home workout or anything that works for you.
  2. Reading books. I bought a lot of books on acting, musical theatre and drama school last year, but I never actually read them. I’m currently about half way through ‘So you want to go to drama school?’ by Helen Freeman and it is incredible. These books help you think about how to work on your monologue, how to present yourself and in general they give a lot of insight into what a panel actually look for (which does actually go beyond the obvious).
  3. Applying for more courses and for different drama schools. I am still applying for the majority of the places I applied for last year, but as I visited nearly all of the schools last time around, I know which ones are right for me and which aren’t. One school that has always been my dream school really didn’t live up to my expectations, and I had a real confidence knock when I didn’t get in and when I realized it wasn’t the right place for me, so I won’t be applying there again. I’m also being more open minded about the courses I apply for, and I’ve decided to apply for straight acting courses also. Acting is one of my main passions, and you still get to sing and be in musicals on some acting courses, so I think I will give those a try and see if they’re right for me.
  4. Not applying so early. Last time I rushed to get my applications in, and although I had all my monologues and songs etc. learnt and rehearsed by December (when I started auditioning) I wasn’t developed enough as a performer. I made so much progress at college in the months following my auditions, and I think if I’d have auditioned a few months later I may have had more of a chance.
  5. Working on my weaknesses. I know that dance isn’t my strong point, and there are lots of areas I need to develop such as my confidence. I’m really taking this year to focus on myself and self improvement, and I think this will really help me find my feet in auditions. I was so nervous the first time around and I was excited and all in all I think I wasn’t very present because I was so in awe of the buildings and everything around me. I hadn’t taken in what I was doing, and I didn’t focus on myself enough, so this time around I’m going to walk in and just be myself.

 

Another thing you can do while prepping for auditions is to do a pre-audition course. I took part in one last year, and it was an amazing experience that really helped calm my nerves before my auditions. You get to spend a day, a weekend or sometimes even longer at a drama school practicing your audition technique and receiving lots of feedback, however they are quite expensive. If you have the money for it and you think it would be useful, I would highly recommend it as I loved the experience. Just remember though, it won’t guarantee you a place at a drama school.

I hope this helped, and as usual let me know what other topics you would like me to cover in this series!

Lots of Love Lucy x

University Fees (Specialist Arts Training)

As you may know if you have read my blog before, I want to be in the musical theatre industry when I’m older, as a performer. To be able to achieve this dream I have decided I would like to go to university. I researched several of the well known schools, and soon began praying that I could take out a loan large enough to cover the extortionate fees for taking a 3 year course.

These establishments are not only hard to get into (as they are so popular, and are only looking for the best new talent), but they are incredibly expensive to attend Рwith some courses adding up to about £40,000. This is of course without the cost of living in London, which would also amount to a huge debt, and that is very worrying. I have read articles about Andrew Lloyd Webber and other well known theatre personalities delivering speeches recently on why fees should be lowered, and I could not agree more!
Imagine: the richest student at the audition is the least talented, but is able to attend as they have the funds to support themselves. However, a student who comes from a family who aren’t as wealthy, but is very talented, may not even have a chance at auditioning due to their low budget. Money does not define who is more talented than who, or who will work harder or who is more deserving of a place.

I feel that it is unfair to make students rely on bursaries, scholarships and loans which they may never be able to pay back. Perhaps the government should consider reducing fees for everyone, or even just those who really cannot afford to live their dream. So much talent will go to waste if something is not done to provide students who need financial support with the reassurance that they can still attend university, and not have to worry about any sort of debt.

Are The Arts Appreciated In Schools?

So I have been having a very busy time at school recently, as I am in my final year at school studying for my GCSE’s. On top of that I like to take part in all of the performances going on, so I have been involved with the dance show, the school musical and the school carol concert.

While I enjoyed this term and had a great time performing, it obviously took up a lot of time, and this also meant some lesson time had to be sacrificed. The majority of teachers accepted this and let me catch up with the work I missed from their lesson, but some other teachers didn’t seem to agree with the idea.

As well as disliking the fact that we are busy with other areas of school life, it has come to my attention that GCSE results are handled differently when it comes to the performing arts. I take drama, dance and music at GCSE, and although I will be credited a separate grade for dance and drama, the school will not. This is because they are seen as “too similar”. This, I do not agree with.

Firstly, dance requires 4 pieces of practical coursework to be performed, as well as a written exam. Whereas drama requires 2 pieces of written coursework, a theatre review, and a practical exam. This automatically makes them differ from each other.

As well as this, being able to act does not mean you are a dancer, and this works both ways. I don’t see why the school should get any less credit for someone who has a passion for drama and dance, than for someone who has a passion for geography and history.

There may be another reason as to why they are seen as similar which I am overlooking, but personally I think they are very different subjects. Dance requires a lot of revision for the written exam, whereas I do not revise for drama except when I have lines to learn.

So really unless you go to a stage school, the education system just doesn’t seem to appreciate how demanding these subjects actually are. They are not easy at all. Especially music, as this requires just as much revision as any academic subject would. So when pupils are presented with options of what they want to study they shouldn’t be guided away from creative subjects by the teachers, as really all subjects are equally challenging in their own right.

Many schools in my local area have scrapped all of these subjects from their option blocks, and even as extracurricular activities. I think this is a great shame, as many pupils that went there with the hopes of taking a performing arts subject would have been devastated.

I think schools really need to start thinking more about this issue, as it’s not all about getting more pupils to take very academic subjects. It should be about making students who have a talent and a passion for other things able to take the subjects they want, and allowing the school to get just as much credit for these as the academic subjects.