I started to look at progression options by finding as many drama schools, conservatories, university courses and apprenticeships as I could. I talked to people in college about where they applied, so that I could get an idea of the options that are available to me. I also asked Amy Wyllie of her opinions, as I work with her closely at Spinning Wheel Theatre and I can trust her opinions. I also asked the tutors at college for their recommendations and also searched online for more options. I then started to compile a list that I would research further individually. ‘Drama In London’ had a very useful list of their top 15 schools and there was a clear article written for ‘The Stage’, which I also made sure to include in the list of courses I wanted to read into further.
- GSA Guildford School Of Acting
- Manchester Metropolitan University School Of Theatre
- Rose Bruford
- East 15 Loughton
- Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland
- LAMDA London Academy of Dramatic Art
- RADA Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art
- Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama
- Oxford School Of Drama
- Italia Conti
- Central School Of Speech And Drama
- Bristol Old Vic
- Guildhall School Of Music And Drama
- Birmingham School Of Drama
- Drama Centre
- Drama Studio
GSA- Guildford School Of Acting:
GSA first opened in 1935 under the name of Grant-Bellairs School of Dance and Drama. It has moved around since then and is now situated in Guildford, Surrey. It is now part of School of Arts at the University of Surrey. As well as the fact that the website came across as professional and the fact the course stressed the purpose of developing skills needed for the industry, the facilities were definitely something that stood out when I looked into it. There are purpose-built state-of-the-art studios, a £4.5million Ivy Arts Centre which includes a 200-seat theatre, on-campus accommodation, access to the £36 million Surrey Sports Park and the recently refurbished Library and Learning Centre which has seen investment of £16million over the last 5 years. This is very appealing to me, as having a school with such fantastic facilities would be a huge bonus to the already great training. They also had a statistic of 95.6% of their graduates were in work or further education in the first 6 months after graduating. Again this was another huge positive for the course, as it would be my aim to enter the performing industry after drama school, if it is the pathway I choose to follow. Students at GSA are also taught and advised by leading West End directors, casting agents, experienced professionals and leading academics. This means that the training I would receive if I went there, would also give me a network of contacts and a knowledge base to utilise pre and post graduation that is sought after in the industry. The location is also highly appealing because as it is based at the University of Surrey in Guildford, which is a 34 minute direct train journey away from central London. They also have 3 theatres which are in walking distance from the campus. This means that I would be close to the west end and to several theatre venues, giving me access to a large and varied amount of theatre. This would help me to develop as a performer, as being able to see a lot of theatre helps to see what is good and what is bad. The drama and dance programmes are also ranked second in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2017 and top ten in the Complete University Guide 2017. They seems to teach naturalism through different practitioners, improvisation, singing and their second year includes a lot of Shakespeare, which is what I am looking for. In fact they say that these are their focal points:
- Politics and/in Contemporary Performance
- Global Shakespeare
- Performance and Material Cultures
- Philosophical and Critical Approaches to Performance
Graduates include Bill Nighy, Sasha Roiz, Peter Alexander, Brenda Blethyn OBE and Oliver James. The entry requirements are 2 A’s and a B at A level, which means I would need a distinction, although they sometimes lower it based on talent at the audition. It is a three-year BA hons course which you apply to through UCAS. The code is W410 and Surrey’s is S85. January 15th is the application deadline. The course fee is £9,250 and the audition fee is £55.
I then looked at what students on the acting course said about it.
BA (Hons) Acting student ‘NED PORTEOUS’ said:
‘I really felt like GSA wanted to prepare me as much possible for the industry. Everything seemed to walk hand in hand with each other; what I learned in one group singing class I could easily apply to my Shakespearian methodology.’-
BA (Hons) Acting student ‘Andy Plom’ said:
‘This course is a holistic experience, it takes you on a huge journey of personal development, transforming you from a budding student into a rounded individual.’
BA (Hons) Acting student ‘Ashleigh Edwards’ said:
‘From a young age I knew I wanted to pursue Theatre and Performance. The decision to do a course at a University opposed to a Conservatoire training school was the best decision I made. The skills and understanding of the theatrical world I have gained from being part of this course are astonishing. It covers areas of acting, production and the theoretical background of theatre and performance. I has given me a great insight and into a broader discipline which will lead to a wider range of opportunities once graduated.’
Manchester Metropolitan University School Of Theatre:
MMU is another well know acting school that is a popular choice for actors in the North West of England. The school is closely working with BBC North and Granada. This leads me to believe that they do teach a lot for camera and radio, which im sure would be useful to broaden my skill set, however my passion is for stage performance and that is what I want to develop most with my progression. Something that does excite me about this course, is that in the third year, students take part in an annual Showcase event and festivals at London’s Globe Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. This is exactly what I want to go into and so this would be a fantastic opportunity. Their training is strongly based on physical theatre practitioners like Grotowski, and works of Brecht and Stanislavski’s teachings. They have a 100% student satisfaction which I am highly impressed by. You apply through UCAS and the course code is W411. It is again a three-year BA hons. The course is assessed through 100% course work and the study is 80% lectures and 20% individual work. 112 UCAS points are required for the course and there will also be an audition. For the audition I would need to prepare:
- One by Shakespeare which should be in Blank Verse
- One from a play written after 1970
- One speech of your own choice from any published play
Three speeches need to be prepared and the audition fee is £45. Manchester School Of Theatre. It is £9,250 per year plus an optional £600 for all of the books required for the course, which are available from the library. There is also accommodation at the university. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing. Total optional cost: £600. The application deadline for the course is again January 15th.
Rose Bruford was a speech teacher and trained actress who established this school in 1950 under the name of Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama. They are considered to be a strong drama school with quality reputation that’s currently offering University-level degrees for performers that are approved by University of Manchester. The College is located in Lamorbey Park, Southeast London. It is 30 minutes by train from Trafalgar Square and the West End, which again means that I would be able to see a lot of theatre as it is all very close and much easier to access than when living in Bury. The grounds look beautiful from what I have seen on the website, which makes me think that I would feel comfortable attending the school, which is something that would be an added bonus, as I haven’t previously lived away from home before. They also have a wide range of facilities including a 330-seat theatre-in-the-round, a 100-seat flexible Barn theatre, two black box studio theatres, spacious rehearsal rooms, recording studios, technical laboratories, design and production workshops, a unique drama library and well-equipped study areas. The library is particularly appealing to me, as in Bury there isn’t easy access to plays and this would be good to widen my theatre knowledge, plus I love to read. They also have impressive statistics such as 100% of full-time first year students would recommend the school. The course itself is a BA hons three year course. 96 UCAS points are required, meaning I would need a merit or higher in order to attend. Something that appeals to me a lot, is that they have had several graduates go on to work at the RSC, which is a huge goal of mine. In fact job prospects was 5 stars at ‘What Uni?’. Graduates include Gary Oldman, Maddy Hill and Lake Bell. They also give you 30+ hours a week training which as I said previously, Is something that I think would be highly beneficial to my development as a performer. The institution application code is R51 and the programme code is W410. The audition fee is £50 and the cost of the course is £9,250. Loans are however available for this course, both for tuition and living costs, which makes it an appealing choice. There is accommodation available for £170/£175, which is 10 minutes walk from the campus. The application deadline is January 15th.
As for the audition, for the first round I would need two speeches, one classical (Shakespeare/Jacobean/Elizabethan etc) and one contemporary (approximately 1960-onwards). Each should last around 90 seconds. For the second round they may ask to see your speeches agian and I would also need to prepare a song.
E15 drama school was founded in 1961 by Margaret Walker. They focus primarily on the work of Stanislavski and the campus is based in Loughton. The course is three years and a BA hons. The cost is £9,250 with a £55 audition fee. The UCAS code is W411 BA/A with the institution code E70 and campus code L. The entry requirement is 80 UCAS points, meaning that I would need a merit if I wanted to go there. All applicants are required to make an additional direct application to East 15 Acting School in order to arrange an audition. Graduates include Alan Ford, Billy Murray and David Yates.
Past Graduate Daniel Ezra said
‘Throughout my time on the BA Acting course, I was pushed far beyond my comfort zones and asked to explore areas of myself I hadn’t been conscious of.I fell in love with Shakespeare, tested myself in a variety of forms from Commedia dell’Arte to stage combat and historical dance and upon leaving, I felt confident that I had an immense amount of experience to draw upon to help me navigate this daunting industry. ‘
I liked the fact that he began to enjoy Shakespeare from coming to East 15, as it showed me that they must teach it in an engaging way. I also liked the fact that you get to study Commedia Dell’Arte, which is something I want to know more about, as I have only ever looked at it a few times previously. Although this is the case, from looking at the website and the prospectus, I am still not so sure that it is one of my top choices.
If I did want to apply, audition applicants must prepare two contrasting speeches from:
-a Shakespearean or Jacobean play, lasting no more than one and a half minutes
-a contemporary (post 1950) play lasting no more than two minutes
-a third speech, lasting no more than two minutes, that contrasts well with the contemporary (post 1950) speech. Applicants may also take part in a group workshop.
Mountview, is currently one of the leading drama schools in the United Kingdom and it is situated in Wood Green in north London, which is great place location wise, as it is close to all of the London west end theatres. It was founded in 1945 and the school places a strong emphasis on professional stage training, which appeals to me greatly; as I said previously this is what I really want to train further in. There are also claims that Mountview also supports their alumnus months and even years after they have graduated, which gives the impression that they are very supportive and put time and energy towards their students success. The course is a Three Year BA hons course, validated by the university of East Anglia. Something else that I liked about Mountview is the fact that you study Shakespeare in both your first and your second year. The third year is also set up to launch you into the industry with several showcases. On top of this, 81% of their undergraduate Acting students graduated in 2016 with professional agent representation. This is an appealing figure as getting help to find an agent is something that will be needed when entering the industry. The course cost is £12,650 with student loans and bursaries available. Applications are made on the website rather than through UCAS. There is no direct accommodation available, however there are flats and shared houses near by for around £400-£450 pcm, plus bills and living expenses. This does make it more expensive than some of the other schools I have looked at.
For the audition candidates are required to prepare:
- One Shakespeare monologue
- One monologue from a modern play (written after 1979)
Please note that the monologues must:
- Last no longer than two minutes each
- Be from published plays and should not be extracts from poems, novels, films or television scripts
- Involve a character chosen from your own gender and close to your own age
- Be performed in your native accent
“AS A WEST END PRODUCER WHO EMPLOYS MANY MOUNTVIEW GRADUATES, I APPRECIATE THE CONSISTENTLY HIGH STANDARDS ACHIEVED BY THE STAFF AND STUDENTS. EVERYONE IN OUR COMPANY WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT MOUNTVIEW’S WORK AND LOOK FORWARD TO FUTURE EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS.” Sir Cameron Mackintosh
Graduates include Sir Anthony Sher, Julie Walters CBE, David Threlfall, Richard Griffiths, Bernard Hill, Steve Coogan, John Thomson, Amanda Burton and Miranda Hart. This shows clearly that people have gone onto successful careers in the industry after training at Alra.When researching Alra, I found that it is a drama school which is a member of CDET, which means that it has accredited quality. This is something that shows to me that the standard of training is quite high, which is appealing to me. The course is three years long and is a BA hons course which has St Mary’s University in London as its awarding body. There is a guarantee of 36+ hours a week of training, which is a positive for what I am looking for in my progression, as I would like to find something that pushes me, both physically and mentally, which I think will happen with long hours dedicated to training. You apply online to the course and the entry requirements are that you have to be 18 years old when starting the course, have two monologues to audition with and also 112 UCAS points. The UCAS points are flexible according to talent in some cases, however if I did apply, I would still aim to achieve the required points, rather than rely solely on my audition. The audition fee is £45 and the course itself is part funded by Dance and Drama Awards. Students who are not offered this are entitled to apply for a student loan, so it is useful to know that funding will be assisted with this course. Although everything I read about the school sounded good, I personally am looking for a course that will have a large focus on developing skills in classical performances such as with Shakespeare, which the course does touch on. However, the main focus is on performing for tv and film and I would prefer to develop skills in performance on stage, and think that I would be better suited applying to somewhere that has a higher focus on classical performance for stage. Due to this, the school and the course won’t be one of my top choices of places to apply for.
*Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland:
RCS (formally RSAMD for Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) is a drama school founded in 1847. Prince Charles is currently a patron of the Academy and they have had many successful graduates such as Robert Carlyle, David Tennant, John Hannah and Billy Boyd. They take 24 students a year with an audition fee of £45. You apply through UCAS and the institution code is R58 with the course code W410. The course itself costs £9,250 and Liberty house is 15 minutes away and is a linked accommodation. You can get rooms from £120 a week and from what I have seen online, it all looks safe, comfortable and convenient. One concern that I have is that on the website it came across a little music focused, which has also been said to me by several people in the year above who have auditioned this year. However a close friend of mine Greg Hanson, who has auditioned there before and also my director and friend Amy Wyllie have both recommended the school. Amy has said she has enjoyed working with people who graduated from the acting course, so it was good to have her perspective as someone who casts her shows and takes actors training into consideration. Something I loved from reading the prospectus and going on their website was that there are a lot of opportunities for international performances. These include performances at the International Theatre Schools Festival in Warsaw, the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival in Taiwan, European Young Theatre at the Festival Dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, the International Festival of Theatre Schools SETKÁNÍ/ENCOUNTER in Brno and the World Theatre Games in St Petersburg, Russia. This all sounds incredible to me, as I would love to be able to travel and see the culture, theatre and the arts of these different places. Other appeals the school has is that there are industry showcases in Glasgow, London and New York, 91% of graduates are in employment or further study and there is a really good staff-student ratio with a high level of contact hours, with class sizes usually 12 students to one member of staff. The Whittaker Library also gives the school huge appeal, where there are endless scripts, DVDs, books, and recordings; it’s one of the most comprehensive collections of performance materials in the world. This would be so beneficial to my studies and progression. Entry requirement is a pass with higher focus being on the audition. You need to film yourself performing a Shakespeare and a contemporary monologue on no more than 2 minuets. Then I would receive another application form, and attend an audition.
The panel will review the recording and then you may be invited to formally submit an official application and attend a live audition.
*London Acadamy of Dramatic Arts/LAMDA
LAMDA is one of the oldest drama schools in the world. After being founded in 1861, it has produced some absolutely great talent. Graduates of this drama school has already taken 19 BAFTAs, 4 Academy Awards, 16 Golden Globes, 36 Olivier Awards and 12 Tonys. These are highly impressive figures which makes LAMDA stand out for me as a place to train. Even before joining college, I knew that LAMDA was somewhere that I wanted to apply for, and after researching it further, this is still true and I still love the look of the training. Graduates include Sam Clafin, Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Jim Broadbent and Brian Cox. The course is a Three Year BA hons course that is validated by the university of Kent. Last year applications opened on the 30th September 2016 and closed on 1st March 2017. The online application fee for an audition is £54. The cost of the course is £9,250 per year. The videos on the website along with the prospectus have all been so appealing and LAMDA comes across as a school of excellence that has both staff and students who are dedicated to the arts. It is something that I would want to be a part of and it is a school that excites me each time I look at it. Due to this, It will likely be one of the places I apply and one of my top choices of schools. There is a huge variety of skills that get taught their, the movement, voice and technique classes all sound fantastic. Un the third year, students also put on public performances that tour to venues across the UK and overseas. As I said with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, this is something that appeals to me, as I really enjoy getting the opportunity to perform in as many different places and venues as I can. The impression I get of LAMDA, is that it is somewhere that would really prepare me for the industry. Agents and casting directors are invited to attend all public productions and film screenings, which would help me to get contacts and exposure to people who matter in the industry. On top of this, graduating students present an industry showcase in a West End theatre each year and students who are eligible to work in the USA, are also able to participate in LAMDA’s showcases in New York and Los Angeles in the autumn following graduation. All students who graduate from the course leave with a professionally-shot show reel and a voice reel. This means I would be set up for auditions and be more prepared to start looking for acting jobs. Students attend lectures, masterclasses and open auditions with visiting industry professionals, so not only would I be gaining experience but also have fantastic opportunities.
“MY TIME AT LAMDA WAS MIND-OPENING AND FUN. I LEARNT SKILLS THAT HAVE BEEN OF DAILY USE IN MY WORK AS A PROFESSIONAL ACTOR.”
For the audition process you are asked to present:
- one monologue from an Elizabethan or Jacobean play; and
- one monologue from a play written in either the 20th or 21st Century, but not a piece written by you or by an unknown or little-known author.
Each piece should last no longer than three minutes and there must be a clear contrast between the two. After presenting your work to the panel, there is an interview as part of the audition process.
Past student Peter Losasso Said
‘LAMDA gives you a massive head start with the preparation they give you for life after drama school. They do all they can to prepare you for the industry while acknowledging that the journey is going to be different for everybody. You’re able to just enjoy the fun bits and stop worrying about the rest.’
*Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art London
RADA was founded in 1904 and in addition to being considered one of the top acting schools. There are classes that involve just one teacher and up to three students. Graduates include Peter O’Toole, Mike Leigh, Joan Collins, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes and Vivien Leigh. What appeals to me most about RADA is that the training is classically based, as they believe this provides the best foundation for acting in any form or media. This is perfect for what I am looking for. They also seem to take a lot of care and focus on each person as an individual, they say that they give extensive individual feedback through regular sessions, written reports, and one-to-one tutorials. This means that I would always know what I needed to do in order to progress and also be aware of my strengths and weaknesses. The training includes:
- Stanislavski-based rehearsal exercises
- realist project and scene work
- contemporary and classical text
- projects on Greek Tragedy, Shakespeare and other Elizabethan and Jacobean writers, Restoration/Eighteenth Century comedy and contemporary writing
- acting for camera and microphone technique
- voice training, including dialect training, individual and choral singing
- movement training, including Alexander Technique, dance and stage combat
Like LAMDA, RADA also seem to focus on professional progression and preparation. Throughout the course students will attend professional development sessions and workshops with guest speakers from across the industry, including directors, actors, international artists and performers. This would mean potential gains of contacts, knowledge and industry based opportunities. Something else that I like about the course is that in the second year students perform a production to schools. This is something I enjoy doing and something I would like to do more of. They also have incredible facilities with three theatres, a costume workroom and fitting rooms, a costume store with over
20,000 costumes, a sound studio with three associated control rooms, a digital cinema screen, video recording and editing equipment, a box office with foyer bar, design studios, a Library with over 25,000 books and access to digital resources, dance and fight studios and specially equipped rehearsal studios. The library sounds amazing, as 10,000 of those books are plays and many of which are rare and out of print. They also have fantastic statistics such as 82% of graduates are still active in the profession 20 years after graduation.
People, including their own graduates, charitable trusts and major corporations and their principal partner Warner Bros Entertainment, support students through awarding a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. Last year over 50% of their students received financial support from RADA. As well as this, if you are a home/EU student, new to higher education and eligible for a tuition fee loan, there are no upfront fees to pay. You will only have to repay the loan once you leave RADA and are earning over £21,000.
The course itself is a three-year BA hons in Acting (conservatoire training). Their entry requirements are that you will need to demonstrate an intellectual, creative and practical ability to undertake degree level training. There are 28 places, 14 female and 14 male. The cost of the course is £9,250. You can only apply only once per academic year, but you can apply for the foundation course in acting at the same time and using the same form as the BA in Acting. Auditions run from November until June. All applications are downloaded of the website and must be submitted by post with the registration fee, which is non-refundable. A4 envelopes in the UK need a ‘large letter’ stamp. Incorrectly paid postage is held at the mail sorting office and delays your application. Late applications will not be considered under any circumstances. The fee for applications received on and before 16 December 2016 is £46.
There are four audition stages:
- Preliminary audition – November to April
- Recall audition – December to May
- Short workshop (three hour session)
- Workshop Day
You get auditioned by two members of the audition panel. The Preliminary audition usually consists of two, but sometimes three, audition speeches. Each speech should last about 2 minutes, and certainly no longer than 3 minutes.
- Piece A – Classical The ‘classical’ piece should be from Shakespeare or an Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright (Jonson, Marlowe, Webster, etc.). It should be originally written in English
- Piece B – Modern The modern piece should provide a clear contrast to the classical piece and we encourage you to choose a piece written after 1960. Do not use Chekhov or Shaw for this piece.
You must have an alternative classical piece prepared (same rules as Piece A), which you may or may not be called upon to perform.
Speeches presented at the Preliminary audition are repeated at the recall audition, unless you have been recommended to prepare a new audition piece. You are also required to sing a prepared unaccompanied song.
A three hour workshop, where you will work on scenes from a variety of classical and contemporary plays.
This is the final stage and you will need to prepare a new audition speech of your choice, either classical or modern.
Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama:
Royal Welsh was established in 1949 in Cardiff Castle. The school has strong connections to local TV broadcast stations. Graduates incluude Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones. It is a three year BA hons course and it was ranked as the top institution in the UK for drama training by the Gaurdian University Guide, twice in the last three years. On top of this the BA (Hons) Acting course received a satisfaction score of 95% in the 2016 National Student Survey. Students have gone on to be part of cast lists of the UK’s leading theatre companies including The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse, The Royal Court and the National Theatres of Wales and Scotland. They only take 22 people, which is one on the smallest figures I have seen in my research. This would mean it is very hard to get a place, but if you do then the training would be more personalised. It does seem very media and tv focused compared to some of the other courses, and on top of this it isn’t based somewhere that is close to huge theatrical events, such as London or Glasgow. Location wise, it is not as convenient as other schools I have looked at. You apply through UCAS conservatoires. The UCAS Conservatoires Institution Code for the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is R59 and the Course Code for BA (Hons) Acting programme is 200F. There is a £47 audition fee on top of the UCAS conservatoire fee of £24. Candidates should prepare two contrasting speeches lasting no longer than two minutes each. One piece should be Elizabethan or Jacobean and the other modern/contemporary (20th/21st century). There are student halls which is with in walking distance, which is convenient.
Oxford School Of Drama:
Oxford’s drama school is one of the younger drama schools in UK. It’s a relatively small school with just 18 students on a course. Graduates include Lee Boardman, Christina Cole and Catherine McCormack. This drama school is absolutely independent and is validated by Trinity College London as degree equivalent, Level 6 in the Government’s National Qualification Framework. The majority of their Three Year students receive funding and so do not pay the published fee rate. For those who are private payers the fees are £5,360 per term. This makes it an extremely expensive choice compared to some of the other courses that I have looked into. There is also a £45 audition fee and you apply to the course on the website. As for the audition:
I would need to prepare 2 contrasting monologues, each no longer than 2 minutes.
One will need to be from Elizabethan or Jacobean drama (Shakespeare or Jonson, for example) and the other will need to be a piece from post-1950 drama. Auditions also consist of group work for which you will need to wear loose, comfortable clothing.
The do not offer accommodation, so If I did want to apply, I would also have to consider the additional costs of living in Oxford.
Italia Conti Academy Of Theatre Arts:
Italia Conti was founded in 1911 and is named after its founder Italia Conti, who was an established female actor at the time. Graduates include Noel Coward, Russell Brand and Leslie Phillips. This drama school has always provided a modern approach to actor’s training, which means a strong emphasis on-screen acting. As this is the case, I already knew that it wouldn’t be one of my top choices, as I would really like a classical based training. Although it isn’t the school for me, it does look a very good school, which got OUTSTANDING’ by Ofsted in 2016. The course is a BA hons three year course, which you apply to through UCAS. The institution code is E28 and W410 is the course. It is £45 to apply for the course. For the audition you need to have a contemporary speech and also a Shakespeare. Neither must be longer than one and a half minutes and the Shakespeare has to be one from the list that Italia Conti provides on their website. I wasn’t keen on the set up of the website, and found that it didn’t provide much information about the acting course and some of the financial details and accommodation details that I was looking for. This really put me off the school as I just wasn’t clear on what they provided. I decided quite quickly that I prefered the look of a lot of the other schools.
Royal Central School Of Speech And Drama:
Central is a highly regarded drama school that was founded in 1906. Throughout the years this drama school has produced some extremely talented actors including Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, Peggy Ashcroft, Harold Pinter and Vanessa Redgrave. There are also two courses from this school that I am interested in. The first is their three year BA hons acting course. I like the look of the course very much as it seems to focus on discovery and finding what type of actor you want to be. It comes across as a very intense course that would push me, which is something I think is very important, in order to progress. The London location of Hampstead is also very convinient and would put me close to all the London theatres. You apply through UCAS and the institution code is C35. The course code is W410, option AP. The course also seems to have a focus in professional progression. Central employs professional directors from the second year, and invites a range of industry professionals to deliver talks and workshops on subjects from audition technique to rehearsing Shakespeare. They also have had recent guests including acclaimed directors such as Michael Grandage, Lindsay Posner and Max Stafford-Clark. Along with some well-known actors such as James Purefoy and Kit Harington. There are also companies that visit the school such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre and Out of Joint, who give talks and hold workshops. The Almeida theatre is one of my favourites and I have already said that I would like nothing more than to work with the Royal Shakespeare company.
The audition fee for central is £55. For the acting audition I would need to prepare:
- Two memorised classical speeches (from either Elizabethan or Jacobean plays – for inspiration, they have published a classical speech list, however you do not have to select from these lists)
- A memorised contemporary speech (written after 1960 and no more than two minutes in duration). Speeches are not to be chosen from film scripts.
- Two memorised songs. One song must be from a musical (please bring the sheet music, in the key you wish to sing, for the song from the musical – this should be arranged for easy use by the pianist, i.e.; pages joined together, not in book form. The second song can be of your own choosing and is sung unaccompanied. Neither song should be more than two minutes in length; if the song is longer than this it should be cut to 2 minutes or you should choose a 2 minute section from the song). PLEASE NOTE: a trained singing voice is not required for admission.
Past graduate Lindsay Cambell said
‘My time at Central gave me the essential training and knowledge I needed to develop as an actor at the start of my career. The course offers a wide variety of teaching that nurtures and liberates your creativity. I have also gained a huge support network that I know will always be there, inside and outside of Central.’
The other course that central offers, which sounded like something I would enjoy, is their applied theatre and education course. It is another three year BA hons courses which looks at performing for less conventional audiences and institutions, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, pupil referral units, refugees camps, community centres, playgrounds, parks, and nursing homes, in the UK and abroad. The course has £60,000 in available funds to support students as they undertake practice-based work outside of Central. Through these projects, students are able to implement their learning in a variety of different social and community contexts. In doing so, they gain the necessary experience and skills to secure professional work upon graduation. With awards between £300 and £1,800, students are able to practice their drama facilitation skills in the UK and internationally. It sounds like a really worth while course that I would be able to gain skills from. You apply through UCAS just the same as with acting, keeping the institution code of C35, but having the different course code of W490. Like the acting course, the tuition fee is £9250 but with student loans available. I have a friend who is currently on this course, and she has recommended it a lot and said that it is something that she thinks I would also enjoy and take a lot out of. There is no audition fee but there will still be an audition.
The interview will comprise of:
- a presentation about the degree
- a practical session (in which you will be asked to participate)
- a tour of the School
- a group interview.
For the group interview I would need to bring an example of my written work. This must be no larger than A4 size and no longer than two pages and, where possible, this should be assessed work with the assessor’s comments made on the page. It says on the website to choose work that covers a relevant topic, such as an essay about a playtext or a review you have written of a live theatre production. This work should have been written in the last two years. The interview will also have a section to discuss and debate the question ‘In what ways can theatre and performance be used as a social or educative tool in society?’. This discussion will be with the interviewers and other candidates in the group interview.
Bristol Old Vic:
Bristol Old Vic Theater School was opened in 1946 by Sir Laurence Olivier. Graduates include Gene Wilder, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jeremy Irons. These are all fantastic actors who I am familiar with, which is a huge selling point for the school. The staff at Bristol Old Vic, seem highly professional, skilled and knowledgable. The experience they have makes me think that I would learn a lot of skills and that they would be the right people to get me where I want to get to. The school also has fantastic facilities, such as rehearsal Studios, music studios. scenery workshops, props workshop, sound studio, armoury, IT Suite, quiet Study Areas, script library, award-winning dance studio, lighting and sound studio, design Studio, costume department, electrical workshop, stage management studios and student common rooms. The course is a BA hons which you apply online for. Applications will be accepted from 1st October until the last working day of February. It is one of the more competitive to receive a place for, as it takes up to 14 students a year. The audition fee is £45. There is no attached accommodation, so students rent through private landlords/letting agents in the Clifton/Redland area of Bristol, close to the school. The cost of the course is £9250.
As for the audition:
- You are asked to prepare three short pieces for preliminary audition. One speech from a classical English play (written before 1800 – Elizabethan, Jacobean, Restoration or Eighteenth Century – Shakespeare is always appropriate), A piece in prose from a modern play (written in the 20th or 21st Centuries) and a short, unaccompanied song
- Each piece should last no longer than 2 minutes. if you exceed this time limit you will be stopped. For the song, you may wish to perform a verse and chorus from your chosen piece.
- Auditionees will also be asked to do a short piece of Sight Reading prose – to be provided when you arrive, therefore you may wish to arrive earlier to prepare for this.
- There will also be a brief, informal chat and opportunity to ask any questions. Successful candidates will be invited to attend a Recall, held in Bristol between January and May. These are intensive one day in-depth auditions. The Recall will include individual audition sessions and group workshops with members of our staff. Candidates will also be interviewed by the School’s Artistic Director. From the Recall, a shortlist is compiled of those to be considered for the offer of a place.
Guildhall School Of Music And Drama:
Graduates include Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans, Orlando Bloom and Eileen Atkins. They offer accomodation at Sundial Court, which is their student halls. The weekly cost of accommodation at Sundial Court in 2015-16 is £154.00 per week. The lessons and staff are something I really liked the look of on the website. The videos of rehearsals showed what Guildhall had to offer and it came across as a place where I would like to train. They have done a lot of projects that differ from other drama schools I have looked at. This made it stand out as interesting and playful, with more improvisation being included. The course is a Ba hons, which costs £9250. You can however get student loans.
The application fee is £63 and applications are made directly on the website. For the audition day,
it is advised to meet 15 minutes before the start, to enable you to change into your movement clothes. For the first part of the audition, there is a ‘warm-up’ movement and improvisation session. There is no preparation required for this section; however, you should wear clothes in which you can move freely. You will be working barefoot and you should remove all jewellery and piercings. In the second part, the selection panel will see your monologues. Each applicant goes in turn, so you may have a long wait before you are seen. It is possible that you may also be asked to sing your unaccompanied song.
You should prepare three contrasting dramatic pieces of your own choice:
- One must be in verse (blank or rhymed) from a play by Shakespeare or another Jacobean playwright;
- One from a modern play written after 1956;
- One should be a contrasting piece from any period.
No piece should last longer than two minutes.
In addition, you should also be prepared to sing a short unaccompanied song of your own choice. This is to assess your ability to perform and interpret a song rather than your singing ability.
Birmingham School Of Drama:
Formerly known as Birmingham School of Acting, they became part of Birmingham Conservatoire in 2017. With roots as a drama school going back to 1936. They offer a three year BA hons, which costs £9250. Classes will mainly be studio-based sessions, focusing on the practical application of acting, voice, movement and singing. For some modules you have timetabled rehearsal time, where you will work in groups to produce material. For the entry requirements, academically you need 64 UCAS points, which is a pass on the course I am currently on. There are lots of accommodation options for around £130. The audition fee is £45 and there is an interview process which gives you the opportunity to tell them who you are, show us why you’re passionate about taking the course, and see the spaces you’ll be working in.
You will meet some of the people who’ll be teaching you and get answers to any questions you have. You may be involved in a short workshop or practical exercise as part of this. It starts with a short vocal and movement warm up with one of the current students. These warm ups do not form part of the audition process they are just an opportunity for you to prepare yourself. Street shoes and stilettos are not allowed in any of their studios, but jazz and character shoes are.
- You will be asked to present two speeches to a panel of staff and/or professional actors – normally two people but on occasion more.
- You will have up to ten minutes with the panel who will provide verbal feedback on what you present, discuss your choice of speeches and possibly your motives for attending drama school.
- You must prepare and memorise two contrasting speeches from different plays, one of which must have been written in the last 20 years and one of which must be from an Elizabethan / Jacobean play.
- Each selection should be no more than two minutes in length and suitable for your gender, age and experience
- You may be asked questions about the play and your character’s
journey within it (i.e. their motives etc.).
Past student Rianna Ash said: “The BA Acting course has given me all the skills, self-belief and preparation needed to enter the professional industry with confidence.”
Drama centre’s campus is located in the award-winning Granary Building at the centre of London’s King’s Cross. The College also has campuses in Richbell Place and Archway. Something that I noticed immediately, when looking at pictures of the theatres and rehearsal spaces, is that they look very similar to the ones we have at conservatoire east. offer a three years BA hons acting course. It is £9250 and you apply through UCAS. The institution code is U65 and the course code of W410.
You will present two speeches to a panel, normally composed of Drama Centre staff and a professional representative. One speech should be by Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries and the other written any time from the late 19thcentury onwards. You may be asked to explain briefly the context of your material. The list will go up at about 1.30pm.
Drama Studio London:
Drama studio London appeals to me, as they have a strong focus on classical performance and studying classical texts. They believe that by working on Shakespeare’s first folio, Restoration and Modern classics as well as Chekhov, actors learn an approach as useful in a TV sit com as it is on stage. I also like the percentages of what is studied on the course. The course is 90% vocational which broadly consists of 50% classes across all disciplines (Acting, Voice, Movement, Media, Preparation for the Profession) and 50% scene studies and productions. 10% will consist of written project work in journals, essays, blogs and recordings.The course is a three year BA hons and other details are:
• Apply through UCAS
• Course Code: W410
• Institution Code: D26
• Campus Code: D
• Institution Code Name: DEM
• Short Form of Course: Prof Act
• Study Mode: Full Time
• Attendance: Study on Site
The application fee is £47.50 and you need 112 UCAS points, which is a merit. Auditions and recalls for the 3 Year BA (Hons) in Professional Acting are usually held on Saturdays and will take half a day each. The audition will normally begin with a talk about the school and the training, then after a warm-up you will be asked to take part in a series of acting and improvisation exercises, either individually or in groups.
For the audition, I would need to prepare two different two-minute speeches from published plays, not film or television scripts. One must be in verse from a play by Shakespeare or another Jacobean playwright, and one modern speech from a play written after 1955.
They do not offer student accommodation but each year they set up a private group on Facebook for all students signed up to their 1,2 or 3 year, full-time courses to virtually meet up and hopefully find accommodation together.
LIPA/ The Liverpool Institution for performing arts:
The liverpool institution for performing arts, offers around 36 places a year for its BA hons acting course. The course code is W410 with the Institution code: LIVIN and
Institution number: L48. I would need at least a pass for the course, as 64 UCAS points are required. To apply you need to apply through UCAS but then again through the LIPA website. There is accommodation available from around £50 a week to around £150 a week. I didn’t feel particularly engaged with what the website was saying and I didn’t get the same feeling which I have done when looking into other drama schools.
Wednesday 20 September 2017 – 11am
Saturday 21 October 2017 – 11am
Saturday 18 November 2017 – 11am
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