Dear future actor,
This article is outdated. For an updated and better version of the application process, please go to How to Apply to Drama School.
Applications to any of the acting schools UK can become a daunting process for someone without any knowledge on the subject. But not to worry — just as we walked you through our how to get into acting and drama school auditions guides, we’ll do so with the acting schools UK tips and advice as well.
Acting Schools UK — Application Process
If you have decided to apply to multiple drama schools rather than just one, keep in mind that every accredited drama school is different, so you have to take your time and think about the application process for each one of them. While a few of those acting schools UK do accept applications through UCAS (standard path), most of them have their own application process, which is neither better or worse; it’s just different.
Acting Schools UK — Deadlines
Each drama school have their own deadlines, and those dates are very much apart. Some of the schools stop accepting applications in January or February, while others stretch out all the way up to May or even June. You absolutely must check with the school itself to know by what date you have to submit your application. If you’re going to be funding your studies with Student Loans Company, then you probably have to discuss this with them as well (call them, as they don’t have email contacts).
Acting Schools UK — Paperwork
– Forms. Now don’t be sloppy here, make sure you’ve done a good job filling in all the necessary fields without any grammar mistakes for your acting schools UK. Never lie or exaggerate on your application, be honest because you never know when they might take you up on that. Even though your audition process is the most important factor for you being accepted, if you’re application is riddled with atrocious writing and horrible spelling, you might have less of a chance getting called in.
And here’s a little tip: Don’t send you application until you’re ready to perform on your audition. That means rehearse your monologues, songs, dances and whatever else will be required from you. You can find out these requirements on drama school’s website or by asking them directly. The reason being is that audition committee might call you in on a very short notice after you submit an application.
– Personal statement. This is another big part of the paperwork you’re going to have to do when applying for any of those acting schools UK, either through UCAS or directly. A lot of students struggle with this, so it’s a good idea to begin early. Check and re-check everything multiple times, give it to your friends and family to look through as well. Rules for writing a personal statement when applying to acting schools UK are similar to a standard University application; just make sure not to overuse the “I want to be an actor” phrase. Once is enough.
Find some great advice on writing a personal statement at TheStudentRoom.co.uk
Acting Schools UK — Audition Speeches
– What you need to know. And here’s the vital part of being accepted into drama school — your audition speech. Audition speeches will follow an actor not only through their training application process, but throughout their whole career — during studies, agents meetings, auditions and so forth. You’re going to be using them a lot, just hopefully not the same ones.
You’re going to have to put in a lot of thought and work into your audition speech. It has to be well researched, well understood, well staged, well acted; basically, it’s your own little play for the audience that came to see it. It is very likely that you will be asked to have two or even three of them from different categories, i.e. a classical, modern and comedy. You will not necessarily be assessed based on all of them; tutors might pick one or two that you’ve done the best (not everyone is a comedic actor). However, you have to make sure that you can do all of them to the best of your abilities.
Audition speeches can be either monologues or dialogues, it’s up to you. You will know what the drama school wants from their website, as everything about your audition is disclosed there. Follow those requirements to a tee. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with advice on how to perform your speech as this is the part of how well you are at your craft; it’s all about you now. Rehearse, work on it, show it to others, rehearse again and work some more.
– What speech to choose. This is often a headache for a lot of students. Choosing a perfect speech is difficult for most actors, so don’t think you’re the only one. The problem here is that it’s an individual thing and every actor should choose a speech which best suits their persona, skills, and acting abilities. Contrary to some people’s belief, even the greatest actors cannot play any character. Johnny Depp is a marvelous actor when it comes to quirky and weird characters, but his abilities fall flat at playing regular guys.
The first advice is to not pick any famous speeches, that means something that was performed by Sir Laurence Olivier. There’s a high chance that people who will audition you have seen those speeches thousands of times, so apart from the fact that your speech is very derivative, it will also be compared to those who’ve done it the best. Do you really want your acting to stand against Sir Laurence Olivier’s at your very first day in drama school? Go for something less known, it’ll be safer, and make sure it’s a well written speech; plus, you’ll be able to do it in your own way because you won’t have any patterns of previous performances hanging in your subconscious.
Do not write your own speeches at any cost, unless you’re a great playwright. There’s a reason why certain plays are known and are getting staged often; it’s because they were written perfectly for actors to perform them. Do not try to be smarter than everybody else in the room, keep that arrogance for way, way later in your career.
– Speech length. Go for the speech that will last about two 2-3 minutes tops. Do not go over three minutes, because you don’t want to show your weaknesses as an actor, not just yet. Show them during training when you’re in the drama school already. Less than two minutes might be not enough (minute and a half is the shortest) as you won’t be able to show what you really can do. Don’t listen to those who say it’s fine to go shorter — it’s not. If you’re not sure, talk to teachers from the particular drama school, they’ll confirm it for you.
Remember: It is very likely that you will speed up during the actual audition due to nerves; give yourself another 10-20 seconds.
– Number of speeches. It’s always a good idea to have a multiple number of speeches in your arsenal, both for acting schools UK auditions and when you get out into the world. You never know when you might blow up one of your first speeches, or when those auditioning you might not like it and ask for an alternative. Be prepared to have another good one in your repertoire, and make sure it’s as good as your first choice. Practice all of them!
– Preparing the speech. First of all, read the play! You must know where your character is coming from, what are the conditions, what is happening and why is it happening. Understand the play well, and not just skimp through it; you must feel the character within the imagined world. Read that play a few times silently, then read it out loud once. Having a discussion about the that play with someone who’s previously read it would also help a lot.
Research your speech, many times. Know everything about it, including who’s performed it and why, and when. It’s not worth actually watching performances of others because subconsciously you might come to perform either the exact same way or completely opposite. You have to make neutral choices from within you, based on how you feel and what’s going on around you. Make sure to also research the play itself and your character well; do your homework like every actor should.
Acting Schools UK — Conclusion
Applying to acting schools UK might look nerve racking at first, but once you actually start working on these tips we gave you above, you’ll begin to enjoy yourself. Just remember to have your paperwork done well and that your audition speeches are prepared and rehearsed. Everything else in between with flow smoothly.
Look through the rest of our Working Actor’s Guide for more tips and advice on acting schools UK and keep an eye out on our daily updated columns.