Drama school is not the only option for a career in acting. A lot of people in the industry did not train at all. Some of our favourite actors didn’t. And if you do train there is no guarantee of work afterwards. But that’s not what it’s about.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself. Do you want to learn more about acting? What kind of actor do you want to be? What kind of career do you want to have? Would a training help you achieve this?
Drama school is three years where you can try things out, get things wrong, fail, and improve. Where you can learn discipline and the craft of acting around like minded people from some of the best acting teachers in the country. The industry is hard enough. It’s tough. You don’t get too many chances to get things wrong. If we see it as a battle, a training should hopefully give you enough weapons and tools to take on anything.
So you go straight into the industry. You do a Holby City and a Kidulthood. But then what? Where’s the longevity? Again, think about the career you want and what kind of work you want to do.
There’s a lot of negative press about drama schools at the moment. That they’re not looking for people like you, a diverse group of young people. Well, in our creation of this project, talking to all the drama schools we’ve learnt this is not the case. They are. They want their year groups to be as diverse as they can be as this benefits everybody. The pupils, the school, and of course the industry.
Yes it’s expensive. But no more expensive than university where you are sometimes only getting six or seven hours of contact time a week. At drama school you are getting double that a day with classes as small as 15 pupils. It’s a vocational training. And we believe that no one should be denied access to this just because of their financial situation. Some schools, such as RADA, will do all they can once you gain a place to support you financially.
A classical training means you study the classics. From Shakespeare to Chekov. Of course you will work on modern plays too but the idea is that if you can do more complex text then contemporary texts should be easier. This is not training to become a ‘classical theatre actor’ which is often a misconception. It is training to be an actor. The variety of courses that drama schools offer now can be confusing. But a three-year BA (hons) in Acting is what you want. It’s also has a showcase where a lot of the agents and casting directors will come to at the end of your final year, giving you the best shot when you leave. But again, although a hope, that’s not what it’s about. It’s a place to learn, if you want to grow.