For students applying for a degree in performing arts, the dreaded audition looms.
Horror stories abound: of bare stages with blinding lights, of barked commands from the back of darkened auditoriums, of bored shouts of ‘next!’ and the lonely walk off stage past the next victim who can’t even look you in the eye…
Fear not. As you search for the right drama, theatre or acting course and experience the pressures and challenges of doing the rounds of drama schools and university theatre departments, try to remember…. auditions are fun! (No, really!)
Auditions are also an important opportunity to meet people, to test your skills and to define your ideas and reasons for a chosen career.
As with anything, your audition will go most smoothly if you get yourself well prepared. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Is the course right for you?
Remember: the selection process is two-way. Of course the drama school or university wants the best candidates, but it also wants the right candidates. All courses are different and the audition should give you an insight into the day-to-day experience of being a student on the proposed course. At Chichester we have devised very specific tasks and experiences to ensure our candidates feel comfortable with our very distinct offer.
Talk to people
Most auditions will have periods of waiting. Use your time well, not by desperately going over your lines, but by introducing yourself to your fellow candidates and learning about their experiences elsewhere and their own choices and plans. Such conversations will dispel feelings of competition (‘we’re all in this together!’) and will provide valuable insight into different experiences in different places.
Meet current students
Just as valuable is the chance to meet current students on the course; many places will get them involved in the audition day. At Chichester, we sometimes bring current students into the actual workshops, which gives candidates a real boost in understanding the tasks and the sense of shared learning. Current students are great for inside information and will tell you all sorts of things that the lecturers can’t…
Know your audition
Read the requirements for each audition carefully. All courses have different requirements and candidates will sometimes be expected to prepare something quite distinctive. While you might have prepared, say, the same two speeches for all auditions, be prepared to deliver them in different ways. Flexibility is just as important as predefined virtuosity!
Understand your material
Similarly, be prepared to talk about the text(s) you have chosen. A good audition leader will want to hear about your passion for the subject and will expect you to have chosen a speech that reflects that passion. So, be careful of taking random speeches from monologue books! At the very least, read and understand the whole play.
In the Theatre Department of the University of Chichester
we’re really keen to provide students with an experience that feels something like being a student on our theatre or acting degrees. It’s a day-long experience where you work with current students and lecturers on a range of tasks that give you an insight into how we work. We try our best to make you feel welcome and relaxed; that way we get to see you at your best!
Wherever you audition, remember that the students and lecturers you meet will have been through a similar process and will understand what you are going through. Try to relax, have fun, smile and make the most of the experience. Hopefully it will be the first of many positive experiences you'll have at that institution.