Do I have to go to Drama School to become an Actor?
Drama School is not the be all and end all of an actor’s career, but it certainly helps. Usually includes three years of intense training from the top teachers, seminars with famous alumni and that dreamy industry showcase at the end. Becoming a student is no easy feat and that is speaking from experience. I believe the top Drama Schools/Universities still includes the following- ROYAL ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ARTS (RADA), LONDON ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND DRAMATIC ARTS (LAMDA), BRISTOL OLD VIC THEATRE SCHOOL, ROYAL CONVSERVATOUR OF SCOTLAND, ALRA, ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DRAMA, OXFORD SCHOOL OF DRAMA, CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA, GUILDHALL SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DRAMA, ITALIA CONTI ACADEMY OF THEATRE ARTS, MOUNTVIEW ACADEMY OF THEATRE ARTS (Musical theatre focused, EAST 15 ACTING SCHOOL, ROSE BRUTFORD COLLEGE OF THESTRE & PERFORMANCE and MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN. These days you can expect to pay between £12- £80 per audition, so if you are applying to a few schools it can rack up a pretty hefty bill.
PROS AND CONS
Deciding if Drama school is for you can be a difficult process and there is a lot to prepare and invest into the auditioning process itself. Drama School isn’t for everyone. Here is a list of pro’s and con’s to consider before applying.
PROS- Industry recognition, great connections, amazing experience, BA HON’s qualification useful for finding alternative post graduate jobs if you decide not to pursue acting. Drama School Showcase and introductions to Agents and Casting Directors, world renowned training and a vast range of skills. Three years of solid acting experience and credits for your CV.
CONS- Expensive, competitive, no guarantees of work, may have to relocate, hard auditioning process, time consuming course. Debt and an unrealistic expectation of success after graduating.
Personally, I think if you are looking for a career in the Theatre then Drama School is a must. Drama School’s were, after all, built to train theatre actors. If you are more inclined towards Television and Film then it’s not necessarily a necessity. The camera looks for honesty and raw feelings and drama school students are sometimes in danger of being churned out a little too polished. When casting a British Urban film in 2014, we were looking for some hardman thugs, the untrained kids off of the streets had a beautiful rawness which the perfectly poised and refined articulation of the drama school graduates could not compete with. Perhaps this was a bad example and had both parties been up for posh private school roles then the untrained actors wouldn’t have been able to step up to the mark. But the impression that you would expect is that in all auditions, the Drama School Graduates would have been ahead of the game. This was not the case. From this and several other occasions as the casting director, I have concluded that it is the essence of a person that wins the role, not the training of credentials. Whatever you decide to do, in years to come it’s your talent, what you look like, personality and sadly but very true, your level of fame that will be the key factors that get you acting jobs, not the training that’s written on your CV.
By Jade Asha