Andy Johnson: 5 tips for for drama school auditions
Andy Johnson is an actor, writer, director and drama teacher. His work includes acting roles in Peak Practice, The Bill and Picking Up the Pieces, and directorial credits at venues such as the BAC and Young Vic. He has taught at East 15, Mountview, Middlesex University and the University of Nevada, and is currently director-in-residence at Hurtwood House, Surrey. His book, The Excellent Audition Guide, is published by Nick Hern Books. Here are his five tips for anyone wanting to audition for drama school…
1. Do your research
Find out about each of the schools that you want to audition for – or better yet, visit. Then, in the interview, when the inevitable ‘Why do you want to train here?’ question comes, you’ll know why, and will be able to talk freely about who they are and what they do. You’ll also be less nervous on the day, as it won’t all be new.
2. Stay strong
The process of auditioning, especially if you are applying to lots of different places, can be a long and tiring one, from first auditions through to recalls. Stay strong. Keep positive, no matter what is going on in your home life, love life, work life, exam life and, indeed, audition life. The successful people are those who remain cool and who never give in.
3. Don’t obsess over getting it ‘right’
I recommend that you have at least six selections – three modern, three classical. Process and journey are everything when working on speeches. Don’t have just one rigid interpretation from the outset and don’t just keep doing it again and again to get it ‘right’. You’ll just wear the speech out. Be inquisitive, curious, explore possibility. Try the speech many ways, play the opposite of what you think it is, get it wrong for a while, be flexible.
4. When you arrive, stay focused
Don’t blow your focus by excitably gabbling to everyone in the waiting area. Be nice, but don’t waste focus and energy on mad chatter or letting people infect you with their terror and nerves. Just stay with it and calmly alert to the job in hand, which is the execution of your best, most focused and connected work.
5. Be you
When you step into the room to meet the audition panel, be you: a slightly nervous, but nicely focused you. Use your face, your voice and your body. Don’t borrow strange or emotional voices. Do not pull faces. Just connect to the words and then the panel can connect to you. It’s all about focus and connection.