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RADA under pressure to level the audition playing field for people living in the nations

RADA has been accused of neglecting potential students from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland because of its lack of audition opportunities in the nations.

Union Equity has written to the drama school requesting a meeting to discuss its concerns over both its choice of audition locations and the fees it charges potential students to audition.

In its letter, Equity states that RADA holds auditions outside of London in areas such as Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as internationally in New York and Los Angeles.

“The lack of opportunities for potential students from the UK nations outside of England is of great concern to us, as is the additional financial burden placed on them to travel to auditions in England,” it says.

It adds that audition fees “deter potential students from less affluent backgrounds from applying to drama school”.

“The industry’s lack of diversity is an industrial priority for Equity. We constantly challenge the industry on the persistent under-representation of diversity on our stages, screens, airwaves and online, leading to fewer working opportunities for our members from diverse backgrounds,” it continues.

Assistant general secretary Matt Hood told The Stage: “The cost and practicality of travelling hundreds of miles to audition for drama school is one of a number of factors which deter applicants from diverse backgrounds from entering our profession.”

He said the union was preparing to launch its Class Network initiative in Liverpool and London, “specifically to address the barriers in education and employment for working class people in our industry”.

A spokeswoman for RADA confirmed a letter had been received from Equity and added: “We’ll be meeting with them to discuss their concerns.”

Manchester’s Arden Theatre School drops audition fees to broaden access to drama training [1]