LAMDA director Sarah Frankcom has revealed she is working towards abolishing the drama school’s audition fees altogether, following last year’s cost reduction.
Frankcom, who joined LAMDA last September from her role as artistic director of Manchester’s Royal Exchange, slashed the price of a first-round audition by 75%, from £54 to £12, on her first day in the job.
Aspiring students will pay £12 for their first audition, and a follow up fee of £48 if they are recalled, a move Frankcom said would help to remove a barrier for young people from low-income backgrounds. It means people who progress further and benefit more from the process would pay a “more proportional part of the overall fee”.
Speaking on the BBC’s The Next Episode podcast, Frankcom has now said she hopes to abolish audition fees entirely in future.
“That’s what I am working towards,” she said, acknowledging that it would have been a “big ask” to do it in one step.
“It’s a very expensive process [for schools] to audition, and that’s why schools have charged. There is maybe a slight misconception that schools are making a lot of money from people auditioning, but invariably they are not,” she said.
LAMDA’s fees were previously a flat rate of £54, regardless of how far through the process an applicant progressed, while the majority of leading drama schools charge between £25 and £65 to audition.
According to The Next Episode podcast, “pretty much all” the schools contacted by the show said they had no plans to get rid of their audition fees.
Asked if she thought others should follow her lead in reducing audition fees, Frankcom said: “Yes. We’ve done something here because it’s something I believe passionately about. It’s the most visible way of saying you’re open.”