Drama school Mountview is expanding a ‘football scouting’ model it uses in a bid to diversify its intake of students.
Top football clubs have a network of scouts working on their behalf across the country, who watch young players at every level to identify those with talent.
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, based in Peckham, is replicating this model by engaging partners across the country in organisations such as youth clubs and regional theatres to identify talented young people from different backgrounds who may not have considered applying to drama school.
This scheme is now in its fourth year for Mountview’s acting courses, but is to be rolled out for the academy’s production courses – including lighting, sound and stage management – from next month.
The young people put forward by the partners are offered free auditions, and, if offered a place at the school, are given a range of options for financial support such as bursaries.
The network began with 27 partners across the country and now has 42, in locations including Glasgow, the Lake District, Corby and Plymouth, Mountview artistic director and principal Stephen Jameson explained.
He said the scheme had helped the drama school to diversify its acting courses, with the network last year recommending 80 young people to the school, nine of whom were offered places.
Jameson said: “There is that hardcore [group of people] who are going to audition for the top schools such as Mountview and the like, because they know about it and that’s what they’re doing, but it’s about making an awareness among new communities of people.
“It’s about fishing in a different lake, rather than trying to battle for the same people.”
He added that the school had already put aside “a great number” of bursaries for students who will be coming through the scheme on to Mountview’s production courses.
Speaking at a recent conference from diversity campaign Act For Change, Mountview executive director Sarah Preece said: “We have a lot of rich talent in our country. The football scouting network has given us a model we can replicate, because they are very good at getting young people with talent from many different backgrounds.”