A Liverpool drama school has scrapped its audition fees, in a move to encourage more working-class young people to apply.
The Liverpool Theatre School has dropped its £45 fee in response to Labour’s Acting Up report, which suggested that the cost of applying to drama schools was one of the main barriers preventing people from working-class backgrounds entering the profession.
Former Coronation Street actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, who has campaigned for more working-class actors in the sector, has backed the move, and called on other drama schools to follow suit.
Principal Maxine Ellis said the school was “taking the lead in scrapping audition fees for prospective students”.
“It’s becoming a real issue that there are some extremely talented young people who are missing out on training opportunities, purely because they don’t have the financial backing to cover audition fees,” she said.
She added: “Diversity is vital for the future of the performing arts and training organisations must play a part in making sure that our screens and stages are not just the preserve of those from privileged background.”
Hesmondhalgh described access to the arts for young people from working-class backgrounds as “a huge concern” and warned that the sector was becoming highly exclusive.
“I am delighted to hear that Liverpool Theatre School is scrapping audition fees and would like to see more drama schools do the same. This is certainly a step in the right direction for making the profession more accessible to those from working-class backgrounds, which can only serve to enrich the industry as a whole,” she added.