Find managing auditions a costly, laborious undertaking? New software system Perform This is the solution that allows schools and students to save time and money
One of the biggest barriers to dance and drama schools is the audition process. The cost of audition fees, combined with travel and overnight stays for each school, adds up to a huge amount, and potential students are priced out of a career in the performing arts world before they have even begun.
But a groundbreaking new software system called Perform This is set to solve what seemed to be an insoluble problem. Perform This is an online platform for both performing arts schools and applicants to manage auditions in one place, vastly reducing the amount of time and money spent by both sides.
“So many talented potential students miss the opportunity to train and work in the arts,” its founder Paul Taylor says. “Up until now there has been no solution that helps both the schools and the applicants. We have the answer to an age-old problem that no one else has been able to solve.”
Perform This has been developed by Consider This UK, one of the UK’s leading arts marketing companies. It has been tested and used by a number of highly respected performing arts schools over the past three years to great success, and is now ready to take the industry by storm.
Taylor, the company’s chief executive, trained as an actor at LAMDA and worked across theatre, TV and film for many years. His practical experience as an actor, director and arts marketer for many of the UK’s leading performing arts schools has given him vast insight into the sector. He realised there was a way of making things better, quicker and cheaper for schools and prospective students.
Taylor and his team built an online system to help schools manage the entire audition process from beginning to end. Organisations are able to curate auditions, set a venue, decide how many people are going to be seen, and set the cost.
The system manages the process on the day, allowing panel members to mark each auditionee, and also manages the outcomes, such as offering places to successful applicants.
But now the system works to benefit those applying to the schools, too. As Taylor explains, instead of having to apply to each school separately, “the applicant logs on, fills in one application form and can apply to as many schools’ auditions as they like.”
They can also find all the information they need about different schools’ courses, events, auditions, open days and shows. And there’s a blog where industry professionals share their knowledge and experience to help students choose what they want to do and where they want to go.
As well as managing auditions, Perform This encourages schools to work together to set up multi-school auditions across the country, allowing applicants to see more than one school at the same audition, for one fee. “This will dramatically reduce audition fees and save time and money for applicants travelling all over the country with hefty travel and hotel costs,” Taylor says.
He also explains that Perform This will itself start hosting multi-school auditions across the UK, and will invite selected schools to join them.
“You have a much higher chance of being seen by the schools you’re actually interested in, because you can do one audition in one place, pay one audition fee of, say, £40 and be seen by five schools. With all the travelling and associated costs, that amount could otherwise be more than £1,000. It’s going to transform the landscape of auditioning for dance and drama schools.”
Schools and students save time and money, Taylor adds, and each side sees many more people, “vastly increasing the chance that the right student is seen by the right school”.
The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts has been one of the schools to use the audition management system over the past three years. ALRA principal Adrian Hall says: “This system has been amazing for us. The new Perform This platform will certainly make a much needed, positive impact on the way audition processes are managed. I look forward to using this new version.”
For Taylor, it’s about bringing both sides – the schools and the students – together. “It’s been so challenging for so many years,” he says.