HOW TO PROPERLY RESEARCH YOUR DRAMA SCHOOL
Every Drama School feels entirely different to each person and I do genuinely believe that there is a ‘perfect school’ for everyone, you just need to work out what you’re looking for and which school will give you what you need (check out our blog on choosing the right drama school for you here!).
So you’ve decided you want to train and you have an idea of the schools you might like to go to, here’s everything you need to do in order to research your school properly.
GO TO OPEN DAYS / VIRTUAL TOURS
If you can, really try to visit each school in person, you will get a feel for the place as soon as you walk in and it will help make the decision of choosing the school a lot easier. If this isn’t possible, reach out to students and graduates on social media and ask them to describe their experience and how they found the school - so many students are willing to help because they’ve been in your position! (If you want to know anything about Central, reach out to us on Instagram - we’ll be happy to help!)
Think about actors and performers that you’ve seen recently that have really stuck out in your mind, try to write down exactly what it was that struck you about their acting and their performance and then look into where they trained. Start to get into the habit of this for every actor you see that catches your eye and you might start to find a pattern between which schools they went to - this will help you get an idea for where you might want to train.
Similarly, have a look on the schools ‘alumni’ website - you can see high profile graduates and recent graduates. Most of these people will have showreels and spotlight profiles you can look at to see their work, this will help you get a feel for the type of actor they look for and the training they offer.
It also gives you something to talk about in the audition with the panel - “why do you want to train at this school?” - “Because recently I watched XXX and saw that this actor XXX trained here - their acting stood out to me because of XXXX and I want to train in this area too” (just as an example).
Does your school have an extensive radio studio that you are keen to explore? Does the 3rd year take place overseas? Are there scholarships and competitions you can enter? Does the school have partnerships with theatre companies that you are desperate to work with?
Researching all of these things will not only help you get a full understanding of what the course offers, but will also give you a wide range of things to talk about in your audition! If you’re passionate about radio and the school you’re applying for is big on this - talk about it! The more the panel can see that you are passionate about something and that you have done your research, the stronger your application will be.
From a practical point of view - research exactly where your school is. What are the transport links like? What is the area like? Do they provide student accommodation or would you need to privately rent? If you are renting, what is the average price to rent a room there like? What is the social area like there?
This is going to be somewhere you will spend the next three years of your life surrounded by so you want to make sure that its:
- Accessible and possible practically
- That you can afford to live there/commute in
- That you’re happy with the area
Many people leave these factors until after they have got in (as did I!) and after commuting 2hrs each way for the last 3 years...I can promise you - you’ll want to research these bits first ;)
KNOW YOUR HISTORY
Embarrassingly for me, I had no idea who Elsie Fogerty was before coming to Central...turns out not only was she a revolutionary voice practitioner - but she was also the founder of Central. Now, luckily I wasn’t asked this during my audition, but I was asked similar questions at other schools. It doesn’t mean you have to know every person that ever worked at your school, but I would strongly recommend jotting down a small history of the schools key events, ie - when they were founded, who by, why the school has the reputation that it does etc. If nothing else - it gives you more of a history on the place you want to study but it also covers you if you do get asked “What do you know about our school?”
These are just a few of the things to have a look at when you’re researching the schools you want to study at - a-lot of these questions are covered off in our Drama School Audition Life journals, so if you wanted somewhere to keep all of this information alongside your speeches and other drama school information - we strongly suggest you take a look at our favourite little books!
We are always on our Instagram DM’s for advice so please feel free to drop us a message if you need any advice or have any questions about applying!