Another section of the Drama School audition process is an informal interview or discussion where the panel ask a series of questions to investigate the candidates passion and knowledge of theatre and the industry as a whole. As the majority of our acting class have already sent of our applications and received audition dates for various drama school Lynn thought it important that we also prepared ourselves for this area alongside our monologues so we can show our dedication and enthusiasm to the world of acting. The purpose of this session was to look at how we would answer questions in a drama school interview, exploring the common questions we would most likely be asked and then plan a well structured and confident response to these. This would then mean that we wouldn’t be thrown off when asked and instead of stuttering, we could answer with ease.
The first question we had to think about was:
“What were the last 5 productions you saw?”
I soon discovered that these questions are not here as a test or to try and trick you out in any way, they are simply there as a conversation prompt and a platform for you to show your enthusiasm of theatre and demonstrate that you do actually go and see theatre performances in your own time. This question allows you to show of your love for theatre and interest into the industry by mentioning names of the directors, actors, playwrights etc, and show that you are aware of this information and perhaps have opinions on it. Anyone can go to watch a show at the theatre, but the people who are truly passionate about the industry will take it further – they will want to know where the actors trained, what other credits they have, whether its a touring production etc – and these are the things we need to show when answering the questions! After worrying about trying to remember the exact last productions I had seen and as a result risking stuttering or hesitating, I realised that in reality they probably don’t care less whether it was actually the last thing or not, they simply want to know that you go to the theatre regularly and hear you talk about a production you have an opinion on. As to be frank the audition panel won’t know every single date a show was on in the country!
I went on to talk about the Live Screening production of The Entertainer which I saw a few weeks ago and loved. I explained that it can be difficult to get to and from London from Suffolk in a day and so I always take full advantage of the Live Screenings to the cinemas in Bury St Edmunds, which although there is nothing like going to the theatre to see a live performance the cinema usually provides a much better view though the close ups of the camera etc. I spoke about how Kenneth Bragnh was obviously the big name, but I was really interested in seeing Sophie McShera’s performance as I had never seen her act on stage before, but loved her in all her period dramas like Downton and even the reality TV like Waterloo Road where she started out. I then went on to briefly list the other Live screenings I recently saw such as Ibsen’s Ghosts, Miller’s The Crucible, Hamlet, Frankenstein, National Theatre’s The Hangmen and even the Miss Saigon Gala performance.
I then also mentioned watching the preview performance of Ambreen Razia in A Diary of a Hounslow Girl before it started its national tour. I thought this was something quite different and special to talk about as it was a piece of theatre that stayed with me and I was fascinated with the ability and endurance of Ambreen Razia who conducted herself beautifully in this one-hander, and the fact that she wrote and directed the play herself was amazing! I also stayed for the Q&A afterwards so was able to talk about that as well as it showing my interest and enthusiasm.
The next question we were asked was:
“What have you been up to in the past year?”
I enjoyed answering this question as I have had so many opportunities over the last year both in college and outside; however, I was very conscious about striking the balance between not sounding cocky or arrogant and actually telling them enough. I was able to talk about the wealth of extracurricular opportunities at Conservatoire EAST such as the improvability nights and the season shows, as well as the experiences given to us as part of the course such as street theatre, promenade theatre and the fact we are devising our own Theatre In Education performances. I felt this was would be an opportunity to talk about the season shows and the roles I have played, such as Raymonde in A Flea in Her Ear, Wendla in Spring Awakening The Musical, and Billie in Our House The Madness Musical. As well as this I was able to speak about singing in Amado and touring Madrid during Easter, performing at the Ritz Hotel and other prestigious venues. I then went on to explain about my modelling and the opportunities that has bought me such as my recent role in a TV commercial in Italy and the experience of travelling alone and working with an Italian Crew. In addition to this I briefly mentioned my extra curricular hobbies such as Yoga and the fact I have started dance lessons in my own time, as well as the Theatre Royal Youth Theatre after performing as Mrs Casper in their summer school production of KES.
We were then put into pairs where we then asked each other these questions and it was great to be given the chance to practice my answer and was able to put a lot of content into my answers. I felt far more comfortable once I had planned what I was saying and it enabled me to relax and be myself when speaking instead of searching for the right thing to say. I was reminded how it is important to just be yourself and don’t tense up to speak like someone you’re not, they are not trying to scare you, they want to accept people into their school and want to know who you are and whether they would want to work with you for the next three years!
Before now I hadn’t thought much about these questions, let alone plan my answers and so it was a good chance to really think in detail about what I had seen and been up to in the past year, as it is so easy to forget the most important and impressive things when dragging information from the back of your head. I also know how important it is to keep looking at these questions as well as just practising my monologues as they are equally as important and could be the difference between a place at their school and being sent home.