Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Making a Statement

Today, I received an application for 2012 through from our website.  The box marked 'Tell us why you want to audition for this course' read as follows (their use of capital letters, not mine):

"because i want to train more to be able audition for drama schools"

Short and snappy?  Concise and to-the-point?  Well, maybe.  But more honestly, for an answer that usually helps us get to know that candidate before their audition, it's lazy.

When colleges - or anywhere else for that matter - ask that question, it's so that we can get some idea of who the applicant is; what they want, what they know, what they care about.  It is the applicant's chance to show us what knowledge they have of the industry and what they know about the course, because if they're serious about attending they will have done some research and will know how they could fit in.  After all, it's no good applying to just anywhere, without having any idea about what to expect on the course and even whether it would provide you with what you're looking for.

Here are some tips for putting together a meaningful answer or personal statement:

1.  Always do your research so that you know what the course will offer you and what the audition panel are going to be looking for, and make sure you cover some of this in your answer.

2.  Don't be too much of a sales person.  It's great if you have a passion for your subject, but don't over-use that word and don't use dozens of exclamation marks...  Although you want to let the audition panel know what you can do and how much you love it, don't ram it down their throat on the form.

3.  The main thing that colleges want to know is that you are going to be a successful graduate if they take you on.  In our case, that means that you will be motivated, trainable, and have a good chance of getting into a top 2 or 3 year course when you graduate.  In the case of the big 2 or 3 year schools, they want to know that you are going to be employable and good to work with, and carry the name of their college forwards into the industry.

4.  Don't get hung up on the West End.  It is prestigious, rewarding and considered the top of the tree in Musical Theatre, but it is not the be-all and end-all and unless you are very lucky it won't make up the large majority of you early working life.  Instead, know your industry.  Regional theatres, touring theatre companies, lesser known writers, older more 'legit' shows - these all show an audition panel that you have a clear understanding of a career in the theatre world, and that you're not just a hobbyist who enjoys dancing and has seen one or two blockbuster shows in Town.

5.  Finally, make sure that you sound like 'you' in your statement or answer.  Don't over-write it so that it becomes complicated and rambling, but equally don't be so brief that they have no idea about who you are or what you're about.  Maybe get someone else to read it through and see if they could guess that it is you talking.

If you're thinking of a career in the Acting or Musical Theatre, you can apply online at www.rdtc.org.uk/apply_now.php - maybe using some of the tips above.  I will look out for your application form!

2010 Graduate, Natalie Issitt, now studying at Urdang Academy

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