Monday, 25 March 2013


I mentioned in my last post (Work and Weight) that I had my drama school audition for Guildhall recently, here's my diary for the day.

7 am – Woke up, got ready into black jeans, burgundy top and my favourite blazer (tailor made) with my hunters, country jacket and an All Saints bag I bought a few years ago.

9 am – Arrived at Castle Gate in Newcastle for the audition a tad early. I was put in a waiting room and twiddled my thumbs for 10 mins before being joined by 7 other auditionees. We were taken down into the basement (not as scary as it sounds) by two ex students, Patrick and Anna. If you watch some of the videos on the Guildhall website about the acting course you'll see Anna talking about her year three show "Summerfolk".

9.30 am – When everyone arrived (6 boys, 2 girls- it's usually the other way round!) we all handed in our headshots, were given a number and had to write down our audition pieces. Funnily enough, I was given my lucky number 4 (not that it gave me any luck). Coincidentally, the  ambassador that had been in my National Youth Theatre audition a few weeks ago was there too!

10 am – After this we were given time to change and all taken into another basement room to meet Christian Burgess, head of acting and Dinah Stabb, head of movement– she was in Get Him to the Greek!!! We had a 15 minute warm up which involved lots of spacial awareness, eye contact and team work games. If you're not used to doing warm ups before sessions, what I mean by "spacial awareness" is you all have to move around the room and balance the space as much as possible, watching everyone around you so that all gaps are filled and you don't bump into anyone! Making eye contact was a big thing for Christian and Dinah, we had to find out the colour of everyones eyes and look everyone in the eye when passing them. Don't freak out though! It's a lot more fun than it sounds, especially when everyone is smiling and supportive– my group were lovely! If you're familiar with the number game, we played that a couple of times and managed not to mess up– which is hard. Basically, as a group you have to count to the number of people there are but if anyone speaks at the same time you have to start again. It's a lot harder and more intense than it sounds. Great for a concentration and awareness warm up though. To my surprise, Dinah joined in with everything which was really brilliant; having someone who is "on the inside" involve themselves in a warm up instead of just dictating it is so comforting. Finally, we were all asked to get into lines according to various factors (hair colour, height) without speaking and then had to line up against the back wall. This was the scary bit. Well, I say scary, but what I really mean is: we were put on the spot. Christian dictated something for us to say to him, which went along the lines of:

My name is...
I was born in...
Today I have come from...
The best day of my life so far was...
The worst day of my life so far was...
The reason I am interested in Guildhall is...

This may not seem like much, and it isn't, but I hate it when people ask me what the best/worst days of my life are. I just don't know. In a way, I suppose that proves what they're trying to say about being too young to get on the course. But the reason I don't know is just because I can't choose! So being put on the spot for that particular question freaked me out a little, as it did with a couple of others too (I think).

10.30 am-12 pm – After I'd finished freaking out and had watched everyone else (internally) freak out we were escorted back to the previous room in order to wait for our individual auditions. Being 4th, I had some time to chat with the rest of the group before going in. I rehearsed my monologues very dedicatedly and thoroughly to prepare myself for the audition that could change my life forever. That's what should have happened, but as my scoring out hints, I used the time to discuss plays and films with my new peers instead– which calmed me right down anyway, so I felt better. This is a piece of advice that could be brilliant or absolutely terrible, it's entirely dependent upon the person and their situation. I'm a people's person, like to calm my nerves by talking, had already performed all of my pieces too many times and was trying to find out a few things from Patrick about using him as a warm prop in my speeches. Which, interestingly enough, is a major difference about Guildhall to other drama schools: they encourage eye contact in your audition– so much so that I was able to use Patrick as a dead body for my Breathing Corpses speech!
On that note, I'll tell you about the audition shall I? So, Patrick took me to wait outside the room where we had our warm up and we had a little chat about what I was doing etc etc– he was lovely. Christian came and asked us to go in, he and Dinah were sitting behind a table on the left hand side of the room, Patrick took up a seat in front of it on the right, facing me. They asked me which piece I would like to do first, which was great because I love doing my Bellafront speech. I started with that, using Patrick to say it to (he reacted to me as well! Really nice to have someone do that during an audition), then they asked to see my Breathing Corpses speech (they found it quite funny when I asked Patrick to play dead) and finally I had to sing a few verses from my song. Stupidly, I always panic when I'm asked to sing, even if they just want to see how I act the song. Firstly, I said the song was from a play/musical by Lee Hall when it's actually by Alan Plater (I knew this but crumbled as soon as they said "Can we hear your song please?"), secondly, I avoided eye contact at all costs (I'm not used to small-scale audience eye contact, especially when singing) and thirdly I closed my eyes too much. Leaving all this firmly behind, they asked me a few questions about why I wanted to go to drama school and not university– which I could have answered better– then I was free to go. I went back to the happy room and carried on conversing.

After everyone had been seen, Christian and Dinah came in to tell all of us that no one was going to be recalled (very nicely of course). In all honesty, it was probably my worst audition so far so I wasn't that surprised, disappointed of course, but I saw it coming.

To cheer ourselves up, Owen (NYT ambassador), Michael McIntyre ("yes, like the comedian" he told us with exasperation) and I went for a coffee round the corner at Great Coffee (it's good, but expensive). This turned into 2 hours of chatting about auditions, plays, films and god knows what else, then we went into the winter and ended up talking about american history, politics and a lot more of god knows what else for a good 45 mins! Lots of laughter and good stories made for a nice end to the day.

If anyone reading this has any auditions coming up soon, GOOD LUCK! Feel free to get in touch with how it goes/your experience or any questions you might have– but I warn you, I am most definitely not an expert. It's just nice to share.

I'm finding it kind of therapeutic writing about about my audition, post-audition. I think I might write up My RADA and Bristol experiences while I'm at it. Clear my head a little before Central and Drama Centre!


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