Tuesday, 23 April 2013


I'm doing this all back-to-front, and even though actor's are meant to have good memories, I've probably forgotten half of what happened at my RADA audition so please, bare with me. For any of you who don't know what RADA is, it's the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art who crafted such phenomenal actor's as Michael Gambon and Anthony Hopkins.

I was meant to get the train down with my Dad so we could have a trip away together, but he fell ill literally on the morning of my audition, so my Gran swiftly took his place instead at 6am in the morning (bless her). So we got the metro to central station, grabbed a coffee and jumped on the train. This was probably my most nerve wracking audition because it was my first and  it was for flaming RADA, so I spent most of the journey going over my monologues.

When we arrived at King's Cross we headed straight for St Pancreas and got two all day passes. You're told by the school that the closest station to them is Goodge Street. This is true, but to get to Goodge St from Pancreas would mean changing lines when it's only two stops or so to get there anyway. So I bit the bullet, left Gran to have breakfast near Warren Street station (where we got off) and walked the rest of the way. It was actually really nice to peruse the streets around the school to get a feel for the area, and if you've got a map or a smart phone I'd definitely recommend getting off a stop early (as long as you've got plenty of time!).

After finding the academy, I went for a walk in the park just round the corner— Gordon Square Garden. Great place for running lines and not being looked at funny– I saw a woman doing some weird combination of tai chi and ninja-combat: making talking to yourself look normal.

20 minutes before my audition time I headed back to the school; I went in the green entrance that you see if you go on google maps. Don't go in there. It's the wrong entrance. Duh. I was redirected through the school to the opposite side (which doesn't look like the entrance to a drama school, just a white marble building with a small wooden door in the middle) and had to be buzzed in, which seemed to annoy the lady behind the desk (woops!). I checked in and took a pew on the bench next to the stairs.

Slowly, it started filling up with other auditionees, me being the only Geordie. What was really nice about RADA, was that every single student who went passed wished me good luck, or winked at me or asked if I was auditioning or something– it kind of settled the nerves for me a little. 5 minutes late, we were all escorted into a board room to fill in some extra forms (audition pieces etc) and double check our original forms, we were then introduced to two ex-students who took us across the road to another building. I didn't talk to mine much and she didn't offer much either. The school shocked me in a way, I think I was expecting some sort of grand, open space with lots of marble and a grand piano, what you get is a a large building that's quite messy, informal and higgeldy-piggeldy– takes the pressure of a little.

The group of ten was split in two and we went off to different floors– ours was the third, I think. We sat along a wall of windows looking at a glass box of a room (the blinds were pulled down– don't worry!) waiting to be called. I was bang on in the middle, so had enough time to stretch and think, but not so much time that I'd start freaking out.

The panel were lovely. A woman and a man, the former of which was actually on an episode of Sherlock (no pressure there then!). They asked me a few questions, some related to acting, some not (the first was actually "do you do sports?") and really helped calm the nerves. I was then given the space to perform, which was a little difficult as there was a pillar going straight through the centre of the room. But I persevered, started with my classical and finished with my modern. I was asked to go and sit back down and was then congratulated on my choice of classical monologue, as they had "never, at [their] whole time auditioning at RADA seen anyone do it before"– YESSA! Exactly what every actor wants to hear. After a few more questions I was free to leave, so went to find my Gran and spent the rest of the day looking round London.

After the usual, i.e Harrods, Selfridges etc, we went to Hyde Park for the winter festival (it was the 4th December) and sat in a German style pop-up pub and had a mulled wine. Now, if you happen to be going to London with an elderly person and you plan on doing the things I've just mentioned, don't. Just do one of them. It was a tiring day for me never mind my 60-odd year old Grandmother.

Nonetheless, we got back to King's Cross and got on to the train home– first class. Oh yes. But, first class with East Coast wasn't as good as I had expected. Yes, we got a nice meal, snacks and drinks included, with lots of extra leg room, but lets just say I was glad my dad had only had to pay an extra £15 for the upgrade; I don't think I'd ever pay much more than that for it.

All in all, a great day and a great audition. Exactly a week later I received a letter to inform me that I had been unsuccessful. That's life! There's nothing from stopping me trying again after all.


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