It’s that time of year when over 10,000 people will be auditioning to get into a British drama school. Of that 10,000, maybe a few thousand will get through to the second round and of those, several hundred will get through to the third round. And of those …
So, what does it take to succeed and get through to that last round, or indeed to win a place in the drama school of your choice? Over the decades I’ve auditioned thousands of young actors for a place at Guildhall. Here are three tips that will help you. These are my personal views and not necessarily the views of my audition panel colleagues, but feel free to pass them on if you know anyone who might be auditioning. They also apply to auditioning in the profession.
1. Relax
Yes, you will be tense, because you’re under huge pressure. But the game is to make it look easy and relaxed, otherwise your visible effort will get in the way of your performance. If you are relaxed, the panel will relax. Then we’ll be more likely to focus on your strengths.
Before you go into the audition, concentrate on your breathing and try to get it under control. Long, slow breaths from the diaphragm – that’s one of the most effective ways to relax quickly.
2. Trust the text
Your instinct will often be to do something flashy with the text – something that will make you look different and memorable. For example, being very loud, or physically dangerous. This will almost always lead to ‘pushing’ – where you force the energy and emotion through tension rather than relaxation, and the voice becomes harsh. This usually has the effect of pushing the audition panel away rather than drawing us in.
In your preparation, go back to find the accuracy of the text. Be absolutely specific. What are the words actually saying? And why do you say this particular word, or that particular phrase? Trust the text and it will do a lot of the work for you.
3. Find the truth
I’ve seen very spectacular auditions which didn’t appear to cost the actor anything at all. This is where your imagination is vital. You need to tap into the feelings of the character, be unafraid of expressing your vulnerability and let your imagination fly. What does it honestly feel like to be that person, think those thoughts, say those words? Get inside the character, with uncompromising truthfulness and let your imagination fly.
Some more tips to come.

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