Getting Into Drama School

Thousands of children, teenagers and adults apply to join drama school every year but only a small number of those actually win places on full-time courses, and so it is vital you do your homework before filling in the application form. Here we offer a few handy tips for getting into a UK drama school.

One of your first considerations should be whether you want to attend drama school on a full-time basis instead of going to a regular school, or if you'd rather get the training at weekends, evenings or during the school holidays. Many aspiring actors and actresses find they cannot afford to study at drama school full-time or want to keep their options for the future open until after they turn 18. If you feel this way then you may be better going to a Saturday drama school or attending summer school.

Whether you are planning to study drama full or part-time, there are a number of things you can do to prove your commitment to acting and improve your chances of winning a place at drama school:

  1. Go to the theatre as often as you can to watch other actors and actresses in action and learn a few tricks of the trade. Time and finances permitting try visiting a variety of theatres, including your local theatre, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company in London or Stratford-upon-Avon, and West End theatres.
  2. Get involved with your local amateur theatre, youth theatre or drama group, whether it's behind the scenes doing lighting or make-up or a lead part in their latest production. You can gain invaluable experience at an amateur theatre and it will also look good on your drama school application form if you are willingly getting involved in acting in your spare time.
  3. Read plays and books about theatre, film and television, this will give you a good idea how the industry works before your audition or interview at a drama school. You will not be expected to be able to recite all the plays you've read but knowing how a play is written will help you to learn your lines more quickly and show you have an understanding of scriptwriting for the audition.
  4. If you are still at school and are intending to apply to drama school when you are 18, there are opportunities to study drama academically in the meantime either at GCSE or A-level. Of course, some drama schools offer mainstream teaching as well as drama courses, so you can study at a drama school instead of a mainstream school but still walk away with GCSEs and A-levels unrelated to drama, as well as acting qualifications.