Life Update!

So it’s been a year since I done the rounds of drama school auditions, so here is what I’ve been up to!

I decided against going to the Arts Ed audition, I knew by then that drama school was not for me, at least not for a few years! Instead I worked hard at uni, doing lots of extra curricular stuff and getting my showreel together. Paid off when I graduated with a high 2.1 and got signed on by an agent!

Over the summer I had a few little paid acting jobs, including a commercial and a music video, then in August I started my first tour, a 3 month TIE tour of Scotland which was about road safety. It was hard work and tough being away from my partner, but it was great fun, I learned a lot, met some nice people, and got paid well!

Over November and December I worked at a Christmas event, although I had to leave before the end of contract due to ill health. It was hard to be that motivated for this anyway, as only a few of us were performers, and the company had no idea what they were doing!

In January I took on another TIE tour, this time being based at home and being team leader. Had an odd experience this time as there was one girl on the team that no one could work with, or get along with, who ended up being replaced before the end of tour! It’s certainly something I had never expected to experience on a professional production!

Since then I’ve been applying for whatever work I can. I’ve got a few auditions coming up for panto (already!) and summer shows, and I’ve also done a few student films to update my showreel. I’ve done a bit of extra work to bring in some money and to get experience of a big film set, and I’ve got a nice corporate filming next week with a lovely company.

So that’s it, life after drama school rejections! I move to Manchester next month to pursue more opportunities down there, and will hopefully get the chance to ‘upgrade’ my agent if I get higher profile work. I may revisit the thought of drama school in the future, but at the moment I’m happy to keep plugging away, earning a living from my passion. And hey, there’s always weekly classes right?


RWCMD and Guildford

Two auditions last week – busy me!


On tuesday I had the audition for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, handily in my home city of Edinburgh, so I knew where I was going for once! I got the train in for a leisurely 1pm, met my sister for a quick catch up and hand over of the birthday present, then walked up to Surgeons Hall for a 2pm start. There were about 12 of us there, sitting in 2 lines at the side of the room. Everyone was there for a BA apart from me. The audition panel was really friendly and chatted away before getting to start, although it was quite odd not having the chance to warm up. We performed both speeches to the panel, straight after each other. Having changed my Shakespeare monologue I was pretty happy with how they went, although I know I’ve kind of lost the passion for drama school by now. The whole thing was over in an hour.


I received an email a few days later. Thanks but no thanks. It’s getting a bit frustrating but at the same time its a bit of a relief,I’m not sure going to drama school is even the right path for me.


Then this weekend I went to Guildford. After a metro, train, two tubes, another train, and a 35 minute walk through dark, rainy Guildford I found myself at the Holiday Inn. SUCH a good idea getting a nice hotel this time, had myself a nice bath and shower, got lots of munch from the local tesco, and had a chilled out evening watching TV in bed – relaxed for the next day. We had to be there between 8.15 and 8.30, super early start, and were taken in a large group into a dance studio, where current students led a warm up. After this we were split into BA and MA, leaving about 25 of us.

Our first workshop was the movement one, which I loved. Having done contemporary dance at uni for the last 3 years I knew exactly what to expect,and feel I performed really well and confidently. We then had to do a bit of choreography – the usual make up movement from the letters of your name! We then took this into a trio and performed it to the panel. 

The next workshop was the voice class, in which we had to work on our sonnets. After doing exercises such as walking around the room reading them out, we had to present them one by one to the panel. To be honest I hadn’t done too much prep for mines, other than picking one that was relevant to me, and understanding what it meant. As we were allowed to read the sonnet from a piece of paper, most people didn’t even look up. I was very surprised, and made sure that I made contact with the panel throughout. 

After a quick break we moved rooms and done an acting workshop. We started off by playing some games and then learning a Jewish song which we had to sing in different contexts, such as being drunk, being in prayer, and being the Spartans before a battle. We then had to chose one monologue to perform – I chose my contemporary monologue, deciding about 10 minutes before to do Proof rather than Keeping Tom Nice – at least it was fresher! And I know I performed it really well. We also done a very improv exercises which I struggled a bit at – it’s been years since I’ve done improv, and I think a lot of my humour was lost in translation!

We had a lunch break while waiting on the interview list. It was such a nice bunch of auditionees, we were all sitting on the floor sharing food and having a mini picnic! A current student came and read the list out – every single boy was recalled and only 2 of the girls. Again this felt so unfair, I know a lot of the girls were better than most of the boys. I felt I had performed really well but at the end of the day there was a bit of relief as well – realising that this wasn’t what I wanted to do.


So there we have it – 4 auditions down and I’ve pretty much changed my mind. Not because of the rejections but because I don’t feel it is right for me. I don’t think its worth the money either. For the moment I am happy to put all this down to experience, and get on with getting as much work as possible. I’m getting new headshots done this week, and I’m joining spotlight with my birthday money. My showreel is in progress and I’ll be looking at agents for when I move to Manchester. This is the best option for me and I feel so much better about it. I still have the Arts Ed audition to go to in May which I’m in 2 minds about. If I can get a cheap train then I might as well go for the experience, but its not something I’m interested in right now.

I have lots going on right now for experience, including lots of shows and filming coming up, so I’m happy for now. Also have an audition for a professional corporate video next week – don’t think I really fit the casting type but might as well give it a bash, making money from acting would be much appreciated!

ALRA Audition

So yesterday was the audition for ALRA – my first choice school. I went on an outreach audition at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre as that worked out cheaper for travel (and no accommodation needed!). So after a 5am start (yuck) I arrived in plenty time to chat to other auditionees. We were taken to a room upstairs and we got to watch a short video about ALRA, and find out about the school. After that we done a really fun physical and vocal warm up which allowed us to use parts of our contemp monologues, and we got to sing!🙂 Next we all sat in a circle and everyone presented their contemp monologues. It was really interesting to see all different types of performances, and we also had the opportunity to perform in the round, or to use the current ALRA students who had came along to help out.

After we had all shown our contemp pieces we went back down to the cafe and were called up individually to do our Shakespeare. The whole day seemed to fly by and by 2pm we were all assembled in the room to find out who was getting recalled. I was quite pleased with my audition, it had been a fun day and I had not been affected by nerves as much as usual. I felt like I had nailed my contemp this time, but although my Shakespeare went better than it had at Oxford, I’m still not happy with it.

Time for the reading out of names – mines was not on the list. Weirdly out of the 20-25 girls that had auditioned only 1 had been recalled, and nearly all of the boys had. It felt like they had already reached their quota of girls and no more were needed! I was much more gutted about this one as it was my favourite school. Might be worth auditioning again next year if I don’t get accepted anywhere.

Speaking of next year, I’ve been having some serious thoughts about what to do if I don’t get accepted anywhere this year. I’m definitely still wanting to move away from the North East, probably to Manchester, and just try my luck in getting as much professional work as possible, while probably taking on a part-time job at the same time, or attempting to get some freelance teaching work. I’ve been working on my showreel and CV so I can look for an agent, so will just have to wait and see what the next few auditions will bring.

I have 2 weeks until my audition for Royal Welsh so I’m definitely changing my Shakespeare monologue this time, to find one I can really connect to!

Oxford School of Drama Audition

So I’ve finally had my first drama school audition! I travelled down the day before, getting the train to London then a bus across into Oxford, and settled into the hostel for the night. Not a pleasant night’s sleep when you have three old women snoring like the grudge all night! I left bright and early the next day to catch the bus out to the school.

Not overly sure why they call it ‘Oxford’ school of drama when in fact it is a good half an hours journey on a rickety old bus that feels like its away to break down any second. The actual school is quaint, made up of several little buildings. We were moved into a bare hut with a kettle and a microwave – the schools ‘catering’ facilities – then split off into two groups.

My group went off to the theatre, again found in a little extra building, and we done a group warm up. It started off with just general movements, then we had to paint a picture using our bodies – a picture that abstractly shows a moving moment from a play you had recently seen! Next they played two pieces of music while we had to explore the room – I done this in quite an animalistic way, covering the ground low and getting a few kicks in the head! After we had been judged on this we were split into 3 groups to do our monologues.

By this point I was already feeling like I didn’t particularly like the school, its location, or the attitude of its staff, but this is all personal opinion. I was last to go in my group, and just as an extra hurdle the girl before me performed the same monologue – Kate from Taming of the Shrew. When it was my turn I made a joke about how it was the same piece but approached very differently, and the woman on the panel just said ‘It’s fine, we’ve seen it hundreds of times before’. Great attitude there then. Whether I was put off by that, or whether I had just lost the passion for that school, my Shakespeare monologue didn’t go as planned, and my unique interpretation of Kate having an in-joke with Petruchio, and dictating a letter to the other women didn’t really come across. I felt my contemporary monologue went a lot better, but it was a bit late by then. Right enough, after lunch (when a man drives a sandwich van up to the school, seriously) we were split into two groups again. Minutes later we were informed that our group was unsuccessful and would not be recalled, giving us some incredibly useless general audition feedback such as ‘wear loose clothing’. To be honest I was not that upset at not getting the callback, by this point I had realised that I would not be happy at this school, and would not want to attend here anyway.

From the feedback that I was given I was told that I was marked very highly on energy and preparation, but low on imagination (definitely the first time I’ve ever been told that!) For both my monologues I seemed a bit self-conscious of the movement (damn nerves), and I needed to commit more to the Shakespeare piece, and not rush through my contemporary. All things I kind of already knew (with the exception of imagination), and hopefully things I can work on before my next audition!


Hopefully thats been helpful to anyone applying to Oxford School of Drama🙂

More reviews + panic time!

A few more reviews from the last week, I’m turning into quite the theatre goer!

Glen Hansard – The Sage Gateshead

OK so this was a music gig, not theatre, but a few things worth mentioning. Firstly if ever you go to Hall 2 in the sage, DO NOT get standing seats. We got put on level 3, which you can only see the stage from the seats if you lean forward, and we were told to stand behind the seats. Couldn’t see a thing. Ended up sitting/lying on the floor for the entire thing and just listening. We weren’t even allowed to take drinks onto that level. Music was pretty good, but other than the big well-known numbers it quickly got a bit boring, all the songs being pretty similar. It’s chilled out, mainly acoustic music so not the best for a gig anyway (unless you are lying on the floor like us)! We ended up leaving about 5 songs into the encore, we had had enough by that point!


Salute Our Heroes – The Sage Gateshead

A full weekend spent at the sage! This is a cheeky one, seeing as I appeared in this with the University of Sunderland choir. Other acts included the original military WAGS choir, some solo singers, Jonjo Kerr from the X Factor (?!), military bands, highland dancers, irish dancers, bollywood dancers, and the Sage Performance Academy. Most of the show was pretty good, the dancing was excellent, although 5 bollywood songs was pushing it a bit (how come we were only allowed to do 3?!). Not particularly impressed with Jonjo Kerr, who sounded incredibly karaoke, and one of the main female singers was seriously mediocre compared to the others. The Sage Academy was a bit too cheesy for me as well! Still, I’m very proud of how our choir performed alongside the fantastic Charlie Younger, and the whole evening was a great success.


Goodnight Mr Tom – Sunderland Empire

Firstly, I LOVE Goodnight Mr Tom. I’ve read the book more times than I can count, and I’m a massive fan of the film starring John Thaw. So I was really looking forward to this. Boring set, bad staging, poor projection and diction, and overall lack of energy. The whole thing felt rushed, and mainly important elements of the story were pretty much glossed over – such as the change in William while living in the countryside (learning to read and write, bed-wetting) and the closure he gets after meeting his teachers baby.  The revealing of the London set was probably most exciting thing about it, and I dozed off more than a couple of times. However, I can’t fault the ‘animals’ in the show, such as Sammy the dog. Operated by a human as seems to be popular these days (think War Horse), but full of charm and brought some much needed lightness to the show. Think I’ll stick to the film for this one! 2/5


So thats my round up for last week. Busy times coming – I’ve been cast as the leads in two plays this week – Rosalind in As You Like It, and Catherine in Proof. Also in rehearsals playing Mrs Josephs in Blitz!, and started a silent film as part of my TV drama module – I’m really loving directing, camera operating and editing at the moment.

Finally, I travel down south tomorrow for my audition at Oxford School of Drama! I’m getting pretty nervous – I think I’ve done all I can, I know my monologues well, have good justifications for my somewhat controversial interpretations of my characters, and have answers for what I’m likely to be asked in my interviews, but I still don’t feel prepared enough! Stay tuned for a full post about the audition experience when I get back. Wish me luck!

A few quick reviews!

Hello all, just a quick post with a few reviews of what I’ve seen lately. I’m hoping it will help get my thoughts in order for those ‘what have you seen recently?’ questions I’m bound to get at drama school interviews!


The Day After the Fair – Royalty Theatre

This is my local amateur theatre which I’m a member of, and have done a few shows with in the last two years. In the dreaded January slot, the audience was very quiet, the snow probably didn’t help either! The play itself is all set in the living room of a house – the action at the fair, etc. all happens off stage, which can get a little boring. A lot of the action was set far upstage, meaning the actors were getting blocked in a corner. However I could still hear every word from the back of the theatre, and the actors were solid throughout, particularly Helen Bowie who played Edith. And from working front of house on two nights I only heard excellent feedback from the audience. An enjoyable enough experience. 3/5.


System 28 – DUSC Dance Company

DUSC is made up of third year dance students from the university of Sunderland, and the performance is toured to schools and venues throughout the North-East. I was expecting to be bored of a one hour dance performance, but I loved it! The sections included comical and quirky looks at facebook and twitter wars, and more touching moments such as the delicate duets between long-distance lovers, symbolising the way technology brings them together. Keep up to date with the company on twitter @DUSC2012_2013. 4.5/5.


That’s it for this week, I’m off to see Goodnight Mister Tom at the Sunderland Empire next friday and can’t wait. I’ve read the book more times than I can count, and I love the film so I’m really looking forward to what the play will bring! 

London Baby!

So I’ve just got back from an amazing trip to London with my boyfriend (my first time)! We packed a lot into our trip, including 5 shows, and touristy things like the London Eye and Madame Tussauds! Here’s a run down of what I thought of the place.


Day 1 – Billy Elliot

Fantastic show, packed full of North-East humour. As I have lived in Sunderland for the last few years, and my boyfriend is a Mackem, we really enjoyed the use of local dialect and thought it was hilarious, however this doesn’t really translate for all audiences, and the people around us lost a lot of the jokes (a personal highlight was a french woman behind us trying to translate “spastic starfish” for her friend!) The choreography in the show was immense, particularly the sections that use both the miners and either all the kids or just Billy. My only criticisms are the songs – not particularly catchy or clever, although well performed by the cast. The theatre was very quiet – both the dress circle and upper circle were shut and we were upgraded to the stalls which were still only half full. Overall I give it a solid 4/5.


Day 2 – Madame Tussauds

Little tip – if you are travelling by train or will be getting a travelcard, take full advantage of the 2 for 1 offers you can get online. Note that you have to buy the travelcard in a train station to qualify, as it has to have the national rail logo. So we both got in for £30 – just as well because we both felt it was only just worth £15 each. I expected a lot more, although we both enjoyed the 4D Marvel experience. Expect to be constantly banged into by camera wielding tourists. Worth a look, but not worth full price entry.

Day 2 – The Woman in Black

I’ve never seen the film, and was told to be terrified of the stage show! It’s in a fairly small, very steep theatre, but we had front row seats in the upper circle so we had a good view. There are only 2 cast members (plus the woman in black) and they held the show excellently, keeping the audience involved throughout. I was expecting it to be a bit scarier, there were very few jumpy moments, and certain sections could have been extended further – such as the nursery scene. Overall it was a decent show – 3/5.


Day 2 – War Horse

Wow. Just, wow. Best theatre I’ve ever seen, no competition. Everything about it was perfect – the minimal set, the staging, the acting, the songs, and the horses were absolutely fantastic. The detail that went into animating the horses was unreal – down to the last little ear flick, it was so easy to believe they were real horses. Bring tissues, the ending is beautiful. Only thing I would suggest is if you are sitting in the circle then don’t get the cheap seats at the side, you will miss some of the action. We sneaked into better seats at the interval and got an amazing view! Definitely go and see! 5/5.


Day  3 – London Eye

Again we used 2 for 1 vouchers with our travelcard so it was under £20 for the both of us. Don’t worry if you are scared of heights, its really not that bad and the views make up for it! The day we went it was quite foggy so we didn’t get the full view across London, but it started snowing when we were at the top which was lovely!


Day 3 – Matilda

Being a massive fan of Tim Minchin (and Matilda the book and film) this was the one I was really excited to see. Just don’t go expecting it to be the same – the story and characters were pretty different from the film. However the set was amazing – most of the furniture such as the school desks, etc came up from the floor or from the ceiling – it’s hard to describe but it looked awesome! The choreography was also unreal, incredibly slick. The only downside is that A LOT of the lyrics were getting lost, and I couldn’t understand most of the songs. However this is a very talented cast, and a show worth seeing. 4/5.


Day 3 – Shrek

This was our last show and another one I was really looking forward to. Note the time on the ticket – it starts at 7 not half past as most musicals do! We missed the first 10 minutes but it turned out not to matter as the script is pretty much exactly the same as the film. Musically I think this was the best of the 5 shows, but overall the production lacked energy. Donkey in particular was so flat throughout, it was like he couldn’t be bothered being there. Shrek and Fiona were both very good, and Lord Farquaad gets a few easy laughs throughout, but the whole show felt rushed. I was really quite disappointed with this one, although this is the one soundtrack I’ll definitely be downloading! 3/5.


So that was the main bits of London, what a fantastic few days! With my Arts Ed audition in London in May we are thinking we will make a few days of it again, and hopefully get to see Wicked and Les Mis this time! Any other suggestions for must-see shows?



2013 is the year I audition for drama school. I’m due to graduate from the University of Sunderland with a BA in Performing Arts this July, and I’ve applied to 5 different drama schools for a 1 year post-grad degree. After reading several other very helpful blogs about the audition experience I thought it would be good to share any tips and wisdom I will gain along the way!


So a bit about me. I’m Nik, I’m almost 24, and as I’ve already said I’m a performing arts student. I first studied physiotherapy but decided after 2 years it wasn’t for me, and decided to follow my dreams. My audition dates so far are:


Oxford School of Drama, 11th Feb
ALRA, 23rd Feb
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, 12th March
Arts Ed, 9th May

I am still waiting to hear back from Guildford.


So my monologues are picked (just need to be learnt!) and I’m in the very expensive process of booking transport and accommodation. Safe to say I am excited but very nervous! I’ll keep you all updated on how I get on🙂