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!

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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!