Wednesday, 14 January 2009


The week is cracking on. Students are negotiating, and occasionally fighting, for space to prepare their Creative Collaboration projects and Directors pieces. Meanwhile we've had our first round of auditions for next September, held the programme boards and written up action plans for the coming year.

The auditions went very well and we met some really talented performers. Kasia, Trevor and myself sat on the panel and it was interesting to realise that despite the individual focus of each of the pathways, in general we were looking for similar applicants.

For what it's worth, and if you're due to audition for us, I suspect the following four points are true.

1. We're looking for genuine people who just give the script a really good crack. Occasional dries don't bother us (everyone gets nervous), but we do expect candidates to have tried to learn the words and offer a sense of performance. We don't have long to make a judgement so be yourself, be friendly and show us you're keen to work.... We're not the X-factor. We're not looking to make 'reality' TV at your expense. We genuinely want you to do well. We hope every candidate who comes through the door will be wonderful (it makes our job much easier!)

2. Often we ask for candidates to try the piece again with a little direction. This is nearly always because we want to see if you're as good as you initially appear. Can you listen and respond to a fresh direction?

3. We don't expect you to know everything, but we might be about to spend the next three years working with you, so we want to see that your curious, interested and not trying blag your way onto the course with pseudo knowledge or, worse, flattery. We like students who ask when they don't understand a comment or question.

4. We respect candidates who have been bold in the choices they make. We're looking for you to perform the truth of the speech, so you must have read the whole play and understand what the character is going through, thinking, feeling at the moment they speak. You might have an experience of your own to draw on to help give the lines authenticity; if not then your imagination must delve deep to explore the speech. Either way, even if your interpretation is not to our taste, we'll consider you if we think there is thought and rehearsal behind the work.

Also be very aware that in some ways the audition is two way. If, having spent a day with us, you don't feel at home or excited by St.Mary's then maybe it's wrong for you. You'll learn lots here and we always try to push, challenge and stimulate our students, but ultimately the choice is yours.

Hope that's useful.

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