I seen this posted on facebook by local actor Roger Dane very fair points and explains well why the actors without qualifications often stumble at the first hurdle when it comes to auditions:  
If you've ever sat in an audition and watched a selection of actors auditioning for you you'd realise there there tends to be a greater level of consistency of quality (both talent and craft) in actors who have been to drama school. If your time, and money, are short then it makes sense to limit your search to people who will all have a certain level of skill/experience behind them.

At a basic level students who have completed a BA Acting at drama school will have completed (roughly) 3000 hours minimum of practical workshops, rehearsals and performances by the time they finish their courses. Trying to amass that level of work outside drama school will take you years. As a thought experiment count up the number of hours you have spent either on set or in a rehearsal room and see how you compare.

There ARE good actors who didn't go to drama school but finding them is difficult. In an age of austerity with funding cuts in the public sector and profit chasing/cost cutting in the private sector then reducing the time and money spent on the audition process is both understandable and inevitable.

Is it possible to succeed as an actor without going to drama school? Yes. Is it likely that you will succeed. No. If you are serious about acting as a career, and able to make that life choice, should you apply for drama school? Yes.

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Do you need to go to Drama School?

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6 thoughts on “Do you need to go to Drama School?

  • 25th September 2015 at 9:10 am
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    I’m not against Drama Schools in principle,but for me you either learn it as you do it in rep (and’s there’s few of them going nowadays) or you just have that natural ability as a performer anyway.Most of my favourite actors,such as Cary Grant,Michael Caine,Sean Connery,did not go to Drama Schools but learned their trade through rep or vaudeville and had that certain X factor;there’s many an actor who went to Drama School who are only suited to stage performing,as it looks exaggerated and over the top on a TV or cinema screen,and have no star quality,ordinary,dull and uncharismatic.I know as I’ve worked with such types over the years as a student and professional,with acting that is hilariously hammy even on a stage,and I’ve also found the smaller the talent,the larger the ego.Some famous and well-known actors and actresses I’ve also met over the years are surprisingly approachable and humble,and many of those didn’t go to RADA and the like.

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  • 25th September 2015 at 9:11 am
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    Drama school is primarily a place to make your inevitable mistakes and a forum such as the NYT is just as good. Actors also need to learn to use their bodies and voices correctly – all of which is part of the entertainment. They need to understand, the style of play they are in. They need to learn respect for their fellow actors, the audience, the playwright and the director. All this can be learned on the job, but as a theatregoer I don’t want to have to pay to watch somebody do it.
    Marketing skills and psychological guidance in coping with rejection would be useful add-ons to any course.

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  • 25th September 2015 at 9:12 am
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    Spoken with the dialect of a true, don’t develop and further your understanding of your craft as you would in any other medium – merely learn to become a product in an industry that already treats it’s most valuable resource as a commodity.

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  • 25th September 2015 at 9:14 am
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    Drama school’s provide more than an education for aspiring performers.
    They provide a wonderful opportunity for nascent designers, lighting designers,costume makers,scenery makers, technicians, stage managers, riggers, film technicians, event show callers the list goes on and on.
    They are invaluable in providing the nations entertainment industry with the ‘can do ‘people we need.
    They need to be nurtured not treated as one trick ponies.

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  • 25th September 2015 at 9:15 am
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    Drama schools were great institutions run by creative and spiritual people now they are struggling to produce real talented students because they exclude so many people from low social economic backgrounds. Who will never get the chance to fulfill their ambitions .This will leave the Arts with a narrow mix of creative people who will not have the life experience or diversity to represent society in a real and spiritual way.

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  • 25th September 2015 at 9:17 am
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    The best thing about drama school is that it gives you a couple of years to get your pretensions out. And, I suppose, learn some fight skills and breathing techniques.

    Of course in some it reinforces their pretensions and buggers up their breeding.

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