Auditioning for drama school can cost a highly motivated student a lot of money – money a lot of them simply don’t have.
In the UK, drama schools have been charging up to £100, just for an audition, and this in itself is enough to ostracise those from working-class backgrounds who have dreams of going into the industry.
Emily White is a 21-year-old drama student who is studying at East 15 drama school in Essex. She had spent a total of 4 years auditioning for courses at different establishments in order to give herself more of a chance of securing a place, studying something she loves.
“If I add it all up I think over the time I spent auditioning for only a handful of places, because that’s was all I could afford, with travel it would have been over £1000,” she said. “I remember taking on so many more hours just to give myself a chance at a drama school I probably wouldn’t get into, imagine having to do that for studying at university, a subject you feel like you were born to get involved with. It’s really dismissing.”
Lucky for Emily she had a full-time job that was very respectful of when she was called for an audition, however, spoke of how she would not have been able to give herself these chances if it weren’t for working a very tiring job with long hours. “Balancing working, applying, practicing and planning for the auditioning was exhausting and a process that I did for years before I was accepted somewhere.”
This year the topic has come to light within the national press, expressing that these fees ought to be scrapped in order to provide an equal opportunity for students from low-income families. In an industry based on talent, it is argued as the most sensible option to allow students into the school based on talent, not their families income.
Those who are in the business and are studying drama would be some of the first people to say that others outside of their environment do not take the arts seriously. It also seems that the process of getting people from working-class backgrounds into these schools is not on the top of the government’s list of priority. However, it could be a start for equality in this process if the government were to step in and state that these expensive audition fees ought to be abolished.
Emily gives a rundown of the audition process and how they can become impossible to pay for, for some:
Featured image courtesy of East 15 acting school.