Is drama school essential for actors? This is the question our Guest Editor Charlotte Lytton posed to the social media masses, and responses were mixed. Here, she rounds up some views from both sides of the spectrum…
James Hartnell, second year Performance student at Mountview
I applied for drama school as I believe it’s crucial to have a solid process when it comes to acting. Any drama school education is a sure way of hitting the industry harder than someone who is untrained, and the showcase in the third year of training is the perfect chance to catch an agent’s eye! The success rate here is excellent.
Samantha Baines, Acting for Screen graduate from Central School of Speech and Drama
I left CSSD with contacts in the screen world, a show-reel and confidence in front of the camera. Feedback from my drama teacher on the course led me into the comedy world, and I now star in a well known online comedy video gaming series, have my own sketch group (www.vinegarknickers.com) and am currently filming a number of comedy pilots for television! I know fantastic actors who have trained on the job, but drama school was definitely the best decision for me.
James Ackroyd-Smith, third year Acting & Stage Combat student at East 15
I applied for drama school because I knew I wanted to learn full time, 9-to-6, five days a week, and it has really strengthened my knowledge and skills. E15 teaches how to market oneself as an actor, and a lot of us have already had interest for work or from agents. I’m really glad I chose to study acting and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s serious about becoming an actor.
Sarah Milton, third year Performance student at Mountview
My first year at drama school was stressful due to my age and lack of life experience (I started the day after I turned 18), but gradually I got past the embarrassment of doing silly exercises in front of my peers. Going there is the best decision I have ever made. If it’s meant to be for you, it will happen and if you want it badly enough, you’ll do it. I cannot wait to hit the industry ground running now.
Tessa Sowry, actress with Skin Of Our Teeth theatre company
I made the decision to do a university drama degree because I was too young to really know my mind when I was 18, and didn’t want to risk paying all that extra money on drama school when I wasn’t 100% sure about it. Around a year ago I was really regretting not going, but now that I have my theatre company, I see this as my training on the job and know that this was the right path for me.
Oliver Stark, actor
I applied for drama school solely because I thought it was the only route into the acting industry, but once I’d been accepted, I started to think about what I was actually entering into. I felt like drama school wasn’t for me – I was done with conventional classroom education. I now have an agent, and have starred in an episode of Casualty, have two feature films with distribution deals for 2012, and am rehearsing for my first professional play. It’s happened a lot faster than I was expecting, and I’m very appreciative of that.
Tid, Artistic Director of Fairground theatre company
While I was at drama school, I found the training was of a poor standard: so many of the acting tutors and directors were bitter, resentful, uncreative, uninspiring or selfish. I left because I wasn’t interested in my life revolving around whether someone else thought I was good enough or not. I don’t think drama schools encourage human beings to find out and explore what they are good at. I’m so glad I made my decision – I have my own company now. Leaving drama school really worked for me.
Image: Inside the Acting for Film & Television campus by vancouverfilmschool, under a CC BY 2.0 license.