#WhyTheFee

whythefee

At Actor Awareness we want to raise discussion about drama school fees. We want to hear all opinions from all sides to see how the drama school fees (which are becoming increasingly expensive and pricing people out) are justified.

We are passionate (as most people in the arts industry are) about creating a fairer, culturally diverse and true representation of society on stage and screen.  We strive to create opportunities for those who haven’t been able to reach certain platforms due to financial constraints. #WhyTheFee is a question posed to open conversation and get people talking.  Recognition of a deficit is always good and helps create an awareness, hopefully, leading to a stepping stone to some form of change.

At Actor Awareness our first port of call is to question the ‘Fee’.

People in every walk of life don’t have to pay for job interviews but it is standard as an actor to pay from the very beginning of your career. People say this helps sort out the weak from the strong, the committed to the not very committed, it prevents auditions becoming like the x factor. Whatever your opinion there is an inconsistency with drama school fees and an inconstancy in what they provide and offer. With schools dropping out of Drama UK, fees and rules can change as they please. Now as a business, (as that’s what they are) they need to make money, but surely not at the expense of people’s aspirations.

Why Pay?

  • Drama schools need to pay outside professionals to cast the year ensemble
  • Drama schools have lack of government funding
  • They have thousands upon thousands of applicants, so it means only those who really want it apply?
  • It takes weeks/months to audition and some schools have 4 stages. This takes time, time equals money
  • The money goes back into the school to provide services

Why It should be free or affordable

So people from all backgrounds can apply–equal opportunity! More diverse ensembles at drama school will filter through and reflect in the professional industry, it will set standards and a by product will be a change in who we see on stage and screen.

So when applying for more than one school you don’t break the bank

Schools should have a vested interest in the talent applying, therefore should be aware that having high prices and limited audition venues  eliminates worthy candidates .

Auditionees get value for money

In other careers , no one pays for job interviews

It’s the school’s responsibility to find talent nationwide and high fees exclude large groups of people. But this just makes us sound naive and idealistic, doesn’t it? We at Actor Awareness, are not that and we know how the world works and how the industry sits with lack of funding and arts cuts in schools, but surely we can’t just throw down our hands and say “oh well”. I hate the adage “money makes the world go round”, especially when it comes to education and training. By just admitting defeat, we’re settling down to watching the same old TV; Downton Abbey redone a million different times, regurgitating the same circles of actors and taking from an exclusive pool of people. There is amazing talent just waiting to be discovered. You could say, “well Alan Rickman and Judi Dench were working class”, and yes they were, but both have stated that they would never make it today, in this climate. So in 5 years’ time, 10 years’ time, the working class actor might just be a myth, a little whisper of a memory that, yes once, theatre and film was for all. But now it’s merely, ‘Oh well, they can’t afford it.’

I spoke to Emmanuel De Lango of Equity who informed me there is an upcoming motion regarding Drama school fees. So keep an ear out here and I’ll let you know the details when it comes out.

The main thing is the staggering differences in fee costs. £40-£90. Now if you get recalled you can say, ‘well my money per audition is less,’ but surely if they like you they want you regardless. Surely if the audition process is so costly why do they stage so many rounds?!! There are schools including Bristol that only do 2 rounds. Be ruthless, that’s the industry right? Seems much more affordable to do one long day workshop, places like Rada have 4 rounds. The first two rounds you do your monologues but in front of slightly more people the 2nd time, surely they can cut that stage out and just make a more decisive first round choice. 

Condensing the rounds and limiting the number of stages would make it better for schools and auditioness. Then it cuts down on travel costs for applicants and school cost on staff.

The late fees like the ones at Rada are unacceptable, making people pay £80 because you applied after a set date in December, is this justifiable? Ucas doesn’t close till January.  Some justification of admin fees might make this cost more reasonable.

Guildhall is now £63! Surely, schools such as Guildhall with many other possible creative ventures to make money and large volume of applicants don’t need it to be so steep! Upping the fees on ‘they keep coming so we keep putting up the price, its supply and demand’ is not fair. Most applicants to Drama school make 5 entries minimum and the cost on a low income family is a big financial strain to just apply!

So let’s:

  • cut down stages
  • make a reasonable fixed price
  • offer feedback for people who make the final stage

I may have been a bit controversial there when I said provide feedback, considering you don’t get much of that in the “real world,” but these people are wanting to train. Surely a new actor could do with some feedback on simple things like choice of speech, presentation, physical choices. I don’t think the auditionees are asking for a novel, just some justification for the money they spent, I assume when you’re auditioning and they say they will be making notes they aren’t just pretending. Surely this can be filed away and, if the actor requests it,  be sent to them. Yes it’s more more admin, but it would provide better value for money as, at the end of the day, auditionees have paid for something. Lots of schools have many good aspects to their auditions but currently lots of people are finding that the rising costs aren’t always reflecting what they are paying for and the rising costs at some schools means they aren’t applying, 

Fee/ Regional Stages/Feedback Fee waiver
Rada £40

 

No regional auditions

Preliminary audition –

Recall audition –

Short workshop (three hour session)

Workshop day later in process

No Feedback

No fee waiver

 

£80 after first deadline

Guildhall £63 

No regional auditions

4 stages- initial, recall, then if successful two further rounds including workshop day.

No feedback

Fee waiver brought in this year, 63 fee waiver places, first come first served. Plan to increase 2017/2018
Bristol £50

No Regional auditions

2 Stages

No Feedback

Some available on request

 

probably one of the shortest auditions for a school that is quite far away. They are super friendly but it feels very quick, at least they don’t have 4 stages, so some money saved on a return trips there.

Lamda £45

Has regional auditions

3/4 stages

A very quick in and out of monologues at the first stage with a interview post pieces with staff and ex students

No Feedback

Fee waivers available, there are a certain amount available.

 

You can apply more than once each year, which seems odd to me.

Royal Welsh £47

UCAS fee also

Some Regional auditions

2 Stages

You do your monologues in front of a group of other applicants, Recall workshop.

No Feedback

? Fee waivers

 

I know someone who was told (at 23 by the panel) he was too old and that it’s good to get in the game when you’re young

Royal Scottish £45 + Ucas Fee

International locations but no regional. Can send a recording as a audition.

2 Stages

If you get recalled to the afternoon you do some improv and redo your speeches with direction. Recall workshop.

No Feedback

No fee waiver

 

BA and MA auditions require two separate fees.

Drama Centre £45 + Ucas fee

No regional auditions

3 Stages

No Feedback

I auditioned and the panel chatted to the applicants before the recall list was put up, they were lovely but said no feedback represents ‘the industry’

No fee waiver
Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts £45 + Ucas fee

Regional auditions available

1/2 stages (workshop day)

No Feedback

No fee waiver

 

Arts ED £45

Outreach groups

2 stages

Workshop day

No feedback

Some free auditions available and outreach groups to encourage under represented people to apply.

They are career development loan provider

 

course fees are 12,500 yearly

Mountview £45

Some regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop day

No feedback

No fee waiver

 

Drama Studio £45

No regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop Day

Feedback given, they are very constructive and  having auditioned here I feel like many drama schools could take this approach.

No fee wiaver

 

Drama studio provide a level of feedback face to face in a very constructive and positive manner on the initial and recall stage.

They are a career loan development provider

East 15 £55 + Ucas fee

No regional auditions

2 Stages

Workshop day

Feedback on speeches during workshop

No fee waiver

 

Oxford school of Drama £45

No regional auditions

Feedback on request

Workshop day and they fit it into 1 day to cut down on travel.

They also provide a bus from that station to help students get to the school.

No fee waiver

career development loan applicable

 

66% of students had a scholarship in 2015

GSA

Ucas fee + £45

Regional auditions available

Workshop

No feedback

 Fee waiver available
Central School of Speech and Drama

Ucas fee + £50

No regional just international

 3 Stages

No feedback

 

 

Fee waiver available on request

They have several outreach programmes:

http://www.cssd.ac.uk/sixth-forms-and-colleges

 

Rose Bruford College

Ucas + £50

No regional auditions

 1-3 stages

Don’t expect much for 1st stage, and plan for trouble on the train, south western trains are notoriously bad.

No feedback

.

Fee waiver available on request

 

The Rose Bruford Jubliee fund helps graduates who want to progress by giving to graduate groups.

http://www.bruford.ac.uk/study/what-are-our-tution-fee-spent-on

1st stage of audition is very very quick, in and out and often some people don’t get chance to do two pieces! 

The chart is a guideline of what the stages are and the cost. International fees and auditions haven’t been included but by general rule of thumb is just double the cost!

It is obvious from researching that the schools are just like us wanting and and fighting for the same vision and culture in the arts, some schools seem more open but it is nice to see that the fee waivers are starting to become more prevalent and most schools have only implented these fee waivers in 2016, so it shows making a noise counts.

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