Acting Schools: It’s Audition Season!
It’s audition season, and acting schools around the country are taking on fresh faces eager to learn more about the craft of acting. Right here in Sydney we have NIDA, who will take late applications provided they are not already full to the brim, and Actors Centre Australia, which is in the thick of new applications right now.
Outside of New South Wales, we can also strongly recommend the Victorian College of the Arts if you happen to live down that way, or are thinking of making the move. We also have nothing but positive things to say about the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
If you feel it is too late to start the application process this year, there’s always next year. To gain some insight into the advantages that drama school can offer, we spoke to one of our talented actors, Actors Centre alum Dominic Gruenewald, about his experiences at school.
You were already doing well as an actor prior to starting on your current training at Actors Centre; What made you decide to continue your education in acting?
There were a number of reasons, but the main one was to shift the imbalance in my life. I was a bartender who did a bit of acting, but now I’m an actor who does a bit of bartending. I also needed to streamline and identify my creative process, having no formal training in acting, I wanted to learn as much as I could about what I love. I also figured it was a good way to get some more career guidance and industry connections.
Why did you choose Actors Centre?
I felt at home in the audition, they really encouraged a sense of play and fun that is so often and easily lost in a lot of training institutions. I had previously completed a part time course at ACA and found it to be an incredibly helpful, encouraging and inspiring place to learn.
What’s the balance of theory and practice? Do you find it an ideal balance?
My course is almost 100% practical which I find to be a fantastic way to learn. Keeping people motivated and moving all day really allows you to continually re-develop and hone your skills, whilst still enjoying (almost) every moment. Having completed a BA in English and History, with a particular focus on film, theatre studies, and language, I feel I was already adequately trained in the theoretical department.
What insights do you feel you’ve gained from your training?
I have learnt to trust myself and the audience more as well as an insight into how I build and understand characters. I have also gained greater insights into elements and modes of performance I had not previously considered.
Do you have any advice for those thinking of attending drama school? What is expected in the auditions?
It’s important to look at what each school offers, and to get a bit of background information to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Pick a monologue you love performing and be committed to giving it everything you’ve got when it comes to the performance. You can never know a piece too well. Also be prepared to fail, I auditioned two years in a row before I got into ACA, like many others in my year and previous years. It’s important to remember that not getting into an acting school is no reflection on your talent or ability, and there are many other ways to follow the same path. In the auditions, be prepared to change; being adaptable and cooperative is one of the most important things I’ve learnt as a basis for all auditions and rehearsals.