What is a drama school?
To put it bluntly the definition of a drama school is: preprofessional training for theatre arts in a highly established setting. Or, to put it differently, a drama school is an establishment designed to work as the performers version of a university.
An institution focused on training actors
This can come as its own college, section of a university or independent school. The broad range of choice can be confusing but it boils down to one simple fact: they’re looking to produce talented individuals that work in the industry and can make an impact, in the same way that studying law should make you into a good lawyer etc. Each school has its own history of developmental traits that its performers are known for and has an aura of respectability that comes from who they claim to have produced. The schools often offer undergraduate programmes, as well as masters, that are primarily selected from an audition-based process that only offer a place to the most promising from that year’s audition round. The class will be small, this makes it a highly valuable course, with as much contact time as possible imperative to the training itself.
Both US and UK drama schools also offer other course which aim to target other areas of the industry, such as stage management, costume, community theatre, musical theatre etc. The world of drama can encompass a lot of subjects and many acting academies look to build up that foundation as well, offering professional training in different areas which people are often looking to enter as their calling. But, as a rule of thumb, these establishments are primarily known for their actor training.
What will you learn there?
The most important aspect of what these institutions can offer to ‘would-be’ performers is that it allows a constant environment to develop their experience doing what they are setting out to become. Practise makes perfect and the school will look to build up your repertoire by pushing you across multiple disciplines consistently. The course that is offered will be full-time and among the most intense 3 years of your life. Respite is something that actors don’t necessarily have the luxury of having due to the competitive nature of the industry. This is made evidently clear from the workload and driving forces behind rehearsal to the eventual final assessment piece. This can be performed publicly so, there’s an emphasis on pressure and perfection which should follow any artist as they travel throughout life.
An acting institute is a highly sought-after school and to be offered a place on the course is extremely tough, but that’s just the beginning. As a matter of fact, choosing the right drama school is essential.
The school will look to make you familiar with the history surrounding the art as it’s important to understand where the form has come from, where it’s been, who it’s affected and why we do what we do. This should make you a more-rounded individual concerning what directors might be asking for and just in general as someone who practises the art.
Developing your acting skills
An academy has many years’ experience training actors from humble beginnings and making them into masters of their craft. Actually… Nobody has left school at the peak of what you can expect from them – but it does give you the mental capacity and initial tools to begin that odyssey. The training will take you to the brink of how you perceive acting and who you are as a person. The idea being that it will erase your predisposed ideas surrounding who you are, so that you can begin afresh on stage as a new person. The ability to mould yourself into whatever enters your imagination without humility or pride is key to what acting institutes promote.
Delving into different methods of acting and allowing you to understand what works artistically based around you as an individual, is an important aspect of training. These “keys” into acting must be explored thoroughly, in a controlled location so that it becomes clear what the intention is and whether it clicks for you. An acting academy is the place that allows you to search through these ideas. Sifting through the hard times where nothing goes right, and it doesn’t matter so much, compared to the good time times that make you flourish give something worthwhile.
The perfect start to launch your acting career
What makes a drama school the place to be for prospective actors wanting to engage in this business? They are vocational facilities that focus primarily on practical work, as well as theory. Being pro-active is something drama schools look for. Towards the end of the school year, the schools are known for putting on showcases which help individual performers begin their career by inviting agents and companies to view the people they might want to take on. This allows performers to springboard themselves straight into work from school, as well as preparing actors to create their own work in their off-time.