Unlike some college courses and university degrees, going to drama school will certainly take over your life. It’s more than a full time 9 to 5 job out there in the real world. It is going to be fun but it isn’t going to be easy. Make sure you use your time there wisely because it will pass by and be over as quick as a flash! The one, two or three years will fly by and before you know it you will be out in that big wide world with a head full of knowledge.
Your life will change from day one and may be a shock to the system if you have just come from doing your A Levels. Don’t think you will be spending mornings in bed before an afternoon lecture or a bout of improvisation. Get used to very early mornings and don’t be surprised if you are required at the school before 8am, doing rigorous warm ups, body stretches and vocal exercises, getting your head and body ready for the long day ahead. You are going to need a whole lot of commitment and dedication.
You will also have a variety of classes and lectures to attend to during the day times. You will be given study periods which you should spend in the library and not in the student bar. And don’t forget the end of term production rehearsals which can last until the late evenings. Most drama schools will have a basic timetable of around 10am to 5pm and all the extra work is done before and after that time slot.
There is the text studies and research to be done for your essays, and yes, it’s not all about acting, it’s about expressing yourself on paper too. There are the numerous practitioners to study, the roles to play, the techniques to learn, you will also be learning from the technical staff, the costume, props and set design team.
And like some students, you may even have to get yourself a part time job which will help pay for the essentials. A lot of drama students get part time evening jobs in pubs or restaurants which again is tough on you especially if you have a class of modern movement tomorrow morning at 9am.
Being at drama school does not mean going to the student bar most nights, instead you may be working, studying, rehearsing or catching up on sleep. But those precious rare nights of socialising will be well earned, letting off steam and relaxing is important too. But your work and schedule comes first.
The above timetable does seem hectic and long but it can be a typical day for a drama student. It doesn’t even include meetings with tutors, over running of lectures, study time and homework, personal chores like medical appointments, shopping and even socialising. If you are studying a shorter course, then the timetable will be even more hectic. A one year course will demand longer days. A top tip would be to buy a student diary and keep a note of all the up and coming lectures and workshops. Keep on top of all your daily schedules and timetables.
Many actors will tell you that when they trained they didn’t even have weekends off and even the ‘reading weeks’ or half term breaks were spent studying and rehearsing for shows. We promise you, during your time at drama school you will be at your leanest, fittest and in tip top condition. But don’t let all this put you off. When auditioning for drama school the panel look for the best, the committed and the disciplined. It’s all about discipline of the mind, body and soul which should help prepare you for the professional world of show business, because as we all know it’s tough out there. Training in drama is just the first hurdle…..