Advice: Just Ask Yvonne – Your career problems answered

Am I allowed help?

I'm all ready to audition for drama school, and have my dates for three schools coming up soon. I was reading in a forum that getting help with your speeches from a tutor or director was frowned upon with the drama school audition panel. I have a tutor who helps me and is brilliant. If the panel ask me should I be honest about this?
Marc, Chester

Hi Marc,
A drama school audition panel wants to get to know you as an actor and sometimes an over-rehearsed and over-staged piece stifles spontaneity. We appreciate that you may want a bit of advice and direction to understand the piece but you have to keep it real too. Some drama schools run short courses on audition technique which are specifically aimed at helping you prepare for your drama school audition. You also have to do your own homework – you would be surprised how badly advised some auditionees are and they come along with a really bad choice of speech and little character/play understanding. Personally I think it is important that you are open to suggestions and follow any re-direction you may be given by the panel – who may want to see you perform in a different style – or they may want to see how you respond to a different approach. Just remember to be objective and to think outside the box. It is something you will have to do throughout your career. Finally I would always say honesty is the best policy – so if you are asked a question, be truthful. Good Luck.

Loose my roots?

My Aunt was a famous actress in the 1960's and we have the same unusual surname. Whenever I meet theatre professionals that is all the panel ever speak of. I didn't know my Aunt as she died before I was born. I know this sounds rather bizarre, but I have considered changing my name several times as I want to succeed in my own right, not just because of the family legacy. Does it make a difference?
Kate, London

Dear Kate,
Be proud of the fact that people ask if you are related to your Aunt. They are not asking you to imitate her but the familiarity of your name is a point of conversation. I would strongly suggest you do NOT change your name – why should you? Trust me, people will find it interesting and if you do press interviews it will be covered, but you will not ‘make it' purely on your name. You will have to prove you can do it and that you are able to sustain a career. Look at Amelia Fox – with two famous parents, she has proved her worth and shown she is a great actress in her own right. Your name might open doors for you – and why not, we all need as much help as possible. But you have to do the rest.

Yvonne I'Anson is Head of Marketing at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

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  1. Dear Yvonne
    I was lucky enough to be offered a place on an acting course this year, however what I truly want to do is musical theatre. I have decided to take a year out to pursue that.
    Do you think that if I do end up doing an acting course it is still possible to gain the skills neccesary to pursue musical theatre? I know im not a strong enough singer yet..but I am working hard to improve myself.
    I know that cross-overs can be hard in the industry.

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