Auditioning for Drama School: An Interview with Malaika Wilson

 

Auditioning for drama school can be a nerve-wracking and uncertain experience. With competition being fiercer than getting a place at University, it’s no surprise that many hopefuls approach the decision with doubt and anxiety. Regardless, the decision to audition for drama school is a good indication of a budding actor’s determination to follow their dream.

We recently spoke to former Prague Youth Theatre student, Malaika Wilson who has accepted a place at The New School in New York to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts from this autumn. She shed some light on her own personal experience of auditioning for drama school and what she is most looking forward to…

Hi Malaika! How long have you been a student at Prague Youth Theatre?

A little over 3 Years, I started in September 2013 and performed last in December 2016.

Do you have a favourite role you have played whilst at PYT?

I really liked all of my characters and they’re hard to compare as none of them are similar to each other, but if I have to choose one that stood out, I would have to go for Lacey from ‘A Letter to Lacey’. This was a really emotionally challenging character to portray given her circumstances. Throughout the process of making this performance I learned a lot about social issues that aren’t always visible, which is something extremely important. What I liked about it the most was sharing this role and character with other girls. We each got to show a different side of her and represent a single person’s story.

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Malaika in ‘Letters to Lacey’, December 2014

Why did you choose to audition for The New School?

I think I learned about the school around 4 years ago. When I looked further into their approach to teaching drama, I completely fell in love with it. I learned more about the community and the schools social engagement during their Open Day where I got to meet professors and current students. That is when I was determined to try my hardest to join that community.

Did you audition for any other schools?

Yes, I auditioned for two other schools- LAMDA in London and New York University (TISCH).

How did you prepare for your audition?

I didn’t really do anything special- I learned the monologues I was planning on performing in advance, learned a few extra monologues in case they were needed and researched a few questions that I could potentially be presented with.

What did you have to do during the audition?

The audition process varied for every school. For the two schools in New York I was not able to audition in person so I had to send in two videos performing two contemporary monologues. For both schools this was followed by a Skype audition in which I was asked questions about my academics and theatre experience. During the Skype audition for The New School, I had to perform a third monologue as well. My LAMDA audition process was similar, however, I travelled to London and had to perform one classical and one contemporary piece.

Empty Hands
Malaika performs alongside other PYT Advanced in ‘Empty Hands’, June 2016, Prague, Czech Republic. Photo (c) Olivie Dvorakova

Best part of the experience?

Learning the harshness of the craft. Auditioning for drama school prepares you for what is to come when you start auditioning for roles. The process is quite cold and bitter, a lot of small talk and no feedback.

Worst part of the experience?

Nerves, nerves, nerves. Small talk.

What about starting drama school are you most looking forward to?

I look forward to being able to spend all my time on drama and everything that goes along with it. I am excited to constantly have creative people around me that share similar goals and similar interests. Other than that I am of course looking forward to exploring the Big Apple, gaining independence, getting to know the real world of theatre and pursuing a creative career.

Any advice for someone wanting to audition for drama school?

Auditioning is a really strange and uneasy process. I’m not really sure how I went through it because I was extremely nervous and had no idea of what to expect. So I don’t really have any tips, I would say; be yourself and go in knowing that you don’t have anything to lose, know your lines and be who you usually are during the interview. Nothing about the process will feel natural so be true to yourself and keep a positive mindset.

Thank you Malaika!

 

If you are considering auditioning for drama school, it might be worth doing some research beforehand. Andy Johnson has written a fantastic book- The Excellent Audition Guide – which helps you to train, prepare and think in preparation for drama school auditions. He has also provided his 7 top tips over at Creative Choices.

Domenique Fragale has also given audition advice over at Spotlight and Central School of Speech and Drama have provided a useful video on preparing for an audition.

There are also lots of drama school applicants who have blogged their own personal auditioning experiences. The Aspiring Actress successfully auditioned for a place at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and has blogged her audition journey in the UK, giving honest recollections, thoughts and tips for auditions. Louise also collects her experiences and observations of auditions over on her blog. Holly earned a place at East 15 Acting School and has given insights into her auditioning experiences and even finds out what it is like to audition for drama school when you have dyslexia.

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Taking a bow after performing at the ‘Experience Great Britain’ event, Malostranske namesti, March 2017
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