Drama School Showcases – a necessary evil?

In this age of social media and streaming films is there really any call for the ubiquitous Drama School showcase to entice an agent or casting director to sample a young student’s wares? How is a young fresh faced drama school graduate going to snare that all important agent especially if they are at a drama school outside of London?   The traditionalists seem to think that the churning cattle market approach of whisking on students to fire their monologue or duologue out to a half empty auditorium of bored and dozing agents is still an appropriate way to demonstrate the skills of their bright-eyed and eager wards. But maybe there is another way to effectively jettison graduates into the working world of showbiz!   When I graduated from Rose Bruford countless years ago our year was unlucky enough to become a tagged on part of the relaunch of the school! There were a number of things wrong with our showcase least of which that it was too long. In that cohort there were 4 separate courses with at least 20 students in each and with an extra set of one course so it was no surprise that we all couldn’t be housed in a theatre! What prospective agents and casting directors faced was the threat of 80+ students all desperately vying for their attention, practically leaping off the performance space into their laps in a vain attempt to gain representation! I was fortunate enough to land squarely on the lap of my first agent but there were plenty of other students who missed the mark and skittered off into the desert of non representation. Devastating if you have spent 3 years honing your skills for this one opportunity.

These days by all reports not much has changed except that the length of the showcase has been slashed in order to entice an audience into a darkened space for a lunchtime. It is essential that fledgling actors get exposure in order to start their career on the right foot, it’s hard enough once you do have an agent.

So what to do? As ever perhaps it is more prudent to look at the industry to see how actors go about securing new agents. You can’t expect an agent to pick you up on the merits of your headshot and CV alone so common wisdom is that you have a showreel and get seen in something. Whether that is an off West End show or actually in town, it needs to be accessible for the timid agent to scurry to at lunchtime or after a long days agenting!

The answer is to find a school that offers you a part in a London production and helps to create a top notch showreel that you can splash about on the interweb. You will need to network yourself and talk to the agents personally if possible because it is all about relationships! And Good Luck!

The Dorset School of Acting’s 1 year Diploma in Acting & Musical Theatre has 100% success in getting it’s students into further training at RADA, LAMDA, LIPA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (CSSD), Rose Bruford College, ALRA and East 15 as well as professional work. Check out our full time courses here: http://bit.ly/DSAfull

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