Drama school or university or other options?

(22 Posts)
nostress Mon 12-May-14 11:26:10

What options are there for post 18 acting? What is the difference between drama schools BA and a university BA?

mummytime Mon 12-May-14 12:18:22

Well in some cases they are the same thing like here.
A University degree can be more useful for Teaching? A lots of Actors don't have a degree in acting.

This might also be useful.

nostress Mon 12-May-14 12:47:06

Thanks!
Its all a bit confusing!

Spidermama Mon 12-May-14 13:24:23

I did a BA hons in theatre arts at Rose Bruford College. Highly recommended. I'm a journalist now btw (post grad in radio journalism) bit I certainly don't regret the degree.

Drama school is seen as more elite than university (as far as I can work out). It's also incredibly competitive - more so than medicine - and particularly for girls.

University courses can be very academic, or may have more of a performance element. Easier to get into I believe.

My son wants to go to drama school (although he is only 12 so that may change). I'll watch this thread with interest.

HercShipwright Mon 12-May-14 19:56:43

I think it depends on which university, and which drama school, to be honest. I don't think anyone thinks that Sam West, for example, with his Oxford degree, is less elite than someone who went to - well, anywhere, really - in his year. I know successful actors who went to Oxbridge and Manchester, and successful actors who went to other universities (not all of them RG either). I also know Successful actors who went to well known and lesser known drama schools. And I know unsuccessful ones too. It is a minefield, but at the moment I am stressing the importance of a decent degree to DD2. Because of fallback, if nothing else.

Yes but Sam West won't have read Drama at Oxford or Cambridge. I was talking about taking a drama/performance related degree at university.

There is of course a whole other route of going to university to read a regular academic subject & then going to drama school.

Of course you can study drama at drama school & not get a degree - some don't award them.

There are books 'so you want to go to drama school' 'so you want to be an actor' which explain some of the pros & cons of each approach. The Stage often seems to have articles about training as well which come up on google. And there is a definite hierarchy of drama schools (and differences between funding).

mimbleandlittlemy Tue 13-May-14 12:52:29

Nostress - have PM'd you.

MinimalistMommi Tue 13-May-14 14:33:29

This is an excellent BA course, PM me if you want too.
www.reading.ac.uk/ftt/

nostress Tue 13-May-14 15:23:31

Thank you guys!

I've also discovered you can get apprenticeships in acting!

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 13-May-14 15:27:28

Drama school will be professional traini g for the stage I. All kinds of acting techniques, often including voice work, movement, specific techniques for period acting, etc. if you go to an accredited drama school you usually get agents coming to your showcase & are eligible for entry into Spotlight.

Studying drama at uni is much more academic. There will be some practical work but much about the theory & process behind drama.

Oh that Reading one does look interesting. Looks as if it provides room to follow your own interests.

IvySquirrel Tue 13-May-14 22:11:31

I work in this field and often advise young people - what I always say is that you should go to drama school if you absolutely can't imagine doing anything else with your life. It is undoubtedly the best route into a performing career due to the intensive nature of the training and the inside knowledge and contacts you will gain. Also you get a degree anyway on many drama school courses now.
If you can see yourself in another job, go to university - more academic, far fewer contact hours, similar in career prospects to any other arts/humanities degree.
Other routes - degree in any old subject, do a load of am dram/student drama and then a Masters in performance - obviously this will cost a fortune. Or if you're Oxbridge material, go there, do any old subject, do a load of student drama where you make contacts with the future arts leaders of the UK and get spotted by an agent in your final year. This is only for a very elite few though!

HercShipwright Tue 13-May-14 22:18:42

Ivy several of the people I was at Cambridge with did go on to become actors/actresses/other types of performer with varying degrees of success. Through them I have met a variety of other performers, some who went to drama school, some who didn't. Again, with varying degrees of success. I think that this is in fact a double edged sword for Dd2 (and indeed for dd1) since they know undeniably successful people who took wildly different paths to get to the same sort of destination - so it makes it more difficult to sense which is the 'best' path.

I don't think any particular route is more likely to guarantee success in performing. You have to advise people to go with whatever feels right for them. If someone goes to Oxford or Cambridge then they have a great fall back, but they may well still end up wanting to go to drama school and it all begins to cost the fortune Ivy talks about.

One of the best young groups (a Company of four) that I have seen recently had taken a performance BA at a university. I might have been a bit hmm about it as a course before seeing these guys - but those four graduates were excellent and will (& already are) making a living out of performing.

I know people who have come out very respected drama schools, had one excellent theatre job very soon afterwards (for which they had good reviews), then nothing since.

It's that sort of game isn't it.

For that reason I'll be advising ds2 to go where he feels he will get the most out of it, and look for a course he believes in (then of course he has the hard bit of being offered a place).

MinimalistMommi Wed 14-May-14 09:36:28

saintly the Reading one is fab and you're right, you can totally tailor it to your interests. And you can do more practical or more theory depending on your goals.

Hope it's still around when ds2 is having to make these sorts of choices!

MinimalistMommi Thu 15-May-14 14:24:11

Saintly I'm sure it will be, it's been going years already and is really, really highly thought of. What I liked about it is at the end of it you can either go for an academic job or something really practical in the field. Plus, it's awesome to go to film screenings as part of lectures LOL (and tell him not to skip out early like sometimes I did very occasionally do grin

Yes it looks a good way to explore different options. DS2 loves performing, he's taken part in quite a few professional performances now (theatre, studio and film) but it's been hard to get him to take a wider look at possibilities. One thing we do is check out adult cast members - often they combine acting with all sorts of interesting related but not actual performing things. DS2 is very good at IT & with younger kids/people with disabilities - that Reading course looks a good way to explore & find out what he really, really likes - it's hard to know for sure while you're still at school imo.

Thanks for positing!

I find all this interesting. Did Sciences myself and have had a role of helping people into Oxbridge, medicine and dentistry. Performing related degrees/diplomas/drama school are a different thing altogether! Some really interesting opportunities out there though.

MinimalistMommi Thu 15-May-14 18:03:29

If he did ever apply for it there is only approx 21 places (there was back when I did it anyway) and there will be a written exam and an acting audition (which by the sounds of it he would be fab at) For the written exam, he will be asked to answer questions on a film he has prepared for. I was lucky as I was tutored by someone with experience in film theory. That's what they will be looking for, why different lighting/music has been used etc. There was a lot of competition but I'm sure that gave me the edge if you see what I mean.

Oh thank you - a long way off but useful to know. I do know someone who would be fab coaching him for that if he decides to go down that sort of route.

duanetg Thu 22-May-14 12:41:20

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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