Drama School Audition Fees Create Class Barrier

Audition fees are unfortunately something that will forever remain within the theatre industry. At grassroot level the money received from audition fees often is aimed at covering the cost of venue hire, which isn't something particularly hard to swallow. With am-dram theatre groups at times struggling to make ends meet, it does seem reasonable for them to try covering as much up front cost prior to show week. If the group are paying any of the creative team, again any profit gleamed could go towards such costs and also pays for practitioners time.

At a professional level, audition fees do also exist for those wishing to further their qualifications through drama schools. As read recently in The Stage publication, Labour's Acting Up report highlighted the high costs associated with attending auditions to gain entry into said schools, even before additional costs such as transport and accomodation are considered.

The report found that whilst costs were lower for early bird applicants, those applying later on met a heavy price for their delay. RADA's audition charge leapt from £46 to £86 and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School went from £45 to £65. With many budding performers auditoning for numerous stage schools to increase their chances, overall costs for attending could easily go over £500, without any guarantee of success.

A simple way to rectify this would be to use a UCAS system where any fees are regulated or possibly subsidised to ensure those from working class backgrounds are priced out of auditioning. In an industry where class has often been a talking point over the past few years especially, it lies on those in charge to ensure their gates are open for all, not just those with the finances to get there.

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