Advice for Auditionees  

Chris Hocking, Principal & Director of the School of Musical Theatre, and Julie Spencer, Director of the School of Acting, at ArtsEd offer advice for auditionees in these unusual circumstances.

Due to the current situation around Covid-19, ArtsEd have taken all first-round auditions for BA (Hons) Musical Theatre and Acting courses online, meaning auditionees will submit self-tapes and have reduced the fees for first-round auditions to £15. Those invited to a second round (which will be in-person) will pay an additional £30.

Musical Theatre 

Those auditioning for Musical Theatre will be asked to record themselves singing a pre-1965, legit ballad of no longer than three minutes in length. The thinking behind this requirement is that this type of song shows us the person’s natural voice; their intonations and the quality of their voice in all the important areas. We advise everyone to make the song their own!

MT auditionees must also submit a video of three short dance exercises, examples of which are sent to them.

We are looking for three key things: Individuality, Trainability (Potential), Warmth and Sincerity. We are not looking for the finished article!

Auditionees can help themselves in some really simple, but effective ways.

A clear ident is essential. You are just saying your name and the name of the song you’re singing, but use it to show a bit of your personality. Be relaxed but confident. Deliver your ident straight to camera. For the ident and your song, a neutral background is preferred. Where possible we’d prefer to not be distracted by your bedroom behind you.

Your song does not have to be directed straight to camera, unless the character is directly addressing the audience (which is rare). You can look just over the camera, or the left or right. Keep in natural, whatever you choose.

It’s important to remember that although this is a recorded audition, we are looking for theatricality, not a TV performance. However, don’t go over the top just for the sake of it – keep the performance appropriate to the space you are singing in. Just don’t try to give us an ‘acting for camera’ performance.

Don’t wear a costume, try for clever lighting and wear something you are comfortable in. Smart/casual is the way to go.

Don’t wear stage make-up and definitely no glitter! We want to see you.

Don’t film a close-up. We need to see your whole body so that we can look at your posture and how you breathe.

Don’t overthink it and go for multiple takes to try to get the perfect one. We are not looking for perfection.

Be picky when it comes to who you get advice from. Seek assistance from people who know what drama schools are looking for.

My final piece of advice is simple – ENJOY yourself! You love musical theatre, so let that shine through. Good luck! Chris Hocking


Auditionees for the BA (Hons) Acting course will be required to submit two self-taped monologues, each being no longer than 2 minutes in length. One must be from a classical play, the other from a contemporary piece. As with the MT videos, auditionees must record a brief ident to introduce themselves by stating their name, age, where they are from and the pieces they are presenting (name of character and play).  Idents should be delivered direct to camera.

For the classical piece, auditionees should film themselves in a ‘wide’ shot (meaning we want to see them full-length or as much of their body as the space will allow). 

The contemporary piece should be filmed as a close up of the auditionees face – but not too close! Head and shoulders are fine.

The classical piece should be treated like a soliloquy and be delivered straight to camera. The contemporary piece can be delivered in the same way, or it can be aimed just above the camera if that makes sense for the piece. 

The main piece of advice regarding the positioning of the camera and body/face is that we don’t not want to see the side of your face! Same as with the MT requirements – we want to see a ‘theatrical’ performance! Do not attempt to do an ‘acting for camera’ performance.

At the first stage we want to see how you would perform on stage, as if you were in the room with us. Use your natural voice – don’t affect an accent or do a ‘voice’ to fit the character. We want to hear YOU.

Wear comfortable clothing. If you were auditioning with us in person, you’d be wearing blacks, but for the self-tape just make sure you are comfortable. Don’t attempt to dress as the character or wear a costume. 

No make-up and hair should be tied back so that we can see your face.

No props. No background music.

Same advice as for the MT auditionees – don’t overthink it. You should film each monologue no more than 3 times in order to find the best one to send to us.

Don’t copy a famous version of your chosen monologue from YouTube!

What are we looking for in our Acting auditionees?

We want to see YOU and who you are! That sounds complicated but actually it’s simple:

We want to see your enthusiasm (for the piece and for the process).

We’re looking for your commitment to the choices and decisions that you make as an actor and how you have interpreted thepieces. There is only one of YOU – we are looking for the unique qualities that make you who you are, so show us. We want to see your individual creativity.

We do not expect you to be a polished, trained actor – that’s what drama school is for! Be brave,  be bold and enjoy yourself. I look forward to seeing your tapes. Julie Spencer