LIVERPOOL Theatre School has become the first school of its kind in the country to axe audition fees for prospective students. The school announced that its audition fees will be scrapped, as part of a campaign to help make performing arts training more accessible to young people who lack financial support.
The move, which has been welcomed by former Coronation Street and Broadchurch star Julie Hesmondhalgh, comes in response to the recent Acting Up inquiry into working class actors. The report highlights the ‘diversity crisis’ in the performing arts, suggesting that the cost of applying for drama school is one of the main barriers preventing those from working class backgrounds entering the profession.
In a separate report, published in 2016, researchers revealed that just 16 percent of actors came from working class backgrounds and the British acting profession was “heavily skewed towards the privileged.”
Young people applying to drama school can expect to pay anything from £45 to £100 per audition on top of travel costs, which can make the whole process unaffordable for those with little or no financial support.
Maxine Ellis, Principal at Liverpool Theatre School, which offers the Trinity College London Diploma in both Professional Musical Theatre and Professional Acting, is calling on other schools to follow suit.
She said: “As a training organisation committed to nurturing young talent, we are proud to be taking the lead in scrapping audition fees for prospective students and I would urge other drama schools to do the same.
“It’s becoming a real issue that there are some extremely talented young people who are missing out on training opportunities, purely because they don’t have the financial backing to cover audition fees.
“Diversity is vital for the future of the performing arts and training organisations must play a part in making sure that our screens and stages are not just the reserve of those from privileged backgrounds.”
Julie Hesmondhalgh, said: “Access to the arts for young people from working class backgrounds is becoming a huge concern. The high cost of audition fees is making it very difficult for young actors without financial means to get a foot in the door, which is in turn making the profession very exclusive.
“I am delighted to hear that Liverpool Theatre School is scrapping audition fees and I would like to see more drama schools do the same. This is certainly a step in the right direction for making the profession more accessible to those from working class backgrounds, which can only serve to enrich the industry as a whole.”
To help talented students who lack financial means, Liverpool Theatre School also offers various levels of support, such as school scholarships and the DaDA (Dance and Drama Awards), which are funded by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency).
Students can register now for a free audition at Liverpool Theatre School at www.liverpooltheatreschool.co.uk