Applying to Audition for Fourth Monkey? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!
To help anyone thinking about applying to audition for Fourth Monkey for 2021, we have put together a guide with everything you need to know to help you prepare, from choosing audition speeches and writing a personal statement, and from preparing for your interview with the audition panel to being ready and raring to go on audition day itself.
In short, it is your ultimate “at a glance guide” to audition prep!
Choosing Audition Speeches
You will be asked to choose and perform two, two-minute audition speeches as part of your individual session with our audition panel, comprising one Classical and one Contemporary monologue.
Your Classical speech should be Shakespeare or a similar Elizabethan-era writer, to show your ability to work with ‘heightened’, poetic language. Your Contemporary speech should be a piece written post-2000, showing your ability to translate modern prose and characters.
The audition panel will use your choice of speeches to inform their assessment of you as a performer, as well as your ability to understand and interpret the writing and the character sharing these speeches with the audience. You should read the whole play each of your chosen speeches comes from to help you understand the wider context, narrative and character arc around the individual speeches, and be ready to answer the panel’s questions and explain your choices during your individual session during the audition day to show that you have made an informed decision and can show the reasons behind your choices. What does the character experiences throughout the play? What are they talking about in their monologue? How can you relate to both of these things and how can you translate this into an effective, well-executed audition speech? For instance, if you cannot relate to the specific experience the character has had or is talking about, but you can relate to the broader emotion they are feeling and channel it into your performance, you can be confident you have made a sensible choice in your speeches.
Likewise, think about what might help you to stand out from the crowd. For example, if you have great comic timing, how about a humorous, rather than dramatic, monologue – they will hear a lot of the latter throughout the audition period, so why not choose something slightly different and original if you are confident in your abilities to do so effectively.
Don’t forget, the better you are able to discuss and explain your chosen audition speeches, the greater insight our panel will get into who you are as a performer, as well as what moves and enthuses you in your creative choices, so make sure you bear these factors in mind when making your decisions.
Creating A Self-Tape
As Fourth Monkey commit to meeting everyone who applies to train with us at audition in person or via a live virtual audition day, self-tape submissions are not compulsory when applying to train with us.
As well as choosing your audition speeches, you may decide that you would like to create and submit a self-tape showing yourself performing your speeches to camera along as part of your wider application to audition.
Although by no means compulsory when applying for a Fourth Monkey audition day, as everyone who submits an application will be seen by our panel in a single audition day (either in-person or via virtual audition), a self-tape can be a great way of sharing an insight into your personality as a performer before the panel meet you for your audition. It is also a good way to practice creating a snapshot of your work, as they are becoming an “industry standard” in the digital age as creatives adapt to new ways of working and collaborating when they are unable to travel.
Check out our top tips for the best practice for creating a self-tape, if you decide to include one with your application to audition…
Try to minimise all distractions and disturbances as far as possible – film in a quiet room and warn the people you live with that you are about to film yourself (you don’t want to have your monologues to be interrupted by a well-meaning family member bringing you a cup of tea!), make sure the device you are using to film is steady, either held in a tripod or propped against something stable in the room, and try as best you can to find a plain, simple background against which to film so that nothing behind you detracts from your performance. Wear tidy, comfortable clothes that allow for freedom of movement (if necessary) and make sure the light in the room isn’t too bright and doesn’t obscure your face whilst you are on camera.
Most importantly – relax! Your self-tape is intended to show the audition panel your chosen speeches ahead of them meeting you in person and to give an insight into the choice you have made so that they can start thinking about how to help you explore them in more detail during your audition session, rather than show off your filmmaking skills. Don’t worry if the camera work is not perfect or you can occasionally hear your family members in the background, as long as you are sharply in focus, your voice is clear and easy to hear and your speeches are performed with integrity and passion, these will be the things that the audition panel notice whilst watching your self-tape.
Looking for more self-tape tips? Check out our go-to guide!
Writing a Personal Statement
As part of your application to audition for drama school, you will need to write a short personal statement of around 200 to 300 words. This personal statement should give the audition panel and Admissions team processing your application an insight into why you have chosen a specific drama school and training course, as well as a little about yourself and your background.
Alongside your self-tape audition speeches, your personal statement or creative task is a chance for us to see an example of your “work” and how you approach providing an insight into what excites and motivates you before we meet you in person and have a chance to discuss this in more detail. It is a space for you to tell us about you, why you want to join our student community and what you hope to gain from your drama school experience, and you can be as creative as you wish whilst doing so! Are you a budding poet? A talented short story writer? If so, why not think about using one of these formats to shape your personal statement to give us an insight into your creative abilities as well as your other talents and interests. Our audition panel want to see how you approach the challenge of writing about yourself, and this will give them something they can talk to you about during your individual interview session as well as an extra glimpse of your personality and talents as a creative, especially if writing and developing your writing skills is something you are particularly interested in.
If you are not a budding author or playwright just yet, or if writing simply isn’t your biggest strength, don’t panic! You will ultimately be considered and assessed purely based on your performance at audition on the day itself, not on your academic credentials or your ability to write beautiful flowing prose about your drama school ambitions. As long as your personal statement tells us why you are interested in the school, your chosen course and what you hope to achieve from your training, that will be plenty for our audition panel to use during your interview.
Preparing for an Interview
As well as taking part in a selection of ensemble workshops and performing your audition speeches, you will have an individual interview session with the audition panel.
This portion of the audition day is intended to give you an opportunity to share what excites you about actor training with Fourth Monkey, whilst giving the panel a better understanding of who you are as a performer and a creative and, ultimately, as a person. You are coming to learn and to train, so they are not looking for a perfect finished product just yet, and they will understand if you are nervous, however they will expect you to be prepared for a mature conversation about your choice of audition speeches, as well as about why you are interested in drama school (specifically Fourth Monkey, of course!) and what you are hoping to gain from the experience.
If you have never had a formal interview before, the experience may be a little nerve-wracking. Use this handy checklist of key talking points to help you prepare and to make sure you don’t miss anything important or that will help make a fantastic impression on the panel:
- Why are you interested in drama school – think about why you have decided to audition for professional, vocational actor training rather than an academic degree at a university or looking for alternative routes into the creative industries.
- Why are you interested in Fourth Monkey – this is key! Think about why you feel Fourth Monkey, over other drama schools, is the right fit for you and what you will bring to the ensemble if offered a place.
- Why are you interested in your chosen course – think about why it is the best fit for the current stage in your training journey, your skills and your interests, as well as what you want to explore and develop throughout your training.
- Any questions for the panel – it is a conversation, so think about and prepare any questions that you may have that will help you make the right decision about whether Fourth Monkey and our approach to training will suit your needs and interests.
As long as you have a couple of strong answers ready for each of these points, as well as key questions for the panel, you will be able to feel prepared, confident and, importantly, enthusiastic about discussing why you want to join the Fourth Monkey student community.
On Audition Day!
You’ve submitted your application, including your self-tapes and your personal statement, and now it’s time to wow the panel!
Whatever audition format you have selected, either in-person at the Monkey House or a virtual audition via live video call, you will need to be ready and raring to go to show your skills as an actor and theatre maker to the very best of your abilities. Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before and you wake up in time to have a wholesome breakfast to fuel you and give you plenty of energy so that you can make the most of the day ahead. Similarly, take a packed lunch and lots of water with you – you will get to see why our students say “prepare to sweat” during the physical ensemble workshop sessions, so hydration is key.
If you are joining us at the Monkey House, set off in good time so that you arrive punctually and are ready to start on time – first impressions count and arriving late is unprofessional, something no one wants on their audition day! If you have a virtual audition, be ready to tune in for the session around five minutes before your scheduled start time, have the link you need to join the video call to hand and make sure you have enough space around you to feel comfortable and relaxed, with nothing distracting or potentially offensive in shot.
Whatever your audition format, you will need to be prepared to move so make sure you wear suitable, comfortable clothing that you can participate in workshops in – think yoga or similar exercise wear, nothing too revealing, and no jewellery that might get caught or jangle noisily on a video call. If you are joining us at the Monkey House, it is a shoe-free zone so bear this in mind, too.
Most importantly… relax and enjoy it! You have learnt your speeches, prepared your questions for the panel and thought about why you are interested in Fourth Monkey – the audition day is your chance to experience everything you need to decide whether the school will be the right fit for you. If you make the most of exploring the building, speaking to the panel, taking part in the workshops and performing your chosen speeches and you will have a great day!
Break a leg!