Applying to Performing Arts Schools in a Pandemic

By Imogen Barber - 25/02/2021

Applying to Performing Arts Schools in a Pandemic

This has been a very challenging year for both students and schools. The methods of training have had to adapt in an industry where physical contact and face to face engagement is the norm.

In a world where attending an audition in person has been impossible, how we apply to schools has had to quickly adapt to ensure potential students get seen and schools get to choose from the best applicants. Uploading self-tapes and attending Zoom calls has become the norm, where a year ago we all thought a Zoom was an ice lolly or the sound of a fast car!

Schools and applicants alike have had to make the most of this, but it is far from ideal for either party. There is nothing like the immediacy of a live audition, where the student’s energy and passion is palpable, and the school has the capacity to test the applicant’s ability to listen and take direction.

In October 2019, just a few months BC (Before Coronavirus), Perform This was launched to allow applicants to complete a single application form, which could be used to apply to all schools using their system. It was a key priority to allow the performing arts schools to arrange joint auditions with other schools to keep the costs down for applicants, who could then attend one audition and be seen by a number of schools at the same time. So many talented artists slip through the net every year, simply because the cost to audition at multiple schools is prohibitive.

The schools used the system to mark the auditions and offer places to those who were successful…. then, of course, all live auditions had to stop.

So, how can you emulate a live audition and make it accessible and cost effective for both applicants and schools?

Well, there is good news!

Like the whole industry, Perform This have adapted too, and what they have created will be invaluable even AC (After Coronavirus!).

Using the same, original application system, auditionees can now apply to as many schools as they please and rather than creating self-tapes and sending bulky files, they take part in a live virtual audition, set to the parameters of each school, which is saved to the system for the school to view and mark later.

The schools set the audition criteria to match as near as possible the same experience as if the applicant were standing in front of them. They can add in supporting challenges, to keep the immediacy of the audition, such as asking the applicant to perform a speech/dance/song in a different way or ask them questions about why they want to attend their school. Marking is completed through Perform This and the school can then decide if they want to arrange a recall at a later date or offer a place.

A face-to-face audition can cost up to £150 when you take into consideration the travel, accommodation and application fee. Each digital audition through Perform This up to a maximum of £8.99, which is equivalent to over 16 initial auditions in person. So, schools get to see many more applicants who they may never have seen, and the applicants get the opportunity to audition for many more schools and have a far greater chance of success.

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FAQS
What will this system cost us?
The application management system is free for all participating schools to use. You will list the audition on your own website as well as on the Perform This site. The simplicity of the application process means that you will receive many more initial applications from talented artists you may never have seen. Should you wish to arrange a recall audition you can do so with the applicant directly and assign any fees for this. Applicants who are unsuccessful have saved considerable costs, schools recruit from a much wider pool of artists and still cover their costs on recall auditions.
Can I track the progress of applications?
Yes, every school and every applicant will have their own dashboard, showing the auditions they have booked and those they have completed. Schools can contact applicants through the system to manage outcomes.
My school has a listing of all our courses on Perform This. Can I update this?
Yes, once you have claimed your listing it belongs to you and you can update it as regularly as you wish. You can add events/open days/blog articles/course information; and manage your auditions and applications.
Will this service continue after Covid 19?
Absolutely. We are always looking at ways to improve accessibility to applicants for performing arts training, and this virtual live audition platform will allow applicants to apply for many more schools, and for the schools to recruit talented artists who may otherwise have missed their opportunity to train.
How easy is it to set up a bespoke audition for our school?
It is very simple. Within minutes you can set the audition parameters and any supporting questions that are pertinent to your own school requirements. Each audition will be saved to your dashboard, with all relevant applicant details, from which you can then mark and manage all outcomes.
How easy is it to do an online virtual audition?
Very easy. Applicants are guided through your real-time audition in simple steps. Once completed they simply hit submit and the audition, along with their application form and photos, is saved to your dashboard.
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