As one of the UK’s most established centres for performing arts training, Italia Conti Academy is renowned for its dedication to nurturing talented individuals. Built upon a reputation of excellence, Italia Conti Academy is known for launching its students into successful careers. To find out more, please click here.
I was delighted to have the opportunity of email-interviewing Emma Cave, Italia Conti Academy Course Administrator, regarding auditions for both their degree and diploma courses.
What is the aim of the day?
‘The audition process is designed to ensure that applicants meet the criteria for performing arts training, including a prior knowledge and a good understanding of the commitment full time performing arts training requires.’
What is the format of the audition day?
‘Our typical audition day starts at 9am, with students arriving just before to register. We begin with a welcome meeting before auditionees are split into their groups. We usually have one group who sing and act in the morning while the other group dances, then they swap for the afternoon session.
We advise applicants to bring lunch with them as they are normally here for a full day. Finish times vary slightly depending on the group you’re in/number you’re given, but we usually tell people to expect to be here until mid-late afternoon.’
What does the audition day involve?
Auditionees are asked to prepare two contrasting speeches each no longer than one and a half minutes.
1) Monologue from a Contemporary British Play
A monologue from a British play written after 1990.
2) Contrasting Monologue from a Play
Either a modern speech (anything written after 1880) or a classical speech, from a play, which provides a contrast to your contemporary speech.
You may be asked to workshop one or both of your speeches with the panel.
Auditionees should prepare two contrasting musical theatre songs that you enjoy singing and can sing well. Both songs should be cut to one minute in length. Please be aware that we may not hear both songs. Ensure you learn the whole song in case we would like to hear more.
A pianist will be provided for your audition.
Song 1: Pre-1965 Ballad
Suggested composers include: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Learner and Leowe, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, Jerry Bock, and Frank Loesser.
Song 2: Contrasting Musical Theatre Song
A good contrast would be a song from a contemporary musical. This song could also be an up-tempo pre-1965 number if desirable. Suggested composers include: Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alan Menken, Boubil and Schonberg.
The Jazz class will consist of a short warm-up, followed by corner work consisting of travelling, turns, kicks and leaps. This is followed by a short routine focused on style, dynamic range, performance and theatricality.
A typical Ballet audition class will commence with Barre work – which may include Plies, Battement Tendu, Battement Glisse, Ronds de Jambe, Adage and Grand Battement. The centre work will consist of an Adage and Pirouettes, then the Allegro section, which will include either a Petit Allegro or Grand Allegro (small or big jumps).
Auditionees are asked to prepare one dance piece in your preferred style – no longer than one minute. This should showcase your strengths and highlight any special skills.
Please bring your music on an iPod, iPhone or suitable device with an aux cable connection. Please bring an adaptor if you have a new iPhone or device which is not compatible with an aux cable.
Applicants will also have a short interview with a member of the senior management team. This is not something to get nervous about – it’s an informal chat so we can get to know you and what you’re looking for.
How long do you have to wait to find out that you’ve been successful?
‘We usually try to let applicants know the outcome of their audition with 1-2 weeks.’
What should you do if you’re offered a place and would like to accept it?
‘You will need to complete our admissions forms, pay your deposit of £250 and return a medical form completed by a doctor to secure your place on the course. The forms and instructions on how to pay will all be sent along with your offer. If it’s a degree application, you will also need to accept the offer on UCAS.’
What about accommodation and finance?
‘We don’t get directly involved with organising accommodation – the responsibility of this is left with the student. However, upon accepting your place with us, we do invite you to join a Freshers Facebook page which is run by our student reps. It’s a place where you can meet others starting the course at the same time as you (who often make friends and organise housing together), or hear about rooms available in second or third year houses.
Students on our degree course are eligible for a full student loan of £9,250 which covers our tuition fees. Depending on parental earnings, some may then be eligible for a further maintenance loan.
Students on our diploma courses need to fund their place privately, unless they are granted a DADA or can apply for an advanced learner loan.
Further information about fees and funding can be found on our website.’
Why should prospective students choose Italia Conti Academy?
‘Italia Conti is the leading Performing Arts institution in the country. The College’s reputation as a global leader has been built up over the hundred years since it was founded. The College has an outstanding international reputation for providing Performing Arts training in a wide variety of disciplines, enabling our students to become versatile and valuable members of the theatrical profession. We only take 40 a year on our musical theatre courses which is then broken down into class sizes of 20. You will not be one of hundreds. We’ll get to know you on a personal level and you’ll become part of the Conti family.’
What are you looking for?
‘We are looking for individuals. We don’t want everyone at the school to be a carbon copy of each other. We want to find your unique selling point and help you become the best version of yourself.
We’re looking for talent and trainability. We don’t expect everyone that comes to audition to be 100% polished in all areas. That’s where we can help. We need to see potential and see that we can help bring all 3 disciplines in line to make you a high caliber musical theatre performer.’
A massive thank you goes to Emma Cave, Italia Conti Academy Course Administrator, for being so helpful and supportive with the creation of this blog.