Based in Maidstone, MEPA Performing Arts excels as one of the UK’s top dance and musical theatre colleges. With a clear dedication towards providing a fulfilling and supportive environment for its students, MEPA has carved successful careers for a large number of its graduates. They offer diploma-level courses in dance, musical theatre and teacher training.
I was delighted to get chatting with Kat (@kat_rudge on Insta) about her experience of the MEPA audition process.
What did the audition involve?
The audition day ran between 9.30am till 3.30pm and included five 1 hour-long classes.
- BALLET – Barre, centre and corner work
- JAZZ– Cardio warm-up, stretching, corner work (turns, kicks, leaps) and learning a short routine with improvisation at the end
- COMMERCIAL– Warm-up and learning a short routine
- Performance of a pre-prepared dance solo (if auditioning for Dance and Teacher Training courses)
- ACTING (including presentation of monologues)- Acting games and a warm-up
- SINGING (if auditioning for Musical Theatre courses)- Learning a song ensemble (with others), plus presentation of a pre-prepared song
How welcome did MEPA make you feel?
At the beginning I was quite nervous, however I was quickly made to feel relaxed by one of the teachers. By lunch, I felt like I had known the other auditionees and teachers for years- everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
It didn’t feel like an audition, it felt like a workshop. Everyone was so supportive of each other and clapped after each solo, which made it a lot less stressful
What was the level of competition?
I would say the classes were hard enough to push you but weren’t excessively difficult.
We were encouraged to ask questions if we wanted anything repeating- the teachers were so approachable. You’ll experience the audition differently based on your previous training- everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
How many people did you audition alongside?
There were about 17 people in the audition, they didn’t tell us exactly how many they take, but its usually under 20.
How much information were you given before the day?
When you apply for an audition, you receive a schedule including information about what to wear and prepare.
So, what would you suggest wearing?
For ballet, I would suggest wearing a leotard with ballet tights, then a black leotard with black tights for jazz. For commercial, wear your own style and then wear whatever you feel comfortable in for acting and singing.
Where you given any extra information, e.g. building tours or funding and accommodation info?
The campus consists of two buildings, which we shown during our audition. In terms of accommodation, we were told that MEPA has a few available houses, plus host families which they can set you up with. They also offer support in finding accommodation privately. As MEPA’s courses are diplomas, there isn’t any government funding available, but there are means-tested bursaries up for grabs.
What are you asked to prepare in advance?
If you are auditioning for the dance and teacher training course, you need to prepare a 1.5 min solo dance of any style. If auditioning for the dance and musical theatre course, you will need to prepare a monologue (1 min long) and a musical theatre song (with CD or sheet music).
Do you have any audition tips or advice?
Go in with an open mind and remain focused throughout the day. Try to talk to the other auditionees- this will make tasks, such as improvising, a lot less awkward. There’s a good chance that you’ll come across some of the same people in each audition, so they can turn into excellent contacts for the future.
A huge thank you goes to Kat for her excellent contribution towards this article. Check out her dance page on Instagram @kat_r_dance