Drama schools are deemed “less valuable than an academic degree”

A student at one of the UK’s leading drama schools has said: “Drama school degrees are definitely seen as less valuable than an academic degree.”

Bethany Gregory, 19, Bradford, is a student at the Hammond School of Performing Arts in Chester, of which former graduates include Hollyoaks Jorgie Porter and Fresh Meats David Edwards.

The competitive nature of drama schools was made apparent to Miss Gregory following her initial rejection from each of the drama schools she applied to, after which she was eventually accepted after she applied for a late audition.

However, Miss Gregory continues to face prejudice against attending a drama school, she said: “People’s views on drama schools concern me. Drama school degrees are definitely seen as less valuable than an academic degree. My parents told me it’s a wasters degree, but they changed their minds and are now incredibly supportive through the entire thing.”

Whilst a report from the Conference of Drama Schools announced that the process of applying to drama school is often more competitive than Oxbridge, highlighting a ratio of applicants to place averaging seven to one, the subject continues to face misconceptions.

Moreover, Miss Gregory explained how many people fail to understand how applicants are also subject to rejection following rigorous auditions and how this can impact them.

Miss Gregory said: “It’s a massive challenge to get back out on the stage after so much drama school rejection. The system is brutal and confidence destroying, but it’s what you need to learn from day one that this industry is incredibly difficult.”

Yet Miss Gregory explained how this rejection benefitted her and how others should learn from it, she said: “Rejection is a learning curve, and it is a part of life. It’s given me a thick skin, and has forced me to come back fighting stronger than ever before.”

According to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), out of the thousands who apply to the drama school each year, approximately 28 applicants are selected to enrol onto their Professional Acting course.

The competition to enter drama school is even more fierce for female applicants than males, with reports from the Conference of Drama Schools stating that women outnumber males by accounting for two-thirds of applications. 

Miss Gregory, however, reminded those who are selected to enrol of the difficulties of attending a drama school, she said: “There are times you get to breaking point and you think you aren’t good enough, but then you remind yourself that you’re here because someone saw something in you and you have the capability of being amazing.”

For others in the process of applying to drama schools, Miss Gregory gave advice as she said: “Drama school isn’t like glee. Its blood, sweat, bitching, tears, long days and exhaustion, but if it’s what you want to do, then it’s so worth it.”

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