On the road to Drama School: Alex Mushore
In this series of blogs, we hear from Belgrade Youth Theatre participants who are perusing a career in the arts and have successfully earned themselves a place at Drama School. Alex Mushore originally joined the Belgrade’s Senior Youth Theatre in 2014, giving him the opportunity to appear in many productions on the Belgrade’s stages before eventually auditioning and gaining a place a Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. In the interview below, Alex reveals more about the experiences that led him to peruse his dream of becoming a professional actor and the challenges of auditioning for drama schools!
How did you first become involved with the Belgrade Theatre?
I first became involved with the Belgrade Theatre in June 2014. Previous to this, I had only seen productions at the theatre and was thrilled to learn of the opportunities to get involved as a participant. When I received the email that I had reached the top of the waiting list to join the Senior Youth Theatre, I jumped at the chance. It meant I would be able to meet and connect with others who have similar interests around my age.
How long were you a participant at the Belgrade Theatre?
I have been a participant for around 2 years. In that time, I have been a part of the Senior Youth Theatre performing in a couple of the festivals for Theatre in Education, the National Theatre Connections 500 Festival as part of the Black Youth Theatre, and I was a participant in the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme.
What was the project that you worked on that made the most impact on you and why?
All have impacted me in different ways, invaluable for my development and understanding of others as well as myself. However, one project in particular was Children of Killers (pictured above), which was performed as part of the National Theatre Connections 500 Festival. I had quite a minor role, however this is one of the many instances where I experienced how the Belgrade Theatre are not afraid to tackle more sensitive subject matter. Taking on this Katori Hall piece brought a harrowing story to a whole new audience and it was so inspiring be involved as this was brought to light.
What made you want to audition for drama school?
Attending drama school had always been a dream of mine since finishing school. Although, upon finishing school I went to study psychology. Now having had the university and work experience, I felt it was absolutely time to pursue my dream full-time.
Which drama school will you be attending?
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
What were your audition pieces?
My classical was a speech by Edgar in King Lear (William Shakespeare) and my modern piece was a speech by Paul in Six Degrees of Separation (John Guare). I also performed a Shona song called Mudiwa Wangu (My Beloved) by my aunt Taruwona Mushore.
Can you share with us what the audition process was like?
The audition experience was a great one and I would have had that opinion even if I wasn’t offered a place. My first audition, went well although I was extremely nervous before going in. At Bristol, you do a classical piece, modern piece, a song and a piece of sight-reading. All of these I felt went well, and I felt comfortable talking to the panel. I was then so happy to be called back in June. The recall was an all-day audition/workshop that gave you a taster of what it’s like to train at the school. I was put in a group with others applying for the same course and we did our auditions to camera, movement, acting, improvisation and singing workshops. I had a fantastic day and enjoyed it all very much, you become a mini family with your group even though it’s just a day spent together. I did leave feeling like I had let myself down in the audition part as one of my pieces was a little rushed. Seeing the camera and the panel in the room there was a little intimidating on first view. However, after I had done one piece (nervous and rushed) I realised I should relax as they want you to do well, so took my time with the other pieces. Fortunately later in the day they give you the opportunity to rework one of your speeches so you had another opportunity to work on a speech if you felt it didn’t go as well and try something different. They do this with everyone so it definitely feels like each of us have sufficient opportunities to show ourselves.
“It’s so important to just pick yourself up, keep performing and growing and try again”
— Alex Mushore
Was this the first year that you auditioned? If not, how many years have you been auditioning and what tips would you give those participants that do not get in one their first (or even second or third) try?
This was my second year of auditioning, and I felt down after my first year of auditioning not to have gotten into any schools. However, it’s so important to just pick yourself up, keep performing and growing and try again. On average they do say it takes more than one attempt so keep the faith. Also, if you don’t get in first go it’s very useful to get feedback, if the school offers it. I found it very valuable to take the feedback and work on it.
What did you find the most difficult challenge?
I found the most difficult challenge of auditions to be keeping the speeches refreshed. After doing the same speech in isolation as regularly as you do during the audition run, the challenge is to keep it fresh and continually discover something new (without it feeling rehearsed). This is a skill that is invaluable to learn progressing further and something I found difficult. I found it helps to run your speeches with someone also auditioning. Matthew and I met up a few times to keep our speeches feeling refreshed and offer each other advice. I would advise learning multiple speeches if you can for the auditions so you can choose between a couple and can perform another if requested by the panel.
What are you looking forward to most and why?
I am really looking forward being in that moment soaking up all the expertise from my tutors and fellow students at Bristol. Undoubtedly, I will discover something new every day and that is so exciting to me as I am motivated by new knowledge!