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Talented young actor shows real stage presence

Centre stage: Rowan Vickers, who has his eye on a career in the spotlight, took a break during the rigorous auditioning process at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Guildhall, London recently.

By Nalani Dowling–Saltus Grammar School
Warwick Academy student Rowan Vickers, who has a significant role in the upcoming production of ‘Animal Farm’, as Squealer, is not your typical 17 year old. While most teens are busy filling out applications to colleges and universities, Rowan is just as busy making his way in the world of performing arts.
It’s no easy task as he auditions with over 2,000 others for a spot at some of the most prestigious performing arts schools.
While all of these auditions clearly take hard work and dedication, it’s obvious that Rowan is very passionate about acting and performing and is clearly on his way to doing great things with his many talents.
Rowan has been acting and performing since he was just nine years old and it’s been his main focus ever since. While he also shares a passion for rugby, he says that getting involved in acting and performing has been his “main drive” and that he hopes to one day have a career in doing what he loves.
He has had auditions at numerous schools including Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and Central School of Speech and Drama, Guildhall, all in London, and The Juilliard School in New York City. He’s also already been accepted into Mountview and is waiting anxiously to hear back from the other schools.
Auditioning for a performing arts school is more complicated than one might think. Rowan explained that “the protocol for auditioning at each school is slightly different”, but that “you cannot get into these dedicated drama schools without going for a personal audition. They do not take DVD taped auditions,” and that means overseas travel.
So far he has flown to London three times and to New York once, and he still has another flight to London and one more to New York.
There is no funding available to cover travel expenses. “They do hold auditions in New York, if you can’t get to London,” Rowan explained, “but you do have to do it in person in either London or New York. At Julliard you can apply for a travel stipend for the final-round audition, as it is a whole weekend. I was very lucky to have a very kind friend who provided accommodation in London and a person who helped with some money towards airfares.”
At some schools there are a number of rounds for which you would prepare different classical and contemporary monologues and speeches, typically one Shakespeare, one modern and usually contrasting in nature, limited to two minutes in length. “So you have four minutes to try to make it to the next round,” Rowan observed.
Depending on how you performed in round one, you might make it to the next round. RADA and Juilliard both have four stages.
At Central and Juilliard applicants had to prepare a song from a musical as well. There are also workshops to help with some of the aspects of performing with teachers from the school.
Rowan has been so busy with travelling, auditioning, completing schoolwork and acting in Warwick Academy’s production of ‘Hairspray’ that one might think that he’d feel a little unnerved.
However, while Rowan does say that auditioning is a “long nerve-wracking process” he does not see his many duties as being a burden. “I’m at this school that has a great reputation, and I have the opportunity to do what I love to with the people who love to do it” is how Rowan explained what he thinks of the audition process.
He describes it as being “a great experience” and says that “you just have to relax and have fun with it”.

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