Whether or not you have any major acting experience, going to a theatre audition can be rather intimidating for the first time.
- What exactly is the process?
- Who will be looking at you?
- What will you be told to do?
Hopefully, a little background in terms of what to expect will help you have a pleasant experience.
- Anticipate Preparation: If at all feasible, read the play. It is shocking how many actors don’t do this, and directors note their subtle lack of preparation. Many groups make a research copy available online. If they don’t do that in your neighborhood, try to get a copy from Amazon or at the library or the firm that handles the play’s production rights.
- Expect your audition to take place anywhere: Most groups have a minimal budget. For this reason, tests may not take place in the town theatre where the show will be conducted. They may be held in the common space, such as a library or a town hall. They may be held in a boiler room or church basement. They may even be held at the house of the producer, director, or another senior member of the production team.
- The Form: After you reach for the audition, you will be asked to fill out a notice form. In addition to your name and contact information, the form will ask about your past theatre experience. If you have none, don’t be scared to say so. If your experience is restricted to playing a tree in your junior school play, claim that role with pride and humor. Another section of the form includes any conflicts you may have with the practice schedule. Be precise when filling out this section, even if you feel it might harm your chances of being cast in the production. Bring your schedule with you so you can see any dates you are not free to rehearse. Directors assume that they will have to go around actors’ conflicts to a particular extent. Still, nothing annoys them more than abruptly learning that one of their actors “forgot” to declare his upcoming two-week Bahamas cruise. And directors, like Lannisters, never forget! You’ll also be casually asked what roles you are reading for and whether you will take another backstage responsibility or role. Again, don’t be silly and stay honest. Directors will not punish you if you are unwilling to take a different position or work backstage. While accepting another role will allow you to prove yourself with the group, it is still a vital time commitment. Think it through before randomy volunteering. Some forms include a part where you can list special skills. If you juggle, play a musical instrument, do gymnastics, dance, sing, fence, or are great at different accents, be sure to list those passions and skills. They may give you a clear edge over the competition.
- You will feel like an outsider: You will presumably find that most of the people at the reading already kind-of know each other. They’ll greet each other with kisses, hugs, and cries of delight. You may feel uncomfortable, but try not to let it affect your self-esteem. Remember, everyone was once an outsider. Also, know that theatre people are usually quite friendly and welcoming. Don’t be scared to start a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Ask them if they’ve played with the group before and what the adventure was like. If you’ve noticed one of the cast onstage, tell her or him that you enjoyed the show. If you are timid, consider bringing a friend with you for emotional support.
- Expect any number of people to be watching you: Some theatres take a conventional approach to auditions. Actors are asked to wait in a anteroom or lobby until the director is ready to see them individually. If you are given an interview time before the reading, that’s a rather good sign that you’ll be seen either with just one or two others or alone.
- Expect that a main role may have to wait: Don’t get depressed if you don’t get shot in the show or don’t get cast in the role you wished for. Even if faced with a talented individual, most producers tend to cast actors they have previously worked with. This is normally due to troubled experiences with unknowns, who proved to be unreliable after being cast. Also, many factors go into casting a play. Remember that the director is looking for the right blend of actors, not just the best actor. If you’re determined, the right role will come along. And at the next audition, you’ll be a full-fledged part of the threater group!