- Are you interested in developing your performance skills in front of a live audience?
- Do you want to learn about theatre from the inside?
- Have you ever wanted to get a better understanding of Shakespeare, Brecht or Berkoff?
- Then come along to an open audition with us!
Auditions are free and open to members and non-members. Naturally, if you are offered a part you will need to join since only full members can perform on stage, but there is no cost to audition.
We welcome people of all experience, from old hands to complete beginners. We can never be sure who is going to turn up at an audition, so you may be up against much more experienced actors, though! Members and non-members all audition with the same rules and the same chance of getting cast.
To see what is coming up, check out the list of upcoming auditions. The audition notice will tell you where and when, and usually will list the pieces that will be used in the audition. There is also contact information for the director and production assistants – don’t be put off by the grand sounding names, these are friendly people who will be happy to talk to you about what to expect at the audition and what sort of actors they are looking for.
We hold our auditions in an open room, not on a stage. The director and the current members of our selection committee will be there to watch all the auditions and take notes. The director is the only one who chooses the cast, and will take advice from the committee members in private after the main audition is over. After the audition one of the members of the team will contact everyone (whether successful or not) as soon as they can – usually within three days.
Everyone who comes along to audition is able to watch everyone else who auditions, and the readings take place in the centre of the room; everyone can see all the auditions. This is not X-factor and there won’t be any aspiring Simon Cowells; the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. You will never get any negative feedback on your audition. It is natural for new members to feel a little daunted at times – but remember that everyone in the room will be able to remember their own first audition. No-one is here to judge you, and sometimes just watching other people auditioning can be useful.
Prospective members are encouraged to come along and watch an audition to get a feel for how it works, and to understand what they should do to prepare. You won’t be pressured to read; conversely if you change your mind and think you would like to audition have a word with the selection committee and this can usually be accomodated.
Although we try to make the audition pieces available in advance, it is very unusual for anyone to learn the pieces by heart before the audition. However reading the pieces thoroughly in advance planning how you might perform them will definitely help you get the part you want. If the audition pieces aren’t listed, you should try to read the play at least once before the audition to understand the characters. You can borrow a copy of the play from the director or production assistant in advance of the audition.
Often there are too many people reading for everyone to be heard for every single part they are interested in – the director and selection team will make sure that everyone has been heard enough times that we can gauge their skill and experience. If you feel you want another go at reading, let the selection committee know at the time – this can usually be accomodated. The team will not necessarily give out parts just for turning up, even if there are fewer actors than parts available; the director may choose not to cast anyone from the audition for a particular part. You may also be offered a part you didn’t read for.
If you’re not cast in the part you want, it is natural to feel a little disappointed. Please remember that very often the choices are not simply down to how well someone read for a part, but the actor’s looks or how they would appear on stage by comparison to others in the cast. For instance, if you’re the oldest person at the audition don’t be surprised that you aren’t cast as the young romantic lead! With five shows a year, you are bound to get cast quickly; and even if you aren’t cast there are plenty of ways to get involved backstage and be part of the team.
Good luck; work hard, have fun, don’t be scared!
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