Is Stage Fright a Good or Bad Thing?

Is Stage Fright a good or bad thing?

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Being nervous backstage before a performance of any kind isn’t unusual. A lot of people face some sort of anxiety whether they are ‘seasoned pro’s’ or relatively new to the performance game.  Stage Fright as it’s casually referred to, can be caused by many different things – maybe something that happened in rehearsal that haunts you in case it happens on stage during a performance, pressure to deliver a particular character or routine or just hoping you memory is up to remembering everything and concentrating for 2 and a half hours.  I certainly have had dreams about forgetting lines and dance numbers on many occasions. And since once losing my voice during a run and opening my mouth to barely or little sound coming out – that is also now a recurring worry.

Stage Fright can be obvious in some performers backstage: rapid breathing, trembling, sweaty hands or it can be much more subtle – a dry mouth, a racing pulse or the need for solitude.  Some performers have rituals which they must complete before stepping on stage. I knew a gentlemen, who did three tours backstage checking every prop and costume he used before the show and repeating everything three times like a mantra. Some wear lucky underwear and some have to eat or drink certain foods.

Having stage fright isn’t necessary a bad thing as it can help the adrenalin needed to perform and doesn’t mean you are a bad actor or dancer but it can put added stress onto individuals and if takes some of the pleasure out of being in a show then that’s a shame.

I strongly believe that everyone should feel a little nervous before a performance because that drives the energy needed and certainly the adrenalin buzz is a natural high all its own. However, if you are rooted to the spot with fear, nauseous or overly anxious before a show then perhaps either consider taking some natural herbal remedies or seek some help from a professional or counsellor. Performing is a joy all its own and the pleasure of hearing an audience applaud or laugh is usually worth any minor worries before the show.

How does Stage Fright affect you?

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Do you struggle when it comes to choosing your next production?

Every musical theatre group or society faces a challenge when it comes to picking their next production. So how do you choose? Do you go with an ‘old faithful’ – such as a Rodgers and Hammerstein/Lerner and Lowe? Do you consider something newly released and do you also review what other groups are doing in the area?

With so many new musicals being released for amateurs such as ‘Made in Dagenham’, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ or Dolly Parton’s  ‘9 to 5’ are societies rushing to perform these because they are new, sometimes without considering whether they can sell the tickets or if another group in a nearby town is also performing it?  Are audiences tired of seeing the traditional musicals or should these still be ‘bread and butter’ productions to intersperse between the more unusual or newer artistic choices?

All these are relevant questions and those that I am sure numerous committees and groups ask with regularity.  The other side of the question is will the chosen production either bring in new members or keep the existing ones. Membership of any one group is no longer ‘the norm’. With new groups appearing and growing all across the UK, performers can pick and choose the productions they wish to take part in and travel around a selected area.

However, the plus side is if performers will travel – then surely audiences will too.  It seems that the diversity of choice is growing and with it, the opportunity to promote your shows to a wider public.

Professional theatres and UK National Tours take so many shows out of circulation for amateur societies, which also reduces the choices available – getting the rights early is definitely an advantage against this but who knows what else may become available in the meantime!

In my opinion, new musicals will usually bring in audiences provided the publicity is good and circulated well through traditional means and social media but don’t ignore the older musicals. The revamps of some of these musicals such as ‘Half a Sixpence’ at Chichester (and now the West End) proves that there is a place for them and a strong and creative Director and Choreographer can revitalise a conventional show and give it a new lease of life.

So do you pick a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic; a Sondheim; a Jason Robert Brown or a Bernstein? Choosing the correct show is a painstaking and time-consuming process but one which should hopefully result in a happy and successful production for all. Well, we do hope so….

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“It’s not very comfortable but it looks amazing!”

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“It’s not very comfortable but it looks amazing!”

Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but as I step backstage to work with some lovely costume ladies once again, it reminds me what unsung heroes the wardrobe department often are.

Their job is quite diverse – it’s all about the preparation, the measuring, the sourcing & ordering costumes, many wardrobe departments have to make them from scratch and then there are all the necessary accessories – the scarves, gloves, hats and so on.
Of course, don’t forget the Directors comments at the dress rehearsal “ mmm, I’m not sure that dress/suit really works” and then these patient ladies have 24hrs before opening night to do their magic!!

So as the cast nervously pace up and down and warm up ready to take to the stage, these ladies are still frantically sewing and making last minute alterations.  Maintaining the costumes throughout a run is as important as getting them right in the first place. Lost buttons…split sleeves…. shortening hems… and of course, they are also counsellors for the cast with their never-ending worries about how they look in a certain costume or how a costume should be worn and then giving back reasons why it just can’t be worn that way! However, these saints will put all those worries to bed and make sure that you go on stage looking fabulous!

For any wardrobe team when we talk about period costumes – the attention to detail is vitally important and these gurus of period clothing know their stuff. Those little items that are sometimes overlooked – Gentlemen with elephant grey outdoor gloves in turn of the century suits, the buttonholes, the dolly bags, the hair accessories and the hats, all of these are what makes the whole costume ensemble work and it is what keeps the wardrobe mistress happy. Trust their judgement and wear it how they tell you – it may seem alien to you but they know how it should be worn even if it is a bit uncomfortable or you feel a bit self-conscious.

Oh, hats… now that’s a real bug bear of mine! Why do people always plonk them on the back of the heads like a demented flying saucer remember, depending on the period, they are worn in different ways and for a lot of period wear they are worn on the front of the head and they need the essential hat pin – don’t complain your hat is going to fall off or if it does indeed fall off, if you don’t have at least one or four hat pins in place!  Then there is the brave individual who tries the elastic under the chin way to wear their hat – Oh my god NO!!! When was that ever a fashionable look and god forbid you should ever try that in one of my shows – that would be a very brave move indeed!!

Sorry I got a little off topic there – but I do like people to look good on stage, as I promise does every wardrobe mistress I have ever had the pleasure to work with. It’s often said “it will look different under the lights” and never a truer word has been said. I have seen dresses and suits which when hanging on the rail or ever on the actor in the dressing room look drab or unflattering but when on stage with the lights and the atmosphere look fabulous – even better if the actor stands tall and wears it with pride!

And then there is the other comment that always makes me smile inside –“ it’s rather hot in this costume under all those lights” – and often the person stating this is wearing something quite modern and just the one layer – think again about the period plays and musicals when the actors and/or dancers are wearing tights, bloomers, petticoats, dresses and jackets with all the accessories or for the men a t-shirt, shirt, cravat, waistcoat, jacket, overcoat and so on and it’s even worse when you are under-dressing one or more costume to aid with quick changes. You might feel (and sometimes look) a bit like the Michelin Man with all those layers on but you know come the time for the quick change the benefits are so worth it!

‘The Quick Change’ – that moment when the actor initially goes into meltdown because they have so little time to perfect a complete costume change and sometimes wig change too!  I often hear those words –“‘it’s impossible” – which is usually answered by the immortal phrase from the wardrobe team “it’s been done before” in other words, it’s never impossible, it’s just a challenge and with a competent and experienced team of dressers it can be done. The best way is usually if it’s a big change is for the performer to stand still and let the dressers do it all for you because if you are trying to move and help, it is often a complete hindrance and I guarantee after a couple of times you will wonder why it was ever such a big deal!

Organisation is also the key to costume changes – knowing where and when you need to change and have everything ready and to hand. I can relate numerous stories over the years and some spring immediately to mind like that of a an elderly gentleman rushing up several flights of stairs back to their dressing room to do a quick change rather than bring the costume down to the wings to change and so came on stage semi dressed, with a very red face and unable to sing or speak for most of the scene as he was completely out of breath! I also have to mention one wonderful lady I know, who during a quick change in the dark managed to get her dress on back to front – but she went on stage and in true professional style she carried it off and because she performed with great aplomb and style, I guarantee not one audience member would ever have known. We still laugh about the incident to this day.

Yes, we do sometimes suffer for our art – but let face it, it is worth it – as long as we look amazing!

So Thank You to the ‘Goddesses of the Needle’ without them and their amazing costumes – it doesn’t ‘bare’ thinking about!!!

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Is it worth the ticket price?

Is it worth the ticket price?

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So many people have commented to me recently about the price of tickets to see both local amateur productions and professional or west end shows. They often comment with the statement “How can they charge so much money for their tickets”

Anyone who has ever been in a production of any size will know that to put on a show is not a cheap affair. When you start looking at theatre or venue hire; set making or hiring; costume making/buying or hiring; lighting; sound; rehearsal pianist; musical director; musicians, prop making or hiring – then you can see where the costs can escalate.  Even a show

Even a show done on the smallest of budgets still needs to cover its costs, so the business manager must look at what money needs to be made to cover this and then work on what percentage of seat sales they can expect and the ticket price is a result of that.  This is, of course,  a very simplified explanation and many business managers do far more complex algorithms to come to a breakeven and then the subsequent ticket prices.

However, do the audience really need to know all that when they choose to come and see a production. No, of course, they don’t!

Many local amateur shows give the equivalent to an excellent professional show with a budget which bears no resemblance to their professional counterparts.

But look at it like this – where else can you see real live people performing just for you  – the audience.  Actors, singers and dancers working their socks off to give you a show or play to enjoy. Yes, sometimes it’s not as polished as it could be – but generally audiences love that – the bit when it goes wrong or performers cheekily ad lib or get the giggles.  As performers, we want to be perfect  – to get all the lines and dance routines right, remember the lyrics, make all the costume changes and generally give a performance we can be proud of – but it doesn’t always go like that does it!

You can pay £80 – £100+ to see a west end show these days and of course you won’t generally be disappointed in what you see because let’s face it  – West End shows are the Nectar of the Gods but just stop and think – you are paying between £10 and £20 for many amateur productions and so many of those deliver such consummate performances you would not be considered foolish if you forgot you are watching a teacher, a car salesman, a lorry driver, a full-time mother, a mechanic, a builder and so on …acting, singing and dancing on the stage in front of you – all of whom have given up so many evenings and weekends to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse some more, to give you a show worthy of your hard earned money.

So, next time you question is it worth the money – yes it is…..remember you are being entertained for two and a half hours with a completely unique production (because live theatre is never the same two nights running!)  – so just sit back and enjoy it!

 

 

 

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Bums on Seats – The Eternal Challenge!

Bums on Seats – The Eternal Challenge!

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These days it’s ALL about ticket sales and the headache of promoting and advertising a play or musical can be a complete nightmare.  We all need to sell tickets to continue to put on our productions – so what are the options available to us all?
These days many people wait until the last minute to book tickets – are there any ways we can encourage them to do it sooner. How can you make the prospect of seeing your show so exciting they simply cannot wait?
The first thing I will say is, that unless groups and societies help each other then we are only able to promote to a tiny proportion of the potential audience out there. This for me, is the main reason for this website and blog, to encourage partnership between groups. After all, many of our societies membership belong to more than one group, so why shouldn’t our audiences?
The production itself can make the job easier or harder to sell. Some shows or plays can just make the job so much easier. But how can we make it still interesting and appealing to everyone else and sell tickets.  My first message is to plan your marketing strategy from pre-auditions through to show week. A full and thorough plan. You need to engage with prospective audience members from the start and encourage them to follow the story through to the stage.  Make it sound so exciting or fascinating they would be crazy to miss it.
Photos:  Plan photo opportunities from the start – so you have lots of different images you can use – then you have lots of opportunities for social media and your website. Seeing a repeated image over and over again – for those already who have made the decision to see your play it reinforces the message but some may skim over because it’s the same image each time – so shake it up with different images – think about what would make a good impact – people rehearsing pre-auditions, the cast together when they are announced, any unusual requirements for the show, cast being measured for costumes, any charitable activities – the list goes on and on.  Take photos constantly at rehearsals as funny photos could be used for a caption competition to win tickets etc. but you need lots of images. Get any publicity photos done as early as possible so you can drip feed them to raise interest. A picture paints a thousand words! So get snapping.
Your website: I cannot say how many society and group websites I have seen where the content is not up to date. Your website is possibly your main window to the world. USE IT! Make sure all the details and news items about the show can be found on the home page  – don’t expect potential audiences to search for it – the average person will look at a home page and then if they can’t find what they want they will exit the site within minutes.  Make it easy to see and keep it updated.
Social Media: This is often our main vein to the outside world. Is there a someone who would write a blog during rehearsals and through to technical rehearsal, dress and opening night about their experience and what is happening?  Audiences love to know the backstage gossip and ins and outs of a production – don’t tell them everything but a few bits of interesting news is a sure fire hit.  You should always have 2 or 3 people in a company with the ability to tweet and post on social media so it can always be updated  whenever.  Remember that the person who sees your post/tweet in the morning will not necessarily be the same person who is online at 6pm at night. So, make sure you vary and duplicate your posting times. You can use free software like Hootsuite (other software is available) to schedule posts over days, weeks or months – making sure that your production is regularly out there in front of people and encourage your cast and techs to re-tweet and re-post everything – the further afield it goes the better.
Also, share other local groups posts and tweets and then they will hopefully do the same back – create your own network and broaden your potential audience.
Videos: Many groups do promotional videos – my word of advice on these is make sure that several people see and review it before it goes live. One person’s idea of a good video may be lost in translation to a wider audience. What are the objectives of the video, can it be misinterpreted, what is the call to action?  Plan, plan and plan again.
Competitions:  These are great provided you are getting people to enter and get local media eg: newspapers or radio stations on board.  The earlier you can set these up and run them the better. Again, add it into your long-term plan!
Could you offer a discount for early booking – or for booking more than one production at a time? What other incentives can you offer? You probably already do group bookings  – remember these are the very people who do plan ahead rather than wait until show week – how can you work with them?
This is just a few of the ideas available and we will discuss more over time. If you have any questions about promoting your production, then do email us and if we can offer any help or advice we will, plus please keep sending up information about your productions and we will promote them too.

 

 

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Have you been to the Dark Side, where the Magic Happens?

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The dark side is the home of backstage magic. The universe of the Stage Manager, who leads the special, invisible people to make scene changes happen and allow the production to run smoothly. If all the world’s a Stage, then he/she is God!

While the actors are performing in front of the tabs, I’ve known Stage Managers and Deputy Stage Managers skilfully move large, noisy, un-wielding pieces of set behind the scenes by gently massaging them into place so as not to disturb the action for the audience.  Now that’s a real skill.

These masters of the dark with their unfailing stage crew put together a whole show at a technical rehearsal and yes it doesn’t always go exactly to plan but until you have crossed to the ‘dark side’ you have no idea of the stress and pressure they are under, because whether you like it or not they the unsung heroes to the audience…. unless it all goes pear-shaped and then it’s still probably not entirely their fault. They take the blame for many of the actors’ foibles and are so well disciplined they know the answer to everything is gaffer tape and a large hammer!

I’ve never heard an audience leaving a play or show, saying it was fantastic and weren’t the scene changes brilliant (those that do understand what is required, may make these comments from time to time) but you do hear people saying as they leave – if it didn’t go to plan – the scene changes were so slow it spoiled it for me etc, etc.

The actual role of a ‘Stage Manager’ seems to vary from society to society. Some call all the cues like a DSM, some run their brigade like a military operation and some have a much more laid back approach. Whichever one you have, they are still the boss when the show opens.

As a Director, I see the Stage Manager as vital in bringing the vision to the stage. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing Stage Managers who understand the weird requests put upon them, usually with late notice at a tech rehearsal and they always pull it out of the bag – what Magicians!

A good Stage Manager and stage crew need love, understanding (and usually feeding on beer after the show!). If you are an actor, next time you don’t get in a show or the part you want – why not sign up to work backstage – I guarantee if you haven’t done it before you will see a new side to the production. Personally, I think every actor should, on a regular basis, step out of the limelight and work backstage on crew, wardrobe or props but this sadly is not done as often as it should.

Next time you do a production, take a moment to appreciate you Stage Manager and his crew, think how you would perform on just one full rehearsal and whether you could pull it off!  Then remember if you don’t stay on the right side of him/her you will be performing in the dark, behind a piece of scenery or trapped in the wings!!

I love the Stage Managers prayer: “Lord Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those actors I had to kill because they pissed me off” …. So remember you have been warned!!

‘Bottoms up’ to all those Backstage on the dark side!

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“A good Director creates an environment which gives the actor the encouragement to fly”

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I am often asked – so what exactly DO you do as the Director?

Well…….

The Director is the person responsible for the overall creative vision for the show and for translating that to the cast.  To do this they must liaise with all the production team members including the Musical Director, any Assistants or Dance Captains, the Stage Manager, the Sound and Lighting Designers and the Wardrobe mistress/master and the Props mistress/master to name a few.

However, please don’t mistake the title ‘Director’ with the title ‘Producer’. I am often referred to as a producer but the Producer is the society or group who are responsible for the performing rights contract for the show or play, they engage the Director to produce the play or show.

Every Director is different and works in different ways but to find my vision for the piece, I like to do extensive research. For me, attention to detail is key – making sure everything fits in with the period or geography of the piece. Background research can take some time but I believe it is worth it for the authenticity of the finished performance.

Once the vision has been translated then the individual members of the production team can book or order the sets and costumes and start planning their part of the production etc.

When that is done, usually the first job for the Director is to choose the audition pieces and set any audition movements. The Director normally sits on the audition panel and along with the panel members has the difficult job of casting the show.

As a Director, I set the audition pieces and routines as far in advance as I can, that gives me time so I can also provide a draft schedule, a draft props list and a draft costume plot.  Once the parts are cast, I can simply update these and send them out. The hardest job is re-arranging the schedule to accommodate the cast’s holiday dates or other commitments and still ensure the rehearsal process runs smoothly. This is often like ‘painting the Forth bridge’ and can be changed and amended numerous times during the rehearsal period.

From this point on – the entire production needs plotting – who moves where when, the inflections and emotions required in the dialogue, any dance routines will need setting – in other words the whole show needs preparing prior to rehearsals. For a big company musical that is very time-consuming and can take hours of work before you have even entered the rehearsal room.

As rehearsals, can take weeks they should be fun as well as hard work. But all the time during the rehearsal process the Director is still working with the Stage Manager and his team on the scene changes, the Wardrobe Mistress on what everyone is wearing in which scene, confirming all the props with the props team, liaising with the sound and lighting teams, confirming photo shoots for the show publicity, perhaps checking the programme contents and anything else that needs to be done in preparation for the show.

Once the show approaches, it is mostly giving notes and ironing out any wrinkles in the performance in preparation for opening night. The technical and dress rehearsals can be stressful but you are part of a team to share the stress and the success.

In fact, the success of the show depends on the actor’s performance but the guidance comes from the Director, a guiding hand to help and assist the actors and to be the one to take responsibility and oversee the whole production. The job requires broad shoulders and often thick skin!

Once the show opens, then it’s up to the Stage Manager to run the show. So for me, it’s then time to relax in the bar with a glass of wine and enjoy the performance!!!

 

 

 

 

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What makes a great Pantomime?

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It’s nearly panto season – oh yes it is!

We all love a good pantomime and I usually end up seeing so many each year from local groups to professional theatre productions. So what makes a good panto?

There are a few requirements for a good pantomime: a happy, singing and dancing company, a colourful stage set and costumes plus familiar music and topical references. Of course, a good panto has lots of laughs for all the family but let’s face it a panto isn’t a panto without its star  –  The Dame!

Gone are the days of the Principal Boy in a tunic and thigh boots but fortunately, we still have the Dame. There are many different types of Dame, examples such as the very feminine dame which stems back to the drag style of Danny La Rue or John Inman or the butch dame following the lead of Les Dawson. But every dame is different some are even grotesquely over the top with heavy make-up while others are clearly just a man in a dress!

“a good pantomime gets brings new generations into the theatre to see live performances”

Playing the dame is not just about the costume and make-up,  most importantly it’s the ability to entertain an audience full of children aged between 5 and 95 with great jokes and slapstick, laced with innuendos for the grown-ups.  It takes a special skill to be able to improvise on the spot and to deal with rowdy (or scared) children and come up with funny quips and comebacks.

I always love some traditional slapstick, there is nothing most children like more than seeing someone get a pie in the face it’s a sure fire way for side-splitting laughs and belly aches. Along with this audience interaction is vital – the cheering, the shouting “He’s behind you”, “oh not it’s not”  – all these are a must in any panto and we all love it.

The music is of great importance too. The audience wants to hear songs they recognise, some they can hum along to and something popular or relevant at the time.  A good chorus or company can bring these songs to life.  Popular choices include a Disney melody or two, a top 10 hit and a great oldie from the 50’s or 60’s – something for the kids, mum and dad and the grandparents.

Topical or local references and jokes are always appreciated – whether it be a poke at politics or chuckle at celebrities this can be panto gold!  With so much in the news these days it’s hard to what to choose but remember it’s always got to be a family show!

So choose your pantomime wisely – look at what other groups locally are doing – I have often ended up being faced with choosing from 2 or 3 Aladdin’s in the same season when local groups all do the same pantomime, which then makes it hard to decide which one to see.

But in my opinion, most importantly, a good pantomime brings new generations into the theatre to see live performances – No CGI or computer games, just good honest fun and entertainment and it allows families to share these experiences together.

 

Why not send us details of your pantomime this year and we can add it to our What’s On Page.

 

 

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So the auditions are over and the cast list is published…..

Let’s consider what happens if you didn’t get the part you went for.  Naturally, you are devastated – you gave it everything and you still didn’t get the part. How dare they!

However, you have to bear in mind – it’s such a difficult task to cast a show. Often with lots of auditionees offering a whole range of differing skills and abilities. There is so much more to consider when casting all the roles in a show and putting together the whole company.

Even if you are the most brilliant performer sometimes you still don’t get the part… so how can that happen?

Well, the panel has to consider how the cast all fit together – even with make-up and costumes sometimes the difference in ages between two corresponding or partnered characters will not be believable to an audience. Whether it be love or parent/child relationships, it is these relationships between the characters that often cause the most discussion when casting the roles to make it work – I’ve often compared it to a jigsaw trying to get all the pieces together in the right place to make the whole picture.

What happens if you were offered a different part to the one you auditioned for. For some people they will be grateful for any part – so just make sure you make the most of it. Use it to show what they saw in you.

On the other hand…. Oh no! – You can’t possibly see yourself playing THAT part!  Wait a minute and take a deep breath – try not to go with a knee-jerk reaction – I often hear of people turning down smaller roles because they really wanted ‘the lead’ so would not consider another part but often the smaller roles are the ones that offer the greatest opportunity for an all-round performance and for showing your ability.  The audition panel obviously thought you had talent to cast you even (if it is only a cameo role) so show them what you can do and why next time you should play a more major role. Use the experience to make you a stronger and better performer.  Listen and learn in the rehearsals and use what you gain to make your next audition more confident.  Easy words to say I know, however, I do see now with great regularity how quickly people grow and perform better and improve by playing a range of smaller roles, gaining stage technique and experience before heading for the centre spotlight.

Quite often when seeing a play or show, I find that the supporting roles have really worked developing deep characters and therefore give strong performances – sometimes even better than the main leading characters – even in Hollywood not everyone can play the leading man!

Being involved in the theatre requires a thick skin but we don’t all find that easy – after all, we all put ourselves up for critique every time we step on stage. Of course, it’s not all about having a hardened shell, the other main requirements are dedication and perseverance.  Even if you have played the last few leading roles and you don’t get this one – this does not mean you did a bad audition or were not good enough – if just means someone else fitted all the criteria better on this occasion, they made the jigsaw work. You have to pick yourself up and move on.

Of course, some people will realise is takes more than the actors to put on the performance, so if you really don’t want to go on stage in this show now, for whatever reasons, why not offer your services elsewhere and gain further insight into how it all comes together. We will look at the different roles and challenges they face in the future. I am a great believer in the performers finding out more about the other requirements and even if you are not very good at it (well you can’t be good at everything, can you?) it will help you for future auditions and parts because of your greater knowledge of theatre in general.

So try not to be too miserable, find the positives and of course just remember to prepare for next time…….

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Auditions – Do you have the x factor or suffer the fear factor?

 

Anyone who loves performing on stage knows before you can enjoy all that applause and adoration for your onstage performance – you need to get the part and that means Auditions!  For most of us, these can be more nerve-wracking than opening night!

The key to auditions, I still firmly believe, is preparation – after 20+ years watching people audition in front of me – there are very, very few people I know who can walk into an audition and ‘blag it’!

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So here are a few of my tips to help you do the very best you can in your audition.

Preparation means you need to do some research before deciding which part is best suited to your strengths – with YouTube and the internet so accessible there really is no excuse when it comes to choosing the right part.  Be ambitious but also be realistic and whatever your previous experience you should still do the following:

  1. Research the show – what are the roles/characters, the songs and are there are lots of dance routines to learn. Remember age on stage can be disguised with make-up but you can only go so far!
  2. Look at how large the role you are considering auditioning for is. (It’s not ideal to go for the largest lead role if this is your first attempt at an audition or first time on stage) Why not try something smaller or a cameo role to see how it goes – if you do a great audition then the panel might think you could possibly consider a larger part – who knows?  A good audition regardless of the part you are going for will stand you in great stead for the show.
  3. Are the songs in your vocal range? – if you are unsure talk to the musical director – they should be able to tell you whether you are a Soprano, Alto, Mezzo, Tenor, Baritone or Bass.
  4. Does the part require an accent or accents – can you attempt these (not necessarily perfectly for auditions but close enough), as the pressure of auditions can make anything happen.
  • Remember you are showing the audition panel you at your best… this means make sure they can see your face – I am still bewildered by auditionees with their hair draped in front of their face or their amazing interest in the floor. Make sure they can see you and see how talented you really are! Chin up and shine!
  • If wearing certain shoes or a lucky t-shirt helps, then do it – we all have our superstitions. However, if the part is a princess or elegant lady – wearing your favourite trainers and baggy tracksuit may not help the panel see you in the role. Think how to help them believe in you. If the part comes down to you and your all time nemesis – if they look more like the part and you have both performed well in the audition – the panel will look at any other factors to help them make a decision.
  • Try and learn the dialogue and songs if you can – I always find holding a book or sheet of paper when you are nervous and shaking highlights that fact, plus hopefully without the words you can get more into the character and perform better.

These are all the basics but what if all these things are okay but your nerves still get the better of you?

Don’t Panic! Everyone on the panel wants you to do a great audition – after all, they want the best people for the parts. Take some water into your audition, in case of a dry throat and remember to breath – if you can forget about the panel and imagine it’s the actual show that you are performing in front of the audience or that you are still in your bedroom in front of the mirror, that can help. Above all if it goes wrong, stop and ask if you can start again. Take a moment and go for it – if you can get through this then it proves to the panel you can cope with any issues that might arise during the actual show.

 

As with the lyrics from The Wiz – “If you believe within your heart, you’ll know that no one can change the path that you must go. Believe what you feel and know you’re right because the time will come around when you can say it’s yours”

If you want some personal one to one advice please email directorslife at theatrelifeuk@outlook.com

 

 

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