Auditions are part and parcel of the actor’s life. Whether you’re a performing arts newbie or a seasoned professional, a huge part of your work will inevitably involve showing off your chops to the people responsible for putting together theatre productions (i.e. our director, producer, and casting director friends). It’s easy to see auditions as overwhelming and frightening. Indeed, nervousness before auditions is something that even the most experienced of actors admit to feeling — it’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of.
That being said, there are many tools we can use to get out of our own way and show our best work at auditions, the most reliable being adequate audition preparation. There’s simply no better trick to eradicating fear then to know that you’ve done absolutely everything in your power to give your best performance at an audition. Only then can you let go and let the magic happen!
It’s been a while since I’ve had an audition. A proper audition, so I had to go back to basics and remember some of the rules for how to prepare for an audition. This audition is for a local theatre company called Blue Orange Theatre, the play that will be performing is a classic, The Importance of Being Earnest. So where to start:
1) Find out all you can about the audition. Write it all down if you must. You can never be too prepared! Keep these key points in mind:
•When is it?
•Where is it? Get the address and postcode of the building, floor number, room number. If it's in an unfamiliar city, consider a dummy run to time the journey and find parking spaces/ bus links.
•What is the audition for? Research all you can about the company, production of the show. Not only will this give you a better picture of what they'll be looking for, it shows interest and keenness.
•What exactly will the audition entail? Will there be an audience or just a panel? One single audition or several different sections?
•What you're required to bring or wear. You may be asked to bring head shots, sheet music, history of theatre experience or copies of your prepared monologues.
2) Don't be shy. Allow friends, relatives or colleagues to watch your performance prior to your audition. Like knitting or baking, performing is a skill that takes a lot of practice. The more often you perform, the less nervous you will be each time and honest, constructive criticism is gold-dust. Perform to many different types of people- experts and amateurs. The more advice, the better.
3) Check, check and double check what will be expected of you.
•Is there a time limit? Strictly time your performance leaving some breathing space. Remember that nerves will normally speed up the performance.
•Is there a dress code? Even if there is, you have to look your best.
•Do you need to submit accompaniments for the pianist in advance or on the day? Do you need to provide the panel with copies of your scores or monologues?
•Are you expected to bring a CV/resume, proof of identity or examination/qualification certificates?
4) Practice, practice, practice! If you can, get a script, and learn the lines of the character you're wanting, or just look though the script. •Actors: research the material and familiarize yourself with it. If you are auditioning for a specific character, spend time thinking about their characteristics and their role in the play.
•Singers: Ensure you can confidently perform scales, vocal exercises and that you have a personal routine to warm up your voice. Be aware that you may need to warm up 'publicly', meaning that there will rarely be a private practice space to warm up. Don't let this intimidate you, make sure you know your specific vocal range. Be prepared to answer questions about your preferred style and part.
•Make sure that the music is well practiced. The only thing you can do for the audition is to make sure that you prepare your music to the best of your ability. Warm up, and make sure that your instrument is swabbed, oiled, or cleaned prior.
5) The night before the audition, gather any materials you may be required to bring with you. Get to bed early in order to be well-rested for the day ahead.
6) On the day, eat a balanced breakfast. Avoid acidic or greasy foods, fizzy drinks, chocolate and coffee as these damage your vocal chords and make it harder to be at your best. If you are a smoker, do your best to put your morning cigarette off until after your audition, especially if you will be singing.
7) Arrive reasonably early to your audition, as there will inevitably be a moderately large amount of people there before you. Also, if you are unfamiliar with the area where the audition will be held, allow time in your schedule to make sure you won't arrive late.
8) Don't chicken out. When you arrive, there may be a large crowd of people, but it's perfectly normal to be nervous. Just remember all the hard work you have put into preparing for your audition and walk in smiling with your head held high.
9) When you're finished...
•Be patient. You may not hear immediately whether or not your audition was successful. It can take days or weeks.
•Try not to over-analyse. You never know what exactly they were looking for - you've done your best and it's all you can do.
•Stay focused and determined. You won't get every part you audition for and this is normal! Remember that each audition you do is strengthening you as a performer and thickening your skin.
10) Remember: Break a leg! xxx