Guest Posts

Published on May 11th, 2010 | by Biz Books

Guest Post: “From Behind the Table: General Auditions Part 2B – The Interview” by Jack Paterson

“Choose a monologue you really, really know and can inhabit with complete ease. Know what kind of play the company is likely to be doing and perhaps try to choose something that will interest them…you are not auditioning for a role, but for the chance to audition for a role.” John Wright, Artistic Director, Blackbird Theatre (Vancouver)


• What to wear?

Some auditioners won’t care about this, however those that do will quite strongly. Clothing is our first experience of you. Better to take the time to make a positive first impression than a negative one.

Dress nicely. Put a little effort in to it. Wear something comfortable that makes you feel good and is suitable for the pieces you are doing (there is nothing worse than getting flashed during a monologue. You may have been brilliant but that’s all we remember). Save the track pants and T shirts for rehearsal.

• Warm up

Take the time to stretch and do a vocal warm up before heading out. Just like going on stage, you are entering a stressful situation and want to be as relaxed, available and on your voice as possible.

The Audition:

• Show up!

As actors, we will find all kinds of reasons not to show up. I certainly did it early in my career. The thing is – it will be remembered. The theatre community is also small enough that it may be remembered for a long time. Time and effort has been put into who received audition slots, and the people preparing the auditions are giving you an opportunity – other people did not get a slot. A no show will also affect the entire day’s scheduling. If there is a real emergency or a valid reason not to be there, then call.

• Arrival and Signing in

Show up early and sign in. Make sure you give yourself enough time to deal with traffic, transit etc. If you come rushing into the audition in a panic – you are not going to be at your best during the performance. By showing up early you have time to put on your game face and find a positive place to be in before entering the room. Different people have different ways for this. I know an actor who plays a character at auditions – the character happens to be an awful lot like himself in a good mood. Some people meditate, some people work their stuff and others just hang out and talk. Find what is right for you and respect other people’s processes.

It’s alright to be nervous, most of us on both sides of the table are, be ok with where you are at.

If you are asked to go during an earlier slot and are not ready yet, it’s perfectly normal to ask to wait for your time.

When signing in, be polite to the staff. They maybe anyone from family members of the AD, Board Member’s volunteering or the company General Manager and, guaranteed, they will be having a beer with the AD afterward. They are working hard to help make the auditions run smoothly and may have a lot on their plate.

• Patience

There are a lot of people to be seen and despite all the best efforts on everybody’s side auditions often fall behind. Please be patient with us. We are doing the best we can. If you are booking time off work, it’s best to add an hour after your time slot. You don’t need the extra stress and hey, if the time ends up being free, treat yourself to a cappuccino.

About Jack Paterson

Jack is a Canadian director/ actor who is currently in Toronto for Canadian Stage’s BASH! Residency. He is a graduate of The Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York. Directing credits include Mad Duck’s Jessie nominated productions of Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, Carousel Theatre’s The Hobbit and The Odyssey (winner Outstanding Production Jessie Richardson Award), The Bardathon’s Henry 6 Parts 2 & 3 and The Presentation House hit The Real Inspector Hound. He is the recipient of the Ray Michaels Award for Outstanding Body of Work by an Emerging Director and been nominated for four Outstanding Direction Jessie Richardson Awards.

Most recently he was the Artist in Residence at the Centaur Theatre and directed The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in his Garden for the Shaw Festival’s Neil Munro Directors Project.

A tremendous thank you to all the artistic directors, directors and actors who shared their insights for this blog.

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