Audition workshop coming up? Check out some insider tips and advice from young actors.
Audition workshops are a popular way to choose actors for a company – and sometimes they’re used by drama schools and university theatre courses, too.
We use them at the Young Actors Company to choose a group of up to 60 young, local people to join us for a year of professional theatre training, performance and fun.
We wanted to pass on all our tips in case you have an audition workshop coming up, or you want to audition for the WCTT Young Actors Company next year.
As one of our young actors put it: “auditioning is like baking a cake – don’t over or undercook it”.
Get your recipe just right by following these tips.
Ultimate guide to audition workshops for young actors.
If you’re not asked to prepare anything for your workshop audition you’ll just need to be yourself, be ready for anything and embrace the chance to improvise.
Research the company, school or course you’re auditioning for, but never assume they’re looking for exactly the same type of actor, or putting on the same kind of productions, this time. Theatre is a dynamic art: things change every season.
Feeling nervous before an audition workshop is completely normal. Keep the butterflies under control by using meditation or mindfulfulness techniques. Simple breathing exercises can really help too, particularly if you need to calm down just before (or after) the workshop.
Making an audition playlist can help too: choose songs that relax you or make you feel confident and listen on the way to the workshop.
“Act confident, no matter what” Sally, Act 3
Wear something comfortable you can move around freely in – but don’t be afraid of letting your personality show. Unless you’re given specific instructions on what to wear, an all-black dress code doesn’t have to apply. If you love wearing hats, neon t-shirts or bright print leggings, as long as you can leap around on stage in them, a standout style could help the directors to remember you.
Auditions are exciting but think about the practical things, too: take some water (and a snack, if it’s a long workshop); work out exactly where the workshop is taking place and plan your route carefully, so you’re not late; arrive at least 15-minutes early so you have chance to take a breath and centre yourself; pop a pen and notepad in your bag to take down any useful info, or swap Insta handles with people you meet.
Audition workshops start the second you walk into a room and end after you’ve left the building. Directors may clock the confidence you have when you arrive, whether you smile or chat to fellow auditionees and how you act at the end of the audition: if you grab your stuff and bolt for the door, you might not leave the right impression.
Icebreaker games are a hugely important part of a workshop. Throw yourself into them and never assume the “real audition” only starts when you’re asked to perform, sing or dance.
“Be yourself: show them who you are as a person” Eliott, Act 2
Directors aren’t just looking for performers – they’re looking for people they get on well with. You’ll be spending loads of time together in rehearsal studios, rushing around backstage before and after shows and hopefully hanging out at social and fundraising events. Being yourself, being empathetic and showing what a good friend you are is just as important as performing well or hitting the right note. “I’m looking for enthusiasm and flexibility,” says Act 2 director, Katie Turner, “nothing worse than working with somebody who won’t accept other people’s ideas!”
There’s never any point trying to get inside the director’s head – you won’t figure out exactly what they’re looking for. Sometimes, directors know what they want from an audition workshop; other times, they take their lead from the actors on the day and how well the auditionees interact as a group. You don’t have a crystal ball, so enjoy the moment and forget about the mind-reading.
“Have fun in the audition and try to make friends”
Calum, Act 3
Smile and make eye contact with everyone – not just the director. Assistants, producers and other decision-makers may also be in the room. Communicate with as many people as you can, even if it’s just with a smile.
Be ready to talk about yourself. A director might ask you to share information that gives them, and the group, a good feel for the kind of person you are. Avoid rattling off your CV at this point…this is your chance to show how interesting and fun you are off-stage, not to show-off about your acting credits.
“What’s the last play you saw?” This is another common question in an audition workshop. If you really love acting, you’ll love going to the theatre too. See as many local plays and shows as you can (they are plenty of free events going on in most communities if you’re on a tight budget) so you’re always ready to answer this question.
“Always reply to questions from the auditioner
if you’re in a group”
Sally, Act 3
Listen carefully to the director. If you’re asked to perform something in a different way, try it out with an open mind and lots of enthusiasm. You haven’t done anything wrong! The director is simply working out how versatile you are and how well you take direction.
Of course, when you do get the chance to act in the workshop, give it all you’ve got. And that goes for singing and dancing, too (you never know, the company’s next season might include a musical…)
“Show them how good an actor you are” Caleb, Act 2
Audition workshops are as much about networking as getting into the company or onto the course. Don’t just focus on the end result: consider staying in touch with other auditionees after the workshop, particularly if you had fun and got on well. You might be able to share info on future casting opportunities or courses, or even start your own theatre group one day.
Play the long game. If you don’t get a “yes” this time, don’t despair. The director might think of you in the future, if a suitable role comes up or a space becomes available in the company. The more workshops you attend, the more experience you’ll get and the more theatre people you’ll know.
Never take rejection personally. It’s part and parcel of being an actor. Feeling gutted if you don’t get the outcome you wanted is absolutely normal: give yourself time and space to process the news. Hollywood actor Vince Vaughn had a rough time before he made it big. His advice? “Find a process where you’re able to…allow yourself to feel disappointed. I think it’s important that you don’t turn off those feelings. But it is also important [to] do that as quickly as possible to then become productive again.”
Auditioning for the Young Actors Company
The Young Actors Company is free to attend and open to anyone in Merton aged 11-19.
We hold free audition workshops every September and we’d love to see you there.