We regularly hold Twitter question and answer sessions to answer your burning questions about working in the performing arts industry.
Whether your question is about nailing your next audition, or what role you are made for, we have the answers for you.
Click on the questions below to get the best advice from The Stage's resident careers advisor, John Byrne as well as guests including Fraser Ayres.
1. Some graduates work immediately, some wait months - you are aiming for lifelong career so don't quit.
2. Agent or none - do all YOU can to look professional and generate work.
3. Need help with career plan? do email The Stage career clinic via firstname.lastname@example.org
If a career is the end goal people have landed one by taking either route. It is definitely worth taking a look at individual subjects and modules on each course.
BTECs in backstage & tech skills are good options too. Here's a useful overview: http://tinyurl.com/l4h83s9
Education & Training section of The Stage website (and The Half in print paper) has lots of tips. Follow my colleague Susan Elkin on Twitter (@SusanElkinJourn), she's a font of wisdom and knowledge on all matters educational. The Stage's ‘choose a drama course’ issue is out on October 30th.
Thinking about uni may influence your pre-uni choices. So, good luck...I hope to see you on the London stage some time soon!
Good goal :) First thing is take him to see lots of shows-small fringe ones as well as west end.
Explore taster courses and workshops such as Masterclass, which are always good to dip toe in the water.
Pick performers you like - not 'stars' as such but performers who are 4-5years ahead of where you want to be. Also, research those performers - find out where did they studied and check out those courses.
My first suggestion would be to make sure to engage with as many Theatre Education projects and departments as possible. Visit exhibits, join workshops and get a feel for what works/engages in large and small theatres.
Consider volunteering to get experience of the ‘non glam’ but essential aspects such as budgeting. The combination of passion and experience gained should make you a front runner when applying for jobs. Also, Check out the excellent information and great case studies on the Creative and Cultural Skills website.
BIG question! You might want to get in touch with @TriForceEvents for this one! Here goes:
1. Personal funding. It can be a nightmare but is often the only route. Big productions NEVER put their own money near it. A pilot, or personal project is an option.
2. Associations and partnerships. Seek those with similar vision. You can share resources, talent pools, and connections/outputs & outcomes.
3. Seek a venue first. Often there will be some form of support or guidance.
4. Speak to those whose work you respect, the advice of those that have tread the path before can help avoid pitfalls. Speak to @COGARTS and finally use Google! There are lots of funds, charities and organisations to search for. Find synergy and engage.
The best resource is seeing them performed at the theatre. There's nothing like seeing it first hand and going ‘yeah, but I’d do THIS with it’ :-)
Google is your friend, a day sat in a local library would be invaluable!
Read LOTS of plays as standard practice, 99% will have monologues. This helps in innumerable other ways as well.
Why not also read Fraser Ayres' 5 Top Tips for nailing a monologue
A coach isn't needed, but an outside eye is essential once you have gone as far as you can.
Find a piece for where you ARE not where you WERE.
Treat it as if you have never read a monologue before, as it brings new thoughts. Avoid pieces you did before, treat it as a new start! Also, avoid too much of a challenge.
Pick something enjoyable that will give you the ‘hunger’ again and build your confidence.
There are no good monologues! There is only good writing with the right performer. Try and stay away from 'old' characters. So, avoid 'usual suspects' like Romeo and Mercutio. Check out The Revenger's Tragedy, Faust, Marlowe and play YOUR type.
Pick something that stands out for you, play your type. Check out the Sonnets, they're a goldmine!
Honest answer - Yes. I have worked for no pay or expenses at various times, but was always clear on the return I was getting i.e. showreel footage, exposure, experience. In general I would always look for fair pay.
If you have an agent, make sure they put you forward - do take advice, but ultimately they work for you.
If you don't have an agent you can find auditions on The Stage Castings and other places - but make sure you read all the details and prepare well.
Even West End stars compete for parts, so rehearse, prepare and do all you can to show yourself in the best light.
Treat every audition as a learning experience and a step on the road to finally getting that part.
Also, treat EVERY show like a West End show -y ou never know who might see you and open that West End door for you.
It is certainly something tutors and agents should be able to advise on. Decent showcases like Monologue Slam UK can help as can various ‘Casting Director’ workshops. But 1 or 2 should be ample don’t be persuaded to constantly fork out for ‘exclusive events’.
Remember also that your type and market can change every few years.
Depending on childcare, the parts you go for may be different.
Maybe no long tours, however your best chance of getting any part is to do your best possible audition.
You can check The Stage and other sources for open auditions and submit yourself. Make sure you have good headshot and formatted CV, whether you have an agent or not.
Good casting sites like The Stage Castings are not always expensive. Review your personal budget for long-term gain. A good agent also helps. Prove yourself as employable - that's your best chance of getting one.
Preparation is key. But whether you are at university, school, a top drama course or have no training at all, an acting career challenge is the same for every one. There are some things you can’t totally control such as castings and getting agents, but there are some you can control such as self generating work in ways mentioned below.
Getting your head shots and CV ready as well as researching work outlets is a very good idea pre-graduation. Best of all try to talk to recent graduates about what it is really like out there.
To be honest, even professional CVs in themselves don’t guarantee work. To build up your CV look for open auditions and get involved in improvisation or stand up. Make sure that whatever you are doing, you promote yourself via social media and fliers etc. Also, invest in a good headshot as this can sometimes make all the difference regardless of your CV!
Many successful movie actors have come from theatre, but they are two different mediums. Screen acting courses are a good idea, look for ones taught by CURRENT working professionals.
You need a good showreel too and sadly even the best theatrical performances on video won’t cut it. Visit indy film festivals/sites to network and see what is current. See you at the movies!
Spotlight is one of the first places casting directors and others look for performers- agents too. You don’t need an agent to be on Spotlight, like The Stage Castings, you can get castings sent direct to you. However, you need professional work and qualifications under belt to be on Spotlight and to interest agents.
So, doing all you can to self generate work is important, whichever directories you are listed in!
A CV is essentially a list in a standard format, so it is hard to make it 'stand out'. However, the ‘personal statement’ type sections of your CV are the areas to work hard on for 'stand out' potential.
Study the college/course information closely. What values, themes are especially important to that college? Link your own stories, aims and passions to those themes. Best wishes with your applications!
1. Many people think that the way to get noticed is to get an agent, but it works the other way round. Agents want to build on the work of actors already getting work and being seen.
Look for open castings, rehearsed readings, community shows and invite agents to see them when you perform. If agents do come and sign you, then that's great. If not then hey, you are working anyway. Wishing you every success!
1. Well, obviously subscribe to @thestage and join @stagecastings :)
2. but also see as many plays and shows as you can-you can learn so much from seeing live actors
3. Remember that building career takes time - have a plan B. even as an actor u may need other work
1. For great overview and action plan: Actors Yearbook by Simon Dunmore
2. Decide in advance what you want to achieve after tuition. This will help choose the right tutor/school for you
3. Once you identify courses/tutors see if there are any open days/trial lessons before making a final decision
4. Is a private tutor too costly? Find acting class/group for networking, learning and practise
1. do the math... Establishing yourself abroad can take months or years so budget carefully and for the long-term
2. Connect with people currently working in the place you're moving to. Get a good cross section of advice
PS try The Stage online forums as a good place to gather info
1. Develop an awareness of your ‘type’ so you can choose suitable audition pieces
2. Remember that a role you like and a role you can perform well aren’t always the same thing
3. Keep audition repertoire fresh-speech/role you did well 3 years ago may not suit who you are today
1. Get lessons…even if you can sing already. For serious singer taking care of your voice is important
2. Learn to PERFORM and entertain live-best singers are not always the best performers.
3. Look for open mic nights & singers evenings in your local area. Gig as much as you can-enjoy!
1. Always worth checking up on all old contacts and reminding them who you are.
2. Linked In is a more business like way than Facebook for reconnecting.
PS certainly keep up to date with industry news in The Stage as a lot has changed in 10 years...
PPS however skills & experience gained in 10 years out may suggest related avenues in our business.
A good casting agency can help get work but you are still captain of the ship. So, keep exploring other work too, but make sure all agents know when you are and aren't available.
You shouldn't have to 'afford' an agent, they only get paid when you get work. Never pay upfront.
There are lots of castings you can apply for with or without agent. A good photo, CV and talent is enough.
You have more of a chance of getting a good agent if you show you can get work already.
1. Identify what exactly you need from agent-different for each performer and each career stage.
2. Research agents who get actors LIKE you to where you want to be via Spotlight, Contacts etc.
3. approach agents showing you have done research-know what you can offer and what they offer.
Getting agent: hard getting right one: harder, approaching agent as the 'right client for them' is key.