ASPIRE BLOG: Some advice on auditions

It’s that time in the rehearsal process of Aspire where we have to make some casting decisions for the show. Up until this point the cast have been devising the script and learning all the songs but they haven’t really known who is playing what part. And it’s always hard. It’s hard for us to make decisions such is the level of talent in each ensemble. It’s hard for the cast when they might not get a part they wanted. It’s hard.

So we offer ensembles the opportunity to audition for parts. Even though auditioning, in my humble opinion, doesn’t always give a true reflection of the extent of people’s talents. How can it possibly begin to? Sometimes we have a great audition and sometimes we don’t and that’s the truth of it. So the reason I like to wait to make casting decisions is because we have a much better idea at this point of what our cast can do from observing them in rehearsals, where they are engaged and comfortable.

But despite my intense dislike of auditioning, based on my own experiences which vary from the excellent to the horrifyingly awful, they are the best way to quickly see a lot of people and gauge their suitability for a part. With that in mind I would like to offer some advice to any ASPIRE cast members auditioning this week, and indeed anyone who ever auditions for ASPIRE.

  • If you mess up or feel like your first couple of lines don’t do you justice, stop and ask to start again. No one will think less of you and it won’t affect your chances
  • When practicing your audition piece do it in front of a mirror or video yourself. You need to know what you look like and if it’s what you envisaged
  • Go with your instincts about the way to portray a character or sing a song, and try and stick with what you planned
  • If you’re performing script with another actor really make sure you hear their lines and respond to them
  • If you’re singing, sing to the audience. Show them how you can engage them. If you’re too nervous to make eye contact with them look just above their heads
  • Focus on what you’re doing and keep your focus
  • Try and relax, remember this isn’t life or death stuff. It’s one audition for one part. If you don’t get it there will be others

So that’s my advice for what it’s worth and to the vocalists and actors that will be auditioning for me next week, try and enjoy the opportunity to have a go and not get bogged down in the results. Each and every one of you is important to the production and brings something special to the stage.  Please remember that.

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Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.