Theatre, Theatre 101 Series

Theatre 101 Series: What to Expect in Your First Audition

The Theatre 101 Series is a set of introductory articles meant to explain theatrical concepts and situations to young actors as well as adult theatrical newcomers. View the whole series here.

For new actors, the audition is the scariest part of the entire production process. Even as a seasoned performer, I tend to get more nervous for auditions than I do for actual performances. Auditions can be downright terrifying!

Nevertheless, once you get a few under your belt, auditions get much easier. The first is always the scariest! It would be a shame to never get a chance to perform simply because you’re afraid to audition. Hopefully, I can help! In this article I’m going to explain the general process of auditioning so you know exactly what’s coming.

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Theatre, Theatre 101 Series

Theatre 101 Series: So you Want to try Theatre? 10 Things you Should Know

The Theatre 101 Series is a set of introductory articles meant to explain theatrical concepts and situations to young actors as well as adult theatrical newcomers. View the whole series here.

Getting started in theatre takes a lot of courage.

If you’ve never performed before, you inevitably have a lot of questions about theatre. What does it take to get started? What should I know? What will I learn? The questions can become so daunting that they often prevent would-be performers from ever stepping on stage at all.

In order to help more newcomers make the transition from potential actor to first-time actor, I’m going to explain ten things everyone should know about the art of theatre.

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Guides and Tips, Theatre

The 5 Most Important Learning Objectives From Every Theatre Degree Program— And how to Achieve Them Independently

A college degree simply isn’t the best choice for everyone.

I’m not in the business of discouraging anyone to go to school for theatre. I always stand in support of theatre majors. However, in education, the phrase “one size fits all” is a harmful myth. For many, a college education just doesn’t make sense. Besides the obvious (and woefully often overlooked) point that the traditional higher education setting isn’t the best learning environment for everyone, college is expensive, and theatre majors are too often reminded of the fact that all the money spent for tuition still can’t guarantee future employment.

Many agree that the degree itself  is not the most important outcome of a college education in theatre. Rather, what you receive in return for all that tuition is valuable training and professional connections. As the official degree is the only thing a traditional college path can boast over independent study and on-the-job experience, some are more suited to seek training outside of a college setting, preferably at a much lower price point.

So what exactly should one get from their theatre degree program? And how could they go about getting those without pursuing the degree at all?

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Guides and Tips, Theatre

3 Definitive Traits That Make you an Excellent Performer

I’ve been around a lot of performers, in a lot of different settings. I’ve directed, I’ve taught, I’ve acted, I’ve watched from the audience and from the stage manager’s booth. Every performer is unique, and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Yet, in all of the actors, dancers, and musicians I’ve worked with, I have found that there are exactly three traits every truly excellent performer has in common.

These traits are instrumental to success in the performing arts. You won’t get very far without them, and having them can put you on top in close auditions.

If you can honestly say you have these three traits, then pat yourself on the back! If you’re not so sure, read over this article closely and do what you can to pick them up immediately.

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Actor Life, Theatre

5 Free Online Resources for Performers who are Social Distancing

With COVID-19 shutting down theatrical venues, classes, and performances across the world, many performers now find themselves stuck at home with little to do. However, the arts are as always indomitable, and many performers and arts educators have taken to social media to do what they do best. Why not use your time at home productively? Here are 5 free resources (and one bonus, sort of free resource) for theatrical performers practicing social distancing!

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Actor Life, Theatre

Rest, Reset, Grow

I write this a week after the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, declared schools would be closed for two weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19, and days after he’s ordered a shutdown of all events with more than 50 people in attendance. Thus, he wiped out thousands of school, community, and professional theatre productions in the state. All around the U.S. and the world, the decree is the same. As of now, Broadway is not even a week into a month-long blackout.

These preventative measures are necessary, but they exact a price.

A lot of my friends are hurting. As deep into various theatre circles as I am, I’ve been hearing lamentations of cancelled and postponed shows for weeks.

Some amateur department directors fear their programs will never be able to recover financially. Actors mourn roles they’ll never get to play for an audience. Professionals are without pay for who knows how long.

Despite everything, the theatre community keeps art and hope alive. Young actors share videos of their would-be performances, clips of themselves singing and reading monologues. Professional theatre and dance companies like BalletNova Center for Dance post Facebook Live ballet classes for anyone to enjoy.

But we are hurting. Many actors have had something taken from them they will never really be able to recover.

Actors, singers, dancers, professionals and amateurs alike; Performers of every sort who have been effected by the spread of this disease:

Take this time to rest, whether you want to or not.

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Guides and Tips, Theatre

How to Practice Show Material at Home Effectively

In my adventures (and misadventures) as a middle school musical co-director, I find the phrase “please work on this on your own time” within my top-five most said in rehearsal. As an adult involved in community theatre, the same sentence is probably within my top-five most heard phrases as well. Most performers will agree to practice at home in earnest, but often find themselves at a loss when it comes time to do so. How can we make at-home rehearsal feel as useful and efficient as rehearsal with our peers?

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Actor Life, Theatre

“Where am I Going, and Where Have I Been?”: What I Learned From Reviewing Six Years of Past Performances

I have compulsively taken audio recordings of every voice lesson I’ve had over the last four years, as well as recordings of most auditions and a handful of rehearsals. I’ve made it a habit and feel the strong need to be recording whenever I’m doing anything with my voice. Funny enough, I rarely end up listening back to these recordings– I’ve probably listened to less than a third of the entire library of recordings I’ve made with the app Voice Record Pro.

For fun I recently listened to some of the first recordings. These were from my freshman year of college, a time in which I was very insecure in my voice, and still very green in my vocal training overall. I was struck by the difference in those audios from the most recent ones! I was excited about the prospect of growth, and ended up mentioning the fact to my therapist. She was very excited with my discovery, and asked that I take it a step further.

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