Theatre, Theatre 101 Series

Theatre 101 Series: A Beginner’s Guide to Audition Prep

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.

When you are new to theatre, preparing for an audition feels like walking blindly into the unknown. While understanding what to expect in your first audition may help, learning how to prepare properly for an audition can require a lot of audition experience. To help newcomers break into auditioning and put their best foot forward, here is a beginner-friendly guide to preparing for auditions!

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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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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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Actor Life, Theatre

“Don’t Take This the Wrong way, but You’ve Really Improved”

These words were spoken to me upon the completion of the singing portion of a recent audition.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve really improved a lot since last year.”

The director said this and caught me completely off guard. A few hours later, he apologized, and caught me even more off guard. He explained that he’d meant what he said as a compliment, and hoped it hadn’t sounded rude.

My response was basically, “yeah, of course it’s a compliment, duh.”

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Guides and Tips, Theatre

Why Singers Shouldn’t Strain for High Notes, According to Physiology and Anatomy

You’re probably not being told everything you need to be the best singer you can be.

Singing is at once an intricate art and a complicated science. We often forget about the science part, because it’s not usually the most visible facet of singing– when we hear incredible singers, we are typically drawn to the depth of their emotional performance, not so much their ironclad technique and mastery of their bodily “instrument.”

Any vocal teacher worth their salt should spend time discussing both the science and the art. Proper understanding of human anatomy and physiology as it relates to the voice will be necessary to produce sound in a healthy, pleasing way. Strict scentific understanding alone nonetheless won’t make someone a great performer if they’re unable to harness and use artistic expression to their benefit. The science is in many ways rather instinctual to humans– we’re born able to produce sound and typically start singing even before we start speaking. As we age, we tend to become less free with our emotions and more reserved, and so the emotional work of singing can become the most pressing matter for many voice teachers. Many new voice students need a lot of help expressing themselves with some small technical pointers along the way. This generally yields passable enough results. Besides, most students aren’t seeking long term careers in singing, and don’t really have enough use for the complicated scientific teaching as would make the effort to teach and learn such principles worthwhile.

This unbalanced treatment, however, means that many beginner and even intermediate singers never fully understand the science behind their voices, and therefore get overly wrapped up in the emotional side of things. We put so much weight on emotion and see so much emotional power in great performers that without scientific understanding of the voice, we assume emotion will be enough to power us through nearly anything. “Pushing” or straining is associated with heightened emotion, and assumed to be the necessary “secret sauce” to make difficult voice work happen. This is not the case.

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