The Audition Must… – Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Auditions

Mariana Avelino talks us through her experience auditioning for her very first student production…

There are many reasons to audition for a play at university. Acting might be a hobby or a career aspiration of yours. You might want to overcome inhibitions by participating in an extroverted and spontaneous activity. Perhaps you want to meet new people. Or maybe you just want to have fun by trying something new.

Whatever your reason, it can be intimidating to audition, especially for the first time. I know, because last semester I auditioned for The Show Must… (above) – my very first play audition. From this experience, I have compiled my TOP AUDITIONING TIPS. Through these tips, I hope to demystify auditioning for those who have yet to try it, to share some personal advice with future auditionees and to encourage hesitant auditionees to just do it!

Top Tip #1: You don’t need to be a performing arts student to audition

Belief that most – if not all – of the auditionees would be performing arts students was my main reservation about auditioning. Surely an amateur like myself would only make a fool of themselves, right?

While most auditionees are performing arts students, and very good actors indeed, many students from other courses, ranging from Business to Mathematics, audition, too. From my conversations with them, I discovered that getting a callback is difficult, but it happens for the non-performing arts students as much as for the performing arts students.

Top Tip #2: Have fun and keep having fun

Like most auditionees, I was nervous and a bit shy. To relax and stimulate the group, the stage director led icebreaker games before auditions. As it turns out, if you are comfortable and having fun, chances are you will engage more with your character and perform better. So enjoy yourself during auditions!

There really aren’t many grounds for nervousness. An audition only lasts a few minutes – quick and painless. Furthermore, everyone is supportive. Before my audition, fellow auditionees gave me some acting advice and after my audition, the director emailed me to encourage me to keep auditioning. Finally, if you don’t get a callback (like me), don’t lose heart. There are many other opportunities, so keep trying.

Top Tip #3: Be flexible

An odd thing about play auditions at university is that female auditionees are asked to audition for all female roles and male auditionees, for all male parts. Usually an actor only auditions for one character of their choice. Although unusual, auditioning for multiple roles is ultimately positive. Firstly, because an auditionee has more opportunities to be cast and secondly, because the auditionee might discover that an unexpected role suits them more than the one they originally selected.

The only downside to this method is that auditions can be extremely long. The Show Must… auditions took four hours. Therefore, remember to clear your schedule on the day of auditions.

Auditioning is a great experience. Not only is it an opportunity to have fun acting and to meet new people (with similar interests), but it is an opportunity to improve your acting skills and to build self-confidence. So next time you’re thinking about auditioning but don’t want to take the plunge, remember: it’s not as scary as it looks.

Mariana Avelino

Image courtesy of Bobby Bates


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