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Musical Auditions

(23 Posts)
Halloween73 Mon 16-Jan-17 11:42:51

Hi, apologies if this is not the right thread to post my 10 year old daughter attends an associate stage school all day on a Saturday. She is very good at singing and dancing and longs to be able to try some auditions. I'm torn between the don't want to dash her dreams but also the reality of how tough it is to get chosen. She has been asking for several months and gets upset that I'm not letting her try. I have explained the reality's we don't live in London (45 mins away), rejection etc. But she wants to know that she at least tried. So I'm asking for help of any Mum's out there who have experience of their children auditioning. I'm a bit lost as to where to start, do you sign up with organisations who put you forward or do you just search musicals and see when they are holding auditions? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

Antaresisastar Mon 16-Jan-17 16:41:08

I suggest you have a look at the website "Notapushymum" (sorry can't link). It has linformation about agents, auditions etc and a forum where you can ask questions.

dodobookends Mon 16-Jan-17 17:46:30

You got there before me Ant grin

Something else OP, is that quite a lot of regional theatres hold auditions for youngsters to appear in their productions - usually for performances during Easter, the summer holidays and (of course) Panto season. They often have one-off workshops associated with touring professional musicals too.

NotThrowAwayMyShot Mon 16-Jan-17 23:25:30

Most London shows require the children to live within the M25. The exceptions to this are the roles of Matilda & Bruce only in 'Matilda'.

Jo Hawes is one of the main casing directors. Open auditions are also advertised in The Stage.

Other than that look out for anything locally such as panto or touring shows.

TheatreTaxi Tue 17-Jan-17 11:21:55

Many of the children who audition for London musicals have agents who apply on their behalf, but an agent isn't necessary and, for the big West End shows and tours in particular, applications can come directly from parents.

The two main casting directors involved in children's casting for West End shows are Jo Hawes and Jessica Ronane. Both have websites where you can sign up to receive news of forthcoming auditions.

The "must live within the M25" stipulation is pretty standard for London shows, but in practice children in these shows often come from quite far outside London - generally as long as travelling time from home to the theatre is no more than about an hour, it's fine.

A lot of shows have height restrictions, so it helps if a child is small for their age.

Most auditions involve a initial round where large numbers of children are seen, often in batches, and then a smaller number are recalled to the next stage. There may be just one recall stage and then a final decision is made, or there may be several recall rounds culminating in "finals" involving just a handful of children. Sometimes the children to be recalled are announced at the first round audition, sometimes an invitation to recall comes a few days later by email.

For some auditions, children are given a song or some script to prepare in advance and perform in the first round. For others, children are asked to prepare a song and/or monologue of their own choice - if this is the case, usually best to pick something the child knows well and is comfortable with, and which suits their age, personality and voice.

If your DD really wants to give it a go, I personally think there is very little harm in trying. The audition experience for West End shows can be great fun and very positive for children. Casting directors (particularly the two I mentioned above) are usually very mindful of the fact that they are dealing with young children, and try to put children at ease as much as possible because they to see the best performance the child can offer.

In my experience, rejection is handled sensitively. I've seen casting directors remind children not to loudly celebrate being asked back to the next round because they need to consider the feelings of children who haven't got through. It is absolutely nothing like the auditions you see on TV for things like X Factor! My DS has done a fair few auditions and usually comes away having had a great time and made a few new friends.

It is important how a child is prepared mentally for auditions and the possibility of rejection though. Numerically, the chances of being cast are small, so treat it as a fun and interesting opportunity to learn something about how the theatre works. Children are often unsuccessful at auditions for lots of reasons that are completely beyond their control (and have nothing to do with how talented they are) - such as their height. Mostly, not being cast boils down to not being quite right for the role (and this is the line I take with my own DS).

EvilTwins Tue 17-Jan-17 23:10:18

What about trying NYMT as a start? Not professional but would give her an idea of how it all works and their productions are pretty impressive.

shinysinkredemption Tue 17-Jan-17 23:14:37

Most London shows require the children to live within the M25. The exceptions to this are the roles of Matilda & Bruce only in 'Matilda'.

I know a (short!) child outside the M25 who had a smaller role in Matilda, as theatretaxi says.

shinysinkredemption Tue 17-Jan-17 23:15:03

Sorry first para meant to be bold.

RTKangaMummy Tue 17-Jan-17 23:37:07

DS auditioned for gavroche many many years ago and had a fab day

He did other auditions for films etc that he got thru his spotlight profile and/or his drama school that he did on Saturdays

GOOD LUCK smilesmilesmilesmile

The main thing is for her to have fun smilesmilesmilesmile

RTKangaMummy Tue 17-Jan-17 23:42:35

BTW we got him the gavroche audition from the back of the programme for Les Miz they advertised for boys but this was many years ago

He had done the Kids Club at Les Miz and loved the show

IMHO and IME just let her try out the audition process for the experience and for fun, if she gets a call back then brilliant but if not she just had a fun day in London


TheatreTaxi Wed 18-Jan-17 10:37:35

I absolutely agree with RTKangaMummy - the main thing is to have fun. If a child and parents approach an audition with zero expectations other than having an interesting and enjoyable experience, then disappointment is minimised and getting any further than the first round is a bonus.

The distance rule for London shows exists because, by law, children working under performance licences have to attend school for a minimum of 15 hours per week. If they live too far away and spend all their time travelling to and from the theatre, or are too tired after very late nights, they won't get their 15 hours in. In practice this rule is very elastic though. DS is in a show involving a fair number of children at the moment - at least a third of those not living in come from beyond the M25 (well beyond, in a few cases). So I wouldn't let distance be a barrier to applying; just be honest about where you live on the application form, and see if they still call your child for audition.

RTKangaMummy, DS had a blast at Gavroche auditions too, one of the ones he's enjoyed the most. He got to clamber over the barricades during part of it, which was a real hit with him.

Halloween73 Wed 18-Jan-17 19:53:52

EvilTwins, thank you for your reply- what is NYMT?! 🙈

Halloween73 Wed 18-Jan-17 20:01:14

Thank you for all your replies, I really appreciate you all commenting 😊 TheatreTaxi, NotThrowAwayMyshot and RTKangaMummy thank you for your detailed replies. I do have Jessica Ronane's details from the Matilda website. I think like you all say we have nothing to lose and if she goes to some it will be experience and a fun day 😊

EvilTwins Wed 18-Jan-17 22:58:20

NYMT is the National Youth Music Theatre. Look them up - they take kids from 10.

TheatreTaxi Thu 19-Jan-17 08:05:56

Best of luck to your DD if she decides to go for it, Halloween73.

Next round of Matilda auditions are likely to be some time in April, so you have a while to think about it. Matilda is a good one to start with as the audition is more like a workshop and is a decent length (not in and out in 15 minutes), so the kids tend to feel like they've learned something from it.

Halloween73 Thu 19-Jan-17 10:43:12

Thank you TheatreTaxi, Matilda is the one she would really like to audition for. I'll keep an eye on the website for an update on the next auditions smile

TheatreTaxi Thu 19-Jan-17 11:11:03

If you sign up to Jessica Ronane's mailing list (via her website) I think she sends out notification of forthcoming auditions. Also there's nothing to stop you submitting an application now - JR keeps applications on file and may invite children to other auditions for other shows/roles that they fit the brief for.

I gather the Matilda application form specifies that children must be at grade 4 level for dance; if your DD has had plenty of dance training but hasn't done grades I wouldn't necessarily let that put you off applying. I think they include this as an indicator that the dance element of the show is quite demanding - it's not an absolute requirement and it is certainly possible to be cast without a grade 4 dance certificate smile.

LIZS Thu 19-Jan-17 15:31:33

If you live with m25 area most auditions should be open to her, they normally stipulate an hour door to door max. Lead roles can cast further afield and offer accommodation. The criteria for a role can be very specific and inflexible, like height. Jo Hawes' website lists roles she is involved in casting and the criteria for each. She also runs audition workshops and short performance courses in holiday periods.

LIZS Thu 19-Jan-17 15:34:30

Zodlebud Fri 27-Jan-17 13:49:37

Auditions are great experience for the right child. My daughter started when she was five through the agency attached to her Saturday performing arts school. It all kind of happened by accident really and she has adored every minute of it since.

I would seriously recommend the Jo Hawes performing arts courses. If your daughter is serious then she will get great advice on audition technique etc and also what it takes to make it.

A few words of wisdom though......

Height is very important as is how physically mature your daughter looks. West End parts need them to look like children. If you are even one cm over the stipulated height or physically an adolescent then they won't see you. Likewise, roles go to the child who looks the part and is able to pull it off - they may not be the most talented child who auditioned. As you child reaches their teens roles also dry up as once you are 16 you no longer need a licence to perform with no restrictions on working hours. They will get a 16+ year old to "play down" rather than a 13-15 year old.

Rejection is also a HUGE part of auditioning. You should look at each audition as a masterclass and learning process. If something comes of it then bonus. The rejection has actually been really good for my daughter. She just isn't bothered by it (apart from the time her friend got a part she REALLY wanted and my daughter was in the last two with her).

Also be prepared for some stage mums. I have met many, many wonderful parents doing this but a couple of women who can only be described as vile.

Also be prepared for the amount of ferrying around required. It's a big commitment for you as well as her.

Don't underestimate the benefit of panto and local shows too. Not only are they good fun but also great experience.

If you're both up for it then I would highly recommend!!!

jo164 Fri 27-Jan-17 17:57:49

We started on this road about 18 months ago, my DD is 9, and whilst it began quite slowly things have picked up! You have to be prepared to attend auditions during the school/working day, so need someone who can take her, plus have a supportive school who will allow this. We don't live in London but on average go up 3 times a month for various auditions, castings, jobs, workshops etc. It's time consuming and expensive! Some jobs pay well, others not at all, but if they are CV building all experience is good as long as professionally conducted. West End shows are tricky to get into. You only have to look at cast lists and see the same names appear across the shows over the years. Once a casting team knows a child and can trust them to do a good job they seem to be more likely to cast them again. Getting in is hard! Height, looks, build, where you live can all be more important than talent. If your child can accept the rejection (which happens more than the jubilation!) then give it a try. It's my DD's absolute passion and she loves every opportunity that comes her way, be it small and local or international! It's does need the whole family to be supportive though! For most children it starts off a little at a time - not that many will land a big role first time out!

Halloween73 Mon 06-Feb-17 11:21:44

Just seen the latest replies, thank you so much for your detailed responses and great advice @jo164, Zodlebud and LIZS. Your comments are all really appreciated, we are going to go for it and have some fun and look at it as experience if she gets invited to an audition. She's not got nothing to lose and whilst she's under 5 foot, it's now or never!

Helene2918 Tue 28-Feb-17 14:17:59

Any tips for auditions in Manchester?

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