Sunday, January 2, 2011

Young People & Theatre: Advice for All- PART ONE

Since it’s about that time to start thinking of spring break and summer classes for young people, I know a lot of you readers may be considering enrolling yourself or your child in a class at WFT.  Here are some of our thoughts on working with young people in theatre, which really speak to our philosophy at WFT. If you have any questions about class, do not hesitate to email and we will get back to you ASAP! I’d be happy to illuminate our work for you! bp

Young People & Theatre:  Advice for All- PART ONE by WFT
The theatre experience is a wonderful experience, whether or not you even choose it as a career. If you are thinking about making theatre your profession, here are a few points you will need to consider.

Training is essential. Before you take the plunge into performing, take at least one class in creative drama, improvisation, or acting. Even if you’ve been onstage before, chances are there is still a great deal for you to learn about the process of becoming an actor. And keep taking classes. Professional actors who have been working for years continue to refine their craft in this way.

Be prepared at your audition. Have a picture and resume ready, even it they are not professionally done. Find out ahead of time what is expected of you at the audition. If it is a prepared piece, have it memorized, staged, and rehearsed. Be sure it is within the time limit allowed. If you are singing, find out in advance if there is an accompanist and bring sheet music. (Although it may be necessary, it is not wise to sing a capella.)

Be prepared for rejection. With hundreds of people competing for the same role, every actor must be prepared for the inevitable: more often than not you will not get the part. Don’t let rejection get you down -- and don’t give up! Take workshops or get coaching to improve your audition skills, do the best you can, but realize that some factors (your size, your height, your hair color, the director’s vision) are beyond your control.

Take your work seriously. Learn your lines. Do the research involved in developing your character. Prepare as carefully and rigorously as you do for a demanding subject at school. Work hard, honor your commitments, treat others with respect -- and have fun. Resist the notion that you are always the center of attention, but always believe that you have the attention of your audience whenever you step onto the stage.

Be punctual. Whether it’s for a class, an audition, a rehearsal, or a performance, show up early if you can, but absolutely no later than the time you’re expected to arrive. It’s unprofessional to keep a classroom -- or an entire theatre -- full of people waiting.

Stay focused. Know when to be playful and when to be quiet: both will be required of you at different times. Complete focus is always critical during performances. Stay in character and never let your mind wander -- even when something goes wrong on stage.

Respect your role in the play, no matter the size. Maybe your part is small, maybe it’s not. Every role is crucial to the success of the production.

Be a good apprentice. Take advantage of every chance you get to learn from experienced actors. Use your off-stage time well: observe the professional actor at work.


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