On the 21st of January 2023 we held an industry night for actors at The Empty Space Theatre. We wanted to write a blog post and break down the whole process from start to finish. We'll be letting you know the whole journey and sharing some audition hints and tips along the way!
What is "Industry"?
Industry is an independent acting showcase that we put on at The Empty Space Theatre in Manchester. It was an opportunity for around 20 actors to get on stage in front of an audience of industry professionals, friends and family.
Why put it on?
There were so many reasons that we put the showcase on. Here at The Empty Space we know what it is like as an actor. It can be so difficult to make in roads and to find representation. We thought that as a theatre in Manchester we ought to be promoting some of the amazing talent that we have up here in the North! If you go to drama school you will often participate in a showcase, but if you didn't go to drama school, it may be something you missed!
We were also trying to raise money for a charity that we adore and want to keep supporting in Playing Sane. A Manchester based charity for performers mental health. Alice Brockway the founder of the charity also directed the showcase.
Finally the other reason we wanted to put the showcase on was to build a better reputation for the theatre. We're making it no secret that we want to put ourselves on the map and really be a part of the thriving theatre community in Manchester. We are also trying to market ourselves as a theatre hire in Manchester. It meant that we could try and get people talking about the theatre and coming down to visit it. All whilst promoting fantastic actors and a wonderful charity. It seemed like a win win for us all!
Who put it on?
The mastermind behind the Industry showcase was our wonderful Chris. He's really passionate about northern talent and giving actors every opportunity they can get. He was in charge of marketing the evening and getting in touch with as many industry people as possible. He was also in charge of auditioning the actors for the show.
Once we had decided to put on the showcase we knew the first thing we had to do was find the actors!
So we decided to hold a day of auditions and spread the word on social media.
We had over 70 applicants for the first two days of auditions and we wanted to make sure we saw as many as possible!
We scheduled the auditions across a weekend in November. We gave each person 15 minutes for their audition. So making sure that we had 10 minutes to chat and then 5 minutes for them to perform their monologue.
We wanted to share some audition tips and tricks and some of the things we were looking for in our performers.
Choosing a monologue. Make sure that the monologue suits YOU. For an industry showcase the industry professionals are going to be looking at what you can do. Choose a monologue that highlights your best work and what you can really deliver on. When choosing your monologue, it's also key to make sure there is light and shade. You want a real journey in your monologue. In all honesty, one of the most important things about the auditions were the choose of monologue.
Arrive early. It's so simple and yet so important. In an audition, we of course take into account the people that we want to work with. If you are on time and polite, you already stand a great chance!
Diction and Clarity. We can't stress how important this is. Make sure we can understand every single word that you say. If we can't hear or understand you, what chance do the audience have.
Emotionally connect to the piece. This doesn't mean you need to break down into tears or fits of rage. We can spot when an actor is really invested in their character and their piece. A little can go a really long way.
Journey. One of Chris' favourites. We need to have a journey in your monologue. There has to be light and shade. If your monologue stays at the same place throughout the piece then you haven't done it justice.
Putting on The Show
After we had found our wonderful actors, we had to put the show together. We asked Alice Brockway to direct the showcase and she happily accepted.
We had the cast arrive at 3pm on the day with the show at 7pm, so we had our work cut out! Alice did a fantastic job tweaking the performances and really supporting the actors to get the best out of them. The performances on the evening were really strong and everyone in the theatre enjoyed it!
Was it a Success?
It certainly was! In the last couple of days we have had several of the actors contacted by agencies offering them representation. We had several different industry professionals come along and so hopefully more opportunities will arise for our actors!