Is musical theatre the right career for you? Or: Do you need applause to breathe?

ApplausIn November, we talked all about what you need to do before even thinking about repertoire for auditions. The organisation alone is a big pile of work. That’s exactly why you should ask yourself – even before entering the entire audition process – if you have it in you to see your career choices through or if it should stay a hobby for you.

In this case, I’m not talking about your technique and qualifications. For all I care, you can belt up to high C and turn five perfect pirouettes but without the right attitude, you will not last for long in this job.

Don’t worry, I don’t want to put you off. All I want is that you know what you’re getting into. You simply have to be aware of the fact that you need to make certain sacrifices for the arts. And the earlier you realise that, the better.

Competition is fierce and you will need to prove yourself over and over again. Especially actresses are thick on the ground. (I was once invited to an audition of Spamalot during which four men and three women for the ensemble were supposed to be cast. There were about 60 people there, 45 of them were female.) Based on mathematics alone, men have better chances but that doesn’t mean the level is lower. And mind you, nobody cares about maths during an audition. 😉

It doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been in the business, you will always have to go to auditions and your contracts will always be temporary. Even when you’re lucky enough to get a one-year contract, you will always have to send out applications afterwards. This process of uncertainty alone can ruin your nerves. And the fact that you got into college does not guarantee a job after school.

Some actors have the opportunity of living in one place and only need to leave it for rehearsal periods or summer jobs. Others get a much sought-after one-year contract with a state theatre or an en suite musical and therefore possibly need to rethink their personal situation. If you are a family person through and through and want to have kids early, you will have to make compromises. (I know, it’s not a decision you have to make right now but it will come to you sooner or later.)

Do you want to do nothing but act in musicals or would you be willing to work as an assistant director? Can you imagine doing voiceovers? Do you only want to work on stage or can you also imagine standing in front of a camera? Is teaching an option for you? Would you have a problem with working odd jobs or receiving benefits to stay afloat? Because it’s clear as day that you will also have to pay your bills in between jobs.

Okay, enough with the negativity now. 😉 TinkerbellIf your heart is set on the theatre, all this will be worth it! Because when you’re up on stage and feel absolutely free there and there’s nothing like it for you, you will find your way there! Because we’re all a bit like Tinkerbell, we need the applause to breathe!

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