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The Industry

Why it’s important to stay connected to the performing arts industry between work and how you can use your time to build connections with other creatives

As actors, we live and breathe the performing arts industry. We work in it, we enjoy watching productions and we constantly dream of that next role. Sometimes, the time between roles can be longer than expected, but that doesn’t sever us from the rest of the industry. In fact, it gives us a chance to connect with it more, do our research on the next big production or director and find appreciation in existing material.

At the Spotlight Prize, we asked actors Tracy Ifeachor (The OriginalsTreason), Amit Shah (Happy ValleyCrashing) and Rosalind Eleaza (The Personal History of David CopperfieldSlow Horses) what they’d recommend actors do in their spare time to stay connected to the world of performing arts. Here’s what they shared:

1. Watch Lots of Theatre, Film and Television

A great way to feel part of the industry, Amit Shah recommends, is by, “Going to see a lot of theatre [and] cinema [and] watching TV that really excites you.”

Not only will this support your fellow actors and creatives, but it’ll also help to grow the number of productions you’re familiar with. You may expose yourself to a new idea, style or genre that inspires your choices when you go for your next audition – or a new actor or director whose work you enjoy.

It’s also just a lot of fun, especially if you’re already a fan of theatre, film or television, like Tracy Ifeachor who says, “I just do what really inspires me. I’m a big theatre goer, so I love seeing plays.”

2. Have Fun with Creative Hobbies

As well as watching art, it’s useful for actors to stay creative as well. This doesn’t necessarily need to be through acting. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from developing your craft and spend time “finding other ways to be creative as well, whether it is music or painting or any other art,” says Amit Shah.

Not only will this help distract you from worrying about when you’ll get your next audition, it also gives you the chance to connect with other creatives who have the same hobby.

Music, in particular, can be a very useful skill to have on your Spotlight profile, as being able to play a certain instrument could be the reason you come up in a casting director’s search and book your next role.

3. Keep Up-to-date with Industry News

The performing arts industry is constantly changing, so it’s vital to keep up with the latest news. Rosalind Eleaza says, “You should always know what’s happening in your industry. What are the new shows? What are the new theatre performances, the new directors, the new casting directors?”

Casting news, in particular, is essential to keep on top of – especially if you know of an upcoming project that you’re eager to get a role in. Knowing who’s casting and directing the production means you can take a look at past projects they’ve worked on and possibly identify certain acting styles or interpretations that they may be looking for in auditions to gain an advantage

Rosalind advises, “Maintain a knowledge and understanding of what’s going on in your chosen profession.”

4. Follow Your Favourite Creatives

Thanks to social media, it’s now easier than ever to see what your fellow creatives are up to. This is especially useful for people whose work you admire, such as casting directors and directors.

By taking a look at their social media and personal websites, you can see what upcoming projects they have, who they’re currently working with and to those with keen eyes, what common threads exist within their work.

Tracy Ifeachor says, “I love following different casting directors because they tend to cast similar kinds of things, [such as] Mike Cotton, the musical director – all his shows seem to be about the underdog and the unlikely hero. They all have themes.”

If you hope to one day work with that casting director or director, being able to talk about their back catalogue of work and revealing personal insight is sure to impress. Going the extra mile will show you are enthusiastic and passionate and that dedication will only portray you well in their eyes. It will also give you an advantage during an audition, as you’ll have a better chance of understanding what they’re looking for in their next project.

Thank you to Tracy Ifeachor, Rosalind Eleazar and Amit Shah for your excellent advice! 

Take a look at our other videos with tips and advice from casting directors, actors and agents.

Image credit: Joanna Nicole Photography