How to Get Started

Many people ask my advice for getting started in community theater. While today’s post may relate directly to MY community, the same principles should apply anywhere. Just do a little research via Google, and you’ll find names of your local theater companies.

Portland is a very artistic community, and I am excited to be a part of it. I check Criagslist & Oregonlive listings for upcoming auditions daily. When I find those auditions, I research them further to make sure they’re legit (i.e. if the theater company has a website, it’s usually a pretty good sign). I always make sure meetings are never one on one and in a public setting.

Community theater is great for people who are exploring acting. You don’t necessarily need a headshot or resume in this phase. These shows are for EVERYONE – veterans of the stage and beginners alike. No, it is not a paying gig and it is the hardest you’ll ever work for FREE in your life, but if you love it – it’s so fun. The real “pay off” at the end is the accomplishment of putting on a successful production.

For auditions, some theater companies will provide you with a few pages of the script ahead of time called “sides”. I tend to prefer the “cold read”, which is not seeing anything ahead of time. A few sides aren’t going to give you much to develop a character with anyway, and I find I get inside my head too much. So, I like to fly blind at these things. Yes, you read it off the paper. No, you are not expected to memorize it right then and there. Group auditions are actually quite fun. It is fascinating watching different people perform the same scene. It really makes you take note of how different people bring something special and unique to the table.

Auditions sound scary? Well, another way to check it out is by volunteering during the run of a show either by selling tickets, ushering or running concessions. Your help is needed. If you are interested in helping with the show I am in – please email nancywellman@gmail.com to make arrangements. By volunteering, you get to see the play for FREE.

Mask & Mirror is who I got my start with in theater. In addition to volunteering at one of their shows, you can also check out one of their quarterly meetings – which are a BLAST.

I hope this post helps someone check off one of their “someday” items. Go on. You can do it.

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