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My First Audition: Amanda Redman – ‘being overweight nearly lost me the job’

My first job was a six-month contract for the Bristol Old Vic theatre company as acting assistant stage manager, which meant playing tiny supporting roles plus helping out backstage.

I heard about the job because every year the Bristol Old Vic accepted two graduate students annually from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where I trained. The artistic directors would watch our graduate shows and pick students to audition.

For my own audition, I had to perform two pieces: a Shakespeare and a modern speech in the theatre’s rehearsal room in front of a panel of directors.

I was extremely nervous, but well prepared. If I had a chance to do it again, I would have listened to the then principal of BOVTS, the wonderful Nat Brenner, and lost some weight before auditioning. As sad as this is, being overweight nearly cost me the job.

Among the most important things I have learned from that first experience, and from many others since, is to always be open to re-direction and not to pre-overwork stuff to the extent that it is set in stone and difficult to change.

It is very important to do your homework and be well prepared but at the same time try to physically and mentally be as free and open as possible. In other words, live in the moment.

CV: Amanda Redman

Age: 59
Training: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Theatre includes: King Lear (National Theatre); Our Country’s Good and The Recruiting Officer (Royal Court/Garrick/Canadian and Australian tours); The Rocky Horror Show (national tour); Private Lives (national tour); The Marriage of Figaro (Croydon Warehouse); Love for Love (National Theatre)
TV includes: The Good Karma Hospital, The Trials of Jimmy Rose, Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This; New Tricks; Little Dorrit
Film includes: Mike Bassett: England Manager, Sexy Beast
Award nominations include: BAFTA for best actress (2001) and best supporting actress (2015)
Agent: CDA

Amanda Redman was talking to John Byrne