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My First Job: Kacey Ainsworth – ‘I landed a role at my first audition’

Kacey Ainsworth. Photo: James Joyce
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I had thought of attempting to recall all the way back to 1977 when, as an eight-year-old, I auditioned for the London premiere of Annie during my school half-term, but I think I’ll stick to more recent history: 1994. Still ancient, right? Get over it. That was the year I graduated from Central. Back in the good old days there were still repertory theatres doing that old-fashioned thing called a ‘season’.

Harrogate Theatre was one such company. It was auditioning for two productions, The Boys from Syracuse and The Merchant of Venice. If successful, I would have had the opportunity of performing in both a Shakespeare and a musical straight from drama school – showing my vast and highly employable range. Also, I would earn my full Equity card, the equivalent of passing ‘Go’ on the Monopoly board from a chance card.

I remember thinking I wouldn’t get it. It would be too jammy for me to get a job before I had even finished drama school. That only happened to people whose parents were in the industry, gorgeous model types and floppy-haired posh boys. Not ‘character actresses’ like me who don’t work until they’re 40.

I did Viola from Twelfth Night. I remember it going pretty well. I put this down to the fact that I was wearing red DM shoes and a pair of very baggy trousers, whereas all the other graduate auditionees seemed to look quite classic. The panel seemed enamoured with my bizarre choice of attire, which meant auditioning wasn’t the sombre affair I thought it would be and so I had quite a bit of fun. As I say, I wasn’t going to get it, so what the hell.

As it turns out, I was cast from my first audition out of drama school. Looking back, I can see that being in the moment and not imagining the outcome allowed me to be myself. I wasn’t showing what I imagined they wanted to see. That’s my first tip: You are the first you. You are not the second coming of some other actor whose career you want. What you bring is unique. Don’t second-guess what they want. Show them what you would give them.

CV: Kacey Ainsworth

Age: 48
Training: Central School of Speech and Drama
Theatre includes: Taming of the Shrew (English Touring Theatre), Sleep With Me (National), Feed the Beast (Birmingham Rep), Carrie’s War (Apollo), Calendar Girls (tour)
TV includes: Grantchester, EastEnders
Agents: Sam Boyd at Creative Artists Management (acting); Lip Service (voice-overs)

Kacey Ainsworth was talking to John Byrne

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