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My First Audition: Catherine Lamb – ‘I became uncontrollably nervous and completely messed it up’

Catherine Lamb. Photo: Luce Newman-Williams Catherine Lamb. Photo: Luce Newman-Williams
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My first audition was for Blandings for the BBC. Susie Parriss was casting. It was so exciting but very intimidating at the same time. Knowing she had cast many fantastic things and how successful the show was, I was very nervous.

My agent sent me the script and it was fantastic. It was extremely funny but had a very specific style of comedy, so I watched lots of episodes to get an idea of how to approach it. The audition went very well and, amazingly, I managed to control my nerves.

A week later, I was thrilled to get a recall. Though I prepared for it, I completely messed it up. Suddenly I became uncontrollably nervous and it was a disaster. Safe to say I did not get the job. Looking back, I realise that I hadn’t managed to develop the character from the first audition and I don’t think I was ready at that time for a job of that scale. I hadn’t yet figured out what preparation I needed to do to feel comfortable and ready for auditions.

As a young actor, you need to come up with a formula that works for you. I always like to know a lot about everyone I am meeting. That way, if anything comes up in conversation, you can show that you have taken an interest in them and their work. I also like to learn the lines if I can, as it means you have one less thing to worry about in the room. And for TV in particular, there’s not much point in them filming the top of your head.

Find all the shifts within the scene you are given. Make sure you make bold choices and don’t worry about them being wrong – it’s better than not making any at all. Being relaxed in the room is important, but if you are totally ready you can be quite relaxed and that is when you can really show what you can do.

CV: Catherine Lamb

Age: 26
Training: BA (hons) in acting, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Theatre includes: The National Joke (Stephen Joseph Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (Arts Theatre); Somewhere in England (Theatr Clwyd); The Flame Haired Dynamo (Hull Truck Theatre); Machinal (The Space, Edinburgh); DNA (Lyric Hammersmith); Romeo and Juliet (Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh)
TV includes: Doctors (BBC), The Crown (Netflix); Cucumber (Channel 4); Frankenstein and the Vampyre (BBC2)
Agent: Vic Murray at Hatch Talent

Catherine Lamb will be playing Eloise in Penthouse at the Space on Niddry Street, Edinburgh, from August 4 to 26. She was talking to John Byrne

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