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2018’s best advice from theatre industry professionals

“I wish I had realised sooner that exercise was an anti-depressant and essential for sedentary writers.” – Moira Buffini [1], playwright

“To have more confidence in myself. Because I didn’t go to university, I was sometimes too frightened to say what I thought and use my own voice.” – Chris Harper [2], actor

“Always carry a roll of gaffer tape with you on tour – it will mend almost anything.” – Sian Williams [3], movement director

“Take what’s on the table and keep working. It’s a very difficult industry to plan your future in, so to keep your profile going and your spirits up, take whatever opportunities are out there. That’s always worked for me.” – Conrad Nelson [4], director and actor

“Being a good writer is more about effort than talent and sometimes you have to make the space for your stories to be heard. It’s okay if not everyone likes what you do.” – Vinay Patel [5], playwright

David Lan

“Listen to your nose.” – David Lan, theatremaker

Read David Lan’s final interview as Young Vic boss [6]

“That there is more to life.” – Jonathan Guy Lewis [7], actor

“It’s a long game. When I did my first play it was so galvanising I immediately wanted a play on at London’s Royal Court. If you had told me it wouldn’t be until 10 years down the line I might have been demoralised. But I did get a play on at the Royal Court.” – Anna Jordan [8], playwright

“The idea that there is one big opportunity that comes is just wrong. I believe you have a responsibility in life to make opportunities happen. This X-Factor culture is dangerous. I can’t abide the bullshit that there is this one moment to shoot for that is going to be decided by a God-like table of people.” – Cora Bissett [9], director and actor

“Trust your gut – more experience doesn’t mean being right.” – Robert Softley Gale [10], theatremaker

“Everybody is just as scared as you are.” – David Byrne [11], New Diorama artistic director

“To find your inspiration and your tribe, look left and right, as opposed to looking up and trying to reach out for something that was part of a different story or generation.” – Joan Iyiola [12], actor

“It can never just be about you. You start off having to prove yourself, often doing solo shows, so you can be a bit shouty. But discovering the value of the ensemble is so important. That’s what makes a show work.” – Garry Robson [13], actor and director

“Not to produce a three-week season over Easter for my first West End show.” – Mark Goucher [14], producer

“Trust yourself, and listen. I was told when I was little to watch and listen to people – all people, from everywhere, not just the industry. And to value those people.” – Bonnie Langford [15], performer

Tips for auditions

“I like it when people draw a parallel between the material and their own lives. So find a correspondence between the material and you.”  – Simon Godwin [16], director

“Be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not, it’s so much more difficult. Also prepare. If you can, read the play or the material and do a bit of research.”  – Jonathan O’Boyle [17], director

Eileen Atkins

“Do something different. Don’t do your Juliets and don’t do a well-known play. Take a speech out of a novel. Then you will get noticed. It works.” – Eileen Atkins, actor

Read the full interview with Eileen Atkins [18]

“Be brave and give the best of yourself. It’s the panel’s fault if they let talent out of that room, not yours.” – Nicholas Skilbeck [19], musical director

“Wear rubber-soled shoes. When I auditioned for Glasgow Citizens as a young actor I couldn’t stop my leg from shaking, and all you could hear was the leather heel of my shoe clattering against the floor.” – Roger Allam [20], actor

“Know your stuff – know it so that if you were in the fast lane of the M25, trying to avoid traffic, you could still do it and say that monologue. Nothing makes you suffer amnesia like adrenaline.” – Richard Fleeshman [21], actor

 “Don’t be scared. We want you to be good.” – Cal McCrystal [22], director

“The bit just after you finish your song or speech is the most revealing moment of the audition for a director.” – Phelim McDermott [23], director

 “Be honest. And use the meeting to find out if this is a job you actually want.” – Kirsty Housley [24], theatremaker