Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Audition perdition

by -

You’ve just left the audition and it went well. Oh come now, the panel obviously loved you – they were beaming throughout and implausibly positive.

That was pretty great, you find yourself confidently thinking as you leave the audition room and take the stairs (there’s always stairs) to exit the building. You pull out your mobile for the obligatory agent update where you downplay the panel’s excitement; trying to seem nonchalant but not arrogant. You are confidence incarnate right now. You worked hard preparing that monologue/dance/song and/or scene(s) and your hours toiling away have been worth it. You’re in with a good chance, you’re sure of it.

Nope. Not only do you not get the job, or even the recall that you were certain of, but none of that glorious feedback is passed to your agent (at least you downplayed it when you spoke to them… you did downplay it, right?). Every performer experiences this. You could be perfect for the character, have pulled off that quadruple pirouette with absolute ease or hit that top A without batting an eyelid but, yeah, you still didn’t get it.

From my experience, I’ve noticed an almost direct correlation between overly flattering panel auditions and not getting the job (of course, there’s always the anomalies).

Is this the result of an emphatic panel or disillusionment on the performer’s part? Probably neither. You simply weren’t what they’d pictured for the role or something about you just doesn’t fit with the rest of the casting. It’s really as simple as that. Unfortunately, no matter how talented you are, it will stay a no on this occasion and that could have been decided before you’d fully appeared through the doorway (even if you were the best they saw that day). Frankly, that can be difficult to understand. We’re performers though and rejection is expected as part and parcel of our profession. It doesn’t mean it hurts any less but dust yourself off, your Vanya/Ports be Bras/Climb Every Mountain didn’t turn them off you.

However, for the score of unsuccessful auditions that you leave and expectantly wait for the call that starts “I have some good news for you” there is that one surprisingly successful audition that catches you off guard. You know, the one where you leave with a calm, non-cocky confidence and the ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude.

There’s always the thought that maybe you actually were second in line for the overly emphatic panel role but that they had to choose someone else because you were too good/exciting/beautiful/didn’t sleep with any of them.

Unfortunately though, you’ll just never know.


We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.