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When your career is stuck in limbo

A limbo dancer. Photo: Rob P
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Inbetween is an intermediate thing. A place where you tread water, a purgatory if you will.

Gone are the days of rep theatre and the many opportunities for young/new actors to hone their stagecraft in front of a live audience. Television work, which used to be looked down upon within the theatrical world, has almost become a guarantee of work in theatre, leaving many a performer trying their hardest to get into this field and expand their CV. A number of performers I know, and I include myself in this, seem caught in a chasm of inbetween (a good CV behind them but not landing the roles, or sometimes auditions, that they would have previously expected).

Inbetweeners include: people feeling stuck in understudy roles/ensemble, in a certain part of the industry (commercials, fringe, musicals, theatre, etc) as well as people who have strong CVs but can’t seem to land a role at the minute. I often find myself wishing for that big television/film role that would separate me from the competition and losing out on parts to people that already have just that. It can feel disheartening and like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of inbetween (to get the good TV gigs it’s better to be known and have other good TV gigs). There seems to be a generation of fully qualified and respected performers stuck treading water. Do they audition for profitshare shows after five West End contracts because it’s been a quiet year?

[pullquote]I often find myself wishing for that big television/film role that would separate me from the competition[/pullquote]

While I’m lucky to say that my work as a director and voiceover artist has become more prosperous, my performing career feels almost stagnant at present. Much like how the Tory government (and some media outlets) are asking us to look down on those receiving benefits and the working class, I feel that I am being forced to look down on sections of our industry as being almost beneath me and I don’t agree with this view.

As the upper echelon of TV and film roles separates performers further and further from pub theatres and TIE, is the middle man being most effected and lost in the intermediate inbetween state? Are the Inbetweeners getting pulled into one side or the other as the chasm grows? By feeding into this elitist/classist view, the chasm of inbetween grows and we start to further separate and compartmentalise the performing arts industry.

We need to stop the judgment that is beginning to permeate our industry and understand that we should not compartmentalise our performers. This inbetween state is unnecessary and the judgment that it creates only hampers our industry rather than furthers it.

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