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Why bother doing a review of the audition process one might ask? Isn’t it the performance the bit that actually counts? I mean, who ever heard of someone reviewing an audition?
My answer is this: I was mooching around the Scan stand at Freshers Fair, chatting to passing freshers and asking them what activities and clubs they had signed up for, and there were an absolute shed load of them who hadn’t done things because they were too scared to try them out.
Top of the list seemed to be the Lancaster University Theatre Group (LUTG), because no one wanted to undergo the audition process…
Needless to say, I decided to pop along to the auditions to find out what all the fuss was about.
A room full of nervous-looking hopefuls, many of whom were first years, peppered with a few familiar Theatre Group faces greeted my eyes. We were all told to stand in a circle and tell everyone our name, college, favourite colour, and an interesting fact about ourselves… Hardly the terrifying x-factor type audition people seemed to be worried about at Freshers Fair. Except of course when it’s your turn and you realise you haven’t dreamed up nearly enough interesting facts about yourself because you have been too busy listening to everyone else’s…
We were shuffled around to the various plays in smaller groups, which this term are 1984, Othello and Black Comedy. My group auditioned firstly for Othello, a bit daunting because we were being thrown in at the deep-end with Shakespeare, but surprisingly welcoming in spite of this.
The obligatory Theatre Group warm-up ensued, this time involving some rather ridiculous looking mouth exercises and a bit of shouting. It is always the case that once everyone has seen each other looking equally as idiotic as the next person, the ice is always well and truly broken.
We were then sub-divided into smaller groups again, and sent away to rehearse some scripts which they had given us. If the nerves were going to kick in anywhere, it would have been here.
I had almost expected the first-years I was auditioning with to take one glance at the archaic language and faint with anxiety, but everyone, bolstered by the mildly embarrassing warm-up exercise we had just performed, bit the bullet and got on with it.
Within minutes, there was someone from the Othello production team wondering around, making sure everyone was OK, explaining the play in more detail where necessary, and generally making sure we were all having a good time at the try-outs.
This was pretty much the same for all of the other plays we moved on to audition for, and when we were really lucky, we got given sweeties too.
All in all, the day was actually quite enjoyable, and I got the chance to meet a lot of new people. I even managed to get recalled to the second round of auditions for 1984, but after a shockingly bad performance on my part, I was (rather unsurprisingly) not offered the role of loudspeaker.
The recalls were quite a bit tenser than the first round of auditions, but there were plenty of LUTG veterans there to calm down any angst-ridden novices like myself.
All in all, it was a good day out, and the £5 membership means I get to join in on all the socials and meet loads of new people, even if I don’t get to begin my career as the next west-end theatre star!
Conclusion: If the only thing stopping you from going is your nerves, then I seriously recommend dragging yourselves down to the auditions next term for a fun, if a little chaotic day out.