Paines Plough Theatre Company make audition pledge to actors

In line with their new season announcement, Paines Plough have launched a new initiative designed to create the best possible conditions for actors during the auditioning process. Developed by the company to counteract some of the unnecessary challenges actors face when applying for a role, the pledge encompasses the following elements:

  • To hold open auditions for actors with or without agents, anywhere in the country and regardless of whether they are on Spotlight
  • To publish breakdowns on their website for every part they are casting, and make sure anyone can submit themselves for consideration. They will consider everyone, for every part.
  • To provide actors with the information they need to prepare, letting them know in advance who they will be meeting, how the meeting will work, and what they expect to be prepared so there are no surprises on the day.
  • To be pleased to see you! Everyone in the room wants you to be brilliant. And we hugely appreciate the time and effort that has gone in to preparing for your audition. So we promise to give you a warm welcome to PP.
  • To always get back to you. Whatever the result of your audition, we will always get back to you. We promise to do so as soon as we possibly can.

James Grieve said: “Back in 2010 when I joined Paines Plough we started Open Auditions as a direct response to actors telling us they were frustrated at the Catch-22 of needing to be seen to be in something, and needing to be in something to be seen. Our answer was to hold open calls across the country so everyone had the same chance of securing a slot.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to spend time with some great groups of actors and what has become apparent is how often the auditions process is stacked against the actor. For any normal job interview there’s a job description, you’ll get sent some information about the company, you’ll be told who you’ll be meeting, you’ll have time to prepare to present the very best version of yourself. But for auditions, actors often find themselves sitting in waiting rooms with nothing but some pages of text and with no idea who is on the other side of the door or what they’re looking for.

For my Actors’ Guild workshops I drew up lists of practical tips for auditions, and some of my pet hates. Once I’d given them to the actors, they gave me great auditions. It dawned on me that I’d get much better auditions across the board if I just let actors know what to expect, and what I was looking for.

So last year we started sending advance emails to every actor who came to audition for us. The email gave them some basic information about the format of the meeting, the people that would be there, and what we’d like to see. Armed with some prior knowledge, actors came in more confident and less liable to be thrown. I got to see more of the real them because we’d already established some simple parameters.

From now we promise to always provide actors with the information they need to best prepare for their audition with us, and what to expect from us. We’re making it a formal pledge partly to hold ourselves to account, and partly because we hope it might encourage others to follow suit.

The other thing actors tell us frustrates them is they often only find out about parts when the cast is announced. So from now on, when we announce new productions, we’ll publish breakdowns on our website and we’ll accept and consider CVs from anyone who thinks they’re right for the role.”


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