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Takin’ it to the streets, OR: Audition locally at Equity regional theaters!

February 4, 2013

Way back during last July, I found myself a relatively new Actors’ Equity member, with a calendar full of EPAs and not much else. The adjustment to competing and marketing at the union level was a bit tough for me at first, I won’t lie, and I was a little bummed about how long it had been since I’d been onstage, and how tough it was getting into the auditions for the jobs I was able to work here in NYC.

I also found myself in my home state of Florida for my little sisters’ birthdays, and decided: shit, I don’t have any work waiting for me back in New York for the next few weeks, I’m going to take a few weeks to stay down here and look for work. So I started out on what I would later dub my “Rainbow Tour of Florida Regional Theaters” (just in case there was any lingering doubt about what a musical theatre geek I am, and always will be).

First, I used my trusty Regional & Off-Broadway Theatre Guide to get a list of all of the professional theaters anywhere in Florida, plus the Artistic Directors’ names and contact email addresses. Then I carefully crafted my ammunition — an email emphasizing that I was a New York-based actor, but a Florida native, who was visiting for the next few weeks and asked: would they have time to see me? I attached my headshot and resume, and away went 15 or so emails.

To my surprise, about two-thirds of the theaters responded, even if a few of them were only to politely let me know that they didn’t have time due to an Artistic Director’s vacation or a busy tech week. I landed five auditions, though, and spent the next few weeks sporadically driving around the state to make new professional acquaintances.

Everywhere I went, people were so friendly and welcoming and thrilled to see me that I couldn’t believe it. I even spent my 26th birthday driving to Miami to meet with one Artistic Director — who remembered me months later when scheduling callbacks for Amy Herzog’s 4,000 Miles in December. When I got his call, I was so excited to still be on his radar, and paid the airline change fee to fly down to Florida for Christmas a week early. Spoiler alert:

4000 Miles one sheet jpg

I booked the job, and head out for Miami in a little over a week. I couldn’t be more thrilled with my success after working so hard to get seen by theaters in Florida, and I’m equally thrilled to be heading pretty much directly off one AEA contract (The Crucible) to another, with only the holidays in-between!

And do you like that little graphic up there? I’ve started mailing what career coach Dallas Travers calls “One-Sheets” to my target list of Casting Directors whenever I have a success or interesting development to report. Jen Ponton expounded on the virtues of One-Sheets in great detail in her guest post here, but I love that they have so much more personality, variety, and information on them than plain, ol’ postcards.

So yeah, with each passing year, I feel like I learn SO much more about what works and what doesn’t in this crazy biz. My marketing skills grow exponentially; I learn fun, new skills (who knew I could do basic graphic design to make a fancy One-Sheet like that?); and I figure out how to get the work — which is, actually, not the work at all…it’s really the fun.

Have you considered a marketing campaign to local theaters in smaller markets? Any readers based in Miami and wanna come see my show? 🙂


8 Comments leave one →
  1. The College Theatre Dork permalink
    February 4, 2013 11:49 am

    If possible, audition AT the theatres themselves than doing the huge NYC call. Less people = more likely to get seen!

  2. February 4, 2013 4:49 pm

    congrats Kate. Having just returned to Brooklyn this hour, from a callback in Philadelphia, I’m totally with you on the regions. Break legs in Miami!

  3. The Enterprising Actor permalink
    February 4, 2013 6:27 pm

    The most challenging bit about targeting regional theatres is knowing which ones will hire out of town talent. For example, the Nashville Equity theatres are crazy loyal to their local actors; great for Nashvillians, not so great for those of us hoping to break in to that nearby scene. As someone who auditions almost exclusively in the regions, knowing when to make the trip and when not to is an important part of my research.

    Congrats, and way to go get the work!

    • February 5, 2013 10:01 am

      That’s a great point. Have you perfected your method of researching which theaters only hire locals, and would you like to share it with us? 🙂

      • The Enterprising Actor permalink
        February 5, 2013 10:11 am

        Perfected? No. It depends on the region and the theatre. Since I’m so centrally located, I end up looking in Chicagoland, Midwest, Southeast, and sometimes further afield. Sometimes I have friends who have worked there who can contribute, either as an actor or as in production, sometimes I figure it out after watching casting notices and actual casting over several seasons, sometimes the theatre is nice enough to state, “No Housing Provided.” It all just depends on the theatre, the region, and your particular situation. For example, I still go in for Nashville auditions when the role is really plumb because I have family I can stay with and work as a local. Same goes for Atlanta. The question at that point becomes is the pay going to balance out having to live on a couch for the run of the show.

  4. The Growing Artist permalink
    February 4, 2013 7:15 pm

    Congrats! Great advice to keep in mind 🙂

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