Local theatre is a great way to get involved in the community. It’s also an excellent stepping stone toward becoming a professional in theatre, or even the movie industry.
“There are lots of ways to get involved. There are fantastic community theatres in the region to get you started as an actor, designer, technician, and stage manager. They’re always looking for new people to get involved, and they can provide an immersive learning opportunity,” says Iain Moggach, Artistic Director for Theatre by the Bay in Barrie.
There’s really no age limit in theatre. Anyone can get involved and gain valuable experience, while establishing social connections in a creative atmosphere.
“There are a variety of ways in which an individual, or family can receive audition notifications. It’s the combination of talent, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn that will make an auditioner stand out and be noticed,” explains Lianne Romans, Chair for Kempenfelt Community Players in Barrie.
Local theatre allows you to try something new without having a lot of immediate experience. Casting calls and upcoming productions are often featured on local theatre websites, and in e-newsletters.
“Audition requirements will often vary according to the director’s vision. We produce only musicals, so our auditioners will be asked to do a bit of reading, singing, and sometimes dancing,” says Romans.
Audition opportunities depend on the type of production as well as the type and number of roles being offered.
“The best advice I can give is read the audition notice very closely. There’ll be all sorts of hints about what the company is asking for. Plus, the requirements will likely be different depending on the director. By following their directions exactly, you’ll immediately be put in a more favourable position,” advises Moggach.
Theatre is a very demanding art form that requires performers to be authentic at all times. “You have to really love it, believe in yourself, and commit to it,” says Moggach.
Once you’re established as a professional actor and have become a member of appropriate unions and professional associations, you can become part of a professional theatre company, says Arkady Spivak, Artistic Producer for Talk Is Free Theatre in Barrie.
“You have to be committed to it as a profession. We actually produce and create everything all locally. We’re all professional actors – professionals who live in the region, or used to live in the region,” says Spivak.
There are also opportunities to work behind the scenes making costumes, props, or building and painting sets, says Romans. “Maybe you’re more technical minded and are looking for opportunities in lighting and sound operations and/or stage management.”
Theatre is a collaborative art that’s about working with an ensemble of people, says Moggach.
Writers and actors can develop their creative skills and provide supportive feedback through attending events such as The Barrie Theatre Lab run by Theatre by the Bay.
“It’s a fantastic place to network and support artists in the community. It’s also totally free to submit your work and attend,” says Moggach.
Theatre by the Bay, Barrie
Kempenfelt Community Players,
Talk Is Free Theatre, Barrie