Tips for Young Performers from Casting Director Jo Hawes

Jo Hawes CDG recently led a series of one-on-one sessions with several young performers on Mandy, helping them in their careers. Jo has decades of experience in the industry and was recently awarded the 2020 Olivier Special Recognition Award. She has enjoyed success working as the Children’s Casting Director for Oliver! at the London Palladium, as well as for Les Miserables in London and the touring productions: Mary Poppins, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and more. Jo runs a variety of courses and classes and has published a book Children in Theatre: From the audition to working in professional theatre: A guide for children and their parents.

These sessions were a chance for young performers and their guardians to get advice on how to move their career forward and ultimately increase their chances of securing more auditions and roles!

Here are a few tips Jo gave to our members:

  • If you can, you should wear contact to an audition. Glasses can always be added if you get the job.
  • When auditioning, pick songs that are age-relevant to the role and production. Avoid choosing anything too obscure or not age appropriate.
  • Take opportunity and training with open arms.
  • At an audition, don’t try to dress like the character - just be yourself
  • Avoid doing a lot of action or dancing at a first audition, when the primary focus is your singing ability - focus on your singing.
  • For every audition you have been invited to, even if you don't fit the brief, go in positively and confidently.
  • Parents should avoid overly coaching their child. This is because if the director then asks them to do it a different way the young performer may struggle, as they are only able to perform in a certain way.
  • It is important to consider drama schools over studying drama at a university.

Our members loved the opportunity to chat with Jo. Here are a few testimonials from them:

  • “The session was wonderful! It was great to be able to speak to someone as knowledgeable as Jo.” - Navaeah Krystall Hoath
  • “My session with Jo was really useful. It gave us an insight into what was involved in auditioning for musical theatre.” - Beau Plested
  • “We felt we could ask open questions and also realised how Covid is impacting Casting Directors.” - Reuben Bainbridge
  • “The session was very helpful. I received lots of useful information about direction for my future.” - Joshua Fernandes

Do you want to attend the next Mandy Surgery?

Mandy Surgery sessions provide an opportunity for professionals to get free one-on-one career advice from top industry professionals in the industry. These events are run exclusively for Premium Members. Keep an eye out for the next Mandy Surgery here.