Advice for Actors: Audition Nerves

Film & TV Industry Psychologist, Charlotte Armitage gives advice for actors on how to keep the stress under control during an audition and how to prevent it from impacting your ability to give a relaxed and genuine performance in the room.

10th June 2019
/ By Charlotte Armitage

Unsplash Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

'I can rehearse as many times as I like at home and I always nail it but when I get into the audition room my nerves always get the better of me, what can I do to help with this nervousness’.

Being nervous in an audition situation is normal, it means that you value the experience and the potential opportunities that the experience holds for you. Some nerves are a good thing and this is what ultimately drives you to do a good job. Feeling anxious occurs because of the presence of cortisol in the bloodstream which is released in response to environmental stressors. Cortisol switches your brain and body on to enable it to function optimally in environments which you perceive as stressful.

The most challenging skill is trying to keep this stress under control in the audition scenario to prevent it from impacting on your ability to give a relaxed and genuine performance in the room. Cortisol is released into the bloodstream when we are in unusual environments and puts us on alert for any potential dangers. This is great if you are living in the wild but in the audition situation, it is a hindrance. The best way to develop the ability to be relaxed is for you to be comfortable with the audition scenario, therefore the more experienced you become with auditions, the less anxiety they will cause. Actors should apply for as many jobs as they can and attend as many auditions as possible, the more experienced and the more familiar that you are with this situation, the more your confidence will grow, resulting in the situation becoming less stressful. Once you can go into the room, feeling relaxed and confident and maintain that level of relaxation, that’s when you will start giving your best attempt in the audition.

Here are a few tips to help you manage audition nerves:


It is important to plan well for your auditions. Always make sure you get an early train so that you aren’t rushing, or if you’re driving, leave well in advance so that you have time to calmly park your car and get to the audition room. If you’re worried about practical factors such as being late or getting a parking ticket, this will have an impact on how relaxed you will be in the room and will undoubtedly impact on your performance. It is important to remember that everyone in the room wants you to do well and succeed, if you are in the room then you are already right for the part.


Seeing the audition as a meeting rather than an ‘audition’ will help to remove the negative semantic connotations that are so often associated with the word ‘audition’ and may help you to approach it with a different mindset. The most important thing with auditioning is to know what causes you stress personally and to put in place the necessary steps to reduce this stress for you when attending your auditions.

Develop an Audition Strategy

We are all different and all have different triggers which cause stress and anxiety but by being aware of what these are and knowing what you can do to stop this happening at future auditions, you will start developing an audition strategy to enable you to give your best performance in the room. Perhaps consider putting together an audition strategy for yourself now, you can add to this with the more experience that you get, as you find more things that make you nervous in the audition room. You might decide that for you, it’s important to arrive an hour early so that you can go for a coffee somewhere first or sit and read a book or rehearse your scene before you go into the audition building. Some of you might prefer to practice mindfulness techniques or relaxation and breathing exercises before attending an audition. Whereas other might just want to finish rehearsing and prepping the night before and don’t perform again until they are actually in the room. You have to find what works best for you.

Plan a Post Audition Strategy

It is not good to mull over the audition for days after attending, this in itself creates anxiety and is something that will contribute to your anxiety levels when attending future auditions. The more that your brain can get used to the audition process not being an anxiety provoking activity, the easier it will become to handle it. Plan something to do after your audition to help you process it and move forward. As we all know, getting feedback after auditions is not a given so you have to learn how to deal with the post audition process yourself.

Take away message: Practice makes perfect; the more experience you have with the audition process, the easier it will become. Break a leg!

Charlotte Armitage is the Managing Director at Yorkshire Academy Of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA). She is also a psychologist and helps people in the film industry with mental health issues. Read our exclusive interview with Charlotte.


Camilla Joyce


Thank you Charlotte. That’s really helpful and positive. I had an audition this week that I built up too much beforehand. I arrived early and was launched into it before I felt completely calm and ready. I was too nervous to give a good singing rendition, but I did well with the acting.
I didn’t get a recall and felt bad for a day or two, but I managed to pick myself up as there are so many factors as to why they do not pick you and you can’t afford to take it personally.
Your article has confirmed things I was thinking and feeling and helped me to move past it.
Thank you.