Tips for Actors Working in Theatre

During the whole month of May, we facilitated 1:1 CV Surgery Sessions for Mandy members with some of the industry’s top casting directors. During these sessions, Mandy members received advice on their careers to ensure they are as equipped as possible to take on their next acting job or audition.

The casting directors we partnered with have cast incredible theatre projects in the UK and internationally. Our talented members have shared tips from the CDs - below you can read about their career highlights and some of their top tips:

Having cast dozens of theatre productions in the UK, Charlotte is hugely established. Career highlights include leading projects at the National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.

Charlotte's top tips:

  • Contact CDs only when you have something to say. Theatre CDs want to be invited to shows if you have them on but make sure you invite them with enough notice.
  • Charlotte suggested that they hope to be casting from September onwards for a 2021 start so to start writing with specific interest to CDs from then.
  • Applying for understudy roles is a great way to get your foot in the door for theatre.
  • Agents do play an important part in the process and when Charlotte knows and trusts an agent's taste, it will affect who she brings into the room. You can encourage your agent to get in touch with her as it's very simple for them to get onto the list to receive her breakdowns.
  • She welcomes emails from actors but it's most helpful when they have something new to say; a general non-specific email that says 'I'd like to be considered for your upcoming show' is less likely to lead to a casting.

Lucy has had an illustrious career, casting over one hundred theatre productions across the UK. Her West End credits include The Play That Goes Wrong, Groan Ups and more. 

Lucy's top tips:

  • Your CV needs to have a punch - tailor it to the type of work you are doing and want to be doing. It doesn't need to contain every project you've worked on. 
  • Each showreel clip should be short enough to keep a casting director watching. 
  • Get writing to industry people during lockdown.

Laura’s work has spanned the UK and USA and she has cast incredible theatre productions at venues such as Royal Lyceum Theatre, HOME Manchester and more. 

Laura's top tips:

  • Reach out and arrange meetings with not only CDs but other industry professionals. 
  • Find out who is casting what and where and contact accordingly. 
  • Do your research, get to know the casting directors who are casting the very work you would like to do. 
  • Use this time to write to casting directors and arrange zoom meetings if possible.

During her career, Ginny has been the in-house casting director for the RSC, Rose Theatre Kingston and, Soho Theatre and more, casting theatre productions across the UK. 

Ginny's top tips:

  • Contact casting directors with a genuine purpose, a part you feel you're right for that they are casting, an invite to a show or a new showreel. Don't just make contact for the sake of it.
  • Bring yourself into the room, not a character, an accent or an image of what you think is expected of you for the casting.

Ellie has years of professional experience and has previously worked for ATG. She has cast a variety of theatre productions in the UK and Canada, including several national tours. 

Ellie's top tips:

  • Use the notes section on an application to draw the casting director’s eye succinctly to certain parts of your CV.
  • Be precise with your CV so that you present a clear image of yourself.
  • Only email a casting director when you have a concise targeted reason. 
  • Be prepared and make bold, brave choices in auditions.

Lizzie has years of industry experience and has cast renowned TV and film productions, including Outlander, Mission Impossible 5 and Straight Outta Compton. 

Lizzie's top tips:

  • Keep your CV as up to date as possible as the more experience, the better. 
  • Make your CV tell as much information as it can: Were you a lead? How long did you train? 
  • Your CV really, really matters. No holes, be honest, the piece of information you think is unimportant might get you your first TV audition. Make it tell a good story for you.

Carl is one of London’s most in demand headshot photographers and has cast and produced incredible film & TV projects, including Mad Dogs. 

Carl's top tips:

  • Make sure your headshots show your range.
  • Do your research before getting a new headshot. Look online for ideas on specific shots before getting any done. Take control of the session.
  • Read Carl's headshot advice sheet.

Hayley has cast incredible theatre productions across the UK, including Nick Payne's acclaimed Incognito, Shakespeare In Love and more. 

Hayley's top tips:

  • Don't throw all your material at CDs in one email. Have an intention and offer focused and relevant channels for them to explore what you're offering. 
  • Get straight to the material that best showcases your acting ability in a showreel, not delaying the action with montages and scenes which aren't best for your casting type. 
  • Just because there are not immediate results of your labour does not mean you’re not being pointed in the right direction. 
  • Know what productions you want to work on, research who's behind them and reach out - they're probably not just going to pull you in out of the blue.