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Auditioning can be Nerve-Racking

by Nitra Gutierrez, Artistic Director – Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble

When I was a young actor, I approached auditions with a mix of anxiety, challenge and excitement.  I would get nervous and feel the heat rise to my cheeks as my heart beat fast with anticipation.  Once or twice, I decided that avoiding the audition process altogether was a safer choice than facing someone who would tell me whether I was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for the part.

It’s a high-stakes experience.  When we want to perform, we want to share ourselves with the world.  What could be more deflating than sharing yourself with a group of strangers only to be rejected?  Performing is an act of tremendous courage. It takes a lot of courage to take risks.  It takes guts to put yourself in front of people.

I empathize with young actors who enter any audition process. I know it can be scary, so I work to make our auditions as positive an experience as I can.  It’s not competitive.  It’s not stressful. Trying out for Changing Lives feels more like attending a rehearsal than an episode of America’s Got Talent.

I think it’s most important for youth trying out for the program to decide whether they are a good fit for the ensemble.  I ask them, “Do you enjoy this?  Is this the kind of work you can commit to with your whole self?  Do you see yourself giving the ensemble the time and dedication you’d give to an extra-curricular sport or a part-time job?

People ask what ‘we’re looking for’ in Changing Lives auditions.  My response is always the same. “I want team players, not divas or stars.  I want strong voices but not necessarily the loudest voices in the room.  I want kids who have something to say and are also ready to listen to others and collaborate artistically.  Most importantly – I want youth who are willing to be themselves and commit fully to the play-making process.”

Heartfelt thanks to all who came out & auditioned for the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble yesterday. The turnout continues to grow year after year and we couldn’t be more pleased to meet you all!

Have you ever had to audition for something?  What was your experience like?

Post a thought on it here!  Maybe your audition experience will give me some ideas for our next round of try-outs.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

2 responses »

  1. Hello My name is Dustin M. Carlson and I am a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado in Theatre Education. My focus is on Theatre for social change and particularly using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with youth. I am currently enrolled in a Theatre curriculum development class and i am doing a research project on TAP and I am curious to know if you might be able provide me access to any curriculum models you use or lesson plans that speak to the kind of work you do with youth. I am also like to set up a phone interview sometime in the next couple of weeks. Please let me know if you would be able to be of assistance.
    Thank you
    Dustin M. Carlson .

    • Thank you for your interest Dustin. I sent this on to the writer of this particular article and will let them get in contact. Also if you would like to email her, please click on her name and it will lead you to the website and tell you the email. Thank you again.
      Theatre Action Project


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