So, you didn’t get a part in the show you auditioned for. You’re understandably, disappointed, confused, overwhelmed and wondering what on earth you did wrong. There’s no question that you are absolutely justified in feeling upset when you don’t see your name up on the cast list.
Even though it may feel like all your theatre-related hopes and dreams have been crushed, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved with the production even if you aren’t actually onstage. In fact, getting involved in the department and becoming a more visible presence can even boost your chances of getting a role the next round of auditions.
Even if you don’t have the slightest clue what the difference is between a phillips screwdriver and slot screwdriver and haven’t yielded a hammer since, well, never, there’s no time like the present! In addition to playing an integral role in creating the set pieces and scenery of the show, you’ll learn invaluable skills that you can carry with you for years to come. Plus, you’ll even get a little bit of time onstage — granted, you’ll be clad head-to-toe in black and be frantically shuffling around set pieces in the dark, but the thrill is still totally worth it.
If the idea of spending a few months casually dangling from a wooden ladder is a bit too much for you, you may feel more comfortable pitching in with the props department. Being involved in props is great if you enjoy a challenge, as you’ll spend a lot of time on an unparallelled treasure hunt for items more random and ridiculous than you ever could have imagined. However, once you’ve collected all your items, be prepared to lose them constantly, as actors have a bad habit of playing around with props that are definitely not theirs.
Okay, so maybe you didn’t get to unleash your inner diva under the warm glow of a spotlight. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show off your fashionista side by creating, collecting and fitting gorgeous costumes for the cast! Half the fun is spending an inordinate amount of time in the costume shed trying stuff on for funsies, and the other half is watching your creations come to life onstage as you nail down the perfect costume.
If you like the idea of being off in your own little world, lights could be the perfect way to get involved with the theatre department. Tucked away in your booth, you get a bird’s-eye view into the action below and are responsible for those moments that take the show from “meh” to “WOW.” Besides, the experience is great for any other event that needs someone who knows how to operate the lights – you’ll be in high demand.
Sure, the title “Director’s Assistant” can make you sound a lot like Anne Hathaway’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada.” You might think you’re dooming yourself to weeks upon weeks of fetching lattes and takeout pizza, but there’s a lot more that goes into this job than just that. Directors have approximately a billion things on their mind at once, and you can play a big role in helping to alleviate some of those challenges and running errands that are vital to the production. Besides, what better way than to get some facetime with the person making next year’s casting decisions than being literally attached to their hip?
Front of House
If you want to get known by your director without spending months upon months hanging out backstage, working on a front-of-house crew could be the best job for you. Here, you could be responsible for customer service, ticket checks or selling programs for the show.
So maybe your singing voice is a little more “eek” than Taylor Swift, but you’ve been rocking out on the trumpet in band for years. Satisfy that urge to perform by auditioning to join the orchestra for the show. You get all the fun of showbiz without the months of rehearsals and still get to show off your talent in a spot where you’ll really shine.
Another option if you don’t make it into the cast is to join the sound crew. You’ll work with any live or recorded music and sound effects and manage the actors’ microphones. It’s a trying task, as everyone will definitely notice when backstage shenanigans are picked up by a rogue mic and projected to the entire audience. You’ll also get to play around with several sources of sound effects, and nothing is more fun than scrolling through a library of sounds to find the one that’s juuuuuust right for your show.
Who runs the world? Stage managers. Who
Though it’s no secret that it can be tough to watch a show come to life without you actually performing in it, you can still play your own special role behind the scenes. And who knows? Maybe you’ll stumble upon your secret passion along the way.