DEAR ALEX: How Do I Get Over Stage Fright?

Dear Alex: I love theatre, and this year, Lafayette’s school musical is Grease. I know all of the songs and really want to audition, but I am too scared to put myself out there. I’ve never auditioned for anything before, and don’t know how it works, but I really want to be a part of this production. How do I get over my stage fright and best prepare for auditions?

– Scared of the Stage at School

Dear Scared of the Stage at School: First things first, auditions are scary for everyone. You should definitely audition, if only for the experience. It’s amazing that you are being brave! I know performing in front of people can be intimidating, so here’s a list of things you can do before your audition.

Educate yourself on what the audition process will look like.
Read the script of the show you will be auditioning for.
Prepare 16 measures of a song that best exhibits your vocal range.
Pick an outfit that you are comfortable in, shows your form, and you can move in.
Do vocal and movement warm ups.
Utilize skills and activities that can loosen your nerves.
Do your best and let yourself have fun.

When you go to an audition, you will sign in and get a number. You may play a few name games and do some warmups as well. You will then be put into groups and assigned cold readings, which is where you are given chunks of a script you haven’t seen before, and read through it. If you want to be more prepared for this part, the script of the show you will be reading is generally posted with information about auditions. In auditions for a musical like Grease, there will be a section where you sing part of a song of your choosing, about 16 measures, accompanied generally by a pianist. This part you will do on your own, but in the same room as the other people auditioning. There will also be a dance section, where you will be taught a choreographed dance to then perform in groups.

I know the whole process can be intimidating, but it’s best to just let yourself have fun!

To prepare for an audition, there are a few things you could do. For one thing, plan your outfit into something you are confident in, shows your shape, and allows you to move around. This will help prevent you from fidgeting during the audition. Also, remember that from the moment you sign in at the table, you are performing. The directors of the show will be watching for good attitudes, teamwork, and communication, people they want to work with and who want to be in their show.

When you are going into an audition, it is always important to warm up, but especially if you are nervous. For your vocal audition, it can be good to repeat tongue twisters, sing scales, and warm up your voice without hurting yourself. Make sure you stay inside your range or it may injure your vocal chords. Before a vocal audition, steer clear of dairy products for around 24 hours, it can coat your throat and prevent you from sounding your best.

For dance and acting auditions, it is necessary to stretch so you do not injure your muscles. There can also be some warm up activities that are very helpful for nerves. One thing you can do is shake out each limb for a count of 8, then 6, then 4, 2, 1, and jump once you are done. This can be very energizing and gets out your movements so as to help you not fidget. It warms up your limbs as well. There are many other exercises like these which you can find online, or you can talk to your peers and teachers who have immersed themselves in theatre before. Good luck!

– Alex