Column: How to deal with audition stress


Jordan Kirkley

Lights up on the stage, the auditorium is empty, awaiting the beginning of rehearsal for the musical, “Les Misérables”. Auditions for the upcoming Prosper Theatre shows were Aug. 22-23. “Competition is a huge part of auditions, and there is always high tension until the list of  people who made it gets released,” Chris Kulmann said. “Don’t ever let that tension get to you.”

Auditions. We have all had to audition at least once in life. It could have been for sports, band, choir, etc. I recently had the opportunity to audition for the school musical, “Les Miserables” and the fall play “Clue!” It felt as though the stress had a grip around me.  I had spent months preparing, and yet I still had so much anxiety walking into my audition. A lot of other people have experienced this before, and here are some tips on how to overcome your nerves.  

Tip 1: Breathe Breathe Breathe

This is one of the most important tips, just breath! I can not stress this enough. Deep breathing has been proven to help calm down anxiety. In a clinical trial, deep breathing was proven to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. One breathing exercise I do is a 4, 4, 4. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.  I learned this from my choir teacher in the 6th grade and it has stuck with me ever since. 

Tip 2: Practice Practice Practice

Another key recommendation is to practice, practice, practice! No matter what you are auditioning for, you need to practice until you are happy and confident with it. It is so important to be happy with what you are doing and feel confident while doing it. It is so easy to become insecure of your abilities and hide what your talent is. When you go up to audition, be confident with yourself. 

Tip 3: Listen Listen Listen (to the professionals)

Chris Kulmann, lead technical director,  talked on the subject of how emotional it can be. “ For the actors, its sheer terror, I like to imagine, certianly anxiety is high. They want a spot, ” Kulmann said. “ There is a lot of competition in a large department. ” Competition is a huge part of auditions, and there is always high tension until the list of  people who made it gets released. Don’t ever let that tension get to you. It will only make your anxiety worse, constantly worrying about what other people are doing. 

Vicki Kirkley, the lead director of Prosper Theater, spoke on what tips to give young actors walking into their first audition. “ Do anything and everything to get involved. The more you’re involved, the better off you are as a part of our family.” Kirkley said “ Be prepared when coming into an audition, the more practiced you are, the calmer you will be. There is always a place for you in tech, there is always a place for you in theatre.”