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Another retrospective post in this little Intertwined Blog series. Preparing for auditions meant I needed to do a number of small tasks. This was a full-on process because as I did one thing, sometimes 3 additional tasks would need to be done beforehand. My list looked something like this to begin with (but ended up with lots of crossing out and arrows and words inserted):

* Organise a rehearsal space This involved calling a local church and requesting a hall. I had my dates ready for 2 open call auditions (had 4 dates set aside in case it didn't work for the church). I wanted to be able to feed my helpers on the day so I knew having a kitchen on site would be helpful. We set the 2 dates during the phone call but then I needed to send through a public liability insurance certificate. In order to do that, (I learned by asking an independent theatre maker I found in Sydney on Instagram) I had to register the business for a public liability policy and in order to do that, I first had to register a business name against an existing ABN. These little steps don't seem like much but they are important!

So my new list to organise auditions looked like this: * Organise a rehearsal space (phone calls with dates)

* Register company name for theatre company against pre-existing ABN * Register for company insurance policy for public liability insurance to cover everyone during the audition process and then also during rehearsal process

Once those tasks were done, I added these things to my list:

* Contact insurer and request certificate * Send certificate through to church

* Create a time schedule and upload to my website making sure the dates for rehearsals were clear so that when people auditioned they would know straight up what the level of commitment would be * Create a couple of audition posters * Ask a few experienced friends to help with the audition and make sure they are avail on the days

* Create character profiles/description sheets so that people know which part to audition for * Add character description sheets to my website * Create audition form on my website and audition requirements (song/monologue etc to prepare)

* Print off script excerpt and have a few copies so we can have a cold read (sides) on the day

* Organise lunch for my helpers * Create an audition form for people to fill in on the day * Working with Children's Check registration

* Create an audition sign-in sheet * Create a photo/video release form to be signed on day of audition

* Be sure to have a rough recording of at least one song that demonstrates all music parts so people auditioning have an idea of the style of music that we will be singing if they request to hear it * Audition signs laminated (and quiet please signs too) * Insurance policy laminated and displayed

Below were the main things I had to organise before the audition dates and then how we set up on the day.

I was grateful to have my eldest daughter Stassi be our meet-and-greeter on the day. For her area I made sure I had organised: * Clipboards and pens for people to use when they signed their forms

* Chairs to sit on (the hall provided these and I just needed to set them out) * A table (again provided by the hall and just set out on the day) * Instax camera connected to her phone by an app so she could take a photo on the day, print out and attach to the auditioning person's forms * Purchased Instax film for camera * Individually wrapped mints in a glass holder for people to take

* Individual bottles of water available for helpers and people auditioning

For my other helpers we needed: * Tables and chairs (again supplied by the hall) set out * Ipad stand and Ipad charged (set up prior to auditions commencing) * A sheet that clearly let everyone know their roles (including who would be reading which parts for sides) * Sheets for adjudicating auditions * Pens

On the day:

* I made sure I woke up early and popped on our beef brisket to enjoy for lunch (and all sides and serving things so we didn't need to use anything from the hall and to minimise clean up)

* Had all my gear ready to go allowing myself an hour to get to the venue, arrange chairs and tables and put up signs

Making independent theatre means you wear many hats, including casting consultant. Apart from the basics of setting up the audition, I needed to really make sure I knew what I was looking for when people auditioned. Obviously, the ability to sing and act but more than that: I was looking for presence, vocal tone, ability to project, engagement, bringing the side to life in a short space of time. Here are the audition posters I created (including for posterity):

And when I had to get a little more specific in my searches, I made up a couple of posters like this that were shared well across social media channels.

I will also make note here that I included Zoom auditions to accommodate people due to health or travel limitations. This was helpful and opened the way for me to also think about utilizing the platform of Zoom for online check-ins with my cast down the track (more on that to come).

So that pretty much sums up the audition process. Another retrospective post to come soon. Lusi x

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