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Agency Workshop Day

Lily Mae in rehearsals for the musical Little Miss Sunshine, Jigsaw Performing Arts Schools Agency

Above: Lily Mae in rehearsals for the musical Little Miss Sunshine. Lily Mae attended the Agency Workshop in 2017.

Following the great success of the last one, and all the wonderful casting news for Jigsaw students (which you can read about here), there will be another Agency Workshop Day on:

Sunday 30th June in London

If you are a current Jigsaw student and are interested in attending, click here to email Katie at the agency and find out more! 

Katie is here to tell us all about how it works! Read on to find out more about the workshop, the agency, the audition process and the industry…

 

What happens at an agency workshop?

Students who attend the workshop will take part in a series of mock castings to see what auditions are like and what is involved. We will offer feedback and explain how to make a good impression at castings. They are often quite short, so you don’t have long to make your mark!

Who is running the agency workshop? 

Myself – I’m Katie, and I run Jigsaw Arts Management. I am also the manager of Jigsaw Watford and Bushey. We also have Sam running the workshop too. He trained at The Guildford School of Acting in Musical Theatre and has many professional credits. He also teaches dance, drama and singing at Jigsaw. We have Saskia assisting us – she recently graduated from Associated Studios in London.

Who should attend, and why? 

The agency workshop is suitable for any Jigsaw student who is interested in finding out more about the acting and musical theatre industry. Come and give it a go! Being in the agency can provide many exciting opportunities, so it is an excellent way to find out more.

What can parents expect from the agency workshop? 

I am very happy to chat to parents after the workshop should they have any questions about the agency and the industry in general. For students that go on to land roles in West End shows, for example, it can be a huge commitment for parents, so it is good to be aware of this too.

How did the last agency workshop help those who attended it? 

It was fantastic to meet so many of our agency students last time and I walked away knowing which shows would be suitable for different children when it comes to submitting them for auditions. Since the last agency workshop, we have had two students appear in “The Bodyguard” UK tour and others make their west end debut in shows such as Les Miserables, School of Rock, A Little Princess, Nativity and Little Miss Sunshine. We have also had students take part in filming at the National Theatre (see below) and various TV adverts and campaigns.

What are you looking for in children interested in joining the agency? 

I am always looking for a spark! The industry is changing a lot and many TV/film castings just want to see ‘real’ children who are down to earth and capable of just being themselves in the audition room. This comes with confidence and the ability to take direction and leave your inhibitions at the door! Every child is unique, so my advice is to come along and just be yourself, as simple as that may sound.

How does being part of the agency work? 

When students join the agency they book a headshot session with Mark from MAD photography and we choose one headshot to go on their ‘Spotlight’ page which is an online CV. I get many castings coming through every day, and I put forward students that I feel are suitable for that particular role. It is then up to the casting director who they choose to call in for an audition.

What is the casting and audition process like for a show? Is it different for a film or TV show than stage? 

For musical theatre auditions, children will be asked to sing, dance and act in order to get through to each round. There will be other deciding factors such as height and age that play a huge part when it comes to how casting directors make their decisions. For TV/Film auditions, students are usually sent a script or at least a brief before hand so they can prepare for the audition. They may get to read this a few times in the audition room, and often this will be filmed. In both cases, casting directors will want to see that the children can take direction and better their performance if they are called back for the next round.

Is the auditioning process difficult? How can it be made easier? 

It is extremely competitive! There is no denying that. However, there are certainly ways to make this easier. My advice would be to prepare as much as possible. Often for musical theatre auditions children will be asked to prepare a song, and sometimes a monologue. Auditions can be quite last minute so it is important to have something prepared just in case and to keep practicing it. Arriving to the audition early and taking some time before going into the audition room to think about the character, if it is a TV/film audition, will help to calm nerves and make sure you are focused on the task!

How do productions work with the children they cast to make it a good experience?

Children have chaperones on professional productions to really look after them and make sure they are having a positive experience at all times. Children have plenty of rehearsal time, and if they go on tour they also have a tutor to make sure they can keep up with their school work. It is certainly a very exciting experience for children to perform in a West End show – Harry got to perform on BBC’s Children in Need as part of the “School of Rock” cast!

If you are a current Jigsaw student and are interested in attending the agency workshop day or joining the agency, email Katie on agency@jigsaw-arts.co.uk.

Jigsaw Performing Arts is dedicated to developing performance skills, promoting self-expression and building confidence. We offer performing arts classes for children aged between 3 – 18 across London, the home counties and South Wales. To enquire or to book your child’s place at one of our schools please call our friendly Head Office team on 020 8447 4530 or email enquiries@jigsaw-arts.co.uk for more information.