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Mums guide to auditioning in the West End!

Here is the Mums guide to auditioning in the West-end! So what happens at a West End audition? Taking your child to an audition for the first time can be quite daunting and there is so much you need to know. However it can also be a very exciting experience too. There are many parts in musical theatre and on TV for children and if your child is lucky enough to land a part in the west end it can be the start of a blossoming career. ( recently updated for 2022 )

What happens at a West End audition for children?

It’s a big thing for a child going up to London and auditioning in front of people here are some tips for you and your child to help you along the way.

“Mum I want to be on the stage” when your child is an entertainer and they are called to an audition

Our story

After having been blessed with two boys I really didn’t think I would be going down the route of ballet shoes and tap shoes. But we did and it’s been so far a great ride.
Harry my youngest has been an entertainer from a young age, any music or stage and he would be on it.
I knew he needed a bit more than just the odd dance class so we sent him to a performing arts school in our local area.
It was a big decision he went for a whole day at the weekend and I did at first think it would be a bit too much. However he absolutely loved it!
He understood that ballet would give him a good dance base so he didn’t mind donning the ballet shoes, he also then picked up tap quite quickly too. Before long we realised he wasn’t bad at singing either.
 
westend auditioning

Joining a performing arts agency

 
I wasn’t sure about our child joining a performing arts agency at first but after his first performance with his arts school we knew he had great potential. We were asked by the performing arts school if he wanted to be on the agency so we took the plunge.
We had some headshots done and we jumped right in and waited for his first audition. We didn’t have to wait much longer in fact a matter of weeks went by and he was offered an audition in the West End.
 
So there we were faced with our sons first audition for Matilda the musical in London. It was a whole new world!

 Obtaining permission from the school, what will the school say?

Having never experienced any of this it was complete minefield. We explained to the primary school that Harry had the opportunity of auditioning for a West End show. They were actually vey excited for him and gave us the go ahead.
I gave them confirmation of the audition and told the school what time he would leave and be back. They then allowed me to whisk him off to London for the day.
What do you need for a

What does your child need for a West End audition?

All audition criteria will be different depending on the show. Some are looking for strong singers or strong dancers. They may require you to read a monologue of their choice or prepare one yourself. They may also want you child to prepare a song from the show or in a general style. They normally teach the children a small routine to get an idea if your children can move well. Think of it like a workshop.

How do I find a monologue for a young boy?

Harry was required to read a monologue and that was a whole other story! Google monologues and you get plenty of verbal diareah! I am sure there must be a good website out there somewhere but it would of took me years to find one that Harry would be remotely interested in.
 
We ended up finding an online Charlie and the Chocolate Factory script where Charlie tells his family about finding the golden ticket. I adapted this by taking out other characters and keeping it to just what Charlie says. This seemed to work really well and Harry loved it. Check out your child’s favourite book or look for poems. Take a look at funny poems or something from a well known children’s book author to also get some ideas.

What song should my child sing at an audition?

The song was a little easier, it needed to be a song from a musical but not Matilda. I soon realised that Harry didn’t really know a lot of musicals. I played a few soundtracks and he loved Oliver the musical. Harry eventually chose Consider yourself from oliver.
Mike Teavee costumes lined up backstage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Mike Teavee costumes lined up backstage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
 
Pick a song that is relevant to what your child is auditioning for. Try and choose a song that is also suitable for their age as well.
I think really it’s best for your child to love and enjoy the song and the monologue to really show their potential.

What should my child wear to an audition?

One thing I’d say is do not worry about what your child is wearing. Comfy, casual and neat is fine. They need to be able to move about and dance freely. There can also be a lot of waiting around so take plenty of snacks and drinks for in-between.
They may also be required to take certain foot wear depending on the audition such as jazz or ballet shoes.

First time auditioning in the West-end

Our First time auditioning in the west end was very interesting! We caught the train into London to go to a dance studio and were joined by lots of other boys around Harry’s age.
 
There were about 60 other children all auditioning for the same parts.
They split the boys into 3 groups, first group were singing, second group were acting and the third dancing.
I told Harry not to expect anything and to just enjoy the experience. So he bounced in and out of each class with great enthusiasm!

Preparing your child for a no at an audition.

The  ladies who were guiding the audition were lovely and made all the boys at ease. When the audition was finally over they were congratulated on the efforts. Some children were called to stay back and the other children were and told that this time was unfortunately a no.
These children were then kindly told that it was no reflection on them and they were extremely talented to be there and maybe next time may be there time.
 
It was a strong disappointment for myself too. I did feel like I was maybe getting his hopes up and I could tell that he was upset.
But to be honest it was an enjoyable day out and Harry loved every minute. He simply shrugged his shoulders with a downturned smile and said never mind. I said there is always next time!
 

What happens if my child gets a yes at an audition in the West End?

Sometimes you child may the one with the yes! This happened to us on Harry’s very next audition. But do not get too excited as there are often quite a few audition rounds to go through. Harry’s first West End Show was the part of Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate factory and it took a total of 7 auditions until we knew he had the part. Generally the further down the audition line you go you get reimbursed for your travel too.

Harry Vallance as Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

What if I do not think my child is suitable for an audition in a London musical?

It depends on what you think is not right? They have to be confident and not shy. If dancing is required then they should be at a certain level but it is not necessary. A strong singing voice will be required by some casting agents. They do need to be under the right height so they are not towering over other adults in the cast.

Harry was originally called for the role of Charlie and I almost did not take him! I didn’t think myself he would fit the role and he would be more suited to the role of Mike Teavee. However I did take him and after calling out two boys for the role of Charlie they asked to speak to me and said they would like to audition him for the role of Mike Teavee. I am so glad I took him even though I was not sure, you never know when it just might be their turn to shine! Harry went on to secure 5 contracts and was the longest running Mike Teavee in the Charlie and the Chocolate factory musical in London.

General tips for auditioning children in the West End

So would we do it again? yes it’s a great learning curve, and any experience at auditioning is good. You Never know that one audition may be the start of a lifelong career.

Tips for auditioning your child in the West End;

  • Make sure your child is aware that they may not get through, in fact it is unlikely due to how many people turn up. However there is always a chance!
  • Don’t get too disheartened, a “no” could be down to anything, your child simply may not be what they are looking for or they may be the wrong height or have the wrong colour hair. It can be quite brutal.
  • They are really strict on height and age and really know what they are looking for. Having said that it’s good to get their faces seen if they are confident they will stand out.
  • Just remember the most important thing is to ensure the child wants to do it and is comfortable. No one is going to shine if they are nervous or not really enjoying it.
I always say to harry and still do “enjoy it and don’t worry your best is good enough”, and when he doesn’t succeed a simple, “you did a great job and what fun you had!” will suffice.
 
 
So we are many auditions down now and Harry has been lucky enough to have landed a few lovely parts. So it is worth all of the hard work. So a huge good luck to you all!
 
Thank you for reading the Mums guide to auditioning in the west end! Good luck on your audition journey.
 
D x
 

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