Where to Find Acting Auditions in the UK | StageMilk
UK acting auditions

Where to Find Acting Auditions in the UK

Written by on | London Acting Resources

Being an actor doesn’t always mean being on set or rehearsing a play. In fact, most of the time you’re sending emails, networking, reading scripts, attending class, doing your accounts and other tasks that are involved in the grind of running your own business. One of the things you’ll be constantly hunting down is auditions. Perhaps you’re not getting enough auditions or maybe you’re not getting seen by the companies or casting directors that you’d like to work with. So what can you do about this? How do you begin to expand your opportunities and be seen for more projects?

Find the Path of Least Resistance

Whilst no one likes to be stereotyped, acknowledging the fact that you will be put into certain boxes, especially at the beginning of your career, can be incredibly empowering. Working with this notion rather than against it can help you to land more work by being realistic about what is suitable for you.

If you’re fortunate enough to be represented, make sure that you’re being put up for the right auditions. Ask your agent for monthly submission lists and see if you’re being submitted for roles that are age appropriate, play to your strengths and fit your type.

Find the path of least resistance. Your objective is to get your foot in the door, be seen by casting directors and book the room, rather than the job. Whilst getting the job is a bonus, landing an audition and networking is just as beneficial to your career. Start viewing rejection as redirection. You might not be the right fit this time, but there are plenty of instances in which casting directors will think of you for future projects or recommend you to a colleague.

Represented or not, it’s in your best interest to be proactive in finding auditions. Waiting for the phone to ring and expecting auditions to be handed to you won’t get you very far. Be the client that your agent knows is actively working to carve out opportunities for
themselves. They are certainly more likely to fight for you if they know you are motivated and willing to put in the hard yards.

So beyond your agent, what else can you do?

Casting Websites

With all casting websites, it’s important to check rates of pay that are being offered and ensure that you are not being underpaid. If you’re unsure, you can call Equity for advice, even if you’re not a member. Unfortunately, some of these websites do take advantage of actors being eager to work. Set limits for what you will accept and figure out what is financially feasible and right for you. Sometimes doing a lower paid gig might be worthwhile for the footage you need to update your showreel or the networking opportunity that may arise, but don’t stretch yourself for the sake of working. Your acting career should not come at the expense of your finances.

Spotlight

Spotlight is the main casting website in the UK and in my experience, it is absolutely necessary to be a member if you’re a professional actor in the UK. All of the major casting directors cast through Spotlight and having a profile will allow you to be seen by leading industry members. It’s unlikely that agents will take you on if you’re not currently on Spotlight. 

If you’re represented, your agent will have access to the All Agents tier of castings, which includes large scale productions produced internationally and in the UK. The tier above this includes private lists which are curated by casting directors and sent to specific agents. 

If you’re unrepresented, Spotlight allows you access to Spotlight Link, where you can self-submit your profile. Spotlight Link gives you access to general release auditions. These auditions tend to be for commercials, regional theatre tours, independent theatre and other smaller, but still valuable opportunities. It is by no means impossible to land

auditions from Spotlight unrepresented – I’ve done so just by having the right look for a specific casting. 

Membership to Spotlight is granted through either having completed a minimum of a year’s worth of training at an accredited drama school or university or at least four professional credits. If you don’t meet either of those requirements, check out our in depth article regarding getting onto Spotlight here: How to Get on Spotlight

Membership costs £158 per year and is able to be paid in monthly installments. 

Mandy

Mandy offers a range of auditions that tend to be on the lower end of the scale, with a lot of student films, budget short films, commercials and independent theatre productions. You won’t find professional companies or high scale productions on Mandy, however you may be able to book a commercial or voiceover gig that gives you another professional credit, networking opportunity or footage to use that can be useful when you’re at the beginning of your acting journey. 

My personal experience of Mandy has been a mixed bag. I booked a couple of legitimate voiceover jobs from being on Mandy Voices which were paid at the standard Equity rate. I also applied for a number of jobs with no luck and saw a lot of castings that were offering very low rates for jobs. 

Basic membership to Mandy is free and allows you to apply for a limited range of castings. Premium membership is slightly discounted if you pay upfront at annual cost of £155.96. If not, membership will cost you £20 per month. 

Dramanic

Dramanic is a UK specific casting website for professional actors that advertises casting calls and compiles lists of what shows professional theatre companies are

programming, ahead of publicly being announced. This casting calendar allows you to then keep tabs of what opportunities are available and network accordingly. This is certainly a unique feature that the other casting websites don’t possess and something I found particularly useful. You can also directly submit to projects that are casting on Dramanic which are all of a high level quality. 

In addition to this, if you’re a member of Dramanic you will have a personalised CV and have access to a database of theatre companies, agents and casting directors, a self-employed tax guide for actors and a forum for swapping books and plays with other Dramanic users. There is also a non-acting job listing section, which can be useful if you’re after a day job to supplement your creative work. 

You must have a Spotlight page in order to be a member of Dramanic, which is also an indicator of the quality of work offered. There is an initial two week free trial. After this, membership costs £116.99 for 12 months, £65.99 for 6 months, £40.99 for 3 months and £14.99 for 1 month. 

Shooting People

Shooting People is an UK based online network for independent filmmakers, producers, directors and actors to network, collaborate and get films made. Actors can join with a yearly membership fee of £39.95 and have access to castings for indie films as well as in person and online Shooting People events and other networking opportunities. They also have a twice yearly competition for actors called New Shoots. Generally castings posted on this site are at the lower end of the pay scale as they are independent productions, but if you’re keen to expand your screen experience and eager to make contacts within the indie film industry, it’s a worthwhile and relatively affordable membership to hold.

Social Media 

Social media can be an incredibly valuable tool for finding auditions in the UK. It pays to have professional social media accounts that are separate from your personal ones, as casting directors often look at social media when casting. For more ideas on this, check out our ultimate guide to social media as an actor here: The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Actors. 

In the UK, Twitter is a particularly active hub for networking in the industry. Casting directors, directors and producers regularly post open casting calls and other audition opportunities here. Agents are also quite active on Twitter in the UK and will regularly post when their books are open, which can be very useful if you’re looking to send emails at the right time! It is definitely worthwhile having a Twitter account and following relevant industry members, hashtags and lists. 

Do or Die Studios began the #CastMeComp on Twitter during the initial 2020 lockdown. Since then, many actors have entered the competition and subsequently been cast in projects after being seen by casting directors judging the competition. There is also the annual #ShowreelShareDay on the 27th of February, which allows you to share your showreel with the UK Acting Twitter community and be seen by casting directors, agents and other relevant industry members. 

I’ve also found it personally very useful to follow casting directors and agents on Twitter as they often tweet advice, thoughts and commentary on the business. I’ve been able to gain a lot of insight into the complexity of the casting processes and have been able to see that casting directors are human beings who want the best for actors, rather than scary, judgemental people who hold my fate in their hands! 

Networking

We all hate the word but networking is an essential part of being an actor. If you’re intimidated by cold-contacting people you don’t know or walking up to someone in the foyer of a theatre, just remember that you don’t need to be anything other than yourself, as long as you’re prepared. If you are going to reach out to industry professionals, just make sure you have something to offer and are not simply contacting them with nothing to say.

Cold Contacting

I’ve gotten a large portion of my auditions by being a detective and reaching out to people that I don’t know at all. Make sure you regularly attend theatre, and if you loved the production, look into who directed, produced and cast the show. Send an email to these individuals, let them know you enjoyed their work and that you would like to work with them in the future. Be specific and concise. Don’t send an overly generalised email. 

Keep track of theatre companies’ programming. If you see they’re doing a show you think you’d be perfect for, send them an email putting yourself forward. Obviously, don’t email them constantly and for shows that you are not suitable for. This is where having a strong understanding of your brand/casting type will serve you. 

Do Your Homework

I’ve gotten a large portion of my auditions by being a detective and reaching out to people that I don’t know at all. Make sure you regularly attend theatre, and if you loved the production, look into who directed, produced and cast the show. Send an email to these individuals, let them know you enjoyed their work and that you would like to work with them in the future. Be specific and concise. Don’t send an overly generalised email. 

Keep track of theatre companies’ programming. If you see they’re doing a show you think you’d be perfect for, send them an email putting yourself forward. Obviously, don’t email them constantly and for shows that you are not suitable for. This is where having a strong understanding of your brand/casting type will serve you. 

Use Your Friends

Ask your fellow actors what auditions they’re going up for and keep tabs on opportunities you see that might be suitable for them and vice versa. Working as a team can make the grind much more tolerable. Supporting your colleagues and celebrating their wins will also make the whole process much more joyful.

Attend Workshops

Whilst paying to play isn’t always ideal or financially feasible, if you can afford to occasionally do a workshop with a casting director, it can be a good way to be seen. The more times you get in the room with casting directors, the better. Even if you’re not booking the job, if they keep getting you back in, you’re doing something right. 

Create Your Own Work and Invite Industry Members

Finally, if you’re not working, create your own work. Write your own material, shoot your own projects, have things on the go that you can always contact people about. Invite industry members to shows that you are in and keep an updated spreadsheet with contacts handy. I tend to invite industry 3-4 weeks before the show and then send a reminder email the week before opening. Whilst the show is running it’s a good idea to send another reminder with quotes from a positive review. 

You might only get one reply after sending dozens of emails, but that one person that attends your show or views your project can be enough to get your foot in the door and into a big audition room. I’ve had this exact scenario happen to me multiple times. 

Conclusion

Most importantly, make sure you take a break. The hustle of searching for audition opportunities can be extremely tiring. Limit yourself to searching websites every few days. Give yourself a break and remember to actually live your life. You don’t want to burn out before you’ve even begun. Having a strong work ethic is important but you want to ensure that your approach is sustainable. Remember, the journey of being an actor is a marathon, not a sprint!

About the Author

Alice Birbara

Alice is an actor and theatre-maker based on Gadigal land / Sydney, Australia. Alice trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK and then worked in London before moving back home. She loves cooking, reading, bushwalking and bouldering in her spare time.

About the Author

Alice Birbara

Alice is an actor and theatre-maker based on Gadigal land / Sydney, Australia. Alice trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK and then worked in London before moving back home. She loves cooking, reading, bushwalking and bouldering in her spare time.

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