Lachlan Robertson gives advice to Freshers and others tempted by the stage about navigating the St Andrews theatre scene as an actor. 


1. Audition: 

Regardless of whether you have wanted to do drama since you could first don a pair of tights, or have never been on the stage, audition. Shows might want you, they might not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the experience of entering the audition room. Attempting to sell yourself to the director and producer of a show is not a challenge to be dismissed. If you are given a role, take it. If not, audition again.


2. Learn Your Lines:

Auditions and shows are often fun, but they can be stressful. If you want to enjoy your theatre experience, learn your lines. It’s simple. If you need to repeat them a thousand times over, listen to them through your iPod, or tattoo them into your forearm to remember, do it. Your director will appreciate it. Your producer will love you. If you’re smug about it, the cast will hate you. Whatever it takes, learn those lines.


3. Be Punctual: 

University life is busy but, when your director is busy with her dissertation, and your fellow actors are struggling over third year assignments, be punctual. Be organised. Nothing will frustrate your cast and crew more than if you miss rehearsals or arrive half-way through with no prior warning. Being busy isn’t an excuse.


4. Befriend Your Crew:

Being an actor it is easy to think that you are the most important part of a show. Forget it. You only stand in the spotlight because a techie positioned it to be so. Your costume was accounted for by your producer, and may well have been made by a fellow Mermaid. Your Stage Manager assures that each prop is where it should be, and that each actor is on the stage when they are meant to be. It’s the sound crew that provide the necessary bang to make your toy rifle seem convincing. Never forget the collaborative nature of theatre, and the people around you will appreciate you all the more.


5. Audition Again

A bit of a rinse and repeat piece of advice, I know, but it is worth it. Once you have made your final curtain call, go back to the audition rooms and start over. Continued involvement is what keeps our theatre community alive and well, and your presence is always welcome. If you find acting to not be your calling, think about stage managing, directing, producing. There will always be something for you to do, and someone to appreciate you doing it.


Cara Mahoney in The Lion in Winter, Fall 2012

Cara Mahoney in The Lion in Winter, Fall 2012



Lachlan Robertson

Photo Credit: Ben Anderson