Disrespecting auditionees cannot continue

28th August 2022

Theatre Director Adrian Noble recently said in The Guardian, ‘Auditioning actors endure a litany of misery’ and things must change. 

He goes on to mention the challenges he has come across in his experience

Directors are rude, look at their iPhones during the audition, run late and don’t apologise, they chat away to their casting director as if the actor didn’t exist, they laugh at private review copy jokes.

Now, I understand that directors can be very busy and under a lot of pressure when casting, but it doesn’t mean that they can be rude and disrespectful to those auditioning. 

At the end of the day these directors have put a call out for someone to join their cast, so they should be pleased that they have this incredible amount of talent in front of them wanting to work for them. 

Auditions give actors a chance to showcase their talent and show casting directors, producers and more that they are the right person for the job. It is also a great opportunity to gain insight into how it’ll be working with them going forward. If the first meeting with the creative team isn’t positive, it is important to think about how will the process continue?

At The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company we always treat actors with great respect. We do this by giving auditionees the required material in plenty of time, reading CVs before every audition so we can get to know who we are meeting and having a warm and welcoming atmosphere to make our auditionees feel relaxed and at ease. This way we can ensure we are giving all auditionees the same opportunity and getting the very best out of everyone. The actors we have worked with seem very appreciative of this.

We are all about being fair, not only in auditions and productions but also in paying our actors, and we have worked hard to build our reputation on this.

It’s right that a director should not be rude to you - manners cost nothing - but it also works both ways. Treating a director or producer badly isn’t wise as they don’t have to invite you for auditions or hire you again! We have had a couple of very rude auditionees, which has surprised me, but they are very much in the minority. 

Being able to see it from an actor’s point of view is important as it can seem that producers and directors has a hold on actors as they are the ones with the opportunities that actors have worked so hard and honed their craft for.

Actors will continue to contact directors and attend auditions, even if it is a negative experience, because being part of a theatre production is what they have trained so long to do. It is hard to take a stand against rude directors as it could cut actors off from future work and opportunities. Like Noble says: “the actor is a supplicant”.

I don’t know another industry where this sort of behaviour would be ok. Why do some people think they can get away with disrespecting or being offensive to actors in theatre/entertainment? 

It is totally unacceptable, and things do need to change. 

Have you ever experienced this behaviour?