Actors are struggling right now. Well, we’re all struggling right now. But actors have not only been booted off the stage, but many of us who work in the service industry are also out of a day job. I have been lucky enough to already do the majority of my work from home, so I haven’t been taking a financial hit the same way many people are.
I’ve also been seeking solace in the performing arts community in a way that I haven’t in a while. I had all but given up on acting, focusing instead on my writing, which also brings me great joy and doesn’t require me to face as much rejection. But taking the modified, online monologue version of the Difficult Women scene study class has reminded me that I love acting. Maybe I don’t love auditioning or marketing but I love performing. I have also done a couple virtual play readings with Company of Fools, which have been awkward, fun, and affirming. I highly recommend any wayward actor take a class or participate in a play reading.
While you’re stuck inside the house (aka bored in the house bored) you may want to use the time to work on your craft. Here is a roundup of great online resources for actors.
Break out that self-tape set up, auditions are still happening. This article lists some of the best free casting websites, and the ones that are most consistently mentioned by actors and casting directors are Backstage and Actor’s Access. While the free (ish) versions are a good place to start, if you want to submit frequently the annual subscriptions will give you better bang for your buck. Facebook is also a great place to look for auditions when you’re starting out — try audition groups in your area.
Theatre, Film, and TV Scripts
One of the most important ways to grow as an actor and build your repetoire of monologues and scenes is to read plays and screen scripts.
New Play Exchange offers an inexpensive annual membership ($15) for individuals that gives you access to their vast searchable database of new plays.
Always check your local library for scripts you’d like to read, especially for classic plays and films. Libby is an incredible app for electronic library resources.
Film, TV, and Live Performance Recordings
With everyone and their mother starting a streaming service, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to watching content online. Here are a few options you may not have immediately thought of.
Broadway HD offers a 7 day free trial for their library of musicals, plays and other live performance. It is $8.99/month after that.
Vimeo is an amazing place to explore the work of indie creators. They have a treasure trove of short and feature length work in almost any category you can imagine.
PBS Great Performances has a deep archive of well, great performances. And they’re all free.
Podcasts and Videos
Whether you’re panic-baking, doing the dishes (AGAIN), or staring at your bedroom wall, interview shows make great company.
Broadway.com has a variety of excellent video series featuring some of the top players onstage.
Broadway Black’s podcast, Off Book, is all about the black performers who make Broadway shine.
The Ensemblist is the OG Broadway podcast and reps the musical ensemble members who know more than anyone that the show must go on.
The Black List has a great archive of un-produced scripts for members and an incredible backlog of podcast recordings of said scripts.
Thanks to web-conferencing, we can still go to class. The Barrow Group, Berkeley Rep, and Difficult Women are a few places that I’ve enjoyed in real life that are offering online classes. Check your favorite studio to see if they’re offering classes too.
The most important thing that you do right now is take care of yourself. Drink your water, call your loved ones, go on a socially distant walk if you can. Don’t forget to stretch your body and remember that things will not always be this way. I hope these resources are useful to you and give you a sense of normalcy. You are not alone.
Love and theatre,