Could you be the next Matilda, Simba, Annie or Oliver? then read on...!
The great news is there are many more musicals - both new ones being written and older ones being revived - that feature children and young people in leading or supporting roles. There are therefore some excellent opportunities to audition, and you'll find information about some of these on this page. While anyone can apply for an appointment, or attend open auditions, keep in mind that competition is still fierce and there are several factors to take into consideration.
Firstly, there are strict laws when it comes to children working, and anyone under 16 has to be licensed by their local authority in order to do so. This can be a time consuming and sometimes frustrating process, so it is well worth having someone around who knows the procedure (and maybe even the people responsible for child licensing in your area). Being with an agency that specialises in young people can make life a lot easier, as they will not only suggest you for suitable jobs but also deal with the paperwork. You can find lists of these in Contacts (which is published by Spotlight, who also produce casting directories of children and young people), or else look in your local Thomson or Yellow Pages directories or website.
Secondly, it is important to learn your craft, no matter what age you are. Taking classes in acting, singing and dancing will not only help to improve your confidence, but also give you the skills needed to succeed in auditions and to sustain your performance several times a week in front of an audience, when you get the job.
You could opt to go to a full time stage school, but it might be worth doing some classes to find out how you feel about performing before committing yourself to a training course. Ask your drama teacher at school, or at your local theatre, library or youth theatre for details of suitable classes or tutors near where you live. There are also organisations that run classes and shows around the UK and even have their own agencies, which are...
Another two excellent sources of training, which have launched many successful careers over the years, are the NYMT (National Youth Music Theatre) and Youth Music Theatre UK, which both hold auditions every year, stage great productions and run workshops for members.
Other places you can find auditions for young people in musicals are...
Keep a look out in your local newspapers and websites for auditions in your area, as well as in theatre programmes of shows that feature young people in their casts.
There are also extensive chapters in the book about auditioning for musical theatre and children's agencies and you can download our useful factsheet, Top Tips for a Performing Career, to print, display and inspire you.