Thursday, 27 March 2014

Getting Started for Actors – On the Road!

By Mairin Smit, Program Coordinator

One of the most exciting parts of my job as Program Coordinator is getting to meet and work with young and up-and-coming theatre artists as they step into the professional world. I love the energy and passion they bring to their craft, and I hope that through my work at Theatre Ontario I am able to help in some way to make their journey in theatre a success.

For these reasons, I always have a blast doing the “Getting Started for Actors” and “Self-Producing: The Basics” workshops for Theatre Ontario. It’s a wonderful way to connect with these emerging artists and to create a discussion around the joys and challenges of starting out in the theatre industry. I also think these workshops provide a valuable networking opportunity, allowing these artists to connect with each other and build relationships they can continue to grow in the ‘real world.’ When you’re starting out it’s great to know that you’re not alone and that others are going through the same challenges as you.

Mairin Smit, Theatre Ontario's Program Coordinator, from
her days as a student at the Drama Centre at the University
of Toronto (in The Robbers, with Marcel Dragonieiri)
Photo by Doug Hamilton
On Friday, March 14, I had the exciting opportunity of taking the Getting Started for Actors workshop to the Drama Centre at the University of Toronto. I spent a lightning-paced two hours discussing the ins-and-outs of beginning your acting career with a roomful of undergraduate theatre students in all years of study. Topics covered ranged from goal-setting to finances to resumes, photos and headshots to working with agents and joining professional associations. It was a lively session—with so many student questions, we began running short on time!

Joining me for this workshop was guest actor Claire Acott, who provided personal insights and stories on her experiences working in the theatre industry today. I feel it’s a huge bonus to bring current professionals into these workshops, as it’s great to hear real stories of how the skills and choices discussed in the workshop have played out in the career of a working artist. I also think it’s a great way to breakdown perceived barriers between professionals and those just starting out. It helps emerging artists realize that established artists are approachable and willing to connect. In fact, they were once ‘just starting out’ too and often jump at the chance to help others get over the hurdles they once faced themselves.

I would love to continue taking this workshop on the road and to engage with emerging artists from across the province. If you’re interested in bringing one of these workshops to your community or school, please feel free to contact me at 416.408.4556 x.12 or

Read more about Theatre Ontario’s Getting Started For Actors workshop
Read more about Theatre Ontario’s Self-Producing The Basics workshop

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