How to get back into acting after starting a family

I have spent the past 21 years bringing up my children, but now they are at University and I am free to put myself first again. I have always been available for the odd commercial and television job but have never been able to commit to doing any theatre due to childcare.I have tried to keep up with the trends, kept up my skills as best I could, kept fit and active and sang in choirs as a free and social way of keeping my voice in order. However now that I am free of the responsibility of juveniles I have now applied myself to searching out work for myself once again in the business of acting. I have gone along to workshops with casting directors, I do resent having to pay out money just to be seen by someone who may be able to put work your way, but actually if you use it positively then you meet people and work with people you may never have met and sometimes good and interesting things can happen, plus you get to practice your sight reading and learn to learn scripts again. I have applied for everything suitable on the spotlight link and casting call pro, but only for thing for which I am suitable. So far in the past 18 months I have performed in two on- line shows, one paid, a music video, three fringe shows, two of which I found out about via Casting Call Pro. One through joining the so and so arts club which I found out about by accident and as luck would have it a job was advertised on the sight the week I joined, it was for a casting posted two weeks previously, but I thought I may as well apply, it may yet be available and surprisingly it was and I was called in and I got the job to my utter amazement. That was my first theatre job in over twenty years and I loved it, all the training and instinct came back to me I was home again, back in my world. The ones I got through Casting Call Pro was last year for a new company set up for new writing and again to my amazement they liked me and changed the age of the character to fit me and originally I was only in one play but another of the writers then asked if I would be in his play and there has been an enquiry if I may be in another, those plays were presented at the etcetra theatre for a three week run to 4 star reviews last November and December the other I am currently performing in is Night Of The Umbrellas at the Lion and Unicorn in Kentish Town playing five very different characters in four new one act plays. There have been lots and lots of lines to learn, but I have done it, I was quite concerned I would not be able to in time, but the brain still works and I managed it, I am being cast in parts I never considered I would play!I have also joined various organisations to meet up with other actors, the so and so arts club for one set up and run by Sarah Berger and gone along to various events there and rehearsed readings and met new and interesting people there. I have joined various actors sights on facebook and gone along to various events I have seen advertised on facebook, you just need to,look and see what is there that is of interest to you, it may seem very intimidating at first, but just throw caution to the wind and get in there. I joined twitter and tweet about my work, I follow and now have followers who are actors. I am on Linkedin and Facebook and make contacts that way, I do spend a lot of time on the computer researching and investigating opportunities. Sometimes it proves a waste of time but there just might be something there that could open a door. I am also now seriously working at putting together a new show reel and voice tape. I keep in contact with casting directors and have had several commercial auditions, and recalls and one lovely job on a commercial with Michael Buble for Smooth Radio, oh how lovely to be cosetted on a commercial.What is amazing is that casting directors who you have met many years ago and are still around do still remember who you are, and by name, when you walk into casting studios and you are not there for their casting, a really great feeling, so you may think you are forgotten but you are not. I know there is a lot of controversy over working for free but to get new stuff on your CV to make contacts and to keep yourself in the zone so to speak by doing fringe theatre and profit share and the odd student film, if it is going to be useful to you then it can be very worthwhile. In fringe theatre you are working with other actors and directors and who may introduce you to other people who can give you work, in student film you get footage for your show reel and who knows one day the directors just may make it big and give you a part in something. However the main thing is that you are working be it paid or not, honeing your skills, keeping the brain active, learning new things, meeting new people making new friends and contacts, which may eventually bring you paid work and a sparkling new career may just present it self. The answer I think is to keep plugging away at it, work hard at it and make as many contacts as you can. Always show up on time for auditions and rehearsals and make sure you research as much as you can. There is an acting life after children, but it is very hard work,however if you love it and want it enough you will do it.

I am currently performing in a fringe theatre miles away from where I live, I have an exhausting round trip each day but I am fired up, I am doing what I love, I am a trouper and just get on with it. I am a jobbing actor again, it would be lovely to be in a soap,or a long run in the west end or just some regular paid acting work. For now though I am back and plodding on and my children are making their own way in their lives and will I am sure have similar decisions to make as I did.

For now however I am back acting after having had children and loving it.

Written by: Margaret Ashley - Visit author's website

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