I was privileged yesterday to go to two different casting opportunities yesterday for young kids. One for my own child and the other for our Musical theatre Troupe at our Theatre. I was so delighted to see supportive parents, being advocates for their children, and realizing that the different casting agents wanted to see their children succeed. Not once did I find a “Toddlers and Tiaras” mom or a “Dance Mom.” By not having to deal with pushy parents, were able to focus on the children and what their true talents were.
What if that weren’t the case though? What if these were situations where the parents made pests of themselves even from initial contact with the company? What then? Well, I can tell you the child probably would not be cast. Not because of them, but their parents. You see, when a parent puts a child in the arts as their idea and not the child, the parents become more than just parents. They become trouble. First, they will probably have time conflicts with the actual audition, they might outwardly judge or talk about other auditionees in their presence, they may question the production staff’s experience, or judge their decisions openly.
What can you as a parent do to avoid being the typical stage mom? Here is some practical advice:
- Your first impression with the theatre company begins the minute you make initial contact with them to schedule your audition. Please make sure you have read the audition notice carefully and understand all the requirements before you request an audition. Be polite and grateful for any time slot you are given. Don’t ask the theatre to work around your schedule – you work around theirs.
- Show your child how to be supportive of the other children who are auditioning. Not only might they make new friends, but you can be assured that acts of kindness often get noticed by a production staff.
- Don’t try to coach your child while they are auditioning. Trust that you have prepared them enough and have placed them in capable hands.
- As you do not know the director’s vision for a show, don’t question the casting decisions that are made. Just gladly accept any role your child is given and look at it as a learning experience.
- Directors appreciate parents who are cooperative, respectful, and willing to help. Let your child pursue the Performing Arts because it’s their dream, not your own.
Remember, when parents and production staff work together, they are setting their children up for success.