One of our newest members, Becki Cockcroft, talks you through our Read Through process...
Hello! Yes, I can see you out there lurking. I was like you - looking longingly at those with the confidence to get up on stage and lark about for the entertainment of others. But even if you have a passion for theatre, it can be incredibly difficult to get over the inital speed bump of getting started.
A great place to start with Duston Players is by coming along to a Read Through. This is the first meeting of the group's members at the start of a new production where we literally READ THROUGH the play - exactly as it says on the tin. But the prospect of walking into a room full of strangers who probably all know each other is a daunting one, especially when you don't really know what to expect. That was definitely how I felt before I stepped into the Willow Room for the read through for The House of Fog in February 2017, but it quickly became apparent that I needn't have felt that way at all!
So, in light of my own experience, I thought it might be useful to you out there, curiously wondering if Duston Players could be for you, to learn how a Duston Players read through works, so you know what to expect.
1. Everyone gathers in the Willow Room at Berrywood Hospital.
The Willow Room is a room upstairs from the main reception at Berrywood Hospital, where the bulk of rehearsals take place. It's a great space with comfy chairs, and it's not too tricky to find - in through the main doors then up the stairs on your left, through the double doors and it's the first room you come to. The receptionist will point you in the right direction if you're lost.
2. Grab a chair and join the circle.
It sounds a little hippyish, but we sit around on the comfy chairs in a circle so everyone can see and hear everyone else. This is a great chance to start up a conversation with the people either side of you. We're a friendly bunch :) It'll take a little while for the room to fill up - someone will always be running late (naming no names... they know who they are...)
3. The Director/s will talk about the show
Well, this one sort of explains itself...
4. Time to pick a part to read!
First off - you don't have to read if you don't want to. There is no expectations of anyone, especially not newcomers. The names and descriptions of the parts will all be written on pieces of paper in a pile in the middle of the all important circle, and it's a case of grabbing the one you want... or any of them! It doesn't matter who reads which character, male or female, young or old... and if you don't get the one you were eyeing up, then don't despair! There will be chance to swap and change as the evening goes on.
5. Read the play
Typically, the director will read the stage directions, but then it's down to whoever picked the parts to read them. As I said above, anyone can swap at any time, just offer up the part you're finished with. This is the first time most of the room has read the play, so there will be stumbling over lines, mispronounced names, a potentially some mild swearing, but that's all to be expected.
6. Discuss the Auditions
Audition pieces will be handed out, or email addresses taken so they can be sent out. If you request an audition piece you're not obliged to audition. It's all totally up to you. And if you didn't think you wanted to audition but then changed your mind once you got home, then just send us a message and we can get it sorted.
And that's about it! It's all very casual and informal, you can leave whenever you like (although we hope you manage to stay to the end). Other useful things to know - the toilets are out of the door of the Willow Room and just down to your right, and there's a water cooler up the corridor on the left.
You can come along even if you're not interested in acting - it's good for those hoping to work backstage to get a good idea of the play they might be working on! Any and all skills you have are greatfully received and put to good use - so if you're handy with power tools and a paint brush you'll be a huge asset to the set build, or perhaps you've the knack for sewing, or selling tickets?!
I hope this is helpful, and if you have any more questions about the read through, or Duston Players in general, you can get in touch with us via:
We look forward to seeing you at a read through soon!