An acting showcase is a chance for a group actors of show off their acting ability to the public. It is normally a series of sketches or scenes from longer pieces where each actor gets a chance to be the lead and demonstrate some of what they can do.
A good acting showcase can be a really important opportunity for aspiring professional actors. It gives them a chance to perform in front of people and potentially make important connections that could lead to future work. But a showcase is only going to do that if it is properly planned and organised to provide the right kind of opportunity.
So what exactly goes into making a good acting showcase that will really help get your professional acting career off the ground? We explain some of the key things you need to look out for.
Who is organising the showcase?
This is really critical. A good showcase which is going to get you noticed and help you make the right impression should be organised by professionals with good industry contacts.
At the very least, there should be a professional director in charge of the show and ideally there will also be professional lighting and sound etc. To really have an impact, you want the showcase to look and feel totally professional and the best way to do that is to work with professionals.
If the showcase is run by professionals, there is a much better chance that other industry insiders will attend, which is vital if the showcase is going to get your name out there.
What is the track record of the organisers?
Lots of people talk a good game when it comes to the acting industry, but results matter. When considering being part of a showcase, don’t be afraid to (politely) ask the organisers how many showcases they have run before and what the results were.
If this is their first ever showcase, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be terrible, but if they have run loads of them in the past where performers went on to get signed by agents and cast in projects as a result, then that’s a very good sign.
Does it give you a chance to shine?
A good acting showcase has to give you the chance to actually show what you can do. For that, you generally need a really good scene of at least four minutes where you are playing the lead.
The perfect showcase scene will be something that stands alone, where you don’t need to know a lot of back story or other context for it to work. That means the people watching can be 100% focused on your performance.
You also need a scene that is challenging and allows you to show some of the depth and range of your acting. This doesn’t necessarily mean something really over the top, or where you try to cram in every possible thing you can do, but it does need to be something that will make a lasting impression.
Make sure to spend plenty of time discussing with the director and your acting teachers exactly what scene you are going to go with so you can be confident it will give you a real chance to shine.
Is the venue going to attract the right people?
You might think the venue isn’t as important as what happens on the stage and to some extent you’d be right – a great performance is a great performance wherever it takes place. However, the reality is that where the showcase takes place can make a big difference to who actually turns up to watch it.
It would be perfectly possible to put on a showcase in a village hall or your local community theatre space, but chances are nobody who can offer a gateway into the industry is likely to see it there. Instead, you need to have your showcase in a venue that industry people already know and want to attend. That way they are much more likely to attend.
A well-known performance space or favourite industry venue will mean the type of people who can actually make a difference to your career don’t have to go out of their way to see you. And the easier you make things for people, the better the chances of them seeing you and giving you a shot.
Is there enough talent on display?
Although from your point of view a good acting showcase is likely to be one where you get a chance to shine and make good connections, for agents and casting directors it’s a little different. What they want to see is a good selection of diverse actors, because that means it is worth their time coming.
Unless the word is already out there about what a phenomenal talent you are, chances are most industry insiders won’t turn up just to see you. So when assessing the quality of a showcase, knowing the strength of the other performers is a must.
Who is going to be there?
This really is the crux of the whole question of what makes a good acting showcase. It doesn’t matter how expertly the event is put on or how wonderfully you perform, if the right people don’t see it, then it’s all for nothing.
A decent acting showcase will have a large number of top agents and casting directors in attendance as these are the people who can really help get your career going. Ideally these should be people the organisers know personally, so they can guarantee they will be there and help to introduce you and put in a good word for you before and after your actual performance.
Make sure to ask the organisers who will be at the showcase and then do your research to see exactly who these people are, who they work with and decide which of them you think will offer you the best opportunities. Then make sure to introduce yourself at the showcase so you can follow up on the interest you will hopefully generate.
Learn to act and get a good acting showcase to kick-start your career
At the Brian Timoney Actors’ Studio, we know that building a career as a professional actor takes more than just talent. You also need to know how to navigate the business side of the industry and make the right connections to help you get ahead.
That’s why, at the end of each One-Year Ultimate Acting Programme, we put on a professional standard acting showcase for our students in front of top agents and casting directors. That way, each graduate gets to show off the skills they’ve developed under our tutoring to industry gatekeepers. These are the connections who can really help get professional acting careers off the ground.
Places on the Ultimate Acting Programme are strictly limited and by audition only. Spaces fill up fast, so if you want to get your professional acting career off the ground in just one year, make sure to apply and audition today!