Jacob T. Free standing on a chair in circle of studentsFourth-year acting student Jacob T. Free practices his monologue before classmates in preparation for Theatre Ontario’s Next Generation Showcase, held January 14 and 15 in Toronto.

Acting students shine in audition showcase

Participating in the Next Generation Showcase is like the Olympics for senior acting students, says drama professor Kelly Daniels.

Fourth-year UWindsor students in the BFA Acting program headed to the event last month in Toronto. Hosted by Theatre Ontario, it provides graduating students from post-secondary drama programs across the country the opportunity to audition for industry professionals.

“In a way, all their training over three-and-a-half years leads to this moment,” Daniels says. “You get up there and you’ve got two minutes to prove yourself.”

And prove themselves this year’s group did, she says, noting that emails started arriving immediately after the 19 students completed their monologue performances.

“Some have had interviews, some have signed contracts with agents, some are fielding multiple offers to audition or for representation,” she says. “I tell them in advance not to expect anything, so this was a nice surprise.”

Daniels teaches the recital course, which prepares students for success in an industry she calls “highly competitive, with incredible rewards and challenges.”

Besides audition techniques and preparing monologues, she trains students in practical aspects of show business: how to file income taxes, prepare a personal budget, and write a cover letter.

“Acting is like no other art,” she says. “Their voices, their bodies are their instruments. Their hopes, their dreams, their fears are their medium. When you work with students in this capacity, you get to know them as people.”

The group represented the School of Dramatic Art beautifully at the showcase, says Daniels.

“It speaks to the training these kids have received and it is phenomenal,” she says. “The techniques that they learn come down to two minutes on stage to make their mark.”