It does not matter what level or type of theatre it is, casting a show is a challenge. Having directed a few shows over the last six years, I have gotten somewhat used to actors reactions at seeing the cast list. There are sometimes tears as well as the occasional squeals of joy. Actors will sometimes ask me why didn’t get a larger role, which usually leads into a discussion about either audition performance or the choice of audition piece. In my opinion, it is important to be as honest as possible, while still sparing feelings. This has been difficult, but worthwhile in the long run. When the cast comes together for the first time, they generally arrive with a good attitude.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For the first time ever, there are whispers about casting based on race. The production team knew that it could happen, but we are pretty idealistic people and thought our actors about that sort of behavior. We were wrong.
In a perfect world, all directors would cast based upon an actor’s audition . It takes a lot to put aside all bias and to judge solely on the audition performance. I fight to do just that in my theatre and hold my staff to the same standard.
I understand that the theatre world is not perfect, but for many of us, the theatre is our sanctuary. We come to the theatre to share, to escape, and to create magic. It can be a warm and caring place. With the recent events, the theatre feels a little colder now, and it breaks my heart.