FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The brief says 9 to 14 years. My child is 6 and a good singer. Can they audition?
No, not yet, although we would consider a child of 8 if we were satisfied that his or her level of maturity was appropriate to the production. Generally, if we’ve specified an age range, the production will contain staging that requires a certain level of maturity mentally, emotionally and physically as well as vocally. Children may need to be responsible for timing their own actions onstage and understanding how to interact with other performers in fast-moving crowd scenes.
My child is taller than the height limit listed. Can they audition?
If the difference is only 1-2 centimetres, yes – more than this would be too tall.
My child doesn’t have an agent. Is that ok?
Yes – quite a lot of our child singers aren’t professionally represented.
My child wants to sing their audition piece unaccompanied. Is this all right?
Only as a last resort. We ask children to sing with piano accompaniment so that we can assess their rhythm and pitch sense, as well as their ability to work with other musicians.
My child is nervous about the audition. Should I cancel?
If the nerves are fairly minor, please reassure your child that we understand, it’s normal, and that we’re very friendly and happy to see them. If your child is very worried, it may be best for them to wait until the next audition call – it may be a sign that they don’t feel ready to perform in front of strangers
What music should my child sing at the audition?
Ideally, your child should learn a piece that is either classical in style (simple artsong, Arie Antiche or folk song settings are good examples), or traditional music theatre written for children (think Oliver, Les Mis, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins). It should be about 1-2 minutes long and show off the middle and higher part of their voice.
We ask that children don’t perform r’n’b, hiphop, rock, pop or music theatre pieces written for adults that require belting. Similarly, operatic pieces written for adults may not be suitable. The point of hiring children to sing in our productions is that children’s voices provide an extra texture amongst the sounds of the adult singers and the orchestra. Music that your child can sing confidently and that allows them to sound child-like will give us the best chance of assessing their voice.
What does ‘Boys should still be trebles’ mean?
Boys should still be singing in their unchanged ‘soprano’ voice – range approximately A below middle C to F or G an octave and a half higher. This range may vary slightly depending on the opera. We currently have no work for boys whose voices have changed to their adult pitch.
What should my child wear to the audition?
Anything clean and neat that they feel comfortable in – unless they are very confident, it’s usually best to leave the new pair of shoes at home and wear something familiar that won’t distract them.
If we ask children to a callback audition that involves movement, they should wear comfortable clothes that they can move in (shorts and t shirt, dance warmup or exercise gear) and comfortable, flat, closed-in shoes.
What should my child expect during the audition?
You and your child will be met by a staff member who will note that you are present and then ask you to take a seat. Just before your child is due to audition, they will be asked to join a small group of children waiting outside the audition room – they should bring their music for the pianist plus any other material they want to give us (eg. Resume) at this point.
Your child will be called in to the audition room by another staff member. Auditions are private and usually take place in front of the Assistant Chorus Master and another staff member, plus the pianist. They will be asked to give their music to the pianist and discuss any requests about tempo, introduction and repeats, and will then be shown where to stand. We will ask them their name and the name of the piece of music that they plan to sing, and they can then start their performance as soon as they feel ready.
We will usually hear the whole audition piece, unless we need to work quickly and the piece is longer – we will usually explain to the child that we may stop them, and the reason. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested, as we will always listen for as long as we need to make our minds up.
If your child makes a mistake, starts in the wrong place or forgets their words, we will give them as much opportunity as we can to try again. Our pianists are experienced accompanists and know that their job is to make the singer sound good – they will do their best to accommodate any mistakes as they happen.
After your child has finished singing, we may ask them a question or two, we will show them out, and then they can go – the whole audition will take about 5 minutes.
When will I know whether my child will be offered a place?
We try to make sure that everyone knows whether they are being offered a place, whether they are on a waiting list, or whether they have been unsuccessful within approximately a week of the audition date, depending on the number of shows and children auditioned. If your child applied through their agent, we will pass on results to the agent.
My child is unable to audition on the day/s listed. Can they come on another day?
Usually, no – as we are a repertory company, we have to fit audition dates in around rehearsals and performances for other productions, which often means flying in from other states. We will do our best to accommodate requests for specific times on the listed date, as long as they are made at the time of application.
Does my child have to attend all the calls listed?
Yes. We may make exceptions for school commitments such as exams or other assessments.
Can my child be in more than one production at once?
No. Currently the child employment legislation won’t allow the amount of time needed to fulfil multiple engagements. If your child has other employment (or the prospect of other employment) at the time of audition, please make sure to let us know.
Do the children in the chorus get paid?
Yes. Please see the current rates above.
Who looks after my child while they are rehearsing or performing?
We employ professional, Working With Children checked chaperones to look after the children at all rehearsals and performances. If there are two rehearsals in one day, we will look after the children in between calls as well.
The exception is your child’s wardrobe fitting call. Wardrobe staff will call you to arrange a time when you can attend with your child – you must ensure to be present to supervise them for approximately 30 minutes while they try on their costume and alterations are arranged.
My child has allergies or other health issues. Will this be a problem?
Usually, no – we have protocols in place to deal with anaphylaxis and can usually accommodate skin allergies, mild ADHD, asthma and various dietary sensitivities. Please make sure to discuss any chronic health issues with us well beforehand so we can make arrangements.
Children who develop short term contagious illnesses (colds, flu, gastro etc) will need to be either kept at home or taken home if we contact you. We have procedures in place for reporting of absence due to illness, so we can manage this on a case by case basis.
Which performances will my child sing in?
If your child is engaged as a member of a chorus, they will sing every performance. If there are many performances on consecutive nights, your child may alternate nights – this will be indicated in audition brief material.
Will my child need to miss any school?
If the production is scheduled to rehearse during term time, your child may need to miss some school. We try our best to keep rehearsals during school hours to a minimum, and your child’s absence from school must be approved by you, your child’s school Principal, and the Office of the Children’s Guardian before it can take place.