Below is a wonderful article written from our very own Barbizon Midwest Schaumburg teacher, Mary Launder. Enjoy :)
If you're interested in theatre, I suggest that you just get involved anyway you can (ushering, helping the house manager, box office, backstage help...). Throughout my career I have been involved in all the positions of the theatre - props master, costumes, stage manager, director, choreographer, usher, box office etc. I learned so much about the entire business that way and it helped me as an actor!!!
Also, you should try and see as much theatre as you can. Find out if you can volunteer to usher at your local theatre. I used to volunteer as an usher at Steppenwolf and Depaul University and many other theatres as well and have seen so many great plays and musicals for free!!!
You should research your area and find out all the community theaters, high school theaters, and theaters in your area. Find out what shows they are doing and if something seems appropriate to audition for than go for it and audition.
Some general places to look for work (paid and non paid - for the experience!!)
High Schools/Universities/Cruse Ships/Theme Parks/Community Theatres/Libraries/Theatres
For example I found out via the internet, that in Merrillville and the surrounding area, there are quite a few theaters: Reinhart Auditorium - located in Merrillville High School's Fine Arts Wing - is the home of Ross Music Theater - a local community theater group that produces two musicals each year.
Other theaters in the area are: Towle Theater in Hammond IN, Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso IN, Center for Visual & Performing Arts, Munster, Community Theatre Guild – Valparaiso, Dunes Summer Theatre - Dune Acres, Hammond Community Theatre – Hammond, Footlight Players - Michigan City IN, Marion Theatre Guild – Whiting, Munster (HS) Theatre Guild – Munster, Purdue Theatre Company – Hammond, Indiana University Theatre - Gary
Of course there are so many theatres in Chicago I couldn't possible list them all so check out these sites to see audition listings:
To check out Chicago Auditions you can go on line to:
www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/(this is a free look at auditions in the area)
www.chicagoreader.com (The Chicago Reader is a free newspaper - also a free look at auditions - once on the site you need to go to the classifieds and choose auditions as the category)
www.performink.com (Performink is a trade paper for the arts - this one does cost to purchase it or you can view it on line for a very minimal fee - worth it)
Also, remember the film in Chicago is booming. So of course register with the agencies but you can go to one reputable site: Atmosphere Casting of Chicago www.atmospherecastingchicago.com and register for free to be an extra! (Free!!)