Does performing professionally as a child affect your chances of becoming a performer as an adult?

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Hilltop
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Does performing professionally as a child affect your chances of becoming a performer as an adult?

Postby Hilltop » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:39 am

Hello,

I just have a query that’s been nagging me for a while. For those parents whose child has been through all the training, etc, do you think it helps for long-term career prospects as a performer to have performed professionally as a child?

My DD is 12 and is doing lots of extracurricular training and takes part in youth theatre such as RARE productions and YMT, but doesn’t have an agent and has never done professional work. A lot of children at the YMT residential have agents and I hear about agents and West end shows a lot on this forum. She’s now 5 foot so too tall for west end shows and to be honest, I don’t have the time or energy to take her to any more auditions (than the youth theatre ones) as well as all her extracurricular activities. I was very laid back about the whole performing thing when she was younger and was afraid of being the parent that ‘thinks their child is great when they’re not’, so she has missed out on trying out for west end shows, etc. The local panto is not using children at the moment and auditions for other more distant pantos clashed with other activities!

Basically, it would be a struggle to get professional work for her and my gut feeling is she should focus on training now, but I just keep wondering if she’s missed out. Any input much appreciated :D many thanks!

Proseccoplease
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Re: Does performing professionally as a child affect your chances of becoming a performer as an adult?

Postby Proseccoplease » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:52 am

Well Hilltop I’m totally with you! DS is doing YMT again, has no agent and at 14 is definitely not going to be auditioning for anything for a while! He is totally focused on auditioning for Perf arts schools at 16/18 and is just making sure he’s training in the right areas and getting some degree of flexibility physically to help with the dance! I really don’t think you need to have performed professionally as a child but I’m sure the confidence and experience of course helps. As far as I can tell from this marvellous forum it will be their audition that gets them the place/job not their CV (at least that’s how it seems-those with actual experience please correct me!). I genuinely think that things like Panto and NYMT/YMT/NYT give them excellent experience in terms of working hard, working with professionals and generally getting to know the business. Sorry-I have no actual experience/knowledge so feel free to ignore my ramble! Just thought I’d let you know you’re not alone in the non-west end child department!

ACookie
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Re: Does performing professionally as a child affect your chances of becoming a performer as an adult?

Postby ACookie » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:56 am

I don't think it will make any difference - other than perhaps they are very used to auditions, rejection and they maybe have a slightly better understanding of what they may be letting themselves in for! For a rare few a career as a child/teenager may lead into adulthood but most actors don't start professional work until after training. My daughter does do professional work now, but I am under no illusion that it will help her as an adult. Training is the most important thing at their age. She was adamant that this was the career for her, I wanted her to experience it now, and how hard it is to secure work (and therefore get paid!) while it didn't matter. If she could appreciate just what a tricky career path it is she will go into it with her eyes open. She may of course decide its not for her sometime in the next 6/7 years, but I felt the decision would be informed.

RoseTowers4
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Re: Does performing professionally as a child affect your chances of becoming a performer as an adult?

Postby RoseTowers4 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:36 am

Hilltop wrote: do you think it helps for long-term career prospects as a performer to have performed professionally as a child?

Many 'child' stars fail miserably in the performing arts when they grow. The public wants them to be still the cute, young child that they were, and doesn't like to accept that they've grown. However, there are also children who go on to have successful careers. I too don't think casting directors look at anything but the person in front of them but having done professional work and having a good agent might mean that they at least get seen. I think that any sort of work (professional or amateur) is a good thing to do as they learn so much in the process. My dd is off to university to follow an academic route but the work she did when she was younger has taught her to deal with different people, have good work ethics and most of all has been fun! Only a fortunate few get to work professionally but that comes down to so many factors and not doing it doesn't, in my view, prohibit anyone from wanting to perform as an adult. Good luck to your dd. :)


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