The\nPotters Theatre Company became a fully professional team in the year 2000, after\nthe entertainments team were inspired by the spectacular shows in Las Vegas,\nand auditions in London’s West End soon began for trained and exceptional performers.\nThe Company now has a cast and crew of over 70, with new shows produced\nevery year featuring song, dance and comedy.
Thanks\nto the ongoing growth and standard of the Theatre Company, we receive hundreds\nof applications every year from performers wishing to audition and become a\nPotters Theatre Company member. Shane Balls is our lovely entertainments co-ordinator and\nwent to his first Potters Theatre Company auditions recently, so we asked him\nto tell us all about the process and how it felt taking a seat on the judging panel…
How did the auditions\ngo?
Really well. It was so exciting to just be part of it and to\nsee the extraordinary talent of everyone auditioning. I had heard stories over\nthe years about the auditions, but nothing prepares you for what it is like\nuntil you are there.
Who were you at the auditions\nwith?
I was with Nicky and Nigel, choreographer Helen, theatre\ncompany manager Laura, and choreographer Gaz came along on the day we saw the\ndancers.
Can you tell us about\nthe process?
Over 900 applied and sent their CVs, then Nicky whittled that\nnumber down to around 400 for us to see, after going through the applications\nand speaking with the agents. We had a day for the singers and a day for the dancers.\nOn the day with the singers they each got five minutes each and we had asked them\nto prepare two songs to perform. Then at the end of the day we invited back our\nfavourites to do a dance audition as they have to be able to move, as well as\nsing! On the Thursday it is all about the dancers and they were split into boys\nand girls, with Helen teaching the girls a routine, and Gaz teaching the boys.\nAfter they learnt a routine they performed it back in small groups, and Nicky\ndecided who to see again later in the day to do another routine. Then we\ntravelled back and Nicky makes the final decision on who to pick to join the\nteam! Nigel films the auditions as it is useful to have a look at it when we\nget back to Potters as it can help Nicky decide. The new cast start in August,\nrehearsing with Helen and Laura in London for a few weeks, before coming to\nPotters.
Who has the final\ndecision on who we choose?
Nicky, although she gets advice and opinions from the other\njudges too. Nicky will see someone and say that she can really see them\nperforming a certain song or a particular dance in the show. It is great to see\nher brain ticking away as she thinks about what they will bring to Potters. I\nam very lucky to have people like Nicky to learn from and it was interesting\nseeing how she kept such a straight face during the audition process. I felt a\nbit like Louis Walsh!
Do you get attached\nto the cast?
Yes, and every cast I have worked with has been brilliant. When\nI used to the stage manager I would look after them and I think I’ve always\njust kept doing that! It is always sad to say goodbye to them though and we\nhave a goodbye party for them. What is really nice is how supportive the old\ncast is to the new ones coming in. We have got a few of the Company staying on\nand have some incredible new talent coming in too. Guests will be wowed yet\nagain!
What do they have to\nlearn this year?
They have a lot to learn, with Hits of the Decade, Around the World in 80 Days, Divaz, Dudes, Boogie\nNights, the Halloween show and the Christmas Spectacular 2018.
Can you tell us about\nyour role at Potters?
Yes, I was the stage manager when I first started in 2012, the\nyoungest one in the country at the time, but have been entertainments\nco-ordinator for over 18 months now. Every day is different and I work with the\nTheatre Company, the Comedy Team, band, wardrobe and tech, trying to help with\nanything I can. I assist Nigel and also look at the quality of the shows, plus\ncover anything tech wise and also cover the Comedy Team too. The shows just\nkeep getting on getting bigger and better, and I have really enjoyed working\nwith Chris, the Comedy Team manager.
Do you ever want to\nget on the stage and perform?
I would love to be able to keep up with them! I just dance\nwith them after the show now in the Gallery! I love theatre and it really is a\ndream job working at Potters, as it doesn’t feel like work. I still dance\noutside work, taking part in local amateur shows and productions. I’ve definitely\nstill got the dancer in me!