This week we had the pleasure of speaking with professional actress Caroline Trowbridge, a British actress and children’s author loving life living in New York City. She has recently published her first children’s picture book, I am Me…You, Us and We.
Q1) You have worked extensively on television in the UK, appearing in Bafta award winning shows such as Sherlock and Feather Boy. Being offered a part in a successful TV show must be a dream job for any actor. Can you tell us about the audition process for TV roles?
Yes, they are! Television auditions do vary. You want to do your best so preparation and confidence in your choices are key. So much is determined as soon as you walk in the door so think about what you wear- for instance, how will the colour and pattern of your shirt look on camera? If you are emailed the whole script, then you are very fortunate. Mostly you will just receive the “sides” (scene) they want you to read. Often, you only get to read the sides when you arrive at the audition so I will always arrive early to an audition! The first round may just be with the casting director who will most likely put you “on tape” to send to director and producers to decide who gets a call back. The best case scenario is to meet the director as they will be the one you will hopefully be working with. Regardless, it is important to demonstrate good listening as you want to show the casting director you can take direction. You will hear from your agent if you get a recall or callback. Here you will definitely meet the director, possibly producers and writer- certainly if you are up for a regular role you will need to have the approval from the whole team! Be polite, be engaging, be a good listener and be confident- let your preparation shine and enjoy the process! It’s fun to act and it’s a performers dream to be able to be given the chance to shine. When you get the part it is time to celebrate! If you don’t get the part, allow 24 hours of misery only! There will be other parts you will get. Don’t be fooled into replaying the if-only scenario’s otherwise it will knock your confidence for future auditions!
Q2) We often remind our young actors at Dramacube how important it is to learn their lines and lyrics thoroughly. What techniques do you use to learn your lines and lyrics for your TV and Theatre work?
I read the script twice: first to generally find out what it’s about, then again to gather evidence and note down what I say about myself, what I say about others and what others say about me. Once I understand this, I find it easier to learn lines as I have clues as to how something should be delivered, plus I have already started to get the lines in my brain through repetition. I then may record the lines of other characters or just get someone to go through lines with- normally my husband as he is an actor too! I cover my lines when reading the script to see if I have got it right. Always try to speak them aloud and record them as you may find you paraphrase and don’t want to get into a habit of saying the wrong words- the writer may not be that forgiving of you saying the wrong thing!
Q3) Most of our theatre shows at Dramacube are rehearsed once a week. How long was the rehearsal period for your theatre work and what was the process?
Most of the theatre work I do is a 3 or 4 week rehearsal. It starts with the read through, meet and great, then a look at the set design. Then there will be a period of understanding the text and working through from the beginning. You may be called only for your scenes or you may be in a more collaborative production where you are all around together rehearsing. Some directors block straight away. I find this quite restricting to decide upon where and what I am doing but if you have a short rehearsal period it is quite important. I write on my script and use my script the first week aiming to not use by the second.
Q4) Were you nervous when you first started your theatre work and how did you overcome any first night nerves?
I always get nervous! I think it’s good to have some nerves as it shows how much you wish to do a good job – most actors I know are very superstitious and have their own rituals they like to do – I always set an alarm in the day as to when I will start to think about the show, normally around 3pm. I focus on what my intention is for the show, I may choose to think about one thing or theme that will influence that particular performance. I then go into the theatre to warm up and I have a particular vocal warm up that I go through. I then try to keep quite contained – particularly if it’s at the beginning of a run. If someone else is super nervous you can pick up on that energy and so I try and focus. As soon as you step on stage and connect with the audience and other actors on stage it is like magic as all nerves go. Theatre is electrifying and energising so it takes a while to relax after.
Q5) You have recently written a book for children, I am Me…You, Us and We (pictured below). What inspired you to write that book?
I was inspired to write the book for my two children and because I believe wholeheartedly in its message. I wanted for kids to understand that they can make a difference by their actions. If we make the promise to be kind and respectful of our similarities and differences we will learn to be more tolerant and loving people. If we recognise that we are all I, Me, You, Us and We – we feel empathy and love. #makethepromise
Q6) What do you enjoy most about your work as a writer?
The book I am Me…You, Us and We came to my mind very strongly one morning and I had to write it down. I love that a line can come into your head or an idea starts and you have to just get it on to the page. Of course you may edit and rework but by writing it down it is making its mark. I love to collaborate with my illustrator and see the vision of the book in my head come together on the page – that is a magical process.
Q7) Did your training as an actor help you when it came to writing and promoting the book?
Definitely, I know how to engage people and talk to people. I am prepared when I go into meet with bookstores. I believe in what I am saying and I speak my truth – you have to speak the truth of the character you are playing. People can tell when you are being dishonest.
Q8) Looking ahead, what is next in the pipeline or what would be your next dream job?
I am hoping to get to Los Angeles in the late Spring to get I am Me…You, Us and We in stores. I am making great progress in Manhattan, New York and my dream is to be on the bestseller lists and in store at Barnes and Noble! I am making great progress with my second book, Shooting Star which I would love to be published and out in stores in time for Christmas. Yes, I definitely want to resume work in the theatre in the not too distant future too – I had my off Broadway debut last year – It would be fantastic to get an on Broadway job!
We’d like to thank Caroline for her time and wish her the best of luck with all her future projects. Find out more about I am Me…You, Us and We here.