UK Open Auditions: Ultimate Resource 2024

+ Best Sources Casting Now

by Jason Broderick

Last updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Everything you need to know about UK and London auditions and open casting calls for films, TV, theatre, musicals and dance productions.

Open castings can be a great way to get seen for projects that you might never have had the chance to otherwise.

Whether you’re new to the industry, a recent drama school or dance college graduate, or an experienced actor looking to expand your casting opportunities and increase your visibility with casting directors and creatives.

Open castings can also give you a chance to practice your audition technique, get better at “booking the room” and also help you be seen by casting and creatives you might not have had an opportunity to meet otherwise.

In this guide we’re going to give you everything you need to find the best open calls. Including where to find them, how to prepare and be successful and an up to date list of all open castings currently auditioning across all project types! 

Contents

What are open auditions?

Open auditions, or open castings, usually refer to castings that are opened up to people who don’t have an agent or are not submitted through their agent or Spotlight.

Usually, most castings for professional productions are “closed” castings, private castings or “privates”, which means you have to be invited to audition either by the casting director directly or through your agent submitting you in response to the casting breakdown.
When the casting team holds an open casting it means they are opening up the casting to other actors or performers that they haven’t seen through private auditions.

Often casting directors use open castings to audition a much higher number of people than they can afford to see through private auditions and depending on the casting director and the type of production they can range from you having just 5 minutes in the room on your own maybe for a potential leading role or understudy, to being in a room of 20 to 30 other performers quickly learning ensemble choreography or group singing for a play or musical.

For TV and Film, open casting calls are often used to discover new talent or to find a very particular type of person, with a particular look or skill that a production wasn’t able to find through closed castings.  Casting directors also use open castings to promote that they are interested in hearing from people from a more diverse group of talent to apply or to encourage more people from underrepresented groups like specific heritages or ethnicities, gender identities or gender expressions. Or they might want to encourage disabled people or neurodivergent actors, because they might share the lived experience of the characters or the story of the production.

What is the difference between an open audition and a general audition?

An open casting is where a production opens up casting to more people than usual. A general audition however, is when an agent, casting director or other creative holds auditions where there is no specific project in mind yet. This is a way for them to meet new talent, get to know new actors they have never seen before or in the case of agents to give them a forum to consider offering new people representation. General auditions or “generals” are a bit of a holy grail for actors who cant seem to get themselves seen by certain casting, creatives or agents. During covid, when casting directors and agents had a lot more time on their hands there was a rise in the number of general auditions but unfortunately now that the industry has gone back to normal, casting teams are usually too busy with private castings to hold general auditions. 

What types of open auditions are there? 

Open Dance Calls & London Dance Auditions

Open dance calls for musical theatre productions are the most common type of open castings in London. It used to be that ensemble dancers weren’t represented by agents so productions would hold large open calls for every show to see as many dancers as possible in as short a time as possible. This led to a bit of a bad reputation for open dance calls or “cattle calls”, where hundreds of dancers were made to wait for hours, often queueing in poor conditions just to be seen for a 10 minute slot in a room full of other dancers, often not even being seen at all because of the casting team running out of time. These days open dance auditions tend to be a bit better organised, and some casting directors that often hold open dance calls for cruise contracts for example, are working towards improving conditions for everyone.

Open Auditions For Dance Companies

In recent years several of the most successful dance companies around the UK have started holding regular open dance castings to fill their vacant spots for regular company dancers. These company dancers are often contracted yearly and then the dance companies shows are cast from within their company dancers. Some of the most well known dance companies that have held open castings for experienced dancers include Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.

Open Auditions For Actors In Theatre

Open castings for theatre actors tends to be less common because there are fewer roles to be cast and usually casting directors send their breakdowns straight to agents for them to submit their clients for consideration. If open castings in theatre or musicals come up it is usually because the casting team are struggling to find exactly the right actor for the role, or because they are hoping to get some publicity for the production, riding the wave of reality talent shows like Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor and The Voice. Sometimes if the production centers around the story of a particular lived experience, like an ethnic background, gender identity, socio economic background or geographic location, the casting team will hold open auditions in search of people with that lived experience. 

Open Auditions For Theatre Companies

Sometimes theatre companies or production houses will hold open castings to give more actors opportunities to work with them or to expand their pool of talent that they can consider for future projects. Independent theatre companies like Paines Plough, sometimes do this and some production houses like Shakespeare’s Globe that regularly produce seasons of work sometimes hold open castings once or twice a year. 

Open Auditions For Film And TV

Open auditions in film and tv productions are almost always about finding a unique talent that has something so specific that the casting team can’t find the right person for the role through the usual ways like through agents or casting breakdowns. Film and Television productions often have significantly higher budgets than live theatre and musicals and because of the recorded nature of the medium production teams are more willing to invest significant time and money to cast the net wide and find the perfect person for the role. Auditions in film and tv are much rarer than for theatre but when they do come up they are often from very large productions like Netflix open castings, or open castings for Disney or other big franchises.

Current Open Auditions London

Here are all the currently open auditions in London and the surrounding areas hosted on The Hustle. We collect all the open castings we find across social media and websites and update this list daily so you don’t have to waste time looking anywhere else.

Current Open Auditions UK

Here are all the currently open auditions in the UK outside of London hosted on The Hustle. We collect all the open castings we find across social media and websites and update this list daily so you don’t have to waste time looking anywhere else. 

Where can I find open auditions? 

The Hustle

The Hustle is the only non-profit, completely free casting platform in the UK that collects and promotes open castings in London, and around the UK. The Hustle is the best place for open castings online for actors. It’s free to register an account and to submit yourself to any casting on the platform, including for open castings. We keep a live database of every UK open audition that we find across film, tv, theatre, musicals as well as any open castings for theatre companies and venues that we hear about. 

The Hustle is the only non-profit online community for performing artists in the UK with a casting platform that is completely free for everyone. 

[Sign up for open audition alerts] 

Spotlight

Spotlight doesn’t typically share many open castings because it’s mostly a platform for professionals represented by agents so usually the casting for those productions would have already gone out to all agents. Meaning if you don’t already have Spotlight or are not represented by an agent you won’t really find any information about open castings yourself on Spotlight.

Mandy

Mandy has the largest number of castings that are not on Spotlight. It is geared more towards unrepresented actors or actors that like to submit themselves for more of the high volume lower quality projects than you typically find on Spotlight. Mandy doesn’t specifically feature any “open auditions” or have any dedicated place for you to find UK open castings. Any open auditions on Mandy would just be listed among all other castings on the platform. You also have to pay £17/m to apply for any castings you find there. On Mandy you will find a wide selection of job types like low-budget short films, pantomime productions, historical role play, low budget voiceover jobs and audio roles, content creation, host for video ads, real life story casting, photo shoots and modeling shoots and more. There is often such a variety of unusual projects that it masks the fact that there is a relatively low amount of traditional projects or major productions available on Mandy.

Backstage

Like a cross between Spotlight and Mandy, Backstage is a large American owned casting platform that has recently come over to the UK. In the US Backstage has a much better reputation than Mandy has here in the UK. In that way it is more similar to Spotlight. However the quality of the castings on Backstage is closer to Mandy in the UK and Backstage doesn’t make a dent on Spotlights monopoly with the high end projects cast in the UK. As with the other platforms Backstage doesn’t have any dedicated listings for open auditions, it simply lists all castings under categories like “Open Auditions UK”, or “Open Auditions London” when what it really means is; castings that are open for submission, not true “open auditions” in the way we expect it to mean. Backstage also costs £14.99 per month to apply to castings. Backstage does have a wide variety of job types on there, outside of just open castings including low-budget short film, pantomime productions, historical role play, low budget voiceover jobs and audio roles, content creation, host for video ads, real life story casting, dystopian films, fashion film projects, photo shoots, modeling shoots, horror parody feature films, character look-alikes and everything in-between.

OpenAuditionsUK

OpenAuditionsUK started off as a series of social media profiles that sprung up after Stage Jobs started to decline. They have a email subscriber list which is free to join where they send out emails when any new castings come up. Most of their engagement comes from their social media profiles on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook where they also share any castings that they find online. To see the casting details and apply you just need to subscribe to their email list and then you can see the castings listed on their site for free. Unfortunately to help them cover their costs they rely heavily on ads. The website experience is filled with ads that are quite annoying, constantly interrupting the browsing. They also offer to sell sponsored emails so that advertisers can reach you with offers or mailouts. All open castings found on OpenAuditionsUK that meet The Hustle’s minimum guidelines are already shared on The Hustle or we have reached out to the author directly to try and get more information to share with you. 

The Stage Jobs

The Stage Jobs (The Stage Castings) was a long labour of love from The Stage newspaper in an attempt to provide more value for readers and subscribers of The Stage in print and online. Unfortunately due to strong commercial competition from the american companies The Stage Castings never really got the resources it needed to make it a viable contender in the free jobs information services bracket. The Stage Jobs still published classified style job openings in technical and creative departments across the live theatre industry and some film and tv production but The Stage Castings has stopped operating as an auditions and casting information service. You can no longer find up to date information on open castings in The Stage.

Disney Open Auditions

Disney Parks, Disney Resort & Spa and Disney Cruise Lines worldwide share almost all of their open castings online via their own web portal. If you fancy yourself the next Gaston or Elsa you can apply online for global open castings for almost all of Disney’s theme parks and live entertainment productions worldwide such as Walt Disney World Florida, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Tokyo & Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort and many other locations. The great thing about these Disney open castings too is that they usually cast globally for all of Disneys locations so you will often be able to go to an open casting in London even for a contract in Tokyo or Florida. Disney publish all of their castings on their jobs portal and all submissions are also handles through there but The Hustle also shares all open auditions for Disney directly so you can keep an eye on them all from the same place.

Open Auditions for Productions, Theatre Companies & Dance Companies

Open auditions for theatre companies can be rare and they often come and go as the companies change their policies, slow down production or just get too many submissions. Here is a list of all theatre companies in the UK that have held open auditions at any time recently as well as the current status of whether they are currently open or not. We update this list every month, or sooner if we find any new entries or updates. 

Facebook Groups for Open Auditions

There are a vast array of Facebook groups where people share auditions and castings. Often these Facebook groups are staffed by volunteers or individual actors who make very little or no money from their work. Some of these groups have tens of thousands of members and unfortunately the quality of the castings is generally quite low. Most of the Facebook groups have no robust community guidelines around what castings they will accept or promote. (For example on The Hustle we ask all low-budget productions to identify if they are insured and are providing expenses like travel expenses or meals on shoot days. If it is a non-paying shoot we only allow this if they describe how they are funding their project and how the expenses are split fairly so nobody is being exploited.) Some of the groups require all castings to be paid at least but there is usually no standard set for what fair pay actually is or what other workplace or conditions should be met. There are also no Facebook groups dedicated specifically to open auditions with all of these groups sharing all types of castings.

Here is a list of the Facebook groups I think are worth checking out. 

The Hustle
Auditions and Casting – Dance Acting Modelling
Casting Calls for Actors UK
ActorsUK
UK Actors
London auditions and casting
Casting Calls UK
AUDITIONS AND CASTING – Dance Acting Modeling
UK Film Network
Casting Connect UK
UK Theatre Network
Casting Calls for Actors UK
TV & Theatre Jobs UK
London Casting Calls
Fivesixseveneight
Actors, Agents, Castings and Projects UK
Casting Calls & Acting Auditions in London / DoCasting
Act Your Age – Casting for 40+ Actors
Women in Film, TV and Theatre

Frequently asked questions about open auditions

What does open audition mean?

An open audition refers to a casting call that is open to anyone who meets the specific requirements, regardless of their previous experience or professional background. It gives aspiring actors, dancers, singers, and performers a chance to showcase their talent and potentially land a role or job opportunity, even if you don’t have an agent or are unrepresented. Open castings are usually open to any performer who has an interest in trying out for the role. They tend to attract a larger number of performers because they’re not limited to those with agents and instead welcome anyone eager to showcase their acting skills.

Companies hold open auditions for various reasons. It allows them to discover new talent and fresh faces, especially for upcoming projects or productions. Open auditions also give them a chance to expand their pool of performers and ensure diversity in their cast. Additionally, open auditions are often used when casting for specific roles that require a certain type or look that may be difficult to find through traditional methods. Sometimes companies hold open auditions if they need to find a very particular combination of look and skill, for example an East Asian actor musician who plays the piano.

Finding open auditions can be challenging, but there are several ways access auditions online for actors:

  • The Hustle: On The Hustle we scour the web for all the open auditions we can find and aggregate all of the available information so that you don’t have to waste time looking for them yourself. The Hustle is free for everyone, and over 50,000 performers use The Hustle to find jobs, auditions and get the best deals on services.
  • Online Job Portals: Many companies and casting agencies post open auditions on online job portals. Websites like Backstage, Casting Networks, and Spotlight are popular resources for finding auditions.
  • Theatre Company Websites: Check the websites of local or regional theatre companies. Some companies may have a dedicated section for audition announcements.
  • Facebook Groups: As mentioned earlier, there are multiple Facebook groups where open auditions are shared. But you should be carefully consider the details of the casting before submitting to any open castings you find on social media. On The Hustle we try to promote every open casting we find that meets a minimum quality guideline that we have set.

To make the most out of your open casting and make sure you’re not wasting your own time or the casting team’s, you should firstly read the casting brief carefully and considerately. Pay close attention to the breakdown and character descriptions. If there are roles that you might be right for then it’s worth it to go to the open casting call. But if there are no roles that fit your casting type, are within your age range, fit your gender expression, or if the skills you have are not what the production calls for then you probably shouldn’t go to that open casting. You would be wasting your own time and everyone else’s. Unless the open casting is very general then it’s usually not a good idea to go “just to be seen”. It makes it seem like you don’t know your casting type and are unaware of what the production needs. This is usually seen as unprofessional and can hurt your reputation as an actor. It also means you will have taken away an audition slot that could have been used for somebody else, which is not a good reflection on you. When you have found an open casting that you are right for here are some things to think about:

  1. Prepare The Right Material – If the breakdown has called for specific material obviously you should prepare that exactly how they have asked for it. The quickest way to get a no from the audition panel is to not have prepared what they asked for in the way they asked.
  2. Bring Backup Material You Are Confident With – Most actors call this a “Rep Folder” which is short for repertoire. For musicals you want a maximum of 7-10 of your best songs that you could pull out at a moments notice. For theatre and screen you want a selection of 3-5 monologues that you could also pull out at a moments notice.
  3. Prepare Your Headshot & Resume – Firstly you should do whatever the breakdown requests, whether that is email, form, or printing a hard copy. These days most audition panels will have digital copies of your headshot and resume already available to them, especially if you have been asked to register for your slot. But’s a great idea to keep a hard copy in your bag just in case you get that one open casting that requires it or has lost yours.
  4. Dress Intentionally – You want to dress for your open casting purposefully, to suggest the character you are hoping to be considered for. This doesn’t mean go in costume, but it does mean to wear clothing that gives a hint at the style or traits of your character.
  5. Prepare To Book The Room – The aim of the game in auditions is to book the room, not book the job. The chances are high that you won’t get the job that you are auditioning for, but if you focus instead on having a great time, doing a great job for the casting and creatives in the room then they could get you back in again and again many times in the future. Do your research and be informed about who is going to be in the room with you, know their work and be ready to reference it when answering any questions if that’s appropriate.
  6. Bring A Positive Attitude – Forget that this is an open casting and that you are probably number #127 of the day. You have made all the effort to come, so now give it everything you’ve got. Don’t be put off if the panel seem bored or tired or on their phones or laptops, be the person that brings the light back into the room. Give them a good reason to want to sit up and pay attention.
  7. Enter & Exit Gracefully – On the day make sure you have the right address of audition location. Arrive on time, with everything you need in your hands ready to walk in as soon as you are called. Don’t go to shake the panels hands; in a post-covid world nobody does this any more. Instead just give them a friendly hello and let the casting director introduce everyone if they want to. After you’ve done everything they have asked, gather your material quickly and leave with a friendly thank you. Then try not to worry about whether or not you get a recall, if you’ve focused on having a great time and winning the room, you’ve already done your job.

Every open casting has slightly different requirements so it’s important that you bring exactly what you were asked for. Usually the most important things to remember are to bring the material you were asked to prepare, your backup material or rep folder, a printed copy of your headshot and resume although in most cases this won’t be necessary, and to dress intentionally for the role you are auditioning for. You should also bring a bottle of water and a snack if it’s going to be a large open audition where you might have to queue for hours to get in.

Depending on the type of open audition the process is slightly different. The most common open auditions are for musicals where you will usually be asked to dance first. This typically means you will queue for potentially a few hours, and in best-case scenario you will fill out an audition registration form and be given a number so you know roughly what your time slot is. Your time slot is often not for several hours and so it can be a big commitment of time. You will then likely go into the room in big groups of 10-20 other auditionees and dance a short combination, after which there will usually be an immediate cut and recall later that day. For non-dance roles, or actors, open auditions are usually one-by-one in a fast pace, where you usually have 5 minutes or less in the room. You might have been asked to prepare a specific piece of material like a short script or monologue or in some cases you may even have been asked to bring something yourself from a play from a particular time-period or genre. Open calls on screen are usually the fastest, if your actual open call is on-camera that you might only have a one or two minute time slot max where you will be brought in, sat or stood on a mark, and asked to deliver your prepared script or even just a few lines.

People often ask does Netflix hold open auditions. The thing to understand about Netflix, which is the same for all of the streaming services, is that the streaming platform hosts content produced by hundreds if not thousands of production companies around the world. Most of the productions are produced independently and then sold to Netflix, or Prime or Apple TV, but by that time the casting process will be long over. In order to find out when a production that is destined for Netflix is casting you have to keep up to date with many of the above sources. Often big productions that will end up on Netflix are cast in secret, under NDA (Non-disclosure agreement). Sometimes when productions that have already had funding from Netflix are casting they might publicise open auditions for a particular role. These usually come from legitimate sources like the casting director. Be wary of castings that you find online that claim to be “casting for Netflix” or “auditions for Netflix” as these are often scams designed to get you hooked in and likely paying for an illegitimate service or a fake agency. Netflix, as a whole, does not hold any open auditions, ever. Legitimate open auditions will always be for a specific role in a specific project. So if you see someone online promoting a casting call for “Netflix” generally, then chances are that it’s scam and you should report that casting and its source to Equity

Getting acting auditions in the UK generally follows the same steps as getting open auditions, which is outlined in detail above. If you don’t have an agent or are unrepresented you first need to familiarise yourself with all of the sources of auditions and keep an eye on them to see when new castings are published. If you sign up for audition alerts on The Hustle then we will do most of that leg work for you and only send you castings that we are confident meet a minimum standard of quality.

Usually the purpose of open castings is to expand the search beyond what a casting director might already have been looking for. This means that you can often attend open castings no matter whether you are represented or don’t have an agent, although usually if you do have an agent then you will be encouraged to apply through your agent for a private audition instead. Open auditions are also perfect if you are an actor with no performance experience, Make sure you read the breakdown for the open casting because you will often see details that indicate the production team is specifically looking to encourage people from a particular ethnicity or heritage, people with a particular gender or gender expressions, neurodivergent actors, people with particular disabilities or unique physical features.

In recent years it has become more and more popular for casting directors to host first round and open castings via self tape. This often involves them sending out a breakdown with a series of different characters and maybe some sides or scenes that are approved for the public domain. Then actors are invited to submit a 1-3 minute video for the casting team to review in bulk. Many actors and casting directors prefer this way as it eliminates a lot of the cost and time commitment involved in travelling to and from a casting. But there are many actors and casting directors who say they still prefer the in-person casting experience because it’s hard to recapture the energy of being in the room from a 2 minute video and it is almost impossible to direct someone unless you are hosting a virtual audition on Zoom or similar.

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