What kind of shows does Alpha Shows produce?

Alpha’s shows are essentially musical rock-concerts for children wrapped up in a classic story combined with both musical theatre standard performances and sets/lights/sound as well as a personal development / social & emotional learning event. They have a unique ability to be fun for all ages (no, seriously, they really are… even though it seems every children’s theatre company claims this!). They are famous for creating excitement, screams and a love for theatre. We cycle the shows (on a 5 year cycle) and tour all 10 of them –

THE ALPHA SHOWS OF: ‘The Snow Queen’, ‘Scrooge’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘King Arthur’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Hercules’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

The shows are modern, with references to pop culture that children (and adults) relate to and a mixture of music theatre adapted songs, original songs and adapted pop songs tailored to fit into various points in the story line. All of Alpha’s shows have been created uniquely, with unique characters based on our own interpretation of the fairytale or book or myth, skewed to our own ideas and tested practical strategies about what children and humanity will respond positively to in the 21st century. They are full of extraordinary role models, diverse representations of our multi-cultural society, zany characters, evil villains, clever FX and a rock-concert atmosphere. Our shows are funny with jokes for kids and also for the adults. They also always have ‘heart’. They are essentially a fun, hilarious ‘diversion’ whilst we subconsciously create learning through ‘values’, life / character lessons and role models. Our product is very unique and you’ll get a real sense of contribution being part of a show.

A common question is ‘do I have to sing’? All characters sing in all the shows, as the format of the shows are still modelled on classic musical theatre, in order to introduce children to this type of a show to achieve our outcome of supporting and encouraging excitement in musical theatre in general. However – if you are auditioning for a character or comedy role, you don’t necessarily have to be a trained or super-talented singer, we really just want to see you fully express your characters with lots of energy and that goes for the singing as well! If you’re really committed to just being a pure ‘actor’ and uncomfortable singing and dancing in a stage musical, then yes, this role is probably not for you. However, if you’re a stand-up or love improv, and find joy in creating the perfect comedic bit on-stage, even if you’re not really a singer, we can probably find a place for you.

How long are rehearsals?

Generally, rehearsals will, depending on the show, be 5-12 days (depends on how many new cast members or how much the show has changed from previous years), from 8am til 5pm. They will take place at Alpha’s base, near Melbourne CBD (Altona North). All cast are required for all rehearsals and must be available full time during the day. We usually rehearse every day for the period not including weekends except for the dress rehearsal on a Saturday right before the tour starts (that you can invite friends and family to). For rehearsals, you would get yourself to the rehearsal day to begin work at 8am and head home in the evening – just like a normal job. We have an orientation day and initial stage combat before rehearsals start, and then from then on it is every day to rehearse up the blocking, dance choreo, stage combat, emotional process etc, and then another few days of tech rehearsals and setup training. Towards the end we’ll also do some training in the touring vehicle and a ton of full dress rehearsals to iron out all the issues and get the show flowing, right before a big dress rehearsal on the final Saturday! The tour usually starts the following week and you’re out on tour performing to thousands of children!

Can I be at school or uni at the same time?

Whilst we’re happy for you to still be at school/uni or in amateur shows, because Alpha is essentially a full schedule during your contract, you would have to ensure none of your other commitments will get in the way, and you’d have to make your rehearsals and show performances a priority – there’s no allowance time-wise for missing rehearsals or shows. If you think you can handle it – go ahead! You’re classified as a casual employee so the schedule does ebb and flow so you can feasibly fit in other things – just again, you still have to do every performance at any time in the touring schedule, including ones added later.

Where does Alpha Tour?

Alpha Shows perform locally in Melbourne, but then also tour regional Victoria and other areas of Australia. There is usually a combination of local touring and touring regionally where the company will arrange & pay for accommodation in hotels/apartments/houses for the cast. When the tour is in Melbourne, actors generally stay at their own home, and either go to venues at the arrival times themselves, or get themselves to our company HQ in Melbourne CBD (just west, Altona North). We have some facility to host you when the tour is ‘home’ in Melbourne in the situation when you do not have a car and don’t wish to rely on ridesharing, but this is limited and we do expect all cast to be Melbourne based for this position. When we go out on tour, you’ll have your accommodation provided and paid for (as well as an away-from-home per diem), so then your only expense will be food and stuff. Local Melbourne shows that are 50km or closer to HQ are just treated like any other job – get yourself to the work-site (or travel in the company vehicle) by shift start time and then head home afterwards. If the distance from Alpha HQ is outside the Fifty-Kilometer-Zone (FKZ) that we have established, you get paid an extra per diem for the extra travel! And then when you travel out to a regional area to stay overnight in a new town, you get paid for every hour you are travelling in the van to get to that new location. For example, you might head to Horsham, or Sydney, and all those hours of travel to get to that new location are paid for.

What kinds of venues?

Most of Alpha’s shows are performed in Primary Schools, ages Kinder – Year 6-9 and variations on that. Some tours cover a season or a few performances over the holidays, where we perform shows at local and Regional Theatres that have booked us, or other venues like where families can come too. We are also are sometimes booked by local councils, churches, school holiday programs, various other community groups and even big corporations. We normally perform shows during the school day, but very very occasionally during the evening or as weekend shows for public venues. It’s a lot of performing but we try to balance work-life as well, as very packed touring schedules can be detrimental to the overall experience.

Where do you hire actors from?

Alpha does not hire for specific cities only. All hiring is done irrespective of your geographic location or the location of the auditions we hold – you are placed in the roles that best suit you for the maximum benefit of the quality of the show, not for logistical reasons. Because of this, we mainly find Melbourne based actors to want to work with us. We will consider out of state actors but you would need to be Melbourne based, and we do check what your intentions are on our employment form. All tours perform in Melbourne/VIC, and then do some of the time in other states depending on the tour. We mainly only host auditions over video/self-tape, but sometimes hold in-person auditions but only at our HQ in Melbourne.

How long will we be away from home?

Being ‘away from home’ is a fairly normal occurrence for performers, as many jobs that are available in the entertainment industry are somewhere different than your hometown. If you’re Melbourne based (your family or home base is somewhere in Melbourne) you won’t necessarily have to be technically ‘away from home’ the entire tour, you’d definitely head home over the weekends and many nights for local shows. When you’re then required to go travelling to other areas (non-Melbourne shows where you have to stay overnight somewhere else) you may be away from home (ie. away from Melbourne) for up to 4-6 consecutive weeks. Every tour generally does some time away from Melbourne. Sometimes we have weekend shows as well, but this is rare. Sometimes a week is really chill, lots of shows in Melbourne and home nice & early. Some weeks are more rigorous with shows all week in different towns with travel after shows to get to a new town. You will definitely need to demonstrate/develop resilience & independence from family and friends – you will be away from home and partners and family and you need to be prepared for this at Alpha Shows the same as any other long-term industry gig like being cast in a movie, tv series or touring musical. A recent statistic even revealed that only 25% of Hollywood productions are now shot in Los Angeles, so three quarters of any gig like that is ‘away from home’. We have had many cast members struggle if being on tour means being away from a partner or a familiar routine that’s important to you. You will want to be adventurous and ready for a new lifestyle if this is your first tour! This is a professional, mature acting job and you will be want to develop the ability to care for yourself and understand the need to tour to get live theatre to different areas around Australia.

Alpha is a great preparation job to help build the resilience and skills needed to take your dream to the next level. Many of our former cast members have built the confidence on Alpha tours and indeed, moved to the US or UK or tour in huge major musicals in Australia, the West End and Broadway. Former cast members have starred in Netflix series’, feature films, major musicals, become social media stars, and recording artists. The skills you learn by being on tour with Alpha are hard to gain anywhere else, especially for young inexperienced performers. It’s difficult to get a huge amount of performing experience in a short time – the condensed and intense nature of an Alpha tour means you get the learning and experience in a couple of months that takes other people years to gain, given the opportunities usually available to fresh or inexperienced talent. Immersion is powerful. So with that said – you can do it! We will care for you and make sure you’re supported on tour, just be up front and let us know how we can help you! Our Managers are very approachable and care a great deal about the welfare of every cast member, even between tours.

How much do we get paid?

We have a custom pay structure that is designed to exceed the MEAA award minimums. This is because Alpha is a premium theatre company that provides outstanding product to our customers, and we want to have the best performers on each tour. We calculate the average hours worked per type of venue, multiply it by the highest rate on the MEAA award as a casual performer, then increase it another significant amount to ensure you are well compensated for both your time, your efforts and most importantly, your talent and experience as a performer. See the Company Pay Structure for more specific details.

How many shows per day? How often are touring seasons and how long do they run?

1 or 2 performances a day is most common, usually at just a single venue/school and occasionally at two different schools. We also do single shows on a day & have an afternoon off or travel to a new town. Very rarely, a cast might perform three shows in one venue, which is something we try to avoid but becomes necessary when a venue is very small but the number of children is greater than what could physically fit in 2 performances. A more detailed itinerary is given to all performers on the last day of rehearsals, and your final schedule for the week is posted on Slack on a Sunday. We give you access to our calendar on your phone, so you can start to get an idea of the tour. Any questions you can direct to your management team.

We generally launch 2 seasons per year, one for the first half of the year, one for the second half. Together, the various tours combined end up covering the entire school year (only 1 show runs at a time) although the summer and early part of the year is usually ‘off’ as are most of the school holidays unless we get a few bookings then or we use the holidays to rehearse or perform in other states that have different term schedules.

Each ‘tour’ is a specific show, not a combination of shows – you’re generally hired for a specific, single/dual/triple role in a specific show/tour when you begin with the company. As we have 10 produced productions, each show will be toured at least once per 5 year cycle. The tour can run anywhere from 4 weeks to 5 months – it’s completely dependent on demand from customers, and we also find that no matter the length, tour life can be challenging and you should be prepared to become ‘tour fit’ in advance of your contract and work with management to ensure you are prepared to be at your best for the entire run of the production.  Those who generally believe they are in control of their health and wellbeing through their own choices (rather than believing sickness is something that ‘happens’ to us simply by being exposed to ‘germs’) will have an advantage on tour.

Most weekdays of the contract period will have shows, except for scheduled breaks and rest periods, so we tend to fill up the entire non-vacation weeks with shows and you should be prepared for a robust and full touring experience. For an approximate schedule, go here: https://www.alphashows.com.au/schedule/

Do we do our own setting up?

All the cast members become familiar during rehearsals in various areas of sound and lighting. So yes! Part of this job is working as a team of 5 or 6 to create the magic of theatre for our audiences! Building something magical together as a team is a big part of this job. We’ve been doing this a long time and it really is a magical experience to work with your fellow cast mates and set up such an impactful event in such a short time. We schedule 90 minutes for set ups, but eventually they usually only take about 45-60 minutes, with the rest of the time spent doing mic checks and getting into costumes and waiting for the audience to arrive! It’s all very exciting and VERY rewarding because the final result really does look like you’re performing a major musical with all the same top quality mics and sound system and lighting – all very theatrical! We’ve been doing this a long time and it’s quite extraordinary what’s possible when you have 5 or 6 people on a team versus say only 2 or 3.

So it’s no big deal (and quite a lot of fun!) – you will never be ‘left alone’ to do something difficult, but it’s important that you’re aware that this is a physical job with specific standards and procedures that have been refined over decades, and during the bump-in and bump-out you are expected to work hard and be efficient in order to get the show ready for a performance. Bonus though – after mastering the job with Alpha, you are experienced enough to take on almost any job in the industry. Important – you must not have any previous serious injuries or health challenges if you’re going to work in Alpha – no bad backs or injured knees, as you will be doing moderate lifting. Don’t worry, everything is safe and divided into easy to manage ‘bits’, and it’s all perfectly reasonable for a healthy active performer! If you’re like us, you’ll quickly get a passion for the technical aspects of the show. Not only do you learn a lot personally, but you can really feel a great sense of contribution as the hard work you put in before the show to set up really pays off in the reaction and delight of the audience.

You can see the way setup works here:

When are auditions / why can’t I find any upcoming auditions on the calendar?

Our annual auditions are usually held mid-year time, generally in Melbourne at our facility in Altona North. We are always auditioning though, so feel free to register to audition at any time, not just after you see a posted notice. Once you’ve registered and we invite you to audition, there are full instructions on submitting a self-tape so we can consider you for upcoming tours or even as a last minute replacement! Alternatively, if we are casting for a specific role we may hold additional auditions at various times during the year, as the need arises. We also encourage all diverse performers of various backgrounds to apply, as we endeavour to be relatable and impactful to all of Australia’s wonderful diverse cultures.

My question isn’t answered here, who do I contact when I have a query?

Please do not use our phone number as it will be answered by the bookings team, and they are not equipped to answer performers questions about auditions. Please also do not use the children’s question form as this creates a post on the website under fan mail, and the booking contact form is for clients and will go to the wrong team. If you really need to get in touch, please do so via email, using the support email on the contact page, or perhaps just DM us on IG @alphashows, or once you’re onboarded, using Slack. Otherwise, just register for an audition and we will be in contact with you and you can use that email chain to ask additional questions!

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