What kind of shows does Alpha Shows produce?
Alpha’s shows are essentially musical rock-concerts for children wrapped up in a classic story. 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 (and for the performers!). We cycle the shows and frequently tour all 8 of them – THE ALPHA SHOWS OF: ‘The Snow Queen’, ‘The Grinch’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘King Arthur’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Hercules’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The shows are modern (except the sets and costumes fit in with the period of each show), with references to pop culture that children (and adults) relate to and modern pop songs tailored to fit into various points in the story line. However – they are NOT Disney shows or related in any way to Disney! Whilst some similarities exist by the virtue of needing to appeal to people’s expectations and the similarities that would exist by taking inspiration from the same fairytale, 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 about what children and humanity will respond positively to in the 21st century. They are full of beautiful princesses and princes, zany characters, evil villains, clever FX and a rock-concert atmosphere. Our shows are very funny with jokes for kids and also one-liners for the adults. They also always have a ‘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 doing this job.
How long are rehearsals?
Generally, rehearsals will, depending on the show, be 4-11 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, Westernport Highway, Langwarrin. All cast are required for all rehearsals and must be available full time during the day. Whilst we’re happy for you to still be at school/uni or in amateur shows, because Alpha is essentially full time work, 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 anything like that, that might have been possible or acceptable with a non-paid/amateur production that you have probably been in before. We usually rehearse every day for the period including weekends, but every so often take days off. Actors generally stay on site for rehearsals as we have full accommodation for all actors on site.
Where does Alpha Tour?
Alpha Shows tour throughout Melbourne, regional Victoria and other areas of Australia. We will normally spend a few weeks in metropolitan Melbourne. Then, we will spend a few weeks 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 on site in Langwarrin and travel in the Truck each day to venues. This way you can eliminate virtually all living and ‘travelling to venues’ expense. Other than food/toiletries, all your expenses are taken care of. We suggest that no matter what, you should drive your car and stay in Langwarrin. If you’re coming from out of state, we also suggest you drive down so that on days off in Melbourne, you have your freedom. Actors who didn’t bring their cars in the past have felt isolated on weekends with sometimes not much to do. The other alternative is to bring another project or start one – like learning an instrument, writing a script or songs – these are the types of things actors have done in the past to keep growing and learning whilst on tour (aside from the incredible growth and positive experiences you’ll have doing the actual Alpha job!). Bring your laptop, we have free wi-fi in Langwarrin, but you might want to get your own mobile internet for when you’re on the road. Ensemble Members get access to free wi-fi for the entire tour + other benefits.
What kinds of venues?
Most of Alpha’s shows are performed in Primary Schools, ages Kinder – Year 7/8 and variations on that. Some tours cover a season over the holidays, where we perform shows at Melbourne and Regional Theatres that have booked us, or other venues like where families come to, although this is becoming less likely in the current economic climate. We are also booked by local councils, churches, school holiday programs, various other community groups and even big corporations. We perform shows during the day, during the evening as well as weekend shows (although generally this job is a day job). Be ready for a LOT of performing!
How long will we be away from home?
If you live out of state (VIC), you’ll probably be away from home the entire tour. This is a fairly normal occurrence for performers, as most jobs you get are likely to be 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 – most of our casts do. Most actors stay at the local accommodation during the week on show nights. 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 2-3 consecutive weeks. Only when we travel interstate would you be away over weekends, though, as most weekends we would still return home on a Friday, even if you’ve been away in accommodations somewhere outside of Melbourne. Sometimes we have weekend shows as well, but this is rare. Sometimes a week is really easy, lots of shows in Melbourne and home nice & early. Some weeks are harder with travel in the evenings to get to a new town. If you step up to drive the truck you are paid substantially more. You will definitely need to show resilience & develop independence from family and friends. We have had many cast members struggle if being on tour means being away from a boyfriend or girlfriend 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. This is important – if you are a professional actor you will have come to understand the no matter what job you get in the entertainment industry, you are almost certainly going to be traveling. A movie role in a major feature film, working at a theme park, performing on a cruise ship, touring in a major musical, going to Hollywood, shooting Lord of the Rings in New Zealand – all of it requires travelling. The Alpha job is no different! You should be prepared for a reasonable amount of travel and variation in your life – get ready to ‘live the show’! If you hate travel or can’t stand the idea of being away from home, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your parents, you should probably not apply for Alpha. Performing jobs that just happen to be based in your home town for any length of time are very rare! Even if you get one like being cast in Neighbours, your next gig is probably going to involve traveling – most TV actors move to Hollywood, and most musical theatre performers once more successful, end up on long tours around Australia where you might only do a few weeks or a month or so in your home town. We know that Alpha may not be your ultimate ‘goal’ for your performing career, we get that, but it is the same as these experiences in terms of being away from home and the need to become accustomed to that reality. In that way, Alpha is a great preparation job to help build the resilience and skills needed to take your dream to the extreme and prove you’re ready to go to Hollywood or tour in major musicals. Many of our former cast members have built the confidence on Alpha tours and indeed, moved to Hollywood or tour in huge major musicals in Australia, the West End and Broadway. Former cast members have starred in Netflix series’, features 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. 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! Your Tour Manager is very approachable and cares a great deal about the welfare of every cast member, even between tours.
How much do we get paid?
See the Company Pay Structure. We pay different rates for various types of days. Most days we do 2 shows in 2 different venues, and the rate for a day like this ends up being higher than equity (if you divide the equity weekly rate by 5 to get an approx daily rate). Some days are easier days, with less time needed from you (and less income for the company) so the pay is a bit less on these days. The pay is very fair and reasonable and the structure has been created with consultation and full transparency with our Ensemble Actors (actors that are part of the company long term and have the opportunity for acting work over most of the year). There are also higher pay rates for returning cast members playing the same role in the same show, as we very much value actors who desire to stay in the Company long term and challenge themselves by doing the same show again but learning more about their own performing abilities. We find this can be rewarding for an actor and so we reward that as it also helps the company to have experienced people in each show. Please let us know early on whether you are thinking you’d like to do lots of shows with us over a few years (we can’t read minds!). Additionally, there are many other perks both financial and non-financial to the job, some of which are highlighted in the Actor Downloads on the left hand side menu here. Check them out and have a read of what benefits we provide to long term Company Cast Members and Ensemble Members.
How many shows per day? How often are touring seasons and how long do they run?
Alpha tours perform 2 shows for most days of the tours, occasionally we will only perform one & have an afternoon off or travel to a new town. Sometimes (very rarely), a cast might perform three shows in a venue, during school time, or two during school time & one in the early evening. A more detailed itinerary is given to all actors on the last day of rehearsals. 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 Tour Manager. We generally run 5 tours per year, sometimes more or less. Together, the various tours combined, end up covering the entire year (only 1 show at a time). Each ‘tour’ is a specific show, not a combination of shows – you’re generally hired for a specific, single, role in a specific tour, when you begin with the company. If we have a specific need for your style of performance we may place you in 2 or more tours straight up, although this is rare. So only 5 shows will be performed each year, so out of our 10 produced productions, each one will be toured at least once per 2 year cycle. The tour can run anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months – it’s completely dependent on demand from customers. Regardless, we tend to fill up the entire non-vacation weeks with shows for the entire year. For an approximate schedule, go here: http://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 6 to create the magic of theatre for our audiences! You’ll be overwhelmed for the first day or so but then it just slots into place after a few good sleeps! 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 30 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! So it’s no big deal (and quite a lot of fun!) – you will never be ‘left alone’ to do something difficult, we have a lot of experienced cast members that you’ll be working with. Bonus though – after mastering the job with Alpha, you are experienced enough to take on almost any job in the industry. Important though – you must not have any previous serious injuries 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 – we won’t kill you! It’s just to make the shows as impactful as possible. If you’re like us (and we hope you kinda are in some ways!) 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. Therefore, you should not apply for Alpha if you’re the type of actor that is just about the ‘fame’ or attention (we’re sure you’re not like that!). Don’t get us wrong, you will get plenty of adoration by our audiences, they’ll ask you for autographs and surround you after the shows asking questions.
When are auditions / why can’t I find any upcoming auditions on the calendar?
Our annual auditions are usually held towards the end of each year, generally in Melbourne at our Company HQ, and on tour in Sydney and Brisbane. If no auditions are currently scheduled, that just means we haven’t scheduled them yet and therefore there are none available yet for you to request a time. Check back on the site later in the year for when the dates for auditions will be. Alternatively, if we are casting for a specific role we may hold additional auditions at various times during the year, as the need arises. If this is the case, those auditions will NOT be put on the website. You can go ahead and submit your application without worrying about selecting a date – you’ll then be contacted to figure out how we’re going to audition you (it may even be over Skype if you’re not located in Melbourne). Note that Skype auditions only occur for these specific casting requirements during the year, we do not hold Skype auditions during our annual audition schedule at the end of the year – as this is when your best chance is to secure a job as that’s when the majority of roles will be cast (over December/January is when we make all the decisions and cast the entire year).