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How to write a musical theatre resume

By BBC Maestro

When you attend an audition, you’ll be expected to bring along a copy of your musical theatre resume (also known as a CV). Like any good professional resume, it gives the reader a snapshot of your skills, training and experience, but differs by focusing solely on your relevant theatrical and performance experience.

If you’re just starting out in the industry, you might feel concerned that your resume looks a little thin on detail. Don’t worry: there’s plenty you can do at even this early stage to create a decent musical theatre resume.

In this article, we’ll take you through how to make a theatre resume, whether you’re starting from scratch or want to refresh your existing copy.

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What should I put on my resume for musical theatre? 

A resume needs to give the reader, in your case an audition panel or casting director, a quick and clear insight into your relevant skills and experience. In brief, you need contact details, performance credits, performing arts training and any extra applicable information. 
 
If you already have a standard employment resume, ignore it and start again. Your musical theatre resume shouldn’t have your high school qualifications or any non-industry jobs listed. If you’ve picked up any potentially useful skills along the way (for example, you left college fluent in Spanish), these can be listed under the Special Skills section. 
 
As any busy casting director will tell you, a resume or CV needs to be short. Keep it to within one side of 8 x 10 paper (A4).  

women dancing near mirror

What’s the best musical theatre resume format? 

You can download a musical theatre resume template or simply create your own. They are straightforward to put together, and usually follow the same format: 

1. Headshot (usually attached) 
2. Name and contact details 
3. Professional snapshot 
4. Professional summary 
5. Credits 
6. Training and qualifications 
7. Special skills 

Use a clear typeface and keep the layout nice and simple with obvious headers and no fancy colours. Save the CV as a PDF before you email it to anyone because this stops the layout from becoming misaligned. When you print your resume, use good-quality paper. Not only will it look better, but it’s more likely to survive being passed around on audition day. 

Headshot

This is a crucial part of your musical theatre resume. It shows the casting director and the audition panel what physical type of actor you are and acts as a useful aide memoire during the audition process. Always invest in professional headshots: the photographer will know how to capture your best side while making sure it’s an accurate representation of you. 

Tips for musical theatre headshots 

  • Choose a photographer with experience in professional headshots.
  • Keep your hair, jewellery and make-up simple and as neutral as possible.  
  • Your clothes won’t be on show, but you’ll still need to think about them. Choose a plain colour that suits you, with a simple neckline and no distracting details.
  • Have a choice of 3-4 different photos which capture different moods. Pick the one that best suits the role you’re auditioning for.
  • Print it on good-quality photo paper.
  • Replace your headshot every 2-3 years or if there’s a significant physical change, like a new hairstyle. 

Name and contact details 

You’ll need the following pieces of essential information: 
 

  • Stage name
  • Your skillset: something like ‘Musical Theatre Performer’
  • Contact details – ideally, your agent’s. Steer away from putting your own address or mobile number
  • Website address, if you have one 

Professional Snapshot 

The standard musical theatre resume format includes the following in short bullet points: 

  • Height and weight  
  • Hair and eye colour
  • Voice type and vocal range (i.e., Soprano, B3 – C6)
  • Union affiliation 

Professional summary 

Like with a standard resume, write a short sentence or two about yourself, highlighting your key selling points. 
 
An example could be:  
 
‘A passionate musical theatre performer with a trained soprano voice and a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts from [insert school or college]. Experienced in touring musical theatre with [insert show title]’ 
 
You don’t need much experience to flesh out these first sections. If you’re worried about a lot of blank space at this early stage, you can always add your headshot to the actual resume itself as well as attaching it. It can fill white space, and can make cross-referencing easier for audition panels. 

Credits 

Eventually, you’ll have a lovely Credits section that’s subdivided into theatre, film, TV, gaming and so on. Be selective with your credits, with just a few key examples under each section, which you can tailor depending on what sort of role you’re going for. 
 
When you’re starting out, it can be harder to know how to complete this resume section. It is fine to use workshops, high school and college productions and any other shows you’ve performed in. Working as an extra demonstrates you have experience and can take direction. 
 
The general rule is if you’re over 25 years old, use credits only from your work as an adult – unless you had a leading role in Matilda on Broadway. If you’re under 25, you can use any relevant experience from the past ten years.  

The standard format for the Credits section is: 

  • Production 
  • Role
  • Company/Director
  • Date 

Qualifications and training 

This is any relevant formal training you have received or are currently studying, from your BA in Performing Arts to your weekly singing lessons. Even if you’re fresh out of university, you should be able to find plenty to go in this part of your resume. 
 
It can be easier to follow if you separate formal qualifications and professional training. Also remember to list any workshops you’ve attended.  
 
There’s no real right or wrong way to list your qualifications and training. The important information to include is: 

  • Name of establishment and/or teacher
  • Name of course
  • Qualifications obtained (if relevant) plus the grade
  • Date / ongoing 

If you’ve trained under someone prestigious or attended a weekend workshop at a top drama school, make sure that stands out. Casting directors will be looking out for names they recognise, and trusted people and places will help give weight to your resume. 

Special skills 

This is a useful section where you can showcase talents that could just give you the edge. If you’ve had combat training or can ride a horse, put it here. If you’re good at accents, fluent in five languages, or a decent guitarist, list these unique extra skills here. They may be a deciding factor.  
 
If you have a few, you can format them as brief bullet points. Imagine if it’s between you and one other actor, and you’re the only one who can play the piano… 

Musical theatre resume examples

There are plenty theatre resume templates online or you can create your own. The simpler the better, so you don’t need to be a graphics whizz to create something that looks professional. 
 
For example, here’s a musical theatre template that was created using Word. It’s simple and won’t win you any design awards, but the text is really clear and easy to read, and that’s what you’re aiming for.

CV example

Finally, if you’re feeling stuck with choosing the content for your theatre CV or resume, reach out to someone in the industry, such as a friend with more experience than you. If you have an agent, have a chat with them – they’ll have seen thousands of resumes during their career. 

Find out more about starting out in musical theatre in Sir Tim Rice’s BBC Maestro course, Writing and Performing Musical Theatre. You’ll pick up all sorts of invaluable insights from the world-renowned lyricist, including the audition process. 

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