Author Topic: Dear Abby: Rebuilding References after a Long Hiatus  (Read 4917 times)

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Dear Abby: Rebuilding References after a Long Hiatus
« on: Jan 24, 2018, 11:03 pm »
From time to time our moderator staff will receive messages to post on behalf of our members who wish to remain anonymous. This is one of those messages.

It has been a few years since I've been on the site. After personal reasons, mainly to burnout, I decided to leave the industry a few years ago to try and pursue something else. After deciding that that new venture was not for me, plus deciding that I really missed the theatre, I'm making the decision to come back.

I am caught however, in a standstill for applying to future positions, especially for the upcoming summer. I have already taken stock and drilled into my brain the learning experience that is coming with my past decision, not networking as best as I could have. Lesson learned! Now it's time to move forward!

I am now left with the task of finding new references, as the ones I used previously are no longer valid and I do not believe would be good ones for me to use any longer. I possibly have a few I might try. But, I am curious if anyone might have some ideas on how I might approach this in a way in the event that I might not have appropriate references for applying to future positions while I am starting back up?

Thank you for any insights you might be able to give!

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Dear Abby: Rebuilding References after a Long Hiatus
« Reply #1 on: Jan 30, 2018, 09:49 am »
I'd focus on your portfolio and any experiences you can point to that show good working practices. Do you have an old prompt book, or paperwork you can show a potential employer? Can you point to a show at a theatre you worked that was well-received?

Don't just focus on past directors/employers for references. Are there actors who appreciated your care? Maybe designers who you worked well with? Are there personal character references from your recent work (outside the theatre) you can point to?

So far as building references and getting your toes wet, a lot of theatres will accept volunteers to begin with. It's not ideal, of course, but it's a way to get your foot in the door. Maybe offer to come in and help with load-in, or ask if there's a volunteer ushering group you can join. Industry nights at shows are also great mixing opportunities.
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