When I was a young actor I can recall the one agonizing moment in the rehearsal process when I was handed a piece of paper and told to write. In my mind, I had to craft the most perfect, captivating, witty, poignant piece about my history, my resume, and my personal interests -- all in 3-5 sentences... Whew!
I'm, of course, talking about the Actor's Bio.
If you're a theatre teacher I'm sure you've seen the frenzied response when the actor's bios are requested. New and seasoned actors in your shows go a bit crazy over them. Am I right?
Instead of getting swept up in the mania, I finally figured out the best way to say everything I needed to say and then get back to focusing on rehearsal was to come up with an Actor's Bio formula.
I've love to share this Actor's Bio formula with you!
FULL NAME (ROLE): CURRENT SHOW + RECENT CREDITS + EDUCATION / TRAINING + PERSONAL PROMOTION + SHOUT OUT(S)
Anyone of these elements can be removed, or multiplied.
For example, here is an actor's bio incorporating all the elements:
Janet Locke (Ophelia): Janet is very excited to be a part of Hamlet at Round Moon Theatre. She recently worked with Round Moon on MacBeth as Witch 1, and at Variety Theatre in Dead Man Walking as Helen's Mother. Janet studied Theatre Performance at Northwestern University, where she received a BFA. For fun, Janet volunteers with the local YMCA as a drama teacher. Her writings on working in the theatre can be found at JanetUnlocked.com. She wants to thank her partner Jeff, and their dog Jet for always supporting her passions.
Here's an example of a first-time actor with no recent credits:
Henry Smith (Cat in the Hat): Henry is very excited to make his acting debut in Kinley Middle School's Seussical the Musical. He loves being a 7th grader at KMS. When he's not in school Henry enjoys rock climbing and playing baseball. You'll find him on the KMS Tiger's baseball team in the spring. He wants to thank his Mom and Dad for always picking him up from curricular activities!
Or an adult actor who hasn't been in school for years and doesn't have any formal training:
James Goodall (Frederick Fellowes): James has enjoyed working with Dad's Theatre on Noises Off. His recent credits include Charley in Death of a Salesman at Dad's Theatre and ensemble in Annie! at Kirkwood Stage. When he isn't on stage, James is hanging out with his wonderful family and working as a lawyer at Goodall and Sons LLC. He wants to thank his wife Karen and their two beautiful children for all their love.
See how it works?
Mixing and matching these elements will give you an interesting and clear bio every time!