"So you want to tread the boards" covers a hugely extensive variety of topics, ranging from living in London as an actor, temping to pay the bills, and where to turn after drama school training.Iit also includes comprehensive song lists, details on how to interpret lyrics, where to find backing tracks and hundreds of essential internet links.

Written from a Mountview Academy graduate's point of view, 'the performing arts audition guide' relates specifically to this particular mindset and way of thinking, tackling practical and emotional concerns commonly faced by professionals and those aspiring, in a user-friendly manner for all ages.

Confusing minefields, such as how to fund your drama school training and completing your income taxes are made accessible, and pointers for communication with apprehensive parents and friends are supplied from personal experience. Informative and yet entertaining, this clear, no-nonsense, and to the point guide is the perfect source of assistance and inspiration for those seeking to perform professionally.

"I hope my experiences and research will assist fellow and aspiring performers to create work and audition opportunities, as well as remaining financially and emotionally afloat in a difficult and uncertain industry with no rules to follow to guarantee success." Jennifer Reischel



Leslie Bricusse The BOOK'S FORWARD





Leslie Bricusse
One of the first things I learned as a young writer, venturing for the first time into the awesome and unknown new world of theatre and cinema, was to appreciate not just the talent, but the courage, tenacity and resilience of actors. The first place where writers and actors usually cross paths is at auditions.

I have never enjoyed the audition process, for while I appreciate that it is a necessary and democratic evil, giving anybody who wants it the opportunity to prove themselves the best, there is a built-in cruelty and heartlessness involved that is destined to hurt far more people than it helps. For every actor that gets the job, several hundred don’t.

The quest for excellence, however well intentioned, always creates the dubious by-product of  a massive amount of rejection. It is a long way from the thumbs-down at the Roman Coliseum to today’s equivalent at the London Coliseum, 2000 years later, but the principle is the same. Which explains why I truly despise the current glut of search-for-talent shows on national and international television – from Pop Idol and American Idol to endless 12-week searches for Marias and Josephs and Dannys and Sandys using television to create theatrical hype for what would otherwise be just another revival.

I find them hard to watch, even for a few minutes, because achieving the success of the one winner, necessitates shattering the hopes and dreams of countless others. Mystifying as it all is, it helps to explain why success in the performing arts has always been so sought-after, so glamorous and so elusive, and why so many will suffer anything to achieve it. 

So, how should a young would-be actor prepare him or herself to reach for the seemingly unreachable star? If it were a horse race, the odds would be unbearable. No-one would bet. Climbing Mount Everest backwards would be a breeze by comparison. The only chance would be unimaginable dedication, training and method.

Which brings us to the remarkable Miss Jennifer Reischel, who here appears out of the dark clouds, like an angel of mercy, to offer the wandering aimless hordes of  showbiz wannabes the ultimate theatrical “How-to” book. You’ve heard of Method Acting? This is Method Training. How to stand up and take your first steps. How to walk. How to run. How to talk. Who to know and where to go. And so on.

If theatrical success is Everest, this is how to climb every mountain, negotiate the foothills, head for the peaks, and get to the top. Miss Reischel offers with mind-blowing detail, efficiency and organisation “The Yellow Brick Road Guide How To Succeed In Show Business”.

If you want to be an actor, this is your platinum express card. Don’t leave home without it.

Leslie Bricusse
Saint-Paul de Vence, June 2007


Review by "Theatre"

Acting is your passion, but how to make it your career? This author has been there, done that, (literally) borrowed the "I'm the star and you know it" T-Shirt, and now writes the book. Experienced enough to offer a balanced view, yet still close enough to recall her training days and empathise with readers, Reischel covers just about everything the aspiring thespian may wish to know.

The book mixes practical general and personal advice organised in handily bite-sized sections. General topics like choosing your school, finding funding, the cost of everything from clothing to lessons and living in London are dealt with before moving on to the more personal things. These include audition piece suggestions - play and musical - with tips on how to handle auditions themselves, how to find good tutors and even a little on important matters like tax and visa requirements for working abroad.

Alternative careers both in and allied to the industry also get a mention, and a glossary of theatre terms should prove useful to those who don't know their 'stage right' from left. Most originally, the tricky subject of convincing loved ones that acting really is a suitable a job as any other is covered in depth - and should prove helpful to both auditionee and concerned family members.

Perhaps the only omissions are the darker side of the business. Dealing with the stress of continuous unemployment, obsessive fans (even the least well known have awkward encounters at stage doors), and warning of issues surrounding unwise career choices early on ("I was young, I needed the money" has a nasty way of biting later) might have been useful.

A mention of practical safety tips for travelling home late after a show or visiting unknown audition places might have gone down well in the London section too, but these are minor items in a book which covers practically everything else.

Grounded and sensible advice which, as the writer stresses, isn't prescriptive but assistance from one professional to those who ask is the strength of this publication. Lightened by accounts of her own attractively scatty experiences at auditions, Jennifer Reischel has penned a "must read" for anyone wanting act professionally, and a "must buy" for anyone seeking a gift for the stage-struck this season.



It is not surprising that Jennifer Reischel acknowledges the encouragement of Simon Dunmore at the beginning of her own book – like An actor’s Guide to Getting Work, this comprehensive volume entertains a wealth of useful information for anyone entering the performing business, in this case with a musical-theatre orientated slant

This information is conveyed in a direct and practical manner, which neither patronises nor assumes any previous knowledge, and as such would be an ideal book for an aspiring youngster and their parents, for drama school students, and recent graduates, and for many people who are already treading the boards, but need updating on how the industry works now rather than when it started.

In this context, the author’s relative youthfulness – she graduated from Mountview in 2002 – is a plus. It reflects the experiences of a young actor making their day to day living and is realistic about the downs as well as the ups.

Leslie Bricusse, in his foreword, adds his voice to all of us who decry the false picture of the industry that reality TV presents, and in that spirit, while the book contains lots of useful lists of things to do, whether in approaching an agent or preparing an audition song, an even more useful feature of this particular volume, are the lists of things not to do.

The reason why many popular audition ditties should be avoided like the plague is certainly illuminating – and I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending that any money saved on sheet music could be far more usefully invested in a copy of this book.With that in mind, my one only quibble is a cover design, which, while suitably “theatrical”, doesn’t reflect the vibrancy and readability of the writing style and content.

Hopefully this is something that will be addressed in further editions – there is certainly enough solid material here to merit the book becoming an essential read for beginners for years to come.

John Byrne
November 2007


So You Want To Tread The Boards by Jennifer Reischel

Please click here for a link to an interview on BBC Radio with Jennifer about 'So you want to tread the boards' and the performing arts industry."


Look Inside

Table of Contents

Samples to read:

Take the Musical Theatre Test
Recommended Musical Theatre Auditions Songs
Overdone Audition Songs
Accreditted Acting & Musical Theatre Courses
Drama School Survival Guide
How to Find an Agent
Professional Auditions
Acting for Kids and Teens
Audition Monologues
Backing Tracks
Audition Coach and Singing Teachers
Performing Arts Books
Performing Arts Summer Courses

Recommendation from Elaine Page




“5.0 out of 5 stars. Excellent book" 18 June 2013

By Antonia Gentile
"Great for those looking to go to drama school or starting out in the industry.
Would recommend it especially to young performers."

“5.0 out of 5 stars. Brilliant Book!" 16 May 2013

By Kerry
"This book covers absolutely everything you need to know about the performing arts industry. I highly recommend it to anybody seeking to make a career in the arts. When it arrived I was surprised at how big the book actually was and If i'm honest I was unsure whether I would be bothered to read the whole thing! (I'm not really a "reader" myself!) But once i'd started I could not put it down. Its full of great tips and really useful information. A definite must-read in my eyes. Buy it!!"

“5.0 out of 5 stars The performer's AMAZING all-you-need-to-know guide!! (04.11.2012)"

"Jennifer Reischel is my lifesaver. She covers everything essential for a performer to know in a clear, concise and competent way. For someone like me, whose training was very thin on the information provided about the performing industry in general, this book is literally a performer's all-you-need-to-know guide. Covering auditions (for drama school and professional work), to required repertoire (musical and dramatic), required experience and knowledge, information about the performance capital itself London, and a WHOLE lot more, I now have gone from a lost performer without a clue of really where to start to become a professional, to having a much clearer idea of what I need to do, how long it will take, where I need to be and when to start ("yesterday"!). I definitely recommend this book to anyone even a little interested in the industry."

By Wendy Performer.

“Fabulous book – 5 stars (18.10.2010)"

This book is absolutely wonderful, covering all aspects of the performing industry and answering any and all questions potential actors, singers or dancers may have. It's written in a very down to earth way, by a drama school graduate who has been through the system herself and knows how it works. I would definitely recommend this book to aspiring performers from early teens upwards. I'm 14, and loved it!”

"5 stars - recommend it 100%"

This book is clear, concise and very helpful. It gives useful advice and several answers to the questions that plague those looking to move forward into the performing arts business, written by someone who's been there and done it.

I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in making a career of performer or those who are currently in performing arts and seeking ways to further their career.

Very good book.

"5 stars - an accessible guide and friendly read for any performer"

This book is jam packed with literally everything you need to know to become a performer, and is probably the only book of its kind that covers the three disciplines in such detail- acting, singing and dancing.

It is refreshing to read a book from the perspective of a young actor, who has experienced all the worries and struggles for herself.

Her writing is friendly, practical and honest and jam packed with up to date websites, recommended song lists and overused audition material. It covers everything from how to present yourself at an audition to dealing with personal issues such as unsupportive parents.

The author never skirts around the issue of just how hard the industry is, especially during a time where auditions are becoming scarcer due to reality TV and celebrity casting.

However, with the helpful and honest advice offered in this book, the young performer can discover what they need to do to give themselves the best possible chance.

For the young drama school aspirant, the worried graduate, the disillusioned professional and the concerned parent- this book is for you."

"5 stars - A must have for aspiring performers"

 Fabulous guide filled with loads of information for those interested in a career in the performing arts.

A true insider's look at life as an actor also filled with useful and memorable anecdotes. Well organized and fun to read. Would definitely recommend to anyone whose dream is to tread the boards.

It is a valuable resource from start to finish. Will answer your questions about how to train, information about schools, how to audition, and the nitty gritty of everyday life as an actor including places to live and temping/working on the side."