5 Things Every Actor Should Have In Their "Arsenal"

Brittany Strelluf

When you first get into theatre, it can be a lot to take in. Even after being involved in a few shows, you may not have everything together. And that’s okay!  However, when getting into theatre, there are five things that might be useful to have in your arsenal as you find your place in the theatre world. 


A monologue is just a piece of you speaking.  The purpose is to show your director of casting director what you are capable of.  It is a good idea to have two monologues that you feel comfortable performing from memory.  You will feel more comfortable when you audition with a piece that you are very familiar with. You will want to be prepared with two contrasting monologues. Usually a drama and a comedy will cover you.  

Character Shoes 

You will want to have your own shoes.  Many theatre companies require you supply your own. You don’t want to have to rely on your costumer for shoes. I have been a wardrobe master for several shows, and  I can’t tell you how many actors I know who forced themselves into extremely painful shoes, shoes they had trouble walking in, shoes that broke, shoes that were falling apart, or shoes several sizes too small.  Jazz shoes are a great go-to shoe. Many people love Bloch’s 3500. 

Basic Makeup and Hygiene Products

This doesn’t need to be extreme. You don’t need tons of eyeshadows or dozens of lip colors. What you will want is mascara, eyeliner, a natural lip color, and foundation and a blush. These will go a long way. Your local drugstore will have everything you need. Brands like Wet N’ Wild and ELF have very affordable prices. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for some advice from your fellow actors on recommendations or company preference. Some companies and dance studios have specific guidelines of exactly the makeup palette and hair styling they want, in order to convey a uniform look.  If that is the case, just inquire with your company. 

A lightly scented or unscented and reliable Deodorant is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Please just trust me on this one.  

If you prefer a particular hair regimen, it is not the responsibility of the theatre to supply your every need. 

Office Supplies

Theatre starts with a script, To help you stay organized you will want a few basic office supplies to help you out. You will want a 3-ring binder, a notebook and a few pencils. You will always need a pencil.  A highlighter will come in handy. 

Proper Undergarments

You have no idea where that costume has been, or how clean it really is. Stage lights are unforgiving and will usually show much more than you might think.  Proper undergarments are crucial for hygienic and modesty purposes.  It is a good idea to get nude undergarments to wear onstage.

Women will need a slip to wear under your costume.  Don’t rely on someone else. I have lost a number of slips and shorts to the belly of the theatre beast. Men should be prepared with a basic undershirt.   Be prepared to buy a pair of tights at one point. 

This is by no means a  complete list, but hopefully it can help out a few newbies to the backstage.