Brian Posen’s Guide to Progressing as a Theatrical Artist: The Next Steps to Take when Striving for Artistic Success

Brian Posen
Jul 15 · 4 min read

For those in the creative performing world, making it to a Broadway production is widely seen as the end goal. For many, this dream may never amount to anything, but with the help of seasoned professionals you can elevate your performing skills and further progress to become the best artist you can be.

Brian Posen of Chicago has taught over 10,000 performers over his impressive 25-year career as a teacher, performer, director and pianist. He is the founder and executive producer of The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. Brian Posen graciously took the time to outline some of the approaches aspiring theatrical artists should consider in order to progress as an artist.

Plan

There is no substitute for planning, it provides you with a list of objectives and goals you need to accomplish to ensure you are on the right path. Prior to beginning your transitional journey into a stronger, more well-rounded artist, you must sit down and develop a thoughtful and detailed plan of action complete with specific goals. Brian Posen states that a detailed and meaningful plan must address all areas of your performing skills and include a timeline of no less than five years. This may seem like a long time, but perfection requires practice, dedication, and substantial amounts of time.

Your plan will detail the areas of performing you struggle with most (make your weakness your strengths) and will outline the classes and seminars you intend on attending, any upcoming local shows or performances, networking events, and auditions for upcoming productions. Understanding what needs to be accomplished to achieve your goal is a necessary step.

Train and Study

As is the case with planning, there is no substitute for practicing your skills. To fully hone your skills, you must continuously and constantly seek professional assistance and expertise. You can never rehearse or train enough. In-class training and seminars are done to further develop your skills and become a well-rounded theatrical powerhouse. Explore classes outside of your comfort zone. Develop skills and increase your resume and make yourself more marketable. Performance classes such as acting, improv, stage combat, vocal lessons, singing, painting, opera, yoga, circus skills, accents and dialects, theatrical styles and forms, and and and!…these classes will propel your career. To progress and obtain more complex roles in productions, Brian Posen states you should have a strong skill set in singing, dancing, acting, circus skills, and voice control.

Professionals work not only to sharpen your skills; they are essential in sharing constructive criticism to help you develop the skills you may be lacking in. Professional help will additionally provide you with insider knowledge on how to handle rejection, how to put yourself out there and audition effectively, and will often have details regarding upcoming productions that are seeking performers.

Remain Relevant in the Industry

There is no better way to put yourself out there than by surrounding yourself with industry leaders and professionals. Remaining relevant is essential for any business, but when your business is your performing skill set it becomes even more important to remain relevant. This may sound like a daunting task, but thanks to Brian Posen’s inside information it is not. To remain relevant, you must understand what is happening in the industry — to understand what is happening in the industry you need to be informed. According to Brian Posen, he has seen the most success in his students when they actively read local production scripts, network, and involve themselves in local productions by either attending, auditioning, or participating.

Remaining relevant means much more than attending and reading local productions, it means immersing yourself in the theatrical lifestyle. You must frequent local production halls and institutions, you must strive to grow your skill set, and you must target theatre companies that you want to work with.

Brian Posen strongly encourages all of his students to identify and target theatre companies they want to work for and start working with that company immediately, even if it is in an intern position — he states, “get your foot in the door, and work your butt off to showcase your talents”. Once again, there is no path to success that doesn’t involve remaining relevant in the industry.

Network

This tip is applicable to any aspect of life, but it is especially important for artists when it is coupled with remaining relevant. Networking is an essential aspect of immersing yourself in the world of theatrics and attending local meet ups and workshops is an excellent starting point. Brian Posen shares that many artists fail in this step, they decide not to network, and it becomes a critical issue. Networking is essential for performers to remain at the forefront of companies main consciousness, this will ultimately help you land more roles.

Brian Posen’s Final Thoughts

To summarize Brian’s words: “Work all the time. Train and study, read and take classes, make connections, and put yourself out there.” Truer words have never been spoken, you must follow Brian Posen’s advice if you wish to push yourself further and progress to be the artist you aspire to become. Brian Posen concludes his advice with some friendly words of wisdom — “Transitioning into a stronger artist requires talent, persistence, dedication, and most importantly time. Don’t forget to be grateful for your experiences and remember to be nice to yourself. Always work toward being asked back to all companies that you work for because if you do, doors will open for you!”

Brian Posen

Written by

An accomplished actor, director, and producer, Brian Posen has dedicated his career to the theater scene in his native Chicago.

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