How to tackle nerves and anxiety before an interview or audition

It’s not a bad thing to have nerves before an interview or theatre audition – it is your body’s way of showing that you really care about what you are pursuing. However, sometimes nerves and anxiety can affect our behaviour and it’s good to learn how to control this, so that it doesn’t affect your performance in the interview/audition. Even the most experienced professionals can still feel nervous sometimes!

What is anxiety?


  1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

"he felt a surge of anxiety"

The NHS says: “anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.” It is a normal feeling to have before an interview or doing something for the first time. Your heart rate may rise and you can start feeling a bit hot and sweaty.

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How do I prevent myself feeling anxious?

Preparation is the key to help you feel more at ease on the day. Follow the tips below to ensure you keep your nerves under control. 

  • Make sure you have understood exactly what has been asked of you beforehand - Ensure you have brought everything along with you that you need. Pack your bag the day before, when you have a clear mind, and double check it in the morning before you leave
  • Pre-plan your journey - Allow plenty of extra time for any delays – you don’t want to be in the situation where you think you may be late as this won’t help your nerves
  • Questions - Think about questions that interviewers might ask you and have some pre-planned answers
  • Previous experience - Make a list of your previous experience, so it is fresh in your mind
  • Wear the right clothes - Clothes can help you feel confident. Wear something you feel comfortable and good in but make sure what you're wearing is also practical for the day. Remember that nerves can make you feel hot, but there may be moments where you are sat around so layers are a good idea!
  • Check the weather beforehand and be prepared - You won’t feel confident walking into the interview/audition after being caught out unexpectedly in the rain
  • Ditch the caffeine - Caffeine raises your heart rate which, mixed with nerves, can make your heart rate feel even faster. It’s best to stay away from coffee and tea until after your interview/audition

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How do I calm my nerves in a waiting room?

  • Listen to your favourite, uplifting music
  • Take a few long, deep breaths
  • Engage in small talk – taking your mind off where you are and speaking with someone about something different can be really helpful
  • Give yourself mind exercises. For example, count all the blue things you can see in the room. This will keep your mind outwards and open and will distract you from your nerves
  • Think positive thoughts – tell yourself how great you are and focus on the things you are good at

How do I calm my nerves during my interview/audition?

  • Think about how you are standing/sitting – your body language can really affect your mind. Grounding your feet, uncrossing your arms and sticking your chest out slightly will not only look confident, but will help you feel confident too
  • Really listen to your interviewer’s question. If you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask them to repeat it
  • Take a moment to think of your answer before speaking
  • Take a breath before speaking to slow yourself down
  • Remember that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you
  • Remind yourself the interviewer or panel want you to be good

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Remember that it’s not the end of the world if the interview didn’t go to plan. Take each interview as experience that you can use for the next one. Try not to dwell on it afterwards – you’ve done everything you can and given it your best shot, it’s now out of your control. Give yourself something to look forward to after your interview, book yourself in for a treat where you can relax afterwards and take your mind off it – you deserve it!

If you need to speak to someone about anything that is concerning you then contact


Published: 04 March 2019

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