British Columbia

Bard on the Beach searches for pooch to put on stage

Any pet can pose for a cute Facebook photo but only a few four-legged stars will make it to the stage of a Shakespeare play.

Calmness is key to becoming a four-legged acting star, says dog trainer

One-year-old Munch is training for auditions and can already do several acting tricks. (Our Vancouver)

Any pet can pose for a cute Facebook photo but only a few four-legged stars will make it to the stage of a Shakespearean play.

Bard on the Beach is on the lookout for a dog to star in one of their upcoming productions this summer. Georgina Bradley, owner of DogStars animal training and talent agency, is working with the company to find the right dog for the role.

She described what it takes to become the perfect pooch for the stage.

"It's a combination of finding the right look and the right demeanour," Bradley said. "We're looking for a dog that is calm and looks like it's in that genre of time."

Bradley said they do not have a specific look in mind but an older dog or a breed such as bloodhound would fit the description of Crab the dog, in Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Calmness is key

Personality is one of the most important elements in an animal actor, Bradley said. Any dog in the limelight has to deal with crowds, lights and noise and be able to interact with other actors. 

She has been training dogs for more than 25 years and can immediately sense when a dog is not calm enough for the stage.

"It doesn't take too long to realize that they might not be the right fit," she said. "Just a few seconds of feeling out what their foundation of training is as well and also their demeanour when they come in for an exciting audition."

Munch, a dog actor, poses in the CBC studio with animal trainer Georgina Bradley and host Gloria Macarenko (Our Vancouver )

Bradley is currently training one-year-old Munch, a miniature British bulldog, for auditions. He can go to a mark, sit and stay, lick his lips and bow. She said that while it is easier to train a younger puppy, an older dog can still be made stage-ready.

"It's never too late to start," Bradley said. "You can teach an old dog new tricks."

The deadline to apply for the role was this past Wednesday and auditions for the summer show will take place on March 31.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast and Our Vancouver