Theatre Auditions




How To Audition
My Audition Goal
Kinds of Theatre Auditions
Theatre Audition Questions
Dressing for Theatre Auditions
Selecting Audition Monologues
Rehearsing the Audition
Performing the Audition
Singing Auditions
Sample Monologues
Site Design - Little
More Questions? Just


Kinds of Audition Situations

The theatre profession practices three fundamental kinds of auditions.  Each audition process serves specific purposes; each process invites certain procedures; yet all processes work together to present a composite image of you to the perspective director and/or theatre company.


The cattle-call is an entry level audition..  This audition is usually conducted in a very large room or theatre.  You are one among thousands who will be herded across the stage and inspected by the “buyers.”  The buyers or employers can be a single theatre organization who is casting for one specific production or the buyers may be host of theatre organizations competing for performers and working to cast an entire season of productions. (For example, the SETC, Southeastern Theatre Conference, hosts a cattle-call during the annual spring convention.  Seventy to ninety companies attend, including colleges, outdoor summer theatres, cruise lines, and theme parks.)  During the cattle call audition, you are asked present a one minute monologue and sixteen bars of music.  Dance auditions are usually handled separately.   

Your success or appropriateness in the cattle call audition will earn you the:


If you seem to fit the needs of a particular company producing a particular season, you will be called back for a second look by the theatre organization.  At this call back audition you may be asked to present additional monologues; monologues that perhaps reveal your appropriateness for the kinds of plays that the theatre organization produces.  Usually these monologues are two to three minutes.  These monologues may be classical serious or humorous monologues or may be monologues that exhibit your proficiency with dialects or vocal/physical characterizations.  


Something about your “look” suggested that you may be appropriate for a specific role. Changing clothes may make you look completely inappropriate for that same role.    

Adjust your vocal projection to the space in which you are auditioning.  Don't use your voice to fill a six hundred seat theatre in a two room Howard Johnson's suite.   

And ask.  If you want to know what is expected of you in this audition... ask.  The theatre organization called you back for a very specific reason.  When you know the reason, you can more effectively address it. 

 Remember that this call-back process is a two way street.  You are auditioning the theatre organization.  The call back audition is your chance to meet the people with whom you will be creating your life.

How they treat you in this audition process is how they will treat you in the production process.  Are you treated like a insect who is barely worth their “genius” attention?  Do they expect you to grovel for the privilege of working “their great theatre organization?” 

Or are they genuinely interested in your work and your art.  You have only one lifetime.  Do you want to spend even a small portion of your finite time with such people?  Big egos mask even bigger insecurities.

True artists spend very little time thinking about other people thinking about them.  Being young or inexperienced does not make you artistically inferior.  So they have a Ph.D.  So what?  If you decide that is your goal, then you’ll have it too when you are their age. 

Whatever your experience level, whatever your specific task, your contribution to the theatre organization should be acknowledged and appreciated. 

What monologues should you use in the call back? 

It would be to your great advantage to find out what productions the theatre organization did last year; what shows they plan to do THIS year; exactly who the directors are or were; what kind of theatre facility they have, who their audiences are; and what particular acting style the directors follow.  This information is two clicks away on the internet.   

Why/how would this information help you? 

Because you have soooo MANY monologues prepared and ready for the callback situation, this information will tell you exactly what monologues to perform and how to best perform them for this unique theatre organization. 

Remember that you are a professional who can BE exactly what that theatre organization needs.

 Or you may be asked to perform a:


A cold reading means that you are reading a selection from a script that you are seeing for the first time.  This reading will give the director an idea of how you will look and sound in a specific role and what unique interpretation you will bring to the character.

In reality there should NEVER be a cold reading.  Because, wonderful investigative actor/actress that you are, you have researched their theatre organization and have in fact discovered and read the plays for which they are casting.  And because you are exceedingly honest and realistic with yourself, you can also make a very informed guess on the characters for which you will be asked to read.  And you have practiced the lines of these characters.

In the unlikely event that you have not seen the script before, follow these several guidelines.  Move at the beat changes or in reaction to the other character's movement.  Listen and look into the eyes of the other person as much as possible.  Avoid watching the director and listening to your own voice. 

Practice "capturing" dialogue with your eyes. 

Every time you use the restroom in your home, have some reading material available.  Glance at a paragraph and see how much your eyes can remember.  This is a skill.  The more you practice this glancing and remembering, the more words your eyes will be able to retain each time you glance. Then when you are in a cold read situation, with one glance you can "get" your line and spend the audition looking, listening, and reacting to the other character, not looking at the page of the script.   

And finally you may be asked to:


Some directors use improvisation as an auditioning tool.  They want to find out how workable you are; how able you are to give over to the truth of the experience; how spontaneous you are; how willingly your trust and follow  your imagination. 

How/what we improvise reveals a great deal about our personality.  Sometimes the directors are using improvisation situation to get to know us a little better; to see if we would "fit" into their theatre organization. 

Improvisation is fun.  It's a game.  It's relaxing.  It’s about participating in an ensemble.  It’s not about being “funny” or making them watch you.  Don't "perform" the improvisations; simply participate completely physically and vocally.