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Audition Tips

Auditions are usually the most stressful part of theatre. Here are a few tips to help ease the stress.

Read the Audition Notice Carefully

Don't just show up expecting that you do not need to have anything prepared. If a monologue or song is requested, make sure you know the length and that your piece matches the play.

MONOLOGUE AUDITION

A monologue is a speech that one actor makes in a play. It is usually 1-2 minutes in length and may or may not be spoken to another person. 

Selecting a monologue:
  • Find a monologue you enjoy. Monologue books may be found at your local library or bookstore. 
  • For a first time auditioner, chose a character that is someone similar to yourself. 
  • If you are auditioning for a specific role, find a monologue that exposes traits of that character. 
  • Make sure that you select material that has an age range you can play convincingly. A good audition monologue can show off a few different sides of yourself for the director. 

When deciding how to present your monologue, think of these questions:
  • Who are you and what is your personality like? 
  • Where are you? 
  • When is it? What century, year? What time of year? What time of day? 
  • Who are you talking to? 
  • What do you want from them – or want them to understand – or want to prevent them from doing? 
How are you going to achieve your “what”. There should be several different tactics that you use. There are often natural pauses in monologues where the subject, mood or intensity changes. We call these beats. Try to break up your monologues into beats and make choices for each section about how the character is trying to get the “what”.

WARNING!
Reciting a monologue with no character, no beats, no expression will not result in a good part.

SINGING AUDITION

  • Know your music/song: 
  • Know the lyrics well. 
  • Know your tempo (how fast or slow you perform the song). 
  • Know exactly where you will begin singing and where you will end. 
  • Know the accompaniment: how it sounds in relation to the musical line you are singing. 
  • Know how to tell the accompanist your tempo, starting and stopping points, etc. 
  • For most directors it is preferable NOT to sing a song from the show that you are auditioning for. 
  • Know your entire piece of music well, however, be prepared to sing only a portion if that’s all the auditioner requests (this is commonly due to time constraints). 
  • Good posture promotes good breathing and singing technique, so stand up straight and tall. 
  • Concentrate and focus on what you are singing about, not where you are and who is watching you. 
  • If you make a mistake, don’t giggle and acknowledge your mistake.
  • Find a focus point. Don’t let your eyes roll around in your head. Pick a spot and visualize the person you are singing to. Do not look down at your feet. 
  • Practice introducing yourself and the song to the auditioners beforehand: 
  • First, give sheet music to the accompanist and let him/her know how you perform it (tempo, where to begin and end, and interpretive liberties you may take) 
  • Walk to the center of the room and face the auditioners. 
  • State your full name, the name of the song you are performing, its composer and what show it is from. 
  • Take a moment to compose yourself and when you feel ready to sing, nod to the accompanist. 
  • Stand with feet slightly apart and your body firmly centered. (Ears over shoulders, over hips, over balls of feet, etc., chest up and ribs out/expanded, but never rigid). 
  • Use body movement to help express the meaning of the song (arm gestures, and simple movement, not a complicated dance) 

COLD READING

  • Reading directly from the script.
  • Take a moment to read the selection to yourself before performing it.
  • Ask if there are any words you are unfamiliar with.
  • If you are unsure of a character, ask the director how she sees the character.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Project.

WHAT THE AUDITIONER WILL BE WATCHING FOR

  • How the auditionee enters the room and carries/handles himself/herself. 
  • How confident is the auditionee with his/her material. If a mistake is made, how well is it handled. 
  • Intonation: Manner of producing tones with regard to accuracy of pitch. 
  • Pitch: The location of a musical sound in the tonal scale. Does the auditionee’s pitch match that of the music, or is it sharp or flat? 
  • Timbre or Tone Quality (“Color”): The quality of the sound that distinguishes it from others of the same pitch and volume. 
  • Volume: The loudness of the sound. 
  • Projection: Directing one’s voice so as to be heard clearly at a distance. 
  • Rhythm: In its basic sense, the whole feeling of movement in music. 
  • Expression and Interpretation: What kind of emotion you put into your song/monologue performance and how well you relay the meaning of the song/monologue to the audience (in this case the auditioners).