Audition Tips!

Fountain Hills Youth Theater – Audition Tips!

So you want to audition!
Here are a few tips to help make that process a little easier for you and for us!

We try to start auditions on the hour. If you received a postcard in the mail it probably said 9:45AM or 5:45PM etc. This is to give you time to check out the rehearsal schedule and fill out your audition sheet. If you heard about the auditions from a friend who says, “Yeah, auditions are at 10AM!” Or…”auditions are at 6PM!” bear in mind that arriving on the hour does not allow us to start on time since we like to have everyone together before we begin. Try to be at the theater 10 – 15 minutes before the hour so that you have plenty of time to get everything done.

Dress comfortably but neatly. Girls should not wear tight mini-skirts. Climbing onto the stage might become awkward. We are not looking at your fashion sense, so think about what will make you most comfortable and modest, especially if you are going to be learning a dance combo for a musical audition.  You should always wear close-toed shoes. This means no flip flops or sandals. Backless shoes and platform shoes are also discouraged.

No Gum! That is a big theater no-no! You should also not arrive bearing fast food or sodas. Bottled water is fine, but we do not allow that food or soda in the theater, so it is best to leave that for later or take care of it before you enter the lobby!

Make sure you have your schedule of other commitments that may conflict with rehearsal or production dates. We understand that everyone has a few conflicts from time to time, but it is important that you are available for most rehearsals and available for scheduled stumble-throughs, run throughs and technical/dress rehearsals as well as every single performance. We do not double cast or understudy. If you are cast, you are it, so we are depending on you to be available.

Often the director will “French scene”, which means, he/she will divide out some or many of the rehearsals into certain scene work. Therefore, depending on the rôle you are offered, you may not need to be at all rehearsals. We still need to know what conflicts you have so that we can work around them, if possible. Bring your scheduler (or have your parent bring it) to the audition, so that you are prepared to list any and all conflicts at that time. Most rehearsals last about 6 to 7 weeks and then we have 3 weekends to run. So 2 ½ – 3 months of schedule is a good rule of thumb.

If you see the schedule and you realize that you will not be able to do the show, you are still welcome to audition. It is a great experience for you and we are happy to watch you!  We would appreciate it if you would mark your audition sheet “Conflicts prevent me from being able to do this show, so please do not consider me for casting”.

If you are interested in working backstage or in the tech booth, please indicate that on your audition sheet. You may audition for a part, but you can also let us know that if you are not cast you would like to be considered for technical work on the show. If you would like to be put on a list for technical work only, please come in to fill out an audition sheet which we will mark as “Tech only”. You still need to be prepared to list conflicts, since we do require techs to be at run throughs, all tech/dress rehearsals andall performances. Tech means that you are interested in working backstage and/or in the light and sound booth. We also welcome any volunteers for a myriad of other necessary projects such as set construction, painting, costume assistance, etc., which can be covered by parents as well as youth.

Please fill out your audition form as neatly as possible. In addition to name, address, age, etc., we ask for parents’ cell phone numbers, as well as your own! We also need email addresses for both parents and auditioners. We use email and phone to keep in touch, so we like to have that information already available when we are making out the cast and crew list. If we cannot read your form, we cannot call you! And we know you are hoping for that call! 

A list of characters and the rehearsal and production schedule are posted in several areas of the theater lobby. Please check these, so that you can fill out your audition sheet honestly and completely. If you have no conflicts, please write “NONE” in the area provided.

Unless you are completely set on only accepting a rôle for a specific character or characters, please write “ANY” in the space provided. If you list only a specific character or two, we will not consider you for another part, and you may miss out on an opportunity to be cast.

Turn your completed sheet in to the producer or other theater volunteer, along with your picture and your résumé?. It is important to bring a picture if at all possible. We do not require an 8×10 glossy. A recent school picture is perfectly fine. If you have not appeared in any productions in the past, please mark “NONE” in the area provided. If you have appeared in productions in the past, you may list them, but if you have a reasonable amount of theatrical experience, it is a good idea to have a résumé?. This would include your past productions, the character you played, the venue in which you performed, and you should also include any special classes, technical work you have done and special skills (i.e. roller skating, accents, juggling, tap dancing, etc.). Take the time to create your résumé?! It makes it easier on you and easier on the theater for which you are auditioning.

The producer or other theater volunteer will attach your picture and resume to your audition sheet.

If you are auditioning for a musical, please have your sheet music ready. We do not use CD’s and it makes a better impression if you are prepared to sing your selected music with the accompanist. It is not usually a good idea to try to sing something from the show for which you are auditioning. Pick out something that shows off your voice, and keep it to the number of bars indicated. We do not need to hear an entire song. If you do not have sheet music, you may sing acapella, but the accompanist (usually the Musical Director) will still ask you to sing something simple and well known with the piano. It is best to be prepared with your own sheet music and to choose a song that is theater friendly. We think Britney Spears is very cool, but we would rather hear something from, for example, My Fair Lady or the Sound of Music.

Back to the shoes. Again, if you are auditioning for a musical, you will also work in small groups with a choreographer to learn a short dance combination. This is why you see, in audition notices, “dress to move”. You will not be able to dance in flip-flops and we do not allow you to be barefoot on the stage. If you have some soft jazz shoes (or the standardized character shoes for girls) you can consider bringing them along to change into for that portion of the audition. It can be just as hard to show off your footwork ability in big heavy running shoes as in flip-flops.

And, as already mentioned earlier, wearing that very fashionable and cute but tight and short mini-skirt, may also affect your ability to do some dance moves as well as you might. Telling us that you can do it, but modesty is holding you back, does not help at the audition! “Dress to move!”

Monologues: All auditions require a monologue. It should be 2 minutes or less in length. It should be age appropriate. Unless you have had great success with a self-written monologue in the past, we do not encourage you to try your hand at something you threw together the night before or that afternoon. There are plenty of age appropriate monologues available in books at the local library, through your theater classes and theater companies, and even online! Do make sure it is age appropriate. We often have children as young as 7 or 8 in the theater to audition. Be sensitive to others feelings and make sure that it is something you would not be afraid to share with your grandma. This is a G-rated “youth” theater. No cursing and no inappropriate innuendos. Plant yourself firmly, project your voice as best you can and put everything into it that you’ve got! This is your chance to perform and show us what you can do. Mumbling, looking down at the floor, hands shoved in pockets, swaying, playing with hair, etc. is not the way to go. We know all about those pesky nerves! We are on your side! These are just some tips to help you be as prepared as possible. If you need a chair for your monologue, we will have one available. If your story requires you to move about the stage, you are welcome to do so. Just make your movements purposeful… have a reason for the movement! Since parents are often permitted in the theater to observe the auditions, make sure that you are performing your piece for the casting staff… not your mom, dad, aunt or grandpa! Look at us…not at them.

Please memorize and get as comfortable as possible with your monologue as you can. Although we will allow you to read it, that will not make the same impression. You will not be able to read your script when you are performing in front of an audience! It is okay if you get stuck and need to start over. We are not here to judge you. We want you to do the best audition you can!

All auditioners will sit together, as a group, in the center of the theater. Usually parents are permitted to watch the auditions. Sometimes, however, a director may decide to “close” the auditions, or even have the casting staff watch individual auditions. If parents (most of the time) are permitted to watch the auditions, they will be asked to take a seat on “audience right” which are the seats available when you first walk into the theater. Video taping of auditions is not permitted. Photography is not permitted. We appreciate that parents might be concerned and try to assist their young auditioner with prompting or special comments to the casting staff, but we prefer that you let them fly on their own. Please be there as an invited observer only. You should be aware that rehearsals will be closed. If your child is cast, you will not be able to assist them through rehearsals. This is an opportunity for them to grow as an individual. We appreciate your cooperation with this!

Please do not bring along friends unless they are planning to audition also…that day/night! If you are a youth planning to audition on the next scheduled date, you are not permitted to be in the theater to observe the first day/night of auditions. Please come only on the day/night you are ready to fill out your own audition form and take your turn.

If you are not cast, this does not mean that you did not have a good audition. Many considerations go into the casting of a show and sometimes there just isn’t a good place to put someone for that show. We do 5 shows each year, and we encourage you to come back!

We do not call the auditioners who were not cast. We will let you know, at the end of auditions, when you may expect a call. If you have not received a call, please do not try to call the theater office or the director to find out if you were cast. The office will not know, and the director is not available. We absolutely promise that we will try every number possible, more than once, and leave messages.

As a final tip, to both parents and youth, if and when you do get that all important call offering you a rôle in the play you have been dying to get into, please do not ask the producer if your friend got in. Please do not ask the producer who else got in.  Please do not ask the producer who is playing such and such a character. It puts us in an awkward position, and we do not disclose that information. Friends will talk among themselves anyway. You will know soon enough, and you will definitely know when you meet the cast at the read through!

See you at auditions, and may you “break a leg!”

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