Audition Dos and Don'ts for Secondary
Students considering auditioning for colleges,
universities or professional theatre programs should carefully prepare
their audition. Below is a list of suggestions designed to assist the
students in preparing for the audition.
- Choose material that shows you to your best.
- Choose material that allows you to play an objective (make choices
and discoveries). Auditions are not stand-up comedy. Avoid pieces that
build to a punch line.
- Don't choose material for shock value - you won't shock the auditors,
but you can show them that you are not capable of making good decisions.
- Try to find material that suits your age - in a range that you might
actually play on stage.
- Avoid dialect pieces for an audition.
- Avoid material that forces you to play crazy, really confused or really
angry characters. Remember - your character should have an objective!
- Don't sing if you don't really sing - it is not a plus. In fact, it
shows us that you don't know or understand your own abilities and limitations.
- Wear clothing that looks good on you - trendy is not necessarily good.
Avoid short skirts, and clothing that is too tight or too loose. Make
sure your hands can be seen.
- If your shoes are too high or difficult to move in, you won't look
comfortable on stage. Your clothes should be comfortable and allow for
full range of motion.
- Make sure your face can be seen - keep hair out of eyes.
- Be pleasant during the entire process - people are watching you the
entire time. This includes when others are auditioning (be supportive
of them), and when you walk on and exit - be positive and confident
- It is more interesting to see someone fight tears than to give into
them - an audition where the actor chooses to show his or her range
of crying is not really all that interesting.
- Don't look at the floor - it is not interesting at all. Trust us.
If your character needs to think, there are other ways to do it than
to look down.
- If you are talking to another character, place that person and talk
to them. If they are sitting in a chair, you don't need the chair. If
you choose to use the chair, place the head where a head would be (generally,
the head won't be in the seat of the chair).
- Articulate - don't forget about word endings!
- Time limits are given for a reason. There is absolutely no reason
to go over the limit. It only shows that you can't take direction.
- Don't ever chew gum while auditioning.
- Don't only use "mirror gestures." Think about what the character
is saying and how he or she would make their point.
- Never move just to move - make sure all activity is connected to the
text and motivated by the character's intention. Pacing is not energetic
- Don't move backwards. It weakens you.
- Don't EVER apologize or be apologetic.
- Don't give up or get angry if you mess up or drop a line. If that
happens in a show, how would you handle it? We want to see you recover.
- If the accompanist plays the song differently than you rehearsed,
don't get angry at that person - you don't even need to acknowledge
it - go with it! Make it work. There is no need to explain afterwards
- Don't ask to start over. Commit. Stay in the moment.
- Make sure that when you introduce yourself, that we have a chance
to see the real you - and that you are friendly (you know, someone with
whom we would want to work). You can look at the auditioners at this
- Unless your piece is directed to a general audience, you shouldn't
play your material directly to individuals in the audience.
- Don't use audition time to prepare (with your head down, eyes closed,
deep breathing). We don't want to see you get into character. The assumption
is that you are capable of doing this - you should do your prep ahead
of time (that is why we call it prep).
- Take a moment to look at the audition space before the audition.
- Avoid overdone material. Avoid poorly written material.
- It is not necessary that you point to yourself each time you say I,
me, or my. Likewise, you don't need to point to your implied scene partner
when you say you or yours. This doesn't do anything to help us further
understand what you are communicating.
- Guess what? If we can't hear you, there is no point in auditioning
for us. Don't keep your audition a secret.
- Take a few deep breaths before you go on - a little oxygen to the
brain is always useful.
- Remember, in an audition you are selling yourself. Do it well.
- Rehearse. Do a mock audition for other people (including your teacher
and your friends).
- Did we say don't be arrogant? Be positive and confident without being