Audition Tips

Preparing for the Audition

  • The days activities should be appropriately scheduled on the day of your audition.  Be well rested and fed.
  • Pre-read the play for which the audition is being held if possible. Some publishers allow you to order a script.  Find the publishers name listed with the play name above.
  • Rehearse your monologue for the audition.
  • Be aware of your needs for script, music and musical accompaniment in singing auditions.
  • Dress appropriately for dance auditions: comfortable clothing and proper dance shoes.
  • Call backs are sometimes held after auditions for the director to check voice, look, interaction or other factors that will help in casting.  Callbacks do not mean that you are going to get a part and not getting called back does not mean you are not going to get the part. It is just an opportunity for the director to check something that might not have been apparent the first time around or to check dynamics of a group or pairing.
  • Audition Handout: Download PDF.

What Is A Monologue?

Monologues are usually drawn from scripts. Many characters may be part of the scene that you are using, but you (the person auditioning) are the only one in that scene talking at the moment. Your chosen monologue should not be from the production you are auditioning for, and so it may represent a rare moment in acting when you supply your own direction. Monologues have certain characteristics and rules of thumb that make them suitable for use:

  • Many times, a monologue is optional.  Should you do one in this case?  Yes, it shows the director that you are prepared, committed and interested as well as allowing the actor to show what they can do with a character.
  • A monologue should have a beginning, middle and end, and that may require joining dialogue that has been separated by the dialogue of other characters or even stage direction. The idea is to come up with a short, stand-alone playlet.
  • Good monologues happen when a character speaks directly to another character. Monologues in which the actor speaks to the audience can also be used, but there is a danger that the piece might appear to be a stand-up comedy routine or sermon, which might not translate into a test of acting capability.
  • Just like in a regular length production, understand the given circumstances of what you will be performing. What is the character’s immediate goal within this playlet? Obstacles, which can be people, disabilities, psychological, etc., are a key to revealing what a character is doing. What year, what country, what strata of society does the character occupy? The given circumstances of the play can help determine the carriage of the character during monologue performance, as well as the amount of movement and pace of delivery.
  • Identify the relationships the character has and how the character relates to the other characters in the world of the playlet.
  • You can find many monologue books in the public libraries or search online for “children’s monologues”.  You can also use a favorite passage from a book or a poem as well as a script.  Should you do something from a play you were just in for the same company?  While that is okay, it is a missed opportunity for the actor to show another dimension of their acting abilities.

Choosing a monologue and/or song

  • You can find monologues online, in monologue books, or from books, plays or movies. Look for one that has similar character traits or emotions to the characters you are interested in playing.
  • Find a song that is in a range that is both similar to the characters you are interested in and in your vocal range (not too high or low for you to hit the notes). Also consider that the style of the song should be related to the show you are auditioning for.
  • Do not choose a song or monologue from the show you are auditioning for unless you’ve specifically been asked to. Generally for SCCT we do not recommend songs or monologues from the show you are auditioning for.
  • If you are auditioning for a musical, you should find a song from a musical in a similar style. Even if the musical uses popular music (like Mamma Mia, or Footloose), we recommend finding a song from a musical rather than a pop song from the radio for your audition. Similarly, stay away from rap music (even Hamilton) or rock music as it can be hard to hear your vocal skills and range while using those songs. Musicals also offer storytelling through music, so you can showcase your acting skills.
  • If you have a vocal coach, they can help you find a great song as well. If you’d like to find a vocal coach, SCCT is happy to share the name of some wonderful teachers in the area.

  • Make sure you check the requirements of your theater. Some theaters require different lengths of monologues, some require sheet music, others ask that you bring in an instrumental track. Make sure you can meet those requirements with the selections you’ve made.

Note: At SCCT we ask that you bring in your own device with an accompaniment or karaoke track as we do not have an accompanist at auditions. We prefer that you don’t plan to sing acapella (without backing music) if possible.

Monologue handout: Download PDF.

Audition Material Samples

Theater Terms

  • Audition. A formally arranged session for an actor to display his or her talents when seeking a role in an upcoming production of a play, film or television project, usually to a casting director, director or producers.
  • Blocking. In rehearsals, actors practice the required movements, in a pattern or along a path, for a given scene that allows them to avoid any awkward positions, such as one actor walking in front of another actor or standing with his or her back to the audience.
  • Callback. A second audition where an actor is either presented to the producer and director or, in the case of commercials, is filmed on tape again for final consideration.
  • Call Time. The time you are supposed to report to the set.
  • Cold Reading. Delivering a speech or acting a scene at an audition without having read it beforehand.
  • Diaphragm. The lower part of the lungs, filling the abdominal space, that supports the voice when actors and singers breathe correctly on stage.
  • Downstage. The area of the stage closest to the audience.
  • Greenroom. Where actors wait to go onstage. Not necessarily green.
  • Hot Sheet. A notice that comes out once a week with up to date information for actors.
  • Monologue. A speech used by an actor to demonstrate his or her ability at an audition.
  • Notes. Instructions, usually regarding changes in an actor’s blocking or performance, given after a rehearsal by the director, musical director, choreographer or stage manager.
  • Off-book. When an actor knows his or her lines and no longer needs to carry the script.
  • Props. Any moveable object, from a letter to a sword, used by an actor during a performance.
  • Read-through. When the director and the actors sit around a table and read through the entire script to get familiar with the story, their roles, and their fellow actors.
  • Stage Left. The side of the stage that is to the actor’s left as he or she faces the audience.
  • Stage Right. The side of the stage that is to the actor’s right as he or she faces the audience.
  • Strike. To remove something from a set, or tear it down.
  • Understudy. An actor, often playing a small role, who learns another role, so as to be able to perform it if the regular actor is ill.
  • Upstage. The rear area of the stage farthest from the audience; also used to describe an actor’s attempt to distract audience attention from what another actor is doing.