EASY Theatre
Auditing Classes
Updated March 8, 2011
Awesome Acting Audition Adventure
CLASS available
Scheduled when we have at least 4 students signed up for this class.
Email us with your interest!

After this amazing course you'll be ready and able, because we will take you through the four most common types of acting auditions and teach you the secret to using your butterflies to land your next role. 

Taught by Engela Edwards and john daniels, jr., master teachers, playwrights, directors, and actors with decades of experience.

Monday:  The Workout

This is the audition process everyone loves.  It is enjoyable for the novice, and even the most experienced actors always look forward to this one.
Tuesday:  Cold Readings
Never have cold readings been this fun!  Flex your acting muscles on these entertaining scripts, in a supportive environment with teaching directors to guide you to success.
Wednesday:  Prepared Piece (monologue)
This is a great time to get honest feedback from casting directors and improve the monologues you've been using. 

For those of you who do not have prepared pieces (or if you are just ready for a change), we'll send you suggestions when you register.

Thursday:  Specifically-Prepared Piece
When you register, you'll be sent a short piece to prepare.  If you aren't intimidated by memory work, tell us and we'll send you one of the longer pieces or a couple of pieces. 
Friday:  Performance, Party, and Play
Party with your classmates by showing off your skills.  Take what you've learned in this class and convince us we need to write a vehicle or find a show just for you. 
During the week, we will go over your headshots and resumes.  This is a great time to get yours critiqued from the director's point of view.  If you don't have a resume and headshot, you will get ideas of what to do and common mistakes to avoid.  Note:  When we are doing our regular auditions we don't look at headshots and resumes until after we've cast a show, but we are very unusual in that respect, so a good resume and headshot is important, and it doesn't have to be expensive.  If you don't already have a headshot, Engela will take one for you that you can use.

Location:  Will be arranged based on students.
Date:  Will be arranged.
Time:  Usually 6:30-9:30 p.m., but other times may be arranged if needed.
Cost:  $120 per student.

Email us with your interest!

This class was inspired by john's Auditions F.A.Q.'s below:

transparent gif to hold open cell
john's Audition F.A.Q.'s
        Internal page links:
  What are auditions? (In theory) 
  What do directors want in auditions?
  What can you expect in auditions? (Practical)

Q: What are auditions? (In theory)

A:  Commonly auditions are thought of as "try-outs" for plays or films, where the producers or director cast actors for their production.

Auditions, however, are two way evaluations. 

When you go to an audition, you should know what you want from the production.  You are auditioning the production, as well as being auditioned.

A novice or rusty actor or technician may go through a phase of accepting all positions for the sake of experience.  Your needs as people and artists must also be served by the production.  These needs might be self-discovery, challenge, escape, have fun, or belong to a group.  Any need, that has no negative effect upon a production, is viable. 

Have an idea of what you want from a production. 

Good producers and directors know what they want from a production well before auditions, you should too.

  • College professors generally pick productions to enhance their programs or fit into seasonal themes.  In general their programs are not funded completely by box office revenue so more risks may be taken. 
  • Most community theaters try to produce Broadway type shows for mass appeal.
  • Semi-professional theaters usually pick a segment of the mass audience and appeal exclusively to it.  They may be a fringe theater doing original plays or plays about specific social issues, or they could be theaters that produce solely Gilbert and Sullivan operettas or reviews.  These theaters still must keep a close eye on the box office. 
  • Small non-professional companies are usually born from a need in a community.  They serve that community, like The Teatro Campasino of the mid to late '60's, who played in the fields where the people worked.  Today these companies still exist to various and lesser degrees and compete for small amounts of grant money to survive.  These companies seem more willing to work with untrained actors and those actors who are not pursuing a career in acting. 
In each case the producers and directors are trying to fill a need in their organization with the production.  Actors and technicians are one means to that end. 

It is important to assess both your value to the production and the value the production has for you. 

There is creativity, and there is the bottom line.  It is good to be able to determine the importance of each to the production. 

To top of page.

Q:   What do directors want in auditions?

A:  Directors wants:

  • To see if you are adaptable. 
  • To see signs of training in voice or movement. 
  • To see if you are creative.
  • To see if you are you open to suggestion.
  • To see if you are self-motivating. 
  • To get an idea of your attitude to determine if you will fit in with his production, the other actors, and technicians.  Note:  An actor with an argumentative nature seldom enters an established company.
  • And a good director is most concerned about energy and relationships (both between the characters on the stage and the characters off the stage) not looks or types. 
  1. Directors opinions are subjective. 
  2. There is no objective scale that describes any actor. 
  3. Like people, all productions are living dynamic entities.
    HARD FACT: The vast majority of directors still type-cast.  In film this seems to happen 99% of the time.  Take a hard critical look at yourself not from a talent or desire standpoint, but from a superficial one.  Many actors are cast from their headshots and the clothes size information attached to them.  You will find this most prevalent where big budgets are used and producers have more say in casting.  They feel that they must appeal to the audiences' expectations to insure box office success. 
To top of page.

Q:   What can you expect in auditions? (Practical) 

A:  In the Legitimate Theater (non-musical), there are four main types of "acting" auditions. 

1.  The most common is the cold read. 

Prospective actors are given audition sheets to complete.  These forms usually just ask for name, contact numbers, and experience.  Sometimes you will be asked to list other talents such as, sewing, building, drawing, etc.  The director, their assistant, or the stage manger may give a basic run down of the production.  They should cover the play, the rehearsal period, the performance dates and times.

While the explanation is occurring, someone from the pre-production staff arranges the audition sheets and chooses pairings or groups of actors to read scenes from the play.  These scenes are usually pre-chosen for the specific challenges that they present actors. 

Actors are then called to the stage and asked to read these scenes.  Sometimes the scene is explained to the actor, but not always.  Actors who have never read or seen the play may not understand the context of the scene in relation to the play as a whole, but that seldom matters at this stage.  The same scene is generally repeated several times with different groupings every time. 

Depending on the size of the audition or the time allotted for the audition, the cold reading may proceed to the next step.: rearranged groupings.  The director groups actors into the scenes they have already read, matching actors from different groups together. 

Once the director has seen the grouping her requested, it is customary for him to take request from the actors allowing them to read for parts they have not yet read.  Usually an actor who is requesting to read a scene is not allowed to pick the other actors with whom they will read. 

HARD FACT:  Directors very rarely pay any attention to requested readings.  Some watch politely, some do not.  This does not mean don't try.   These requested readings have never in my experience gotten an actor the role they wanted.  Sometimes they have made the difference in being part of the production.  Note:  Most professional theaters do not allow requested readings. 

Depending on the size of the audition and the difficulty of the choices, cold-reading auditions may require callbacks. 

2.  The second most common audition type is the prepared piece. 
Actors come with a monologue or play segment they have prepared.  These pieces are usually chosen by the actor to show what he thinks are his strengths. 

Professional actors generally have three pieces ready:

  1. Classical (Shakespeare, Moliere or Greek);
  2. Contemporary comedy;
  3. Contemporary drama. 
Auditioning actors should use the audition piece that most closely fits the type of play they for which they are auditioning.  For example:  If the play is Romeo and Juliet, then a classical piece should be chosen. 

If you do not already have a prepared piece, choose one to match the play being produced.  If the audition calls for prepared pieces, and nothing is said in the pre-audition material about the type of prepared piece, it is generally understood that pieces from the play itself are not preferred. 

In prepared piece auditions, the actors are usually kept in one room while the director and their staff are in another.   A representative of the pre-production staffs may explain the production and the audition process to the actors.  The actors are given audition forms to complete.  It is good to have the standard 8 x 10 headshot attached to your resume.  The representative takes the audition sheets to the director.  The actors are called one at a time. 

The actor usually performs his prepared piece for the director or the director and his pre-production staff.  Rarely, in this type of audition, are actors asked to perform in front of all the other actors.

When the actor enters the room, he is asked to walk to center stage.   The actor is asked to confirm their name to make sure the director has correctly matched the person with the form.  "Begin" or "Anytime you are ready," are the requests used most often to ask the actor to perform his piece.  When the actor has finished (usually signaled by the actor bowing his head), the director or his representative may ask some questions pertaining to the audition form, and then they will say, "Thank you," or "Next."  This is the actor's signal to leave.  It is unusual for the actor to be asked if he has any questions at this time. 

After the performance the actors may be asked to stay.  If they are asked to wait, then someone from the pre-production staff should be answering actors' questions.  If the actors are not asked to stay, then they will be contacted by phone. Considerate companies will contact everyone, even if they decide not to use the actor. 

3.  The specific-prepared piece audition, requires the actor to work up a specific monologue or segment from the play being produced. 
This is the type of audition used in most Cattle Calls

Often audition packets are prepared and the actors acquire them prior to auditions.  The packets may contain the scene or scenes to be learned, the audition forms, and general production information.  In some cases the material to be learned is not given to the actor, but he is told where to find it. 


Romeo and Juliet by Wm. Shakespeare
for Romeo-I, ii 1-25
for Mercutio-I, iv 53-88
for Nurse-I, iii 17-48. 

Or: Romeo and Juliet, the part of Romeo in Act 2: Scene 2, Lines 1 through 25 beginning with, "He jests at scars that never felt a wound," and ending, "That I might touch that cheek!" 

Four or five choices may be given.  Everyone wanting to be part of the production must choose from the choices given, even if the character in which they are interested is not one of the choices.  Most audition forms ask for your role preferences.  It is best to be specific. 

Audition forms may ask if you would be willing to take a role that you have not listed.  Consider your answer carefully.  Be truthful.

The audition process itself is usually run like the prepared audition, see above.  In a specific-prepared audition the actor is more likely to perform in front of the other actors.  These auditions almost always end in callbacks. 

4.  The least common audition technique is the workout. 
The workout is a freeform audition that varies from director to director.  There are some basic goals in the workout audition that are constant.  The director is looking for willingness, open minds, energy, creativity, sense of humor, and the ability to work with others.  Workout auditions are often used for tribal type shows, very physical productions, or shows that have an improvisational element. 

Workout auditions generally began with warm-ups. 

  • Physical warm-ups:  stretching mostly. 
  • Vocal warm-ups: vowel sounds and consonants, word combinations, and tongue twisters. 
Next are group concentration exercises and energy transfers.  An explanation of these exercises here would be too long.  What the actor needs to know, is to follow directions and not to perform the exercises.  Just do them. 

During these exercises the director and the pre-production staff may mingle with the actors.  Most of the time, this type of audition is very friendly and informal. 

After warm-ups, workout auditions may move on to theater games and improvisations.  Actors are put into groups and placed into situations with goals and conflicts.  Most of the time the situations are not realistic and are often very funny.  Improvisations may be loosely based on some of the same conflicts and situations found in the play.

Occasionally actors who cannot work in this manor usually excuse themselves from the auditions and do not return for callbacks. 

The play is usually discussed after the audition in an informal setting. 

A director using this method chooses his cast without the actors' input.  He may however, during callbacks, use a form of the cold reading to pair actors. 

It is possible to use all four methods of audition.  Most musicals do.


A consistent director sets his rehearsal environment and his relationship to his cast during auditions.  Therefore, an observant actor may learn as much about the director and the production during audition process, as the producer and director learn about the actor. 

The type of auditions often reflects the style of rehearsal and the experience of the performance. 

  • If the auditions are high energy, then the rehearsals and performances will be. 
  • If the auditions are very controlled, the rehearsals will be strict and the production exact. 
  • If the production staff is lost in auditions, it will be a miracle if they find themselves by production.  Do not confuse openness and enjoyment with being lost.  A production can be very freeform and be right on target, or it can be very controlled and miss the mark completely.  An actor develops a feel for these things. 

I hope this information has helped. jdj
© john daniels, jr.
updated 12/26/03
*Do we really adapt the play to fit the actors who audition?

Yes, for example:

In Tell Me about Amelia there is one role that was written for a 45-year-old male. 
It was played by: 

  • a 17-year-old girl as a 17-year-old character
  • a 27-year-old woman as a much older woman
  • and a 21-year-old woman as a 21-year-old woman.
Also another role in the same play which was originally written for a female, but has in 3 productions been played by a male.  The playwright has even decided that it works better as a male role, and has permanently changed the script.

In Six-Bit Trip two roles were cast with actors who were the opposite sex from the originally written characters.  A female was cast in a role written for a male, and a male was cast in a role written for a female.  This was done because they were the best actors for the roles.  The only changes of the script were to change the character name and the he's and she's.

At one musical audition, the actor we needed just didn't walk in the door.  So we divided the role between three different people. 

We do have the advantage of having a playwright in residence.  Some companies are tied to exactly what is called for in the script due to copyright restrictions. 

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