At the beginning of each semester, the Department of Theatre holds auditions for all classes requiring audition for admission, and for all stage productions scheduled for that term. Auditions for all acting classes and productions are open to all Barnard and Columbia undergraduates.
One monologue, two minutes maximum. The audition piece must be memorized if you are a declared Theatre major or if you have taken an acting studio class (Commedia, Naturalism, Acting Avant-Garde, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Musical Scene, etc.). If this is your first time auditioning for the Department, it is recommended (but not required) that your audition piece be fully memorized. Prior performance or acting class experience is not required.
Faculty members of the Department of Theatre are looking for actors who are actively and imaginatively engaged in the pursuit of an intention/objective rather than merely demonstrating an emotion or personality. The most successful audition piece is one that actively reveals the experience of a person other than the actor him/herself. It is recommended that you select material that you respond to personally.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR AUDITIONS:
Read the entire play before the audition. Work on the audition piece with advance preparation; waiting until the night before the audition is highly discouraged.
Some basic questions to consider when preparing your audition piece:
- Who am I?
- Where am I (what is the time, weather, place)?
- Who am I talking to?
- Why am I saying this now, or what makes it important to say this now?
- What am I hoping to achieve by saying this? Or, how do I hope things will change because I say this?
All students auditioning for classes and/or productions must attend a meeting in the Minor Latham Playhouse prior to auditions. This meeting takes place in the very first week of the term.
Auditions are held in two sessions. All students are expected to stay for the entire 2-hour audition block for which they sign up. Class and call-back lists will typically be posted by the following Thursday morning. Call-backs for spring productions are usually held that Thursday evening.
You will have the opportunity to declare whether you are auditioning for classes only, for productions only, or for both. Students auditioning for courses/productions that require singing (e.g. Acting the Song) should prepare a 2-minute monologue as well as a standard chorus, or approximately 16 bars, to be sung a cappella. Otherwise, students should prepare a 2-minute monologue only.
Note: students auditioning for Eye Piece are invited to prepare a song as outlined above if they feel comfortable doing so (16 bars maximum); the directors would also like to know whether cast members play an instrument.
Sides—for students who do not wish to find their own material—will be available in the Theatre Department office, 507 Milbank Hall. Students are strongly encouraged to pick them up the week prior to classes, but may also pick them up between the hours of 11am and 4pm on the day of the audition.
Production rights and responsibilities
GUIDELINES FOR DIRECTORS:
- The Director will adhere to schedules for auditions, rehearsals and performances as determined by the Department Production Manager. Rehearsals are usually scheduled between 6:30-11:30pm Mon-Thurs, with daytime rehearsals TBA on Sat. Tech takes place the week and weekend before the show’s opening. There are no rehearsals on Sunday.
- All students involved in a Departmental production must be registered for Rehearsal and Production; supervision of the cast is generally undertaken by the Director; of the design team by a faculty Design supervisor; and of the stage management and crew by the Production Manager.
- It is understood that auditioning for a role in a Department production confirms availability for the rehearsal period, and participation in all scheduled rehearsals, technical rehearsals, performances, and strike.
- Students cast in a production are required to enroll in at least one unit of the Rehearsal and Production.
- It is assumed that directors who cast a student with declared conflicts are willing to work with those conflicts. A student who declines a role without making extenuating conditions known at the time of the audition forfeits the opportunity to perform in a Department production for the remainder of the semester and/or subsequent semesters, as determined by the Chair.
- A student who drops out of a production after having been cast, or is dismissed from the production, is likewise ineligible for further casting for a period of at least one semester, to be determined by the Chair.
- Students are responsible for negotiating all class conflicts with regard to tech and performance schedule. Tech is not an automatic excuse for late submission of required work or absence from other classes.
GUIDELINES FOR DISMISSAL:
- A performer may be dismissed from a production for unexcused absence or tardiness from any rehearsal or performance; inappropriate behavior during rehearsal or performance; failure to meet appointments with directors, designers, or other members of the production staff.
- Without prior agreement, the only excusable absences from rehearsal or performance are serious illness or accident, death in the family, natural disaster.
Attention prospective students:
Please note that there is no audition requirement for admission to Barnard College or Columbia University. In fact, the Theatre department does not participate in the admission process (for this reason, please do not send us audition material, as it will not affect your admission decision).
This page is about auditions for current Barnard–Columbia students.