This information is for current students interested in taking one of our acting classes or getting cast in a mainstage show.

There is no audition requirement for admission to Barnard College or Columbia University.


Open to All Undergraduates

Our auditions are open to all undergraduates at Columbia University, including students at Barnard College, Columbia College, the School of General Studies, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. No prior acting experience is required. First-year students, transfer students, international visiting students, and non-majors are eligible and welcome to audition. (Graduate students, unfortunately, are ineligible to audition for our stage productions, and only eligible to take an acting class if there is room in the class after all undergrads have been placed, with special permission by the instructor.)


Fall 2019 Audition Info


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.

Audition Guidelines

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.


We are committed to providing an accessible and welcoming environment for all participants. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about the Theatre Department's accessibility should contact Coretta Grant for assistance,

Preparing 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 and 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?

Audition Procedures

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. Callbacks 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 monologue up to 60 seconds as well as a song up to 60 seconds, to be sung a cappella. Otherwise, students should prepare a 60-second monologue only.

Production rights and responsibilities

Barnard College is guided by the precept that in no aspect of its employment practices or educational programs should there be disparate treatment of persons because of improper considerations of race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability.  In addition, Barnard College does not discriminate on the basis of alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity), marital status or partnership status, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics or domestic violence victim status in its employment practices.

The success of any stage production depends on the commitment of all involved.  Once a cast, design team, and crew have been selected, the absence of any member of that team is detrimental to the project. Such absences are unprofessional and unacceptable.

Guidelines for Directors

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Guidelines for Performers

Rehearsal and performance schedules will be available at auditions.  Be informed about the production schedule: All productions require a five to six week rehearsal period. Can you make the necessary time commitment? Do you have schedule conflicts? It should be understood that all potential scheduling conflicts for the rehearsal periods must be noted during auditions, and reconfirmed with the Director upon casting. It is assumed that performers will eagerly accept any role or assignment offered.  Be sure you are clear about your availability and any conditions you are placing upon your audition because:

  1. 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. 
  2. Students cast in a production are required to enroll in at least one unit of the Rehearsal and Production.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Without prior agreement, the only excusable absences from rehearsal or performance are serious illness or accident, death in the family, natural disaster.

Any student who has shown cause may be dismissed from the show.  In some cases, particularly those involving unexcused absence, the relevant supervisor (Director, Production Manager) may recommend immediate dismissal; in other cases the supervisor may give a warning, with the understanding that a second occurrence will result in a dismissal recommendation. In all cases, the Chair of the Department will be notified immediately in writing. The Chair reserves the right to dismiss a cast or crew member from a production upon written recommendation from the Director or Production Manager.  Students dismissed from a production will receive a failing grade on the relevant course and will not be eligible for casting in a department production for that semester and/or subsequent semester(s) as determined by the Chair.


Acting Classes

It is also understood that students auditioning for acting classes agree to accept the class to which they are assigned.  Students who drop an acting class or refuse an assigned class have in effect denied another student the opportunity to take that assignment; for this reason, students who drop or refuse an assigned may be denied eligibility to audition for an acting class the following semester, as determined by the Chair.