Education Director Maria McConville offers ideas for making the auditions process a skill-building process. Get students to show you their best work through these simple tips.
Auditions can be the most nerve-wracking part of the theater process. As a theatre teacher, you want each of your students to get the part. They put themselves out there and they should be proud of the work they present. I know it can be overwhelming to see our students so stressed. Oh, the nerves! But auditions are also an opportunity for students who don’t normally participate to really shine.
Here are some tips to honor students' emotions and to give them the tools to apply for college and beyond.
- Set a clear standard. Provide students with the rubric of what you are looking for in their audition. Do they need to be off book? Do they need to show their ability to project? To hit that high G? This may come in handy when a parent asks why their child was not cast as the lead.
- Give options. Have students fill out an application for a specific role or technical positions. This does not have to be an essay! You have enough work to do! It’s a great way for students to communicate what they want succinctly. Perhaps if you have students list their top 3 choices for roles or positions, you may be able to satisfy one of their requests.
- Ask for a resume. Have students submit a list of their accomplishments. If they have never been in a play before, that’s fine. Have they played on a team? Volunteered? You are not looking for their credits to sell tickets. This is about the process for the student. They will be building a resume for the rest of their adult lives.
- Focus the energy. Lead group warm-ups before the auditions begin. Breathing exercises are great ways to focus the students energy. Favorite theatre games are a tactic to help them forget about their nerves and remember why they enjoy performing.
As their director and teacher, you have the great task of setting the tone and giving as many students as possible a positive experience.
Enjoy and Break a leg!
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Maria McConville (Education Director) is a native New Yorker who has lived in every borough…yes, even Staten Island. She started out at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and received her BA in Performance from Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Maria has performed all over New York City from Shakespeare in the Park-ing Lot to Theatre Row and across the country with Theatreworks USA. She is the playwright of Stage Partners’ play #VIRAL. She also a member of AEA, Army wife, proud mother, and an inspired teaching artist.