NEYT produces 5 plays and 3 musicals that require an audition. We conduct three rounds of auditions each year for these productions:
- LATE FEBRUARY for summer programming
- EARLY JUNE for fall programming
- LATE OCTOBER for winter programming
JUNIOR COMPANY AUDITIONS:
These are usually run as group games and exercises. These give students an experience of what some of the work of the rehearsals will be – and for directors to get to know the student’s strengths and sense of play. Some directors request prepared material or have students read from the script.
Our Junior musical auditions require 16 measures (one verse) of a song, learning a quick dance combination, and possibly reading from the script.
SENIOR COMPANY AUDITIONS
Some directors choose to run their auditions as workshops with actors coming prepared with text but open to improvisation. Students may also be asked to read scenes from the play.
Other auditions are run similarly to a professional open call – each actor prepares a piece of text (and sometimes song) and has a short time to share this with the director and casting team. Musicals usually include a dance call when a small combination of steps is taught and then presented.
Our musical theatre program holds callbacks a week after the open call. This provides the director a chance to focus on specific vocal needs and work scenes from the script. Young people who are called back will be asked to prepare additional material. Just because someone is not called back does NOT mean they are not in the show.
COMBINED COMPANY PROJECTS:
The Holiday show is an opportunity for the Junior & Senior company to collaborate together. This project is the culmination of our year and provides young people the experience of a large and technically challenging show.
We announce auditions 2-3 months prior to the day. Auditions are posted on the callboard just outside the front office, as a facebook event, and on our website. These postings include information about what actors should prepare as well as more detail about the production. Please feel free to contact the office with any questions.
ALL ROLES ARE OPEN:
Actors will be cast on the basis of demonstrated ability and fitness for role as determined by the director through the audition. We will not pre-cast and are committed to a reflective and creative casting process. We do embrace non-traditional casting.
We have a casting panel comprised of staff & faculty on hand to support the director in this process. When staff also has children auditioning, we employ a process for recusal that is facilitated by this panel.
All abilities and interests are welcome! We provide experiences to young people of all interest levels – that means the “just for fun” kid as well as the conservatory bound student. We look to offer each student challenge – and welcome new people into the fold.
Please see “HOW TO PREPARE”
TEN QUALITIES THAT INFLUENCE CASTING
We are often asked what directors look for when they cast shows. Here is a list (in no particular order) that might be helpful as you work to develop your performance skills, and prepare for auditions for NEYT or any other school or company.
1. ACTING ABILITY: A person’s clarity & expressiveness; believability as a character; versatility; willingness to try new things; responsive listening; and learned and developed skills that support creating a character.
2. VOCAL ABILITY: A person’s vocal quality, flexibility, and range. Consistent ability to sing on pitch (for a musical).
3. MUSICALITY: A person’s sense of ease with music in general and singing in particular; their intuition about and expressiveness through music.
4. PHYSICAL ABILITY: Grace and accuracy; a sense of control with the body and ability to use it in the service of a character.
5. PREPAREDNESS: How well presented the audition is — memorized, rehearsed, clearly thought out, and appropriate to the role/show for which a person is auditioning.
6. TYPE: How “right” someone is for a given role in the story — this is not simply a question of how someone looks but pertains more to their energy, how they hold themselves, and their all-around temperament. (This is not a fixed thing — it’s something one can work on expanding in themselves.)
7. CHEMISTRY: How the actor works or “connects” on stage with another actor or actors with whom he/she will be in relationship.
8. ENERGY: A person’s energy level, enthusiasm, focus, and a willingness to invest in whatever it is he/she is doing on stage.
9. PROFESSIONALISM: promptness, preparedness, discipline, respect for directors and fellow actors; kindness; appropriate balance between confidence and humility; and an ability to collaborate with others for the good of the group.
10. COURAGE: Evident openness to taking direction and to taking risks, enabling an actor to venture into unknown territory and to be willing to appear foolish.
AFTER THE AUDITION:
If you’ve prepared and presented yourself and your material to the best of your ability – congratulations and be proud! Resist second-guessing yourself and perseverating on the “oh, I should have’s”. Casting is now in the hands of the production staff.
ANNOUNCING THE CAST:
Cast lists are sent to the email indicated on the audition form. We also post cast lists outside the door of the front office. This occurs the afternoon after the casting process has been completed. It can take a few days for the team to finish casting discussions, so patience is the key.
The posting of the cast list can be a difficult, disappointing time… even if you will be a part of the show. It is natural to go through a period of adjustment and sadness. In preparing for an audition we often become attached to specific outcomes. Be gentle with yourself. It is a process.
TRUST THE DIRECTOR’S JUDGEMENT:
The director is casting an ensemble, not just a few roles. There are many factors that influence a director’s casting choices that an actor cannot control.
The experience a student has working beside an artist and learning from that artist’s process is an integral part of the NEYT model. Part of that process includes a director pursuing an artistic vision which has it’s own interior logic but may not adhere to our perception of fairness.
WHEN WE ARE UNABLE TO CAST ALL WHO AUDITION:
There are times when the number of people auditioning exceeds the number of actors we can take into a project. This is difficult for all of us as we hope anyone wishing to participate will have a way to do so.
Sometimes someone can have a strong audition and not get cast simply because there is not a role that suits that actor, whether it is age, or height or some other factor that is harder to define. Please don’t be discouraged – keep trying!
Students not cast in a given show are encouraged to participate in other ways – backstage running crew, props, costumes, make-up crew, and set construction. Every member of the team is important to the project! This is a fun way to participate and performers grow their understanding of the process through backstage experiences as well as onstage.
Each and every role—regardless of size—is crucial to the show.
And each actor has the opportunity to create a unique and vivid character that is vitally important to the telling of the story.
We are committed to providing an environment where each person can play an active role in the production whether or not he/she has a “lead” role. We believe strongly in ensemble playing, discovering a challenge and a moment for everyone to shine – and expect each participant to treat every role with care and creativity.
BEING IN THE ENSEMBLE:
A musical or play is made or broken by the strength of its ensemble. It is tempting for young people to look at principal roles only and fear that “unnamed” ensemble roles are a special actor purgatory. Playing in the ensemble is actually a huge responsibility. Each ensemble player must create a series of specific and engaging characters to tell the story of the play. They have the opportunity to build memorable moments in collaboration with the director. In a musical, ensemble players often have much more stage time than any of the principal actors, they receive the most time with the director, choreographer, and musical director, and the specificity of the characters they create in each scene are the key ingredient to a successful show.
Auditions are hard. We sincerely appreciate the courage it takes put yourself on the line and to risk what feels like rejection when you don’t get the role you want, or sometimes even a part in a show. We also know that the casting decisions we make will inevitably disappoint some of you.
We are committed to keeping exceptional training at the heart of what we do, and so we offer every student an opportunity to learn from their audition experience. One way we do this is by providing all NEYT Senior Company production auditioners individualized feedback about their audition.
This feedback takes a very specific form, and is crucially distinct from the casting process. The following guidelines clarify this, and are meant to help students and their parents know just what they can expect from us once a cast list has been posted, and what in turn we expect of them.
What we will do:
• Provide written feedback to student inquiries about the audition. If a student wishes to receive written feedback about his/her audition, he/she is welcome to write an email to our Education Director and receive a personal response from the casting team. (This may take several weeks, so please be patient with us). The response will include kind and constructive criticism regarding a student’s audition, and specific advice about where to most effectively direct efforts for improvement.
• Help describe what does go into casting a show. Casting is a challenging and complicated process, involving multiple variables. A number of key elements that go into a casting decision are simply out of a student’s control. By the same token, we would like students to know what elements they can control and improve upon.
• Encourage ongoing skill building. We urge students to continue study through workshops and classes, whenever possible, and will happily point any student toward upcoming opportunities at NEYT (& elsewhere) that require no audition to participate.
What we won’t do:
• Reconsider a casting decision. Once a casting decision has been made, it is final. The casting team will not offer explanations for, entertain complaints about, or discuss in any way the decisions that have been made, with anyone.
• Discuss the casting decision with parents. The casting team will not discuss the casting decision or the student’s audition with the student’s parent(s).
If you have any questions about our audition process or the material required for preparation, please contact the office at 802.246.6398. We are here to help.