University Theatre
Auditioning Tips

Auditions at University Theatre are open to all NC State students. You don’t have to be a theatre major, or even be taking a class to give it a shot. We are always looking for enthusiastic new talent for the shows. Student may also volunteer to learn the backstage and behind-the-scenes theater crafts: lighting and sound, scenery construction, costume construction, stage management and house manager.


Auditions for fall semester shows are usually held the first week of school in the fall. Auditions for the spring semester shows are held sometime in December or January.


by Terri Janney, Senior Associate Director, Emeritus


University Theatre usually auditions with cold readings from the script or “sides” which are provided to the actors at the audition.  Perusal scripts and audition information is available the Stewart Theatre Main Office.  Musical auditions and Theatrefest auditions are held differently.  Of course, every director will be different. 

You will fill out a card and wait for the director to call your name to partner you with others to read a scene and/or you will be given a monologue.  You will be given the opportunity to read several times.  If possible, come to both nights of the audition.



    Perusal Scripts at Stewart Theatre’s Main Office

    Check the libraries

    Order from Dramatist Play Service or Samuel French

    Order from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble

    Ask if there are certain scenes that will be read

    Practice reading out loud

    If you have a reading disability, let Director know.

    Know the main characters

    UT doesn’t need a resume: we use a casting card

    Choice of roles:  Write what you are most interested in, but it is a good idea to say that you will accept any or all


    Attitude – first impression from the minute you walk in, you are auditioning

    Be professional

    Clothing:  dress appropriately, no t-shirts, flip flops, halter tops, cutoffs

    Get hair away from face, shave

    Make the Director remember you – color, scarf, tie

    Fill out card correctly and readable printing

    Be honest but earnest

    Come freshly showered with deodorant – easy on the cologne and aftershave


    Hold the script with one hand and use the opposite thumb to hold one’s place in the script.

    Hold script away from face

    Memorize the first line if possible

    Look up – the Director needs to see you face

    Make sure your partner is ready

    Take a deep breath, relax

    Don’t rush!!!

    Look at the first few words, look up, and say line like you meant it

    Make eye contact with your partner – communicate

    Listen and react to your partner – ½ of acting is reacting to what your partner says

    If you mess up the beginning, don’t worry.  Don’t apologize.  Don’t go back and correct yourself

    If you are after several people who have read the same way, read the part differently – make a BOLD CHOICE.

    If director asks you to do something different in interpretation, go for it.  The director is asking to see versatility

    If director asks you to read a part you don’t want or like, do it anyway.  Shows your versatility

    Pronunciation – if you don’t know the word, hopefully you will see it before you read it and ask.  If not, just go for it – don’t stop in the middle of the reading

    Read differently for different characters – Opposites

    Don’t just say lines.  Split them up:

    He had these (think and remember) funny little legs (visualize) and he used to (reach for the word) splash about in puddle….


      Projection – be loud so the director can hear you.  Read to the back of the house.  If you are asked to be louder, you must do so.

      Diction – enunciate consonants – no laze tongues

      Accents:  If not called for, don’t use.  If you have one, try to get rid of it.

      Dialects:  If the play called for a dialect, don’t do it unless you are very good at one.  If the director asks you to do one, try!


      Posture is important – stand up straight

      Walk tall

      Control body – don’t sway or use extraneous movement

      Several steps and a cross here and there, but no wandering around the stage

    Open your body out to the audience – ¾ open.

    More on auditioning:


    From "The Audition Process: A Guide For Actors" by Bob Funk, Heinemann, 1996


    "The audition begins when you walk in the door of the theatre or into the office of the agency. From the moment you arrive you are being watched."


    Bob Funk, actor and associate professor as the University of Alabama at Birmingham served as a state adjudicator for the Southeastern Theatre Conference on several occasions. He watched college students audition at the state level for a chance to attend the Southeastern Theatre Conference auditions. Four areas the adjudicators considered were: Stage presence, movement, communication skills and acting ability, same as at any audition.


    One of the courses offered to more advanced theatre students is Audition and Interpretation Technique. One of the books used in the class is a little book called "Auditions: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to get the Part," written by Michael Shurtleff and published in the late seventies when “Everything you need to know” books were popular.      


    12 Steps to Remember (page 27-28)

    1: Enter the Space with confidence and a smile.

    2: Show support for others while waiting for your turn to audition.

    3: If singing, politely review your music with the accompanist.

    4: If using a piece of furniture, set it quickly in a businesslike manner.

    5: Move with confidence to your starting position.

    6: Come to a full stop. Look at your audience with a smile, take a deep breath, then five your introduction (name and number).

    7: Transition.

    8. Perform your piece.

    9. Transition.

    10. With great exuberance and a smile, come to a full stop, look at your audience, take a deep breath, and repeat your name and number. Strike your chair if you used one.

    11. Walk off the stage as if you have given the best performance of your life. If you sang, collect your music and thank the accompanist. Exit back to your chair or to wherever the stage manager directs you.

    12. When you leave the space, walk with confidence and a smile.