Jordan College of the Arts
Department of Theatre

Tips for Students Auditioning For the Theatre Program at Butler University

Following a morning of orientation with the Jordan College of the Arts and theatre representatives, auditions will begin with a 50 minute class consisting of a warm-up session, movement, voice and monologue work. Please wear comfortable movement clothing.

Monologue presentations and individual interviews with Theatre faculty will begin at 1:15 PM.

Acting

Prepare one monologue, which may be classical or contemporary and should be less than two minutes in length, from a full-length published play. If you choose a monologue that you enjoy preparing and presenting, your audition will be more successful.

Your monologue should demonstrate your abilities. Always choose material that is within your range of life and stage experience. Parts which call for extremes of accent, age, or occupation should be avoided. Work honestly within your limitations. Young actors often ask about auditions, "What does the faculty want?" A much better question is, "How can I best show them what I am?"

Always read the whole play from which you are taking your monologue; only by doing this will you gain real insight into the life of your character and hints as to how your monologue should be played.

Seek the help of teachers or friends with theatre experience when preparing your presentation. Props should not be used in your audition.

 You may prepare to stand or sit for your audition.

 Wear appropriate clothing that you are comfortable moving in so as not to distract or detract from your work.

Begin your audition by introducing yourself, stating your name. Then introduce your monologue including the name of your character and the play. For example, "Hello, I'm Jane Smith. I'll be performing Nora from 'A Doll's House'." After your introduction, pause before you begin the piece.

 Do not direct your monologue directly at the faculty. Place the person you are talking to in the monologue on one side or the other and beyond the faculty. Do not make direct eye contact with the faculty during your piece. It is often helpful to "cast" the person you are speaking to in the monologue and place them at a spot beyond the faculty.

When your piece is finished (and don't rush the ending!), pause for a moment to let the piece 'finish' and then make eye contact with the faculty who will ask you to take a seat for the interview portion of the audition. (You may say "thank you" if you wish but avoid finishing your audition by saying "scene".)

 Above all, enjoy your audition. Relax, breathe and enjoy this opportunity to perform.

Guidelines for Portfolio Applications in Design, Stage Management or Arts Administration             

If you applying for an area of theatre other than acting, you may choose to present a portfolio as part of an extended interview.  You should still include a photograph with your application, send or bring a resume of your experience, and bring selections of your best work.

Work with your theatre or art teacher or a guidance counselor to create a resume: this typically includes your name, contact information, career identification or goal, and lists of your roles on productions at school and in the community, pertinent coursework and workshops, and specific awards or honors you have received. You might also list pertinent skills (such as proficiency in Photoshop, use of power tools, sewing, secondary languages, or ability to read music).

Your portfolio is a tool to show us how you think about your work, and what you have done well.  It is a visual expression of what you put on your resume.  Work with your art or theatre teacher to create a binder of work that showcases your best creations.  A typical portfolio includes these types of things: (it is not necessary to have them all - selecting a few good samples is better than showing everything you have ever done)

  • Name on a cover page
  • Contents
  • Resume
  • Design work on productions, including
    • A brief (2-3 sentence) concept statement explaining the design goal or production concept (use professional theatre program notes as a model)
    • Research that inspired the direction of your work
    • Drawings or paintings of your design choices
    • Photo of finished work
  • Project(s) you are proud of from related coursework or workshops, showing:
    • Idea or goal of the assignment either as a title or a sentence
    • Process if important (for example, a before and after shot of a redesigned garment is appropriate, but the first draft of a program is not necessary)
    • The final product.
    • Art Samples (fashion design, photography, painting, digital work, wood working, sewing project, etc.)
    • Reviews of productions or exhibitions only if they specifically address your work
    • Prompt book (or pages from it) and supporting documents such as magic sheet, props list, preset checklist, schedules, or other organizational material you created and were responsible for (Stage Management)
    • Program, poster design, press release, front of house forms (Arts Administration)

On audition day, you will interview with a faculty panel. Introduce yourself, tell us your areas of interest, and offer a resume if you have one. Set your portfolio or prompt book to face the reviewers. Turn the pages as you briefly summarize two or three of your best projects, explaining your contribution and showing the results. Don't be concerned if the faculty want to turn the pages at their own pace, and allow room for questions during or at the end of your presentation. It is often helpful if you practice presenting your work to someone before the audition day, just as you would for a school presentation or an acting performance; it builds confidence and results in a smoother presentation.  Please limit your presentation to five minutes: after your presentation, there will be a short interview, which gives us a chance to learn more about you.