Congratulations, you’re applying for our Musical Theatre courses here at ArtsEd!
You’ve submitted your application, invitations to audition are beginning to land and you have taken the first step on your journey to becoming a professional performer, an ambition you’ve likely had for some time.
There’s a lot for you to get to grips with, including understanding all the different audition requirements, sorting out your travel so you get here in plenty of time, and of course being at your best for the audition panel!
We appreciate that the audition day can be daunting, but we also want you to have as much fun as possible.
There is a lot you can do to ensure you make the most of each opportunity. ArtsEd’s Director of the School of Musical Theatre, Jonathan O’Boyle, is here to help with some top tips for auditionees applying to our Musical Theatre Courses.
The audition day at a glance
The first thing I do is introduce myself and the team that will be auditioning you that day. We talk about the course and then walk you through the day ahead.
We then kick off the audition process with a group warm-up, after which you will be split into two groups. One group will head off to the dance section of the audition, whilst the other group will take part in the singing section, presenting their legit and/or contemporary songs to the panel. After that, the groups switch around.
Once everyone has sung their songs and completed their dance audition, we will let you all know who has been recalled to the afternoon 2nd round audition phase.
The second round of our Musical Theatre audition includes a further dance workshop, a further singing audition and your acting audition where you will work on your monologues. The final part of your day will be an interview with me and/or a senior member of the teaching staff from the School of Musical Theatre.
So that’s the overall shape of an ArtsEd Musical Theatre audition. Here’s what you need to know to best prepare you for your time with us.
For the singing round you will need to prepare and perform two songs. One should be a ‘legit’ ballad written no later than 1965 (e.g. ‘If I Loved You’ from Carousel, ‘Simple Little Things’ from 110 in the Shade or “On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady). The other song can be anything of your own choice, providing it’s a contrast to your legit song and it is something you enjoy singing. We always look forward to hearing people’s choices.
You must bring your own copy of the sheet music for the song. It makes sense to make it as easy as possible for the accompanist do the best job they can do for you during your audition. To that end, make sure the music is in the right key, clearly printed and firmly sellotaped at the seams.
For the first round you will be asked to sing a 1-minute cut of each song. Choose your favourite part of the song. This might be the first minute, it might be the last, choose the section that speaks to you the most and that best showcases your voice.
Remember to prepare both songs in full as you will need the full versions for the second round in the afternoon (if you are recalled).
It will help you if you understand the context of the song. Where does it sit within the musical? What happens before the song? What happens after? What is the environment, are you outside? Inside? Is it cold? Warm? What does the character want?
If your song is addressed to someone, imagine who you’re signing to, and place them in the room with you, to the left or right of the panel. If the character is singing to themselves, I recommend singing over the panel’s head. Try to avoid looking at the panel, as we will be taking notes and we don’t want to distract you.
On the morning of your audition, you will take part in a group jazz class. Don’t worry if you haven’t danced before, all movements will be explained and demonstrated on the day. We are looking for candidates who have potential, not just experience.
All 2nd round recalled candidates will participate in a second dance workshop in the afternoon. During this workshop you will be given more detailed and precise technical information that you will need to apply to a new piece of choreography. Again, don’t worry about lack of experience, if you have got through to the 2nd round, we think you have potential and will explain anything that needs explaining.
You should wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in (not too tight or loose). You can wear jazz shoes or dance bare foot, but please don’t wear trainers.
You will need to have prepared two monologues in anticipation of getting through to the 2nd round of the auditions. Each monologue should be a maximum of three minutes long.
One should be from a modern play written after 1990, and the other from a classical play using heightened language. This could be Shakespeare, but we also welcome classical pieces from across the globe. Please choose material you relate to personally and which you find exciting.
As with your songs, you will benefit from having a clear understanding of what the character wants in that moment in time, and how that fits within the wider context of the play. We ask that you perform your monologues in your natural voice. We want to hear you!
The interview will be an opportunity for us to meet you and get to know you a little more. We are interested in getting to know you as a person, as well as getting to know your skills. I will be asking questions about your interests and aspirations. This will also be your chance to ask any questions that you might have for us about the course.
- We want you to do your best, so we will make sure you walk into a warm, friendly, supportive and generous environment for your audition.
- We are not looking for perfection. It is okay to make mistakes.
- I know this is impossible but try not to be nervous! The audition, and your time with us on the day, is also an opportunity for you to find out if ArtsEd is the right place for you. We aim to do as much as we can to make sure you decide that it is!
What do we look for in a prospective student?
- Our students shape our future, what you bring to us is as important as what we can give to you, so we want to get to know YOU!
- We are looking for inquisitive, enquiring and curious minds. People with a hunger for knowledge and the passion to imagine and create on a daily basis.
- We are excited by conviction, go with your artistic choices and have the bravery to share them. We might not agree with everything that you do, but we love to see imagination and the desire to create something special.
- A joy in taking risks. One of the beauties of acting is using the things that don’t work to find the things that do.
- Attentiveness and thoughtfulness. We are interested in how you interpret material that you are given, how well you listen and how creatively you respond to redirection.