Audition Walk through

Auditions are a part of the casting process which allows directors and producers to find their group of performers for their production. 

 

After your initial audition, the production team may want to see more of you to help decide on specific roles; they may require you for a ‘callback’. You may have to learn specific songs/lines for this. 

 

Auditions at Oxford are usually run one of two ways; a group workshop audition or a one on one audition.

One on One Audition

This type of audition is most popular in Oxford. This will involve you, the actor, performing a monologue, speech or some dialogue in front of the director and maybe also the assistant director (AD) or the producer. Each production team will decide on the specifics of the audition. They may ask you to prepare a monologue from a specific genre or time period in order to see how you perform. Others give you full leeway with what you choose. 

 

If you have been asked to prepare a monologue and want some inspiration, please take a look at our monologue bank *which is updated sporadically*: [link]

 

Do not stress about learning the monologue off by heart. If you do know it, that’s great - but no one expects students to arrive knowing it all, especially as some auditions are last minute and at the busiest points of term. As you do more auditions, you may begin to build up a canon of monologues you know and can choose from, but do not be put off from auditioning if you are completely new to the monologue or have not had time to learn it all yet. 

 

Sometimes in an audition you may be asked to do some ‘cold reading’. This means the director will give you a piece of dialogue, usually from the play, and you will have a few minutes to read it and then perform it (with the speech in your hand - you do NOT need to learn the cold reading off by heart). This can seem intimidating at first but, again, the director is not looking for perfection and is fully aware that you are not familiar with the text. If you want to practice cold reading, take a look at our monologue bank, pick a random monologue, give yourself a minute to read it over and then try to perform it! Don’t overthink how you perform in these, you may think a cold reading wasn’t the best but your take could be exactly what a director was looking for. 

Group Workshop Audition

Some directors will choose to run workshop auditions which will mean actors work together in a group on various exercises and activities in order to be cast. This may include playing drama games, taking part in improvisation or devising. Each workshop will be unique to the director and they should describe what the workshop will be like on the OUDS Auditions Page. If you have questions, feel free to email them if you are worried or have access requirements.

the audition walk through video is on the way!

Callbacks

After an initial audition, directors may invite you to a callback. This is a second round of auditions where the directors will ask you to return and maybe bring another speech or read a speech from the play you are auditioning for. They will let you know what to expect. It’s just another audition which aims to help the director cast the company from a pool of actors. Some productions may not have callbacks! It depends on the directors!

After Your Audition

In a few days, you should hear back from the director regarding their casting decision. There are two things to be aware of here; if you are not successful this time, you are always entitled to feedback from the director and the production team. You can email them back and ask for feedback on your audition so you can improve for the next time. Also, it is important to remember that most actors face rejection at some point and are not always cast in the roles they want. Please do not be put off from auditioning again. Not being cast does not mean you do not have talent, it just means you weren’t right for the part this time. 

 

Do remember: Each audition will differ depending on the production team that runs them. We cannot predict what each audition will entail but there are a few important things to remember:

 

  • Know your rights: Even in an audition setting, you are completely within your rights to say no. You do not have to do anything you feel uncomfortable with and this extends to rehearsals. If you feel threatened, unsafe, offended or uncomfortable you are allowed to leave the audition or rehearsal room and there are various people you can contact to talk to or report instances to:

    • OUDS Welfare Rep: Emma Hawkins (welfare.ouds@gmail.com)

    • OUDS Access, Diversity and Equity Rep: Darcy Dixon (ouds.diversityaccessequity@gmail.com) 

    • OUDS President, Alasdair Linn: (president@ouds.com)

    • Your College’s Peer Support Team or Welfare Officer

 

  • If you have any questions or worries about the audition process and would like some more information or support you can email the Outreach and Access Reps, Georgie Dettmer and Darcy Dixon (accessandoutreach.ouds@gmail.com)

 

  • If you have any specific access requirements or believe the production team should take something into account regarding your audition, email or message the production team behind the auditions. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, the Welfare Rep Emma or the Outreach/Access Reps Georgie and Darcy can do this on your behalf.

 

  • You should never feel like you should not audition due to an access problem. If you have problems entering the specific building auditions are being arranged in, there will always be an option to rearrange in a more accessible place. Moreover, if you feel like you should not audition because of skill, please think the contrary! Production teams welcome auditions from people with any experience to none. 

Audition Tips from Students:

  • Remember that the director wants you to be good- they want to find their cast! No one is waiting to watch you fail, everyone is excited to see you do your best! But also, sometimes auditions don’t always go the way you want and that’s ok. There are plenty more auditions, plenty more roles and, though it is hard, don’t take it too personally; a rejection is temporary- it doesn’t mean you don’t have talent and you should keep auditioning!” Georgie, English, 1st Year

 

  • “Ask yourself, what really is the worst that could happen? You sound bad? You forget a line? You trip up on your shoelace? That is totally fine - and is not actually that bad at all! And - if anything - (most of the time, for individual auditions) only 3 of you would be in the room and no one else would have known it happened. Auditions are great because they are a way to showcase your talent to people you may have never met before. I know that my best auditions are the ones where I really let loose, and immerse myself in the song/monologue. Forget the production team watching you, and just enjoy it. After all, what is the worst that could happen?” Darcy, Philosophy and Theology, 1st Year 

 

  • “The first thing to be said is to try your best to not be too nervous! This is obviously easier said than done, but it’s so important to remember that auditions, and drama at large, are about having fun, expressing yourself, and experimenting! If you’ve been asked to prepare a monologue, try your best to familiarise yourself with it - you usually won’t be expected to memorise anything, but it can be helpful to have a feel for the piece in advance. I’d also recommend going over a printed copy of whatever material you’ve been given in advance with a pen - underlining certain words, or writing ideas you might have for how you might perform certain parts can work great. If it’s a duologue, or a scene with lots of actors, you could ask some friends to read other parts for you, and you could ask them for advice, as well! In the audition room, you’ll likely start off by performing the material you were given in advance. Then, the director may ask you to try and play it in a different way - try to be willing and eager to take direction and experiment with different ways of interpreting the character or scene. More than anything, just make sure to put yourself out there - keep your eyes open for all of the different audition opportunities that come up, there’s some really amazing drama opportunities, and booking an audition slot is super easy.” Henry, English, 1st Year

  • “Give yourself a chance! Audition as much for the experience of auditioning and putting yourself out there as well as for getting a certain role. Take it as a wonderful opportunity to perform and do what you love to do, for some people who are eager to see what you can do. Take it as an opportunity to build your confidence and discover who you are as a performer. Remember that not being right for a role doesn’t reflect your talent or ability, it only reflects your ability to fit the very specific vision of the director(s) for a particular production. Let your light shine and audition for as much as you’d like to, take risks and be as grateful for the experience as you can. Your passion often shines through on its own and can make you perform even better on the day.” Grace, English & History, 1st Year

 

  • If you’re thinking about it then I’d honestly say just go for it. Drama at Oxford is so much fun to be a part of and you get to meet a whole load of awesome creative people. It’s normal to feel apprehensive when going for auditions but the more you do the better you get so you really have nothing to lose, break a leg, you budding thesps! Lewis, Biochem, 1st Year. 

 

  • As an actor my tip is always ‘audition for EVERYTHING’ (unless the thought of being in it makes you feel physically sick, of course) - it takes lots of people a while to get a part in something but if you keep going you’ll get something eventually, and once you get one part it gets much easier. As a director, however, my tip is ‘REALLY take any redirection you are given’ - you might feel like you’re doing it, but that doesn’t mean it’s coming across to the people watching; air on the side of too big, rather than too small. Dorothy, English, 2nd Year

 

  • Be ‘yourself’ (don’t try to put on a persona in the audition room). Learn your monologue (even if directors say you don’t need to, they can’t judge your ability if you’re reading off a scrap of paper). Try out different monologues (don’t get caught in a rut of using the same one all the time, especially if it’s not getting you roles). Be prepared for redirection, and really listen to it (the most successful auditions I’ve had have been accompanied by awful initial cold reads, but I think I’ve taken direction well and changed the performance based on it and that ability to listen is a key thing for directors). Maddie Page, PPE, 3rd Year.

 

  • Oxford is a very busy place, your audition panel will understand that. Try and relax (easier said than done) but don't be afraid of being honest with your panel if you aren’t able to bring your best or most organised self to the audition space. You DO NOT have to learn your monologue - but do try and be confident and familiar with your choice of monologue even if you don’t know it back to front. The first audition is just to get a quick sense of who you are as an actor and an idea of your potential - energy and enthusiasm are often far more important than specific and detailed preparation. Creativity, flexibility and commitment are big things to bring to an audition space, though specifically to callbacks where you may be asked to do a number of weird and wonderful things and to work with different people (that said please do be honest and speak up if you are not comfortable with anything being asked of you).  Leave enough time to find your audition - they are often in strange Oxford places so don't panic if you have trouble getting there, but try your best to be on time! It’s a two way process - you are deciding if you want to be part of the production company and their ethos as much as they are deciding about casting you. (And remember… the audition panel are just students too, you all have the same aim - to make a great production!) Gemma, History, 2nd Year.

 

  • My main advice for auditioning is to just go for it !! Sign up for lots of auditions and if you get in, great, but if you don't hopefully you'll have learned a lot so that you're next audition goes better. If you're worried about anything particular for you audition, the directors are normally friendly people so don't be afraid to send them any questions you might have beforehand. Lastly, one of the biggest things that's stopped me from going to auditions before is not having a piece ready to perform - so it can be a good idea to have one or two monologues ready so there's nothing to stop you spontaneously signing up for something that looks interesting. Other than that, try to have fun at auditions! See them as a good experience in themselves and don't worry too much about getting in or not, and the process becomes a whole lot more enjoyable rather than stressful. Ed, Geography, 1st Year. 

 

  • My first tip is: do not be put off by people knowing each other in the audition room! Oxford drama and OUDS is a lovely community. When you start auditioning, the drama scene seems big, but very quickly you will begin to recognise people from auditions, shows you see, shows you are in and more. Getting yourself into the audition room is step 1. My second tip is: do not be put off by rejection. I often think the Oxford drama scene is very representative of the industry itself. You will not get every role you audition for, but you will get the right role for you in the right project for you. Rejection happens to all of us throughout our Oxford drama career as it does in all aspects of life, and it’s often due to something out of your control! So do not let it put you off auditioning for other projects and even for different shows being run by a creative team that has previously rejected you. Elise, French and Philosophy, 1st Year. 

 

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