In many liberal arts schools, entrance into a theater arts program probably won’t require you to attend a college audition. However, if you’re pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Theater, or applying to specific theater colleges, you will very likely be required to audition, and you should probably find that out early, before you fill out your college application. A performing arts school such as a music school, dance school, or theater school typically requires auditions, and a B.F.A. in Theater is considered a serious pre-professional degree that usually combines coursework in theater art, performance, directing, design, and technical areas.
Some programs are so academically intense that they allow very little room for you to pursue a minor or classes in other subjects. In other words, these aren’t the programs you want to enroll in if you’re just looking to do a little moonlighting from your day job as a chemical engineer.
Just as you would at a music school or art school, you should spend time at the campuses of the theater schools or programs you're considering, prior to applying, to speak with theater faculty members and students, attend classes, meet with an admission counselor, and tour the campus. Also, before scheduling any required auditions, complete and submit your application.
Different theater colleges have different requirements for their auditions, but in general, you’ll need to supply each program with music for the accompanist, a resume of your theater experience, and a recent photo. In addition, unless their requirements state differently, plan on preparing two contrasting monologues from plays of your choice, particularly if you’re auditioning for a B.F.A. acting program. Musical theater requirements generally consist of one up-tempo musical selection and one ballad, as well as a monologue from a play or musical of your choice. All combined, your college audition pieces shouldn’t exceed 5 minutes.
Tips to get you successfully through a theater school audition:
- Choose material suitable for your age
- If you choose your monologue from a book of monologues, you should read the entire play to get familiar with the context of your selection
- Select a monologue that allows you to speak directly to another person
- You should play only one character
- Memorize your selection
- Avoid using characterization or style, as they tend to trap you rather than tapping deeper into inner resources
If you are pursuing a B.F.A. or applying to a specialized arts school, the college audition is an important part of the admissions process.