5 Audition Conferences for Summer Stock Employment
Every year regional combined auditions are held across the country. Combined auditions give actors, dancers, and singers the chance to audition in front of hundreds of theater companies, production teams and theme parks.
At large unified auditions, musical theatre actors are usually expected to perform a song and a monologue under 90 seconds.
Looking to increase your chances for acting employment across the country?
Road trip! Here are five of the largest combined auditions for performance opportunities and employment.
Where: Michael Schimmel Center at Pace University, New York City
Who can audition: StrawHat Auditions are open to non-Equity performers age 18 and older: singers, dancers, and actors.
Pros: Opportunities are available in summer theaters, production and entertainment companies, cruise ships, theme parks, and special events. If you receive an audition time, you were accepted from over a thousand other applications. StrawHat is an event that attracts lots of theatre producers, directors, casting directors, etc. – and sometimes even a few who are not formally registered.
How many theaters attend?: Roughly 30-50 companies attend. Past company attendees include Clear Space Theatre Co., Cleveland Musical Theatre, Millbrook Playhouse, Weathervane Theatre, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, and RWS Entertainment Group.
2. Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA)
Where: Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee
Who can audition: Preprofessional auditions are available for students who will be graduating from an undergrad program, and regular auditions are for more experienced performers. Equity and non-Equity performers will be seen. Production personnel with an undergraduate theater degree can also schedule interviews. All applicants must be available for work year-round.
Pros: Companies that register to attend UPTA are required to offer either paid year-round employment, paid job-in employment, or paid internships.
How many theaters attend?: Between 80 and 100 theaters, theme parks, and cruise lines from across the U.S. attend each year.
3. MidWest Theatre Auditions (MWTA)
Where: Webster University in the Loretto-Hilton Center at 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis, MO
Who can audition: Equity and non-Equity actors are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Performers who wish to be considered for musicals can sing a song, but all auditioners must prepare at least one non-musical piece. Optional dance auditions are also held each day.
Pros: The MidWest Theatre Auditions are not sanctioned by any specific union so both Equity and non-Equity applicants may audition.
How many theaters attend?: At least 50 theatre representatives over the course of three days attend MTWAs every year. Past theatre attendees included Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Maples Repertory Theatre, Crane River Theater, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, and Tibbits Summer Theatre.
4. New England Theatre Conference (NETC)
Where: the Crowne Plaza in Natick, MA.
Who can audition: Auditions are open to non-Equity members and Equity membership candidates; Equity members are not eligible to apply. Applicants must be college students or adults 18 or over. Producers are interested in seeing young performers as well as mature, adult talent with professional experience and/or experience in community or summer theaters, for both seasonal and job-in employment. Companies also interview musical directors, designers, and applicants for technical and staff positions.
Pros: NETC theatres offer both job-in and full-season employment, as well as Equity Membership Candidacy Programs.
How many theaters attend?: An average of 40 companies are represented at these auditions annually, including summer and year-round theatres (Equity and non-Equity), college-based summer theatres, repertory companies, Shakespearian and Renaissance Festivals, outdoor dramas and faires, music theatres, touring companies, children’s theatres, and dinner theatres, whose seasons include the classics, dramas, musicals, comedies, and revues. Casting companies and professional theatre training companies and conservatories are also represented.
5. Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)
Where: 2018 Fall auditions were held in uptown Charlotte, NC, and Spring auditions were held in Knoxville, TN
Who can audition: To be eligible to audition as a professional, performers must be 19 or older, must not be enrolled in school, and must have had a minimum of two paid professional theater jobs since completing their training. Dancer auditions are held separately at the spring auditions. Students are able to qualify for their own spring and fall sessions to audition for undergraduate and graduate programs. Students and adults can also attend professional screening auditions in their state to qualify for spring professional auditions, if they do not meet the criteria.
Pros: SETC’s Professional Auditions draw stock and repertory companies, cruise lines, outdoor festivals, children’s theater companies, touring companies, theme parks, and more that offer professional summer and/or full-time positions.
How many theaters attend?: More than 30 professional theaters attend fall auditions to see about 200 actors. The spring auditions host more than 90 companies and audition more than 800 actors.
For more information regarding audition dates, application deadlines, entry fees, eligibility requirements, and audition tips, visit each organization’s website.