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  • 1.  Cold read tips

    Posted 01-20-2022 23:03
    I'd love some tips on the best ways to manage cold reads for auditions. We've done cold reads for auditions for years but I've never loved our set up. With 30+ kids auditioning for a ton of roles, it can be quite tedious and I want to be sure everyone gets a fair chance in the audition while also keeping things moving and not taking super long. I appreciate any tips or advice any of you can give--
    Lisa Singleterry
    Portland Christian Schools
    Elementary Music & Band Teacher
    High School Drama Director
    Masters of Arts in Teaching

  • 2.  RE: Cold read tips

    Posted 01-23-2022 23:37
    Cold reading is never fun for students, unless they're good at it. Also, some students learn differently and so cold reading can be really daunting because they might not be able to process words on the page quickly. 

    I announce the play and post a synopsis and leave out the a perusal copy of the play for students to read.

    I also leave out a file box filled with (short) audition scenes and let them choose which scene they want to read for the audition. This gives them time to work on it so it's no longer cold. They work on it with a friends, which makes it more fun for them.

    I do the same for callback scenes, which tend to be a little longer and more involved. 

    Hope this helps! Auditioning is a huge (and valuable) process for the students.

    Joan Jubett
    Director of High School Fall Play and Spring Festival of Plays
    High School Theater Teacher
    New York, NY

  • 3.  RE: Cold read tips

    Posted 01-24-2022 13:41
    I would like to echo Joan.  Making audition sides available a day before the audition gives students with dyslexia and those whose first language is not English a fighting chance.  I also allowed students to take a side into the hall on the day they auditioned and quietly read it over before auditioning.

    During auditions, I also had all of the students who were auditioning sit in the theatre and watch the auditions.  This gave students with less reading facility a chance to hear the sides read multiple times.

    Students who had taken at least one theatre class with me were always better at cold reading auditions.  Through most of the course, I had Theatre I perform short scenes from various periods of theatre history, usually after 10 to 15 minutes of rehearsal, during which I moved around the stage giving comments and answering questions.  Besides allowing them to visit various time periods and countries through the text, this practice allowed them to get really good at cold readings.  Figure out the words, determine what is going on, bring it to life still holding the script. 

    As far as the length of the auditions, I normally set two days for campus-wide auditions.  Even with 50+ students auditioning, I could get done with two days, two hours per day. 

    Our musicals were produced by theatre and choir classes that met together.  During a short audition unit before auditions, the choir director taught separate SATB 16 bar selections while I worked with students on audition monologues.  We had a single audition day, then a day of callbacks.

    CJ Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator