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  • 1.  Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-22-2018 10:25
    Hello Everyone! 

    I am running a children's theater camp next week. We only have Monday-Saturday from 3:30-5:30 to put a small show together and I was wondering if anyone had experience casting children's theater camps. We always cast the first day after a read-through and explanations of the characters. With thirty five (8-11 year-old) campers, it gets pretty hectic! Do any of you have a process that you use to try and cast a camp performance quickly and fairly? I know that feelings always get hurt, but we try to be as fair and objective as possible with about one hour to cast before the parents come to get the kids. 


    Anne Elisa Brown
    Director of the MHS Drama Department
    Madison Central School District
    Madison SD

  • 2.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-22-2018 10:58
    We do one of those every year. The hardest part is picking a script with the right number of roles, and room for flex if we add or drop any participants.

    We don't even do a read through till after casting, but like you, we do it on the first day. We start the day with icebreakers, team-building games and simple improv exercises. Some years, we do a short "audition" with some cold readings, if the kids are of an age where they can read easily.

    During a 10-15 minute break, we do casting based on our impressions of the kids in the first part of the day, and end the first day's session with a read through. So far, that has worked out pretty well.

    Josh Kauffman
    Winfield AL

  • 3.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-23-2018 05:37
    I do one every summer. I usually publish a cast list with the camp info and anyone wishing to audition for a lead comes in 2 weeks earlier for a separate audition. That way I cast main roles, ensemble and supporting roles are assigned to others at the camp. The leads get their script and music early, which takes a lot of pressure off them. This has always worked well. Not every kid wants a lead, or to prepare audition materials, so everyone ends up happy.

  • 4.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-23-2018 11:54
    When I worked on similar programs, we talked about each character, then read through the play together in a circle. No one was assigned a particular character, instead we had them to go around the circle, everyone reading just one line. That kept everyone engaged and gave the teachers some insight into how each person would do in different roles.

    Then we asked each child to give us a piece of paper with their name and their top three choices. They "auditioned," but we largely decided the cast based on those choices. It was almost always surprisingly easy to give each student one of their top three.

    Ginny Butsch
    Community Manager
    Educational Theatre Association
    Alexandria KY

  • 5.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-27-2018 12:44
    I love this idea. We might borrow it for this summer's camp.

    Josh Kauffman
    Winfield AL

  • 6.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-25-2018 14:39
    When I've taught summer theatre programs with this age group and size, I've always done a group-based audition, typically set up like this:

    Phase 1 is slating. Students line up, shoulder to shoulder, and then one at a time, they step forward and say their name and age. The first round of this is done without any particular direction (aside from reminding them to project); then, they do names and ages again, but with particular emotions (as if you just won the lottery, your best friend moved away, etc.). I encourage them to make strong physical and vocal choices.

    Phase 2 is usually a movement activity based on the specific characters in the show.

    Phase 3 is similar to Phase 1, but targeted to particular characters from the show. I'll have a small group line up, then give them a line from the show (never more than a sentence in length) and a brief description of the character who's saying the line, the circumstances, etc. The students repeat the line as a group a couple of times so they have it memorized, then they each have a chance to deliver the line in-character. Each small group performs 2-3 lines, then we switch to the next group so that everyone stays engaged.

    This type of audition is definitely more limited than a traditional audition with cold reads and scenes -- but I've found that, with a large group of beginning actors, it gives me enough information about basic skills, characterization, willingness to take direction and make choices, etc. to be able to cast the show effectively. It's also pretty efficient, and because the students are never alone onstage and don't have to do any reading, it's less intimidating for actors who have never auditioned before.

    Best of luck with the program!

    Elizabeth Berg
    Drama Teacher
    Ashland Middle School

  • 7.  RE: Casting Children's Theater Camp

    Posted 02-26-2018 18:19
    I worked for Missoula Children's Theater, and they have a very specific way of auditioning kids. I use this format for my summer camp auditions. I give students a line, and direct them on how to say it. Then have them take turns doing that. Then for singing I have them stand in a line and sign together. Then I walk up and down the row listening to each individual. I find this method to be less intimidating for kids who may be trying theater out for the first time in a camp experience. I will also play a few theater games with them to see how well they follow directions, and work with others.

    Kristi Jacobs-Stanley
    New Orleans LA