Most people spend hours and hours preparing their audition material – singing their songs and performing their monologues over and over again. But many people overlook preparing for another very important part of the audition – the interview.

The interview portion of the audition is usually not anything formal. In fact, most performers are surprised to hear that there IS an interview portion of an audition. But be advised — anytime the adjudicators or a creative team member asks you a question — it’s an interview.

The interview is an important part of the audition because it’s a chance for the people in the room to get to know you outside of your audition material. They get to ask you questions and you get to share some of your essence with them.

“Wait, my ‘essence’? What on earth is that?”

Don’t panic! Check out this episode of Meet the Theatre Artist where myself and David Sisco discuss an actor’s essence and the importance of presenting your authentic self in the audition room.

So, it’s a good idea to practice what you’re going to say.

Here are some of the most common questions you may be asked at an audition:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell us why you chose this audition song and monologue.
  • What’s your favorite role you’ve played? Why was it your favorite?
  • What’s your dream role?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What special skills do you have?
  • What questions do you have for us?

So how do you go about answering a question as open ended as, “Tell me about yourself?” What you don’t want to do is spend your time sharing information they can easily read on your resume. Instead, speak about what makes you unique — your background, your strengths, and your passions. For example, you could answer this question by saying:

“I come from a musical family and I’ve been singing since I was 5. I am a great sight-reader and love working on new musicals”.

Make sure you’ve done your homework on the school, the adjudicators, or the creative team so you can work that information into your answers, if appropriate. For example, if you’re asked about your dream roles you might say:

“My dream role is to have a lead in any play by August Wilson. I am from Pittsburgh, like him, and his work speaks to me. I know you have recently directed his play at [name of the theatre] and I wish I could have seen it!”

This both answers the question AND shows you did your homework.

If, during the interview, you are asked, “What questions do you have for us?” make sure you have prepared at least one question. Try to make it something you wouldn’t be able to discover on the casting breakdown or the college’s website. This is another opportunity to show you’ve done your homework on the writers and creative team. A smart actor is always in demand!

It’s important to realize that there are no right or wrong answers to these kinds of questions. The best thing you can do is to really listen to the question that you’re asked.

Try to be present enough in the room to listen carefully and look directly at the person who asked you the question when responding. It’s easy to be so nervous you don’t really hear the question and start babbling. If you don’t hear the question or need clarification on what you’re being asked, just ask for the question to be repeated. Your answers don’t need to be long. In fact, they shouldn’t be! So when you’re practicing, make sure your answers are succinct. Answer the question then stop.

A fun way to practice the interview is to have someone else ask you questions. If you work with a voice teacher or audition coach on your audition material, request that they ask you a different question every time you meet. By practicing answering these kinds of questions as a regular part of your audition prep, the process will become much easier. So even if you are asked slightly different questions than you practiced – you’ll be ready to answer.

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