If you are experiencing a decrease in audition attendance in any way, what do you believe is or are the causes?
We have a challenge getting younger people to audition, because we do mostly plays and not musicals.
Lack of content which appeals to them.
Time commitment to do a show.
The e conomy, many actors doing weekend work.
We were dark for a few years.
If you are experiencing an increase in audition attendance in any way, what do you believe is or are the causes?
More people are becoming familiar with our theater.
Summer Youth Theater program kids are growing up, trying out for shows.
Incorporating a solid business plan that enables the procurement of quality artistic leadership and support.
We have expanded our audition notice postings to social media, etc.
Better shows, sets, and marketing.
More young people are coming out.
Rise in quality of productions.
We strive to keep our audition process as professional and respectable of people's time as possible — scheduling personal audition appointments conducive with their schedule, and providing audition sides in advance.
It's complicated. Mostly because we aim to do the best performances we can, at the expense of casting "just anyone" who auditions. So people think "I'm not going to get cast, so why should I audition?" And people who have had leads in several shows say "Why do I need to continue to audition? If you want me, ask me.:" It's a real, serious problem.
It is a great trend for us. We had 60 people come to auditions for "Little Mermaid"
It has always been difficult to attract men to audition and unfortunately most plays have more male roles than female roles. I am always researching plays that are either all female or ones that have the majority of the roles female. Our upcoming production, It's A Wonderful Life, which is a radio show of the classic Christmas show, needed a minimum of 8 male actors. Since we usually only get about 4 men show up to audition I was really anxious. A lot of prayers were said before audition night. We had 10 men audition!
What steps are you taking to meet any challenges you currently face with audition attendance?
Just trying to spread the word.
Sending noices out via e-mail to former performers.
Exploring additional media and other outreach opportunities.
Trying to do more attractive shows, that will draw in auditioners. There is no simple answer.
Finding more online sources.
We work hard to promote the auditions. Having a season that actors are interested in is very helpful. And holding season wide auditions while a bit of a logistical challenge (getting directors/choreographers etc all in the same room for 5 days of auditions! plus scheduling 130 actors was interesting) was very successful. This change also meant that we could tell other theaters in the area who we had cast and they kindly agreed not to poach those actors, and that was a big help.
Reaching out to local college drama students, asking our core group of actors to refer younger actors if they work with them in other productions. Getting the word out through social media.
Community outreach events, diversifying our theatres offerings.
Increased publicity thru social media and announcements at shows.
Making calls if parts are not cast.
Securing board members who possess the right kind of experience and know-how-how.
How are any changes to audition attendance impacting your season overall? For example, due to an increase in audition interest, are you able to cast larger or more diverse shows? Or, for example, due to a decrease in audition interest, are you planning to produce shows with smaller casts?
It leaves us scrambling to find people to fill the parts.
We are presenting more big musicals.
Our seasons consist of over a dozen theatrical productions — from world premiers of award-winning playwrights’ new works, captivating reader’s theater, technologically immersive stage productions, first-rate youth theater, avant-garde spoken word monologues and more — this wide breadth of entertainment enables all parts of our communities to get involved in the excitement of producing live theater. This, in combination with incorporating Equity contracts, improves the quality of the performances and increases interest from community actors wanting to get involved. Additionally, our ArtsTech Academy program's educational offerings train students in the visual and performing arts, enabling highly skilled youth to participate in our main stage productions.
Absolutely. We're picking shows we know we can cast either with people we know, or with the smaller set of folks that audition.
We are limited by our stage size, so larger shows isn't an option at this point.
Except in a few individual cases, where we would not schedule a show unless we were sure specific actors were interested and available we have no let the talent pool effect our choices. We have taken a "build it and they will come" sort of approach in some cases. For example, we wanted to encourage youth to audition so this year we did A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and double cast it with local kids. Next year we will do MADELINE'S CHRISTMAS in much the same way. This has allowed us to add the energy of that youth and their very supportive families to our company. That has been great for ticket sales and volunteer participation.
Producing shows that do not require royalties, to focus on quality of performances and sets, while increasing marketing, outreach, and diversity on performing arts options (dance, education) to bring people in.
No change. We make it work!
So far, it is working out. About three years ago, we did cancel a show because we could not cast one male parts.
Not necessarily....depends on show.
We're in a very small community. It's just going to be a problem for us, I think.
In 2014/2015 we had a very difficult time finding actors. Our area has 5+ community theaters and the competition for actors is pretty fierce. So we changed our approach. Last year we held auditions for the entire season (5 shows) all at the same time. Because of this we attracted more actors to the auditions and were able to cast some of them in shows they would not otherwise have auditioned for. It means that we have to work a little harder at retention because we are casting 8-10 months before productions begin. But so far, that has not been a big problem.
We program our season based on what we think we can cast.
advertising the needs.
California Community Theatres:
We asked California community theatres about recent changes in audition attendance. Learn more about what your friends and neighbors are experiencing, why some theatres are noticing an increase to audition attendance, and how they are solving issues related to a decrease audition attendance. Results are from a survey in Winter, 2016.
Thanks to these California Community Theatre members for participating in this survey: