Auditions are usually held well in advance of the beginning of any rehearsal schedule. This is to ensure that the director’s chosen production can be successfully cast. Prior to an audition night, there are scripts available to peruse to enable members to “pick a part” they wish to audition for.
The actual audition night is held either in the hall or at the director’s house. There is a casting panel consisting of the three directors of the season. The directors are determined by the committee. There is a fourth audition officer (usually the chairman or president), who will step in if one of the planned directors is unavailable for the organised audition night.
Each member will then audition for their part by expressing which part they would wish to be considered for, and then reading (with the help of the panel) pre-determined extracts of the play showing how they would like to portray the character. Each person who auditions for the same parts will read the same extract. The parts are then given out with consideration given to the age of the acting member versus the age of the character, the balance of the acting member against the other acting members (if deemed necessary) and whether that acting member has been involved in another production recently.
We always try to make auditions as relaxed and as fair as humanly possible. We try to ensure that we have a good mix of productions, where everyone who is willing to act can “have a go” if they want to. Audition nights usually end by having a drink in the pub!
In an ideal situation, the directors will already know in advance what performances they will want to deliver a season in advance. This then gives them an idea of which parts could be suited for each acting member. Recently, there have been more people audition than there are parts available, so it’s always good to say to those who haven’t been successful that there’s always the next production available and that they should consider the part of “this” character.