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Program Director's Note: Last-Minute Audition Tips

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Updated: Friday, January 22, 2016

By Dale Albright


The 2016 Theatre Bay Area General Auditions are coming up soon! Below is a list of last-minute tips for those of you attending the auditions—and lots of them are applicable for any audition. Of course, there are no black-and-white answers to any casting question; ask 10 different people the same question and you will get 10 different answers. This is the general consensus of my interaction with casting directors, and is not meant to be an “instruction”—these are truly “tips.”

 TBA program director Dale Albright.

1. Plan on using less than your allotted time.

For example, non-Equity actors are allotted two minutes at the Generals—why not do two 45-second pieces? Equity actors (who get three minutes at the Generals)—why not do two one-minute pieces? By using less than the allotted time, you succeed in several important things:

You ensure that you will avoid that dreaded call of “Time!” This is especially useful if you are doing a comic piece—who can time for the laughter you might get? And who knows what else might happen that might put you over the allotted time? Why take the chance? (By the way, if they do call “time” on you, it is not the end of the world. Be gracious and always close with a “thank you.”)

You leave the auditors wanting more. If you plant the seed that you are an interesting actor and “tease” them with your piece(s), then they might be more inclined to call you back.

You show that you have an understanding of the general audition casting process. This solidifies your standing as a professional actor who knows how much you need to give the casting director in order for them to make a callback decision. (Casting directors can often make their decisions on this in the first 10 seconds of an audition!) It also shows that you understand that the General Auditions are not only grueling for the actors, but for the auditors, who have three days of back-to-back auditions, which is surprisingly draining. 

2. Be prepared for the space you are going into.
Will you see the auditors, or will they be hidden in a dark house? (At the Generals, you will see the auditors—but do not let this lull you into a sense of intimacy that might lead to a loss of vocal projection. Marines’ Memorial is a large theatre.)

Where do you need to go when you get there? (At the Generals, the path to the backstage area leads up and down stairs. You will have time to do any last-minute makeup/hair adjustments when you arrive at the dressing rooms backstage.)

Will you have access to a chair on the stage if you need it? (At the Generals, you will.)

What is the traffic flow? (At the Generals, all actors enter and exit at stage left—the same side as the piano.)

3. Arrive in a timely manner, ready for your audition.
Please, please check out the traffic/transit/parking situation in advance. (For the Generals, the link for parking information is
• Arrive no later than 30 minutes before your scheduled time.
• Arrive warmed up.
• Arrive ready to give us your headshots/resumes: 100 for non-Equity, 60 for Equity. (While we’re on the subject, check out these thoughts from actor and career coach Velina Brown about headshots: “The Business of Show Biz: Help with Headshot Hype.”)
• Do not leave the waiting area once you check in—you will potentially affect all five to seven other people in your audition group if audition staff cannot find you.
• Bring anything you think you need: pencil, pen, business cards if you have them, snacks, comfortable shoes, breath mints and—most importantly—water!
• Don’t bring anything you don’t need; we will not have space to store personal items and they won’t be “guarded.”
• If you will be singing, be sure that your music is prepared so that it’s easy for the accompanist to use: no plastic sheets (to prevent glare), etc.
• If you are in the final group of the day (4:45 p.m.), it is vital that you arrive on time—the auditors could be going home if you check in late!

Here are some further thoughts from Velina Brown on day-of audition preparation and self-care: “The Business of Show Biz: The Highly Sensitive Actor.”

4. Have realistic expectations for the audition.
One of the most difficult messages to get through to actors is that the General Auditions are the equivalent of a casting handshake. The purpose of the Generals is to get a callback. Callbacks are not part of the TBA Generals, but casting directors interested in your work will save your headshot/resume and call you back at a later time.

If a company or casting director wants to call you back, when should you expect to hear back from them? At the Generals, you could hear from them anytime from immediately after the audition to years down the road—yes, literally, years. So if a month goes by and you haven’t heard anything, it does not mean you “blew it.” This is an investment.

And remember—the companies in attendance come with a variety of different casting scenarios. Some are casting for a particular season; some are just on the hunt for who’s in town for future needs. Many of the factors in their decisions are just plain out of your control. Do you fill a need for something on their list that they are looking for? Does your resume show something of interest to them? There’s no way to know, so that’s basically one thing you can cross off your worry list, if you have one. Come to the auditions, do your best and then go treat yourself to the treat of your choice (no judgment here on what that is!).

5. Let someone know if you aren’t going to make it to a scheduled audition.
Always. For the Generals, call (415) 430-1140, ext. 20 (never call the Marines’ Memorial) to notify TBA staff if you are not able to make your audition slot. This number will be checked during all three days of the auditions, so even if no one is in the office, your message will be received. Note: If the TBA staff doesn’t hear from you at all, your name will still appear on the schedule, all of the auditors will know that you are a no-show and you will be excluded from next year’s Generals.

6. Have fun.
Yes, there are a lot of things to think about and remember...whatever! Ultimately, have fun!


Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, as well as an actor and freelance director. 


Tags:  Acting  actor  ActorTBA general auditions  Atlas  Auditions  auditor  TBA general auditions  volunteer 

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Program Director's Note: Tip of the Iceberg

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

By Dale Albright, TBA program director 

TBA program director Dale Albright.

What a community we have.

I had the pleasure of attending the Lemonade Fund Variety Show sponsored by Theatre Bay Area’s Individual Services Committee (ISC) at PianoFight a few weeks ago. It has already been reported far and wide that the event raised over $700 toward supporting the Lemonade Fund, Theatre Bay Area’s fund for theatre workers that are critically ill or facing a catastrophic life situation.

It struck me as yet another reminder of the generosity that abounds in our community. Members of TBA's Individual Services Committee, particularly the event’s organizers, Megan Briggs and Alan Olejniczak, donated considerable time and energy in putting together the event. PianoFight donated the space, the performers donated their time and talent—the servers even donated their tips! This is just another example of how extraordinary our community can be in support of each other and this field we all love so much.

Our new strategic plan articulates something that has been in TBA’s DNA for a long time, but never really said in this way: “acting for the good of the entire Bay Area theatre ecosystem.” While the Lemonade Fund is a perfect example of this, it is also an example of something that TBA, as an organization, can’t do on our own. Sure, we can put the pieces in place (we make guidelines, draft the application forms, put them all on the website and process those applications), based on our belief that this fund acts for the good of people who make up this ecosystem. But without community involvement and support such as this recent event, the Lemonade Fund is just a page on a website without any real connection or benefit to anyone.

This is true of almost all of the programs that we do. They are here for you—and they need you. The General and Regional Auditions are useful because of the actors and companies that participate. The TBA Awards program owes its ongoing existence to community adjudicators, participating companies and artists. Every CA$H Grant selection panel is made of artists from our community who want to make sure others get support for their work. The list goes on and on.

How can you join us in our efforts to continue to strengthen, unite, promote and advance Bay Area theatre? There are oh so many ways!

You might read that and think that I am asking for time or for money. And while yes, those things are important (and would certainly be utilized!), I am also thinking of the simple act of staying in touch with us. We are constantly reaching out to our members and the community at large via our Annual Conference and other events, as well as emails and surveys. Do you speak up? Or do you leave someone else to make decisions on your behalf? Do you assume that “surely TBA knows (insert issue here)”? All of our online journalism and blog posts have the option for you to share or post a comment. Have you shared an article or commented? Will you comment on this? Is TBA on your email list when you promote your shows (and I mean this for individual artists as well as companies!)? Have you gotten involved in the social media aspects of the TBA website—groups and forums—to find resources and like-minded allies? Your involvement makes our work possible.

An image has been circulating around Facebook recently with a picture of an iceberg. The top of the iceberg is labeled as “the show” and the vastly larger underside is labeled as “what the audience doesn’t see.” What’s great about this image is that it is so transferrable to TBA’s work. For instance, I love the tip of the “TBA membership” iceberg, those folks who actively participate in community building and professional activities. I really, really do.

But I can’t help but think about what we as an organization, a theatre community and a field would accomplish if we were able to count on the whole darn iceberg that is sitting just out of sight.

Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, and a Bay Area actor and director.

Tags:  Annual Conference  discussion  journalism  TBA general auditions  volunteer 

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Lemonade Fund Benefit Variety Show on June 1

Posted By TBA Staff, Friday, May 15, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2015


The Lemonade Fund Variety Show Benefit - Come Out and Play!
Hosted by Megan Briggs and Alan Olejniczak

Witness community in action on June 1 at the Lemonade Fund Variety Show Benefit! The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund is a valuable and confidential resource for theatre practitioners with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. All proceeds from this benefit will go to provide supplemental financial assistance to improve the quality of these individuals’ lives as they deal with medical conditions.

The Lemonade Fund Variety Show will feature performances by PianoFight's Chardonnay, Charlie Gurke and the Ondine Band, the cast of Custom Made Theatre Co.'s Grey Gardens, The Musical, Kevin Rolston, Michael Gene Sullivan, Trevor Allen and Velina Brown.

RSVP for the event here!

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.

Tags:  Community Events  Mary Mason Lemonade Fund  Michael Gene Sullivan  PianoFight  Velina Brown  volunteer 

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Featured Member: Alan Olejniczak

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Our newest featured member, Alan Olejniczak, has been a terrific support to us by serving on our Individual Services Committee, and has gone even further by helping produce fundraisers for the Mary Mason Lemonade Fund, including an upcoming variety show at PianoFight in June that he's coproducing with Megan Briggs. On top of that, he's an exciting up-and-coming playwright. Sign us up to the fan club!

TBA Featured Member Alan Olejniczak.

Tell us a little about your theatre work.

I’m new to playwriting and have only recently become involved in San Francisco theatre. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee focusing on performing arts and have sung in the choruses of The Florentine and Atlanta Opera companies. I’m a Theatre Bay Area ISC Board member and the producer for the fledging At Last Productions with cofounder Rik Lopes. I am currently in the early stages of writing a play for We Players. I’m grateful to work with such an amazing company and for the challenges of writing an epic site-specific play. I’m also excited for this November, when the SF Olympians Festival will present my short play, Hylas. More about my work at

What’s one of your favorite shows that you’ve worked on?

I guess it would be my last play, Present Tense, which premiered last March. It was my first time as a playwright and a producer. The learning curve was pretty steep. Thankfully, I was supported by talented people who knew what they were doing. In the end, it was a beautiful production with a successful run.

What do you like about the theatre scene here in the Bay?

I see a lot of theatre and opera and it’s amazing how much is produced. You can’t see everything. If theatre is dying, then that's happening someplace else.   

Do you have a resource or piece of advice you’d like to share?

It’s hard for any playwright to get their play produced, and I’ve had little luck with open submissions. I’ve learned that theatre companies look to build relationships with artists, and opportunities are most often earned. My advice would be to volunteer with theatre organizations you love, support the work of others, endear yourself to everyone, and, most importantly, expect nothing in return.

Anything coming up soon that you’re excited about?

This month, I will be an audience leader for We Players’ Ondine. This fanciful play is rarely produced, and the logistics of this complex production are mind-boggling. It’s going to be a spectacular production and tickets will sell quickly. I’m excited to see Paul Rodrigues as Hades in Faultline Theater's Trailer Park Gods at PianoFight. Megan Briggs and I are also looking forward to hosting TBA’s Lemonade Fund Variety Show on June 1, also at PianoFight. It is for a great cause: providing financial assistance to theatre artists who have life-threatening or terminal illnesses. Get your tickets here.

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.

Tags:  Featured Member  Mary Mason Lemonade Fund  volunteer 

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TBA Annual Conference Registration Now Open!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 17, 2015




Are you a Bay Area theatre-maker who wants to make some connections?
Discuss the art, craft, and business of making theatre?
Hear some fantastic new ideas?


Come to the TBA Annual Conference!



Theatre-makers of all stripes will gather for the TBA Annual Conference in downtown Berkeley on April 13 to connect, learn, and celebrate. Whether you make your theatrical magic onstage or off, this conference will have something for you!


Registration for the conference is now open - sign up today!


Sign up before April 1 and get the "early bird" discount to attend one of the biggest, most inspiring theatre events of the year!


Sign up more than one person and save even more!

More info is available here, including locations, times, sessions, and lunch options. 


Hope to see you there!

Remember to follow us on Twitter - hashtag #tbacon15!

Tags:  #tbacon15  Annual Conference  Community Events  Intrinsic Impact  volunteer 

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Volunteers Still Needed for General Auditions this Weekend

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Theatre Bay Area still needs dedicated volunteers to help run the General Auditions, which will take place at Marines' Memorial Theatre in San Francisco, on February 21-23, 2015.


Volunteers will be asked to organize and distribute headshots to auditors, set up and clean, run concessions and registration and assist auditioning actors. Volunteers might be able to watch some of the auditions as work duties allow.


This is a great opportunity for actors who want to learn more about auditioning in the Bay Area!

Available shifts: 

Saturday, February 21: 8:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. or 2-5:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 22: 8:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. or 2-5:30 p.m.
Monday, February 23: 8:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. or 2-4:30 p.m.

Email the membership staff at to get more information or sign up.


See you there!

Tags:  Acting  TBA general auditions  volunteer 

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