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TBA Online: News & Features: February 2014

What (Not) to Wear to Auditions

Thursday, January 2, 2014   (0 Comments)
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By Laura Brueckner


I think my favorite part of the TBA week is our Communications Staff meeting each Tuesday. Not only do we get to catch up on what everyone is doing (though that's darned useful), we also get to pitch and discuss all kinds of story ideas. This piece came out of one of those whirlwind sessions and, considering that the General Auditions are coming up, seems pretty timely! up, feels pretty timely!

Bay Area Casting Directors Get Real: What (Not) to Wear to Auditions

Amy Potozkin, Casting Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Don't wear anything too tight or too loose or too revealing or too shiny or with too many prints/patterns. No spike heels, unless you're doing a monologue from "Spike Heels." (Kidding about the last part.) No Birkenstocks or flip-flops. Wear an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and attractive and professional (arts professional vs. business professional) and wear comfortable shoes that are easy to move in. (For info on Amy's audition coaching sessions, call her at (510) 484-4280.)

Janet Foster, Casting Director, American Conservatory Theatre
Actors should never dress to distract. Too many layers look like you have something to hide. Big, clunky shoes make people focus on your feet, no matter what you are performing. Loud, jangling bangle bracelets are never a good idea. Stripes can make your audience sea-sick. (For info on Janet’s Actor 411 classes, contact her here.

Melissa Hillman, Artistic Director, Impact Theatre
1. Refrain from wearing costume-y pieces. An audition is a kind of job interview. We want to see you as a person, not as the living embodiment of Mrs. Lovett. I know many actors have success in commercial film and television auditions wearing costumes and bringing props, but the culture is different in the theatre world. Wear something that makes you feel confident, not something that you believe makes you look like the character.

2. Don't wear anything revealing, and this goes for all genders. It distracts from your monologue if your outfit is skin-tight, or extremely short or low-cut. Your audition should be the focus, not (to use a friend’s expression) your "dinners." Of particular note are skirts above the knee at TBA Generals if you plan to sit in a chair on that raised stage. If I’m distracted by how awkward I feel looking at your underwear, I’m no longer paying adequate attention to the Emilia on which you worked for weeks.
(For info on Melissa's audition coaching sessions, contact her here.)

Leslie Martinson, Associate Artistic Director, TheatreWorks
Think "first date" for your audition attire. You want to look good, but you also want to look normal and not like you're trying too hard. Pay some attention to your clothes, but this is not your Vegas nightclub act. Also, no yoga pants. Ever. And no Ugg boots. Ever.  

Laura Brueckner is digital content manager for Theatre Bay Area. She holds a Ph.D. in dramaturgy and serves as resident dramaturg for Crowded Fire Theater.