I knew SETC’s (Southeastern Theatre Conference) as a great audition opportunity for college students, but I learned they have opportunities for actors at all stages of their career. Check out my conversation with Marci Duncan, the audition committee chair, as I get some insider info on how to prepare for and what to expect at the big spring auditions.
SETC is one of the largest theatre conferences around – and there are so many different opportunities there. SETC is for:
-Professional actors (AEA, SAG/AFTRA)
-Just starting out/recent college graduates
-Current college students, looking for summer stock/graduation opportunities
-Grad School prospective students
-High School – looking for programs/getting experience/networking/workshops
SETC also provides scholarships.
-Go to the website and put “scholarships” in the search engine, and you’ll get the info.
-Over 300 workshops during the conference. These are workshops for the actor, professor, musician, technical theatre, etc.
QUESTION: I’m in college and looking for summer stock work or just about to graduate, how do I get to audition?
-Go to SETC WEBSITE, click on the screening auditions. (If you’re in college, you’ll have to be screened before being sent on to the main conference in the spring).
-Each state has a coordinating conference at which they do these screenings. BUT make sure you register on the SETC website and not that state’s website.
-The screening auditions are in early fall, starting in October and ending in early December. You don’t have to wait long – notified immediately.
QUESTION: What do I need to prepare? What should I expect?
-Musical Theatre candidates: You can sing and you can do a monologue, and you have 90 seconds total. You can do just a song, or a song and a monologue. They encourage you to do both as most companies want to hear both.
-SETC does NOT encourage a “sandwich audition” – sing, monologue, then sing. Accompanist provided.
-Actor only: 60 seconds, choose one monologue.
-The time starts with your name and audition number. If you choose to sing, the 90 second limit does not include the time you speak with your accompanist.
For the screening auditions:
-It’s basically a qualifier. There is no dance call; it’s just your audition.
-In the spring at the official conference, it’s set up in the same way to the screening, but you will be called back by whoever wants to see you and if you are called for the dance call.
For the main auditions:
-You audition in a group, you leave with the same group and go to the holding room. Then you’ll be free to look in the callback room pending instructions.
What opportunities/types of companies will be there and what material should I put forward?
-Regional Theatre Companies
-All of the attending companies will be posted on SETC website
TIP: Shape your audition for what you want to book – check out the attending company websites in advance.
QUESTION: Should I change my package between qualifiers?
-Wouldn’t recommend – it’s why you qualified. Look up the theatre companies attending.
-You need to be clear if you want to do musical theatre, straight plays, Shakespeare, or cruise line work. Be specific and tailor to it
-List your true availability, especially if you’re in college. Only say you can work year-round if you can.
– Make sure you look up who is attending – know who you’re auditioning for and what to prepare.
Prepare for the callback. Bring your book – have backup pieces. You never know what a particular company will see you as.
Be prepared – they may have you do cold readings. Practice that with your friends.
Don’t change your outfit before callbacks – they’ll remember the first outfit. But do bring tennis shoes for running around during the day.
At the dance call, they teach you a dance and you perform it in groups. There are three levels:
-Actors who move
-Intermediate (Contemporary etc.)
Bring Dance attire, not sweats.
SECRET! All the companies get together at the bar and they talk, so… Be nice to everyone. Don’t gripe or vent – you never know who’s listening.
If I don’t make it and get passed on, what do I do?
-Treat it like a learning experience.
-Go to the workshops.
-You can go to the conference without being signed up for the auditions.
There are also Professional Fall auditions.
-These are for people just starting out or have some professional credits and don’t need to be screened. This is in Atlanta – no conference around these. Just audition, callback, dance call.
TIP: Another way to get involved and on the radar: Reach out to SETC Audition committee to see if there’s someone close to come to do a workshop. Remember it’s for the networking – make connections so you can reach out and get involved. Get internships, work for them.
Also: You can still go and participate without auditioning. You can attend workshops and networking events as much as you like!
*End of Interview*
Notes from Michelle –
P.S. I forgot to mention you should bring (already put together) pictures and resumes to the auditions. The employers might ask for them at the callbacks.
P.P.S. Here are some recommendations for a packing list:
-Book (of music if you’re a singer)
-Copy of your monologue (just for practice)
-Audition outfit & shoes
-Hair &/or make-up items to freshen up (and pull back hair, if needed for dance audition)
-Comfy shoes (to walk around in for the rest of the day)
-Dance Clothes & shoes
-Water & Healthy Snacks
-Pictures & Resumes
-Notebook and pen (for notes on seminars, networking, feedback & callbacks)
-Phone & wallet
A HUGE thank you to Marci for sharing her time with my audience!!!