Theatre - Acting
Welcome to the Acting sequence at Illinois State University!
This is where your amazing journey to become a professional actor begins. Under the hands-on mentoring and rigorous demands of the professional acting faculty you will be challenged to become citizens of the world and courageous theatre artists.
Opportunities to hone your craft on the stage are numerous, and we pride ourselves on providing training to prepare you for a life in the theatre or wherever your life leads.
Join in the excitement of the Acting program in the School of Theatre and Dance, where we play boldly.
Point of Pride
Students are directors, playwrights, theatre managers, dramaturgs, actors, and critics. They propose, produce, and direct their own projects, collaborate in the annual Playwrights' Workshop, or assist with marketing and management of the School of Theatre and Dance main season. Students have many opportunities to interact and network with diverse visiting artists.
Why study Theatre - Acting?
Theatre is performed everywhere – on Broadway in New York City, in shows that travel around the country, in professional regional theaters in large cities, in community theaters in small towns, in school or even in the streets. People who have trained in theatre may also have the opportunity to work in movies and on television. There are additional professional jobs beyond being an actor; usually a theatre or movie production consists of a few actors and many backstage production personnel. A theatre major provides the background for all such jobs.
Come see campus and meet with campus representatives either in person or virtually. Optional chances to meet with academic department, honors, and financial aid.
Applying to Illinois State
Applying by our priority deadline is encouraged for best consideration for your academic program and for scholarships. You will select your audition time within the application for admission. Start your application today!
2023-2024 Audition Dates
Saturday December 2, 2023 (Illinois State)
Friday January 12th, 2024 (Illinois High School Theatre Festival)
Saturday January 27th, 2024 (Illinois State)
Saturday February 17th, 2024 (Illinois State)
Saturday March 2nd, 2024 (Illinois State)
Saturday April 6th, 2024 (Illinois State)
Audition and Enrollment Process
- Apply to Illinois State University
- Choose an audition/interview date
- Receive a confirmation email from School of Theatre and Dance
- Attend audition/interview
- Receive a decision within two weeks
- Submit your enrollment deposit and become a Redbird
Scholarship notification will take place the first week of March.
If you would like to audit a class or meet with faculty, or if you have a question about the enrollment process, email Cristen Monson.
There will be a brief meeting of all those auditioning. Faculty and administration will introduce themselves and answer questions.
You will go to a waiting room where current students will talk about the program and answer questions while individual auditions take place. Auditions will be in the order the application is received.
During your audition, you'll perform your pieces and be given feedback.
Materials for Acting Consideration
Required: Two contrasting monologues 60 seconds each
Optional: One Song 60-90 seconds.
A piano accompanist will be provided, please have your music clearly marked in the correct key, or you may provide your own recorded accompaniment or musical track that you will play on a separate device.
Choice of Material
- Choose something you like.
- Choose age-appropriate material.
- Avoid self-written monologues.
- Make sure the character is in conflict!
- Cut material to fit easily into the two-minute time limit (including transitions between monologues).
- Examples of contrasting monologues are: dramatic and comic, contemporary and classic, sophisticated and unsophisticated, urban/rural, manic/depressed, etc.
- A classical piece is not required.
- Know the character you are playing. For example Laura in The Glass Menagerie is not extroverted; Oscar in The Odd Couple is a slob.
- Choose material in your vocal range and that allows you to connect personally to the character.
- Using dialects
- Phone call monologues
- Climax of the play
- Sexually explicit or extremely offensive material
- For musical theatre auditions, avoid overly done material or pieces associated with particular artists
- Dress comfortably, but strive to make a good impression.
- Keep hair away from your face.
- Wear sensible shoes. No flip flops or extremely high heels!
- Avoid jewelry that is distracting, such as clanging earrings or bracelets.
Performing Your Monologues
- Remember that your audition begins with your entrance.
- Use the introduction to let us get to know you—speak clearly and take command of the room!
- Place your imaginary scene partner directly downstage from you, over our heads.
- Don't speak to a chair—it will cause you to focus on the floor.
- Don't rush the audition transitions. Allow yourself time to transition—after the introduction, between the pieces, and before you say "Thank you."
- Concentrate on pursuing what you want from your imaginary scene partner.
- Finally, do not try to make an impression or give us what you think we want. Be yourself!
Deadlines and Review Dates
Students are accepted into the Acting major within the School of Theatre and Dance on a rolling basis, contingent on admission by Illinois State University. Normally students are notified within two weeks whether or not they have passed their audition via email.