Earning a college scholarship in theatre usually depends on a student’s ability to perform two contrasting monologues before a panel of professors. This shows directors that students can play a variety of characters – even ones that are unexpected. Most high school students don’t get to experience the expectations of these auditions prior to the real thing.
To help them build confidence for their future college theatre auditions, Elizabethton High School Drama Teacher Meg Foster invited professors from four local colleges to serve on a mock audition panel. Her Beginning Drama students delivered two contrasting monologues, and then received valuable feedback from professors.
“It is important for students to get this opportunity and so early in their theatre journey,” Foster said. “Too many theatre students only have one shot at a scholarship audition. These students know that they have accomplished a task that most only prepare for.”
Students said this helped them to understand the expectations and build a sense of confidence. “I feel like we can perform in front of anyone now because we’ve done it in front of college professors,” said student Avery Rankin. “We can be brave in future performances because now we have this experience, so we know we can do it.”
Professors giving feedback represented East Tennessee State University, Milligan College, King University, and Northeast State Community College. They suggested more deliberate eye contact and posture as well as focusing on the subject of their monologue. They were extremely complimentary and surprised to learn many of the students were only freshmen.
Foster said that as a teacher, she feels better prepared to direct her students and give them the greatest opportunity to earn scholarships and attend college theatre programs. She said although students were intimidated at first, the professors instantly made them feel confident and proud. “The students and I learned so much,” she said.
Students were also appreciative. Student Mia Garbe said, “I think it’s really cool that they’re taking the time out of their day, and we get the experience of doing this kind of audition that many other schools don’t get to do.”