Slideshow 1
Slideshow Overlay
Inner Banner 1 Inner Banner Overlay


What we are looking for

We are looking for students who possess a passion for acting, a desire to immerse themselves in all aspects of the theatre, and an interest in pursuing a career in the field. Students should be focused, on-task, imaginative, emotionally available, and able to express themselves physically as well as vocally. Ideal candidates listen and adapt, accept criticism, and can incorporate suggestions into their work.

How to prepare/what to bring

  1. Prepare and memorize a monologue no more than 2-minutes in length from one of the plays listed below:
    1. A monologue is a speech from a play where one character is talking to themselves or other characters for a period of time. If a character interrupts the speech you can usually skip their interjection and continue the monologue.
    2. We will only see monologues from one of the plays listed below.
    3. The Theatre Department does not provide hard or online copies of the prescribed plays. It is the auditioner’s responsibility to acquire the play they choose from a library, bookstore, etc.
  2. Prepare and memorize a published poem/spoken word piece that is 25 lines or less. A good source for poetry is the Poetry Out Loud website: .
  3. The auditioner must prepare both a monologue and a poem/spoken word.
  4. Be prepared to tell us why you want to attend the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Theatre Department and what you hope to accomplish while you are here.
  5. Come to the audition on time, dressed in loose fitting clothes, tennis shoes and be prepared for movement and warm-up exercises.

The audition process itself

  • Preliminary Audition: Auditioning students will participate in group warm-up exercises prior to their individual audition.
  • Callback: Students who have a successful preliminary audition will be asked to one or more callbacks, which may require several visits to Ellington.
    • At callbacks, students participate in acting, speech, improvisation, and/or movement classes facilitated by our faculty.
    • Students will be asked to present their monologue and poem/spoken word again, for the faculty to access the student’s ability to listen and incorporate the information they learned in the classes.
    • Students will work on a group exercise and participate in an interview.

Have a successful audition

  • We suggest students attend one of the audition workshops provided by the Theatre Department. During this workshop, prospective students will learn more about the department, learn more about the audition process, and receive coaching from current students and faculty on their audition monologue and poem/spoken word.
  • We want to make sure that you can be heard and understood at all times. Memorize and practice your monologue and poetry recitation to ensure that you are able to keep your voice audible, strong, and supported and to speak clearly.


  • We will only accept and hear monologues from one of the plays listed below.
  • Be sure you enjoy performing your selections and that the pieces are the right age range for you.
  • Be sure that you read the play as you may be asked questions pertaining to the play you selected.
  • Students are expected to audition with a prepared monologue. That means it should be memorized and rehearsed.
  • Students should understand the Character (who the person in the monologue is), the Objective (what the character wants), Actions (what the character does to get what they want), and the Given Circumstances (the information the playwright provides that affect the actions of the character).


  • Students must choose a published poem/spoken word that is no more than 25 lines. Unpublished works will not be accepted.
  • Student should choose a poem/spoken word that they can relate to and enjoy performing – gender roles in the plays below are solely for guidance – students may choose whichever role they feel most comfortable with.
  • Student must apply the advice above given for the monologue.

Audition Play/Monologue List

Play Playwright Girl Boy
The Amen Corner James Baldwin X
Dark at the Top of the Stairs William Inge X
The Diary of Anne Frank Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett X
Fences August Wilson X
The Four of Us Itamar Moese X
The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams X
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone August Wilson X
The Laramie Project Moises Kaufman X
Lives of Great Waitresses Nina Shengold X
My Children! My Africa! Athol Fugard X X
Our Town Thornton Wilder X X
A Raisin in the Sun Lorraine Hansberry X
Reasons to be Pretty Neil Labute X X
Real Women Have Curves Josefina Lopez X
Stick Fly Lydia R. Diamond X X
Sunset Baby Dominique Morrisseau X
Topdog/Underdog Suzan Lorie-Parks X
Wine in the Wilderness Alice Childress X
Yellowman Dael Orlandersmith X X
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Clark Gesner X X


  • All departments offer Audition Workshops in December and January to help students prepare for their official audition. Students who participate will be able to learn what to bring, review the audition procedures, learn how to build a portfolio, present their work with confidence and prepare their work for the audition. Visit for more information and how to sign up – workshops cost $10. This fee can be waived for special circumstances, please email if you would like to request one.
  • Auditions are the first week of February 2020 – immediately after the application deadline! Make sure to visit our website to review the audition schedule. Auditions are open call for all students who successfully apply via MySchoolDC. You must view your audition date and time based on your art department and the first letter of your last name.