Know what to expect before auditioning or accepting a role in a Pentacle Theatre show
This page explains the Pentacle Theatre experience.
Shows are an incredible experience and a lot of fun—they are also a significant commitment with a lot of late nights.
This information will give you an idea of the commitment required of an actor at Pentacle Theatre.
- Pentacle auditions are usually held in the theater lobby off Highway 22 in West Salem, or at the downtown office located at 145 Liberty Street NE. The director may choose an alternative location. Check the audition notice carefully so you arrive at the correct location. There is plenty of parking at the theater, but parking downtown is limited so plan accordingly.
- Plan to come early to fill out an audition form, or download a copy from the Pentacle Theatre website and complete it before you arrive. Be sure to write clearly, especially your contact information!
- Bring a complete list of conflicts to the audition which will need to be communicated to the director.
- Auditions often last three to four hours, but can be longer for large musicals. For larger cast auditions, we suggest bringing a book or something quiet to do.
- Make sure you read the audition announcement before going to auditions so you know what the director is looking for at auditions. You may be required to memorize an audition performance piece, or to sing a song (not from the show you are auditioning for) and to provide sheet music or a CD. For musicals, a pianist and a CD player will be provided. A cappella or self-accompanied is typically not allowed.
- If possible, read the play/musical you are auditioning for ahead of time so you are familiar with the story and characters. With a $10 refundable deposit, you may borrow a copy of the script from the Pentacle Theatre office. You might also consider checking out a copy of the script from the public library or a school library.
- Cell reception at the audition sites tends to be poor—so children trying to call parents may have a tough time getting reception if they don’t go upstairs (if they are downtown) or outside (if at the theater).
- If you cannot make the audition, then email or call the director to request an alternative date. This must be done well in advance of the audition date. Sometimes the director will make exceptions—sometimes not.
A couple of things can happen after the audition
- You get a part in the play. You know this because the director announces the cast at auditions, the director contacts you and tells you or a list is posted or emailed. You may be asked to accept a different part than you were hoping for. Be clear on your audition form if you will only accept a specific part.
- You get called back for a second audition for a specific part. Sometimes only a few people are called back for a part—other times lots of people are called back. Getting called back does not mean you get a part—just that you might. With callbacks, you may need to pick up some music or a script at the Pentacle office to practice. The director sets callback times and locations. Some are flexible if you can’t make it—others are not. The director will contact the person who got the part—and anyone else who got called back who may be offered another part (which happens—but not to everyone).
- You are not cast in the play. You know this because the director announces the cast at auditions, or the director contacts you, or a list is posted that you can check. This part can be tough on kids – who are eagerly waiting to hear back. The list may be posted late at night. It is tough to call everyone individually if they do not get a part since often 50+ people audition. Sometimes children misunderstand and think that being asked to audition guarantees them a role. Making casting decisions involves a lot of criteria and is really hard for directors—and they can’t always explain why they make the decisions they make.
- Once the production is cast, you will be given a copy of the script and any music you’ll need for the show. Some scripts are yours to keep. Others need to be returned in their original condition. Check with your director before marking in the script.
- Much communication happens via email. You will need to provide an email address that can be checked daily. This is the beginning of a lot of email communication from the director and assistants.
- A rehearsal schedule will be shared. The rehearsal schedule is fluid and can be complicated to understand. You need to know which scenes you are in and figure out when those scenes are being rehearsed. If you are confused—ask!
- There will be a day when you need to have everything memorized and be “off book”. This is really important! You must find time outside of rehearsals to study your script and learn your lines by this date.
- Rehearsals are held at the downtown rehearsal space. You will be given the key pad code to get into the rehearsal space when you are cast. There are two rehearsal rooms and typically two shows rehearsing at the same time.
- Safety is a concern for all actors. We ask that children are escorted to the rehearsal room and picked up from the rehearsal room, not at the street door.
- There may be breaks during the rehearsal where you are not in a scene. There is a waiting area outside the rehearsal room that is shared by both plays in rehearsal. There is a sink, water cooler, small refrigerator and a microwave in the space. For obvious reasons, talking loudly and being really active is discouraged. If kids are too crazy during rehearsals, then parents are asked to come and chaperone.
- Parents need to check with the director regarding their preferences for parents attending rehearsals. The director may prefer that parents wait in the waiting area outside the rehearsal room. Some children are less inhibited if their parents are not watching them rehearse. Large casts often don’t have enough room for all the cast and crew involved plus parents.
- Sometimes rehearsals run long, sometimes short. Sometimes they are cancelled or changed. Sometimes rehearsals are added. Rehearsals typically start around 6:30 and end around 9:30 p.m.—though can go longer.
- Depending on the role, you may be rehearsing four to five days a week. Once the cast starts running the whole show, everyone is expected to be at every rehearsal.
- Expect full rehearsals at the theater for several weeks before the show runs.
- Once we move rehearsals to the theater space, we encourage carpooling. Once the show goes into production, cast and crew parking is limited.
- The cast is required to work on the set at least two times. Usually the first Monday night and Saturday morning after the show moves to the theater building.
- First Sunday rehearsal in the theater is cue to cue, generally with a potluck. The director will determine what time cue to cue will start. Cue to cue typically lasts at least six to eight hours. All cast and crew are required to attend cue to cue for the entire time. Cue to cue can involve a lot of waiting and reworking. Please be prepared to be patient. Perhaps bring a book or something quiet to do during this rehearsal.
- Pentacle shows at the main theater usually run 18 performances. Each performer is expected to be at every performance. Cast members are required to arrive an hour to an hour and a half before each performance to get ready.
- 15 (Wednesdays through Saturdays) evening shows at 7:30 p.m. and three (Sunday) Matinees at 2 p.m. This is subject to change. Popular shows may add performances. A benefit show may perform on a Tuesday evening. Student Night includes a talk-back where students stay after the show and ask questions. Opening night includes a reception after the play where audience members can meet the actors. People tend to dress nice for the reception.
- Performers have chores and are expected to accomplish these tasks before each show. 90 percent of the work at Pentacle Theatre is done by volunteers. This includes the general maintenance and cleaning of the theater during performances.
- Performers are given one free ticket to the show that they can share with a friend or family member. Everybody is expected to promote the show and encourage friends and family to attend. Tickets cost $20-$29.
- Cast members are asked to chip in for a director’s gift (around $10), may have the option to buy a production CD (about $10-$20), and will be invited to a cast party. The cast party is held on closing night after striking the set and cleaning the theater one last time. Usually everyone brings food or drinks to share at the cast party, but it might be held at a restaurant and everybody will be asked to pay for their meal Often, cast members will write thank you notes to each other and deliver them at the cast party or on closing night, but this is optional.
- Costumes are typically provided, though performers may be asked to have specific shoes. If the show is set in modern times, cast members may be asked if they own clothing pieces that they can use for the show. Laundry is provided by the costumer. Cast members must leave all costume pieces at the theater during the entire run of the show, including shoes.
- Some shows have adult content and language.