JUTE Theatre Company Audition Policy
Early each year JUTE Theatre Company invites theatre practitioners from across Australia to audition for the company. There are two types of auditions that the company carries out:
Open Auditions are an opportunity for performers to showcase their performance skills for the company. The open auditions are an attempt by the company to review all performers at the beginning of each year for casting in the current year and the following year. For emerging performers, it is an opportunity to become familiar with the audition process and receive feedback from the Artistic Director. All performers are welcome to attend open auditions and all performers who audition will be reviewed when the company is casting for specific shows in the future.
Show Specific Auditions
Auditions may be called for specific roles in the company’s season.
The company produces new Australian plays. There is no set timeframe in which casting for a particular show is carried out as new scripts shift and change in the development process. As all performance programs are dependent on funding, casting can be delayed until the company is certain of having the funds to employ the creative teams.
JUTE Theatre Company Role Variables
At JUTE Theatre Company the following variables determine the employment of actors for roles. Each of these is explained in detail on this page.
1. Director’s Discretion
2. Professional Performance Prowess
3. Casting Considerations
4. Local Practitioners’ Pledge
5. Co-employment between collaborating co-production companies
1. Director’s Discretion
The casting of each show is an ongoing process. From the time a show is in development, JUTE Theatre Company is working with the director of the show to cast the best people for the roles. Some casting is done immediately from actors whose work is already known to the company and to the director, some casting is done from the Open Auditions and other roles can be cast from Show Specific Auditions. The sharing of casting videos with our directors and co-producers has enabled directors outside Cairns to see local actors’ work.
If you have not been cast from Open Auditions, you can express interest in auditioning for a specific show but these auditions are usually by invitation only.
2. Professional performance prowess
JUTE Theatre Company will employ actors who are the best for the role, no matter what their training. However, actors without accredited training will need to have enough relevant experience and skills on their CVs for us to recognise their potential if we have not seen them at Open Auditions and they wish to be considered for invitation only auditions. Professional skills required vary from show to show and season to season.
JUTE operates in a national environment and its funding is linked to benchmarking the quality of our work against similar companies across Australia. It is important for all performers to take every opportunity to keep their skills at a high level and to be familiar with contemporary rehearsal practice, language and craft. Because the company produces new plays, the skills associated with script analysis and character development are highly regarded when casting. A good understanding of the professional rehearsal process, ability and structured approach to learning lines within the required timeframe and a knowledge of stage craft and the language used by contemporary theatre directors is essential.
Gaining employment as a performer with JUTE Theatre Company is like any other job interview process, the success of any applicant is based on the match of skills for the role, the compatibility of the candidate with the company and the creative team. On top of this a director has a particular vision for the work and the choice of performer is often subjective when all other criteria are equal.
Being part of a JUTE Theatre Company creative team gives performers the opportunity to work with highly regarded theatre practitioners from within and outside of this region. This can lead to opportunities outside of this region through the connection made with visiting artists. It offers a 6-10 week full time employment opportunity that might also include a tour. It is an opportunity for performers to grow their skills and practice their art and take part in the thrilling journey that is the creation of new work with the support of the infrastructure of a highly regarded professional theatre company.
3. Casting considerations
JUTE Theatre Company is committed to the development of the national regional theatre sector and is funded to take a national approach. This means that our artists might be drawn from this or other regions and does not exclude artists from metropolitan centres. JUTE Theatre Company will always cast the best person for a role and must respect the casting decisions of directors for each show. However where possible JUTE Theatre Company will cast first from this region.
4. Local practioners’ pledge
JUTE Theatre Company is committed to employing local theatre practitioners who meet the criteria as set out above. While JUTE has a national approach, it is very committed to creating opportunities for theatre makers in this region. This is evidenced by the range of programs that support local artists and the consistent employment of practitioners from this region.
5. Co-employment between collaborating production companies
JUTE Theatre Company collaborates with many regional and metropolitan companies to ensure our playwrights and creative teams have the opportunity to take the work to a larger audience and to stay connected to the broader theatre sector. There are practical budgetary considerations, also as co-producers bring production monies. A professional production can cost anywhere between $80,000 – 150,000 with approximately 85% of these costs going to artists wages. For it to be a real collaboration, each company will bring a range of artists to the project so that there is an equal share of employment for artists from both co-producers. This is a wonderful opportunity for artist exchange and creates a rich experience for all involved.
The audition process
• Open Auditions will be held annually, usually within the first quarter of the year. This is an opportunity to see actors whose work we have not seen before or to view the growth of actors who have undertaken professional skills development and performance experience since the previous audition process.
• To be considered for the Open Auditions you must be on the JUTE Theatre Company Artist Register. This is a once only application process and simply allows the company to know which artists are interested in working with JUTE Theatre Company.
• Auditionees are required to confirm an audition time prior to the auditions.
• Auditionees are required to prepare two contrasting pieces of their choice that show the performance range of an actor (comedy to tragedy) (all styles accepted), and provide a one-page CV and photograph prior to the audition. They are required to bring the text of the audition piece and provide the audition panel with a synopsis of the play.
JUTE Theatre Company professional fees paid to practitioners are based on the Australian Fair Work Laws, Modern Awards, however JUTE Theatre Company may choose to pay more than the award rate depending on the level of experience of the performer. The award also delineates between performers in their first few years of professional work and those who have performed consistently over a number of years. While JUTE Theatre Company often pays above the Australian Fair Work Laws, Modern Awards, the MEAA union award is greater than the performer fees paid by JUTE Theatre Company. The MEAA rate is subscribed to by a number of major companies in Australia that have access to significant funding and large audience bases for box office income and often do not take a risk on new work. JUTE balances the rate paid to artists against the number of programs the company is able to undertake and is comfortable with the rate paid to its artists as benchmarked against the national theatre sector. Our funding bodies require that JUTE Theatre Company pay rates in line with the Australian Fair Work Laws, Modern Awards.
Opportunities for theatre practitioners at JUTE
JUTE Theatre Company is committed to programs that support the development of regional theatre makers and currently has programs that support playwrights, directors, dramaturgical skills, emerging theatre companies and independent producers. While the company has previously invested in performance skills development opportunities, these workshops have not been well attended. The company will certainly review this program if there is a proven demand.
The JUTE Theatre Company Artist Register
The Artist Register is for actors, directors, writers, designers etc. The register is for Cairns, regional Queensland and other regionally based professional artists from across Australia, as we often collaborate with companies in these areas. To register for this database you must provide us with an electronic one page CV (word document) and headshot (jpeg format). Your CV should outline all of your recent, relevant artistic work, and the headshot should be an 8 x 10 black and white photo.
Please send these electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Professional Artists Register