What Should Parents Do During Auditions?

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Are you the parent who is pacing about and wringing your hands with worry? Hovering nearby to ask anxiously, “How did it go?” Comparing notes with other stage moms? Eavesdropping at the audition door? Wow, that’s embarrassing.

So where do calm, relaxed, and reasonable parents park their backsides during their child’s auditions? Depending on your relationship with your thespian and where the auditions take place, parents have several options.

National Unified Auditions
These take place in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Each college conducts private auditions in hotel conference rooms or studios. Parents are never allowed in the audition room. There is usually a lobby or waiting area with seating near elevators, or an adjacent hallway where you can hang out and wait. If those options are too crowded, try waiting in your car or hotel guest room.

If your child wants to be able to contact you for emergencies (“Mom, I forgot my headshot!”) you might want to choose a nearby option and bring a good book. If your child does not want to see your face (“Please get lost, Mom!”) try running errands to keep your mind clear, or camp out in your hotel room with the TV to keep you company. Of course, there is always your phone, tablet or laptop if you want to get some work done, although finding a quiet area might be a challenge.

If you anticipate long hours of waiting, strike up a conversation with other parents, go sightseeing, take in a movie or museum exhibit, or make plans for lunch or dinner together. Parents need each other during the stressful audition process. And of course, depending on how things are going, you might want to kill some time at the hotel bar for a relaxing glass of wine, or maybe even a stiff martini!

READ: “How to Show Your Authentic Self in College Auditions”

On-Campus Auditions
These are usually all-day events; at some colleges, the audition experience is an entire weekend with a planned schedule of activities. Many college recruitment offices arrange a campus tour and a program overview. Students may have an opportunity to eat in the commissary and visit with current theatre students, possibly watch a rehearsal or see a show, and audit or even take a class.

Parents may or may not be included in all these events. But some colleges have things planned specifically for parents, and during an on-campus audition, there are many places you can comfortably wait and keep yourself entertained while your thespian is off somewhere doing that thing they love. So you can relax, take a walk or read.

The most important advice I can give you is to have a conversation with your kiddo about how close or how far away they want you to be. And it is comforting for them to know that you are only a text away if they need you for emergencies or just for moral support. You know your child better than anyone, so do what you feel is best for them. Remember, this is your student’s big day. Their needs reign supreme. And if you want to whisper the very best advice in their ear, tell them, “Be joyous, be brave, be yourself.”

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Mary Anna Dennard
Mary Anna Dennard is a nationally recognized college audition coach and the founder of CollegeAuditionCoach.com, the first ever online prep for college performing arts applicants.
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