Candidates for all degrees in Theatre, including the B.A. in Theatre and the B.F.A. degrees in Acting, Musical Theatre, Musical Theatre/Dance, and Design/Technology, must complete an audition, portfolio review and/or interview to be considered for admission into the Department of Theatre and Dance. Auditions and interviews take place between December and March, and offers of admission are made by April 1. Students who do not audition or interview on or before March 15 usually must defer consideration of admission to the following year.
Otterbein is using a pre-screening system this year. In order to be invited to audition for the BFA in Acting, the BFA in Musical Theatre, or the BFA in Musical Theatre/Dance, you will need to have been recommended by a departmental representative who has seen you at a regional audition, or have permission through video screening. Details are given below. This requirement does not apply to applicants for the BA in Theatre or the BFA in Design/Technology.
Talent Awards and Acceptance Dates
Most students accepted into one of our degree programs are also offered a talent award, ranging from $500 to $4000 annually. Grants are made on the basis of the audition, portfolio review, and interview. Notification of acceptance and talent awards begins in mid-March. Some students may be placed on a waiting list. Final offers will be made by May 1.
Admission is selective and we admit a freshman class of 32 to 34: 8 BFA Acting; 4 BFA Musical Theatre and 4 Musical Theatre/Dance; 8-10 in the BFA in Design/Technology; and 8-10 in the BA degree. Even though you audition for one degree program, the faculty may offer you admission to another degree program if they believe your talent, goals and current strengths are better suited to that program.
The Department of Theatre and Dance accepts transfer students in two degree programs: the BA in Theatre, and the BFA in Design/Technology. Requirements vary by degree program. It is possible to complete a BA degree in two years at Otterbein if the student has done two or more years elsewhere, but the BFA in Design/Technology cannot be completed in less than three years.
Students cannot transfer into the BFA Acting or the BFA Musical Theatre programs at an advanced level. However, any student may apply to enter with the understanding that it will take four years to complete these BFA degrees. Work done in general education classes will usually be accepted, giving transfer students some space for electives. Application procedures are the same as for first-year students.
Potential transfer students should consult with the Admission Counselor for the Arts in the Admission Office before applying.
An interview with the B.A. Committee is required. Be prepared to present a portfolio demonstrating your work in theatre in publicity, stage management, playwriting, directing, lighting, props—whatever you’ve done. A theatre resume, a photo, and two letters of recommendation—one of which must be from a theatre teacher—are required at the interview.
The first step is to apply for admission to Otterbein University. Once you have applied for admission, you may arrange for an interview. Do not wait to be accepted by the University!
Interviews for the B.A. degree will be held on campus in December, February and March. Interviews will also be held at the Unified Auditions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in February. To arrange for an interview, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 614-823-1657. Tell us your preferred dates. We will respond to your request with a written confirmation of your appointment and more detailed information about the interview.
To begin the application process for the B.A. Theatre degree, click here.
Prepare a portfolio of work that contains evidence of artistic achievement and creativity in the field or fields that are of interest to you, including scenic, lighting, costume, and sound design and technology, technical direction and/or stage management. (Stage managers may choose between the B.F.A. and the B.A. degree, but need to do a portfolio review for consideration for the B.F.A.) Items may include drawings, paintings, slides, photos, renderings, light plots, concepts, prompt scripts and play programs highlighting your production involvement. A theatre resume, a photo, and two letters of recommendation from a theatre or art teacher are required at the interview. Click here to learn more on how to prepare your portfolio.
The first step is to apply for admission to Otterbein University. Once you have applied for admission, you may arrange for a portfolio review. Do not wait to be accepted by the University! Interviews for the B.F.A. Design/Tech degree will be held on campus in December, February and March. Interviews will also be held at the Unified Auditions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in February. To arrange for a portfolio review, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call us at 614-823-1657. Tell us your preferred dates. We will respond to your request with a written confirmation of your appointment and more detailed information about the interview.
To begin the application process for the B.F.A. in Design/Technology, click here.
Students who have extensive experience and training in Dance, and who want to minor in Dance while pursuing a major in an academic area, may audition for a Talent Award in Dance. An interview with the Director of Dance and participation in an advanced dance class are required to be considered for a talent award. Talent awards in the Dance Minor are competitive and range from $500 to $1,000 per year. To arrange for a portfolio review, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 614-823-1657. Tell us your preferred dates. We will respond to your request with a written confirmation of your appointment and more detailed information about the dance audition and interview.
Acting, Musical Theatre and Musical Theatre/Dance (B.F.A.)
All applicants for the BFA in Acting, the BFA in Musical Theatre and the BFA in Musical Theatre/Dance are required to submit a pre-screening video in order to be invited to an audition on campus or at one of the National Unified Audition sites. Exceptions to this policy are students who have been seen in person at a state audition or at International Thespians, and who have been given an invitation to audition by the department representative.
Please do not apply for admission to Otterbein University until you have completed the pre-screening process. If you have applied already, as part of the Common Application, for example, do not be concerned. But if you have not yet applied, wait until you hear if you’ve been invited to audition. (Note that this is different from what we have been doing, and different than the requirements for B.A. and Design/Tech applicants.)
This is the way the pre-screening will work. You will make short videos and upload them to Acceptd (a new company created for this kind of task) just as you would upload videos to Facebook or YouTube. You will immediately be notified that we have received your materials. You will also be notified when we review them. These automatic steps will save unnecessary worry about whether or not your video has been seen and reviewed. Within two weeks, our Admissions liaison will send you an e-mail invitation to audition, or an e-mail notice that you will not receive an invitation. You will be notified either way. If you don’t hear from us within three weeks after your submission, then call Admissions and ask about your status.
If you are invited to audition, you will receive detailed instructions on how to proceed as well as guidelines for auditioning. You will also need to apply for admission to Otterbein, and be accepted for admission by the time you audition.
All applicants need to upload a photograph. We prefer a headshot, but if you don’t have one, send us any close-up that you have of yourself alone. You can take a picture on your smart phone.
All applicants need to upload a resume. Type one out on any word processor and then save it as a PDF file.
BFA in Acting applicants need to upload two monologues taken from plays of your choice. Any genre is acceptable. One monologue can be short and one can be longer, but together the clips should not exceed three minutes. We cannot watch more than three minutes. The introduction is not counted.
BFA in Musical Theatre and BFA Musical Theatre/Dance applicants need to upload an up-tempo song, a ballad, and one monologue. One of the songs should be from Musical Theatre repertoire, and the monologue should be from a play. The other song can be from any genre. One clip can be longer, but then the others must be shorter, and together the clips should not exceed three minutes. We cannot watch more than three minutes. The introduction is not counted.
Singers must be accompanied by piano, CD or tape. Try different distances from the sound source until you get a recording that puts your voice significantly above the accompaniment. We need to be able to hear you. A capella recordings will not be viewed.
BFA in Musical Theatre/Dance applicants also need to upload a clip of dance work. Demonstrate your technique in ballet, jazz and tap. We want simple demonstrations of technique. Do not send an interpretive piece. Do not send videos of performances. Make a single clip in which you show all your techniques. The clip should not exceed one minute.
Finally, upload an introduction. Please say your name clearly, the city you’re from, and the pieces that you’re going to do. For monologues, we only need the name of the play and the author. For songs, we only need the name of the song and the show that it’s from.
Rather than a single long video, which typically requires editing, we want separate clips: the monologue, the second monologue (for Acting applicants only), the ballad, the up-tempo, and (for dancers only) the dance demonstration. It’s actually easier for us to review and easier for you to shoot. Our goal is to make application possible for students who have no access to equipment other than a friend’s smart phone. We will not be influenced by the professional quality of the video.
Why are we adding this step to our process?
Auditioning is incredibly expensive and time-consuming, not only for you but for your parents. You have to secure an audition slot at each school, either on campus or at a regional center; you have to make travel arrangements and pay those costs; you have to make housing arrangements and pay those costs; you have to pay audition fees; then you have to actually travel, sometimes in horrendous weather, to get to the audition site; and finally you have to audition, sometimes for only a very few minutes. All of this can easily add up to $300 or $400 for each audition, and that can mean $3000-$4000 to audition for 10 programs. Many students do not have the financial means to invest in such an expensive audition tour.
From our side, we see hundreds of students each year, and we can only take a class of 16: 4 women and 4 men in Acting, 4 women and 4 men in Musical Theatre. We try to work with everyone we see, but the increasing number of applicants means that we have less and less time to do so. That’s not the best situation for anyone.
We believe that pre-screening will do the following:
- Make auditioning for us more accessible to students without financial means.
- Allow students who are not invited to audition to concentrate elsewhere.
- Give students who are invited to audition a signal that it is worth their time to do so.
- Give us the time we need to work with those who do audition for us.
Everyone wants a chance to audition everywhere, just as everyone wants the chance to interview for a job everywhere. But no company can interview all applicants. So they use pre-screening devices called resumes and cover letters. Professional theatres use casting directors who look through resumes and headshots. Our pre-screening tool provides more of an opportunity than a resume and headshot alone could ever do.
There is a fee for submitting your screening audition, but there is no fee thereafter for applying to Otterbein University or for auditioning for us in person.
We promise that we will
- look at every application,
- look past the technical quality of the video, and
- give you a chance to audition for us in person if we think it is worth your time and money.
2011-2012 BFA Acting, Musical Theatre, and Musical Theatre/Dance auditions
- Saturday, December 3, 2011 on-campus
- Friday, January 27, 2012 on-campus
- Saturday-Sunday, February 4-5, 2012 New York
- Monday-Wednesday, February 6-8, 2012 Chicago
- Saturday-Sunday, February 11-12, 2012 Los Angeles
- Saturday, February 25, 2012 on-campus
Ohio residents are required to audition on-campus. If you live outside of Ohio, you may audition at one of the National Unified Audition sites. Held in major cities in the second week of February, the National Unified Auditions provide you the opportunity for separate, private auditions with different colleges and universities. Because these are not large group auditions, you must contact each school directly for an individual appointment. (The Westin Times Square and the Westin Los Angeles Airport hotels will honor a group rate for those who identify themselves as participants in the Unified Auditions.)
For the December 3 on-campus audition, you must upload your pre-screening materials by October 15, 2011.
For all other auditions, you must upload your pre-screening materials by December 15, 2011.
To submit your pre-screening materials, click here.
For More Information
If you have any questions, please call the Office of Admission at (800) 488-8144 or the Department of Theatre and Dance at (614) 823-1657.