Tampa Unified Auditions: time is almost out!

If you would like to be seen for our 2017-18 season, this is the best place to get that done. It’s that simple. I am told that there are currently only about 20 open slots available, and the audition is this weekend. Jobsite does not generally hold open auditions throughout the year, but calls back members of our ensemble, people we find at TTB, and folks a director seeks on their own. The only real exceptions here might be the musical we do every year and *possibly* our Shakespeare production. Otherwise if you are not an established ensemble member or someone the director already has on her radar, the TTB Unified Audition is the way to be seen.

At the risk of of being controversial, I want to say a few things as someone who sees multiple sides of a few current issues (and as someone that’s starting to hear a lot of opinions again):

  1. I firmly hold that the Tampa Unified Audition is one of the best aspects of TTB.
  2. We have called back numerous people from these auditions that were in some way “new” to us, have offered roles to some of those folks that just did not work out, and have gone on to cast others more than once (I will use both Derrick Phillips and Hugh Timoney here as current examples). I’m there to pay attention, not just provide a courtesy. I have better things to do with my time.
  3. Jobsite used to organize a day-long open audition, which meant that *I* organized a day-long audition annually, and it was a nightmare. During some hours up to 75% of the slots would no-show. Because we had a “take all comers” policy, a lot of these auditions would come from people with no experience whatsoever and would not at all conform to the requirements we asked for. If I can be blunt, it was a huge waste of time. For everyone.
  4. I fully appreciate that some people have a problem with “paying to audition” and maybe I am just choosing to reframe it in a way that I like better, but folks are paying for a membership. The membership comes with a seat at the table for those auditions. The membership also allows people to see shows at member companies at steep discounts. I also do not have a problem with a fee that helps take care of renting the facility, paying for the incidental expenses of getting it all up and running, and — this may be controversial — weeding out folks who really aren’t serious about auditioning.
  5. I also think the performer can look at it as paying for convenience. You’re being seen by 15 companies at once. Gas and time alone has to be worth at least $35 here.

I have been publicly critical of the TTB Award judging, nomination, and event ceremony. We sat out for a number of years. I still hold those same reservations by and large but out of a sense of respect and collegiality have re-entered the process. Perhaps some folks think the membership fee “not worth it” if they do not plan on attending the awards ceremony and find it unethical to pay a fee to attend an audition (which people do all the time: FPTA, URTA, SETC). I still believe that the TTB membership is worth it for the rush tickets and access to the auditions alone (there are other benefits). If you counter with that you can get comps, or be seen by the companies you want to be seen by — Kool and the Gang. That works for you. It doesn’t work for everyone.

If you are an actor on the fence who really wonders if this is all worth it, I would like to assure you it is. If you are a member of this theater community who finds TTB imperfect, as many of us do, I urge you to be a part of the solution and get in there and get your hands dirty. If you consider yourself an established member of the community or someone who only has a limited interest (let’s say you just wanna work with one company) I would still urge you to consider membership not only as a show of solidarity but simply for the discounted tickets. If, as an artist, you do not believe in supporting a membership-based alliance for your industry and generally do not believe in paying for tickets, even if they are greatly reduced, to our regional shows — how can you expect folks in the general public to “support local theater” by giving and/or buying tickets?

I’m never one to shy away from expressing a controversial opinion. Lord knows. I am also not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Truth is, we need an organization like TTB (even as it is with current warts). I look forward to trying to help it grow into an organization that lifts us all.

-dj

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Get in touch with Artistic Director David M. Jenkins for all business and production related questions and touring information.

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