Nurture Your Creative Abilities

An audition, portfolio, or interview is required for all students applying to the Department of Drama. Students are responsible for submitting their audition or portfolio in person or online.

Students are also responsible for meeting Syracuse University's general requirements as well as our deadlines.

Refer to your program of interest below for specific instructions. For those prospective drama students who will audition, we have also provided information on audition preparation.

Please note that the acting and musical theater audition process will include the prescreening of applicants.

TRANSFER STUDENTS: Transfer applicants are responsible for meeting Syracuse University's general requirements and deadlines for transfer students. You are encouraged to complete the application and audition/portfolio review/interview as soon as possible as space is limited in some programs. It is strongly recommended that transfer applicants to VPA follow the first-year application deadlines. Please note:

  • Please include with your talent submission an unofficial college transcript. This is in addition to the official college transcript you send with your application for admission.
  • Include a paragraph explaining why you wish to study drama, what major you hope to pursue and why, what you expect from the major, and your career aspirations.

Acting and Musical Theater

Prescreening for Acting and Musical Theater

Please note that prescreening audition submissions will be accepted in early September (exact date to be announced) through November 15, 2017.

Applicants to the acting and musical theater programs must submit an online audition for prescreening via Accept’d. All prescreening auditions must be received by November 15. There is a one-time audition fee of $50 plus a $30 fee charged by Accept’d for submission of your prescreening audition.

If you wish to apply early decision to acting or musical theater, you must complete the prescreening as early as possible and no later than October 1. All materials, including the SU application and final audition, must be completed by the November 15 early decision deadline.

Applicants who wish to be considered for both the acting and musical theater programs must indicate this when they submit their prescreening audition. In order to receive consideration for both programs, applicants must submit both the required acting audition materials and the required musical theater audition materials. 

You will be notified of the results of your prescreening two to three weeks after your submission. If you do not receive notification within this time frame, please contact us. We encourage students to wait for their prescreening results before submitting the SU application (Common Application) so that you have the opportunity to change your major indication on the application if you are not invited to a live audition for acting or musical theater.*

If you successfully prescreen, you will be sent instructions to register for an in-person audition and may choose to do so at one of our numerous on- or off-campus audition days. You will also need to submit your application to SU (Common App) by the appropriate deadline. This can be done before or after your final audition.

If you are not invited to audition for acting or musical theater, we encourage you to apply to Syracuse University for other programs in which you may be interested.*

If you have any questions about our process or fees, please contact us at admissu@syr.edu or 315.443.2769.

*If you submitted your Common Application indicating acting or musical theater prior to receiving your prescreening results, and if you do not successfully prescreen for your preferred program, it is your responsibility to contact the SU Office of Admissions at orange@syr.edu and request an official change to your application so that you can be considered for admission to other SU programs.

Acting: Prescreening Requirements

Prepare and memorize two contrasting monologues from modern or contemporary plays (preferably written after 2000) by characters fairly close to your own age. Each monologue should be less than two minutes. These should not be taken from a musical.

It is recommended that at least one of the monologues demonstrates your ability to be physically expressive and is shot to show your whole body.

Please upload (1) a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, and when and where produced; (2) a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in the theater; and (3) a photograph of yourself alone. This does not have to be a professional headshot.

Please note: Applicants who wish to be considered for both the acting and musical theater programs must indicate this when they submit their prescreening audition. In order to receive consideration for both programs, applicants must submit both the required acting audition materials and the required musical theater audition materials.

Acting: Requirements After Successful Prescreening

Acting applicants should come prepared for a full-body movement warm-up. Please bring suitable, loose-fitting warm-up clothing and comfortable footwear.

  • Prepare and memorize two contrasting monologues from modern or contemporary plays (preferably written after 2000) by characters fairly close to your own age. Each monologue should be less than two minutes. You may be asked to make adjustments and/or perform an improvisation during the audition.
  • Please bring with you to the audition (1) a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, and when and where produced; (2) a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in acting; and (3) a photograph of yourself alone. This does not have to be a professional head shot.

Acting: Audition Preparation

Preparing for your audition should be fun for you; it's a chance to show how good you really are!

  • If you audition in person, you will audition privately for the faculty. The audition will be in a room, not on a stage. Faculty may question you about your experience and your reasons for wanting to be in the theater.
  • Choose material with which you are comfortable. Don't attempt Shakespeare or any other verse drama unless you feel entirely comfortable with it.
  • Choose a character close to your own age and experience. Connection to character is one of the most important components of the audition.
  • We are not looking for students who necessarily have an extensive performance background. We are looking for students with dedication and talent and who are open to direction and training.
  • Remember that it is okay to be nervous or apprehensive. The people on your audition committee have been in your position and will have empathy.
  • Do not audition if you are ill. We will do our best to reschedule you. If that is not possible, you may submit an online audition.

Acting: Presenting Your Audition After Successful Prescreening

Applicants to acting may submit their audition either in person or online but should only make one final submission. Your audition may be completed before or after your application but should meet all deadlines.

In-person auditions are preferred, and registration is required for all in-person events.

1. IN PERSON

If you successfully prescreen, you will be sent instructions to register for an in-person audition and may choose to audition at one of our numerous on- or off-campus audition days.

On campus

In-person audition appointments are available on specific dates at Drama Audition Days. Once you have received notification about your prescreening status, you may schedule your audition through the registration site.

Off campus

In-person auditions are available off-campus on specific dates at various locations. Once you have received notification about your prescreening status, you may schedule your audition through the registration site

2. ONLINE
  • In-person auditions are preferred.
  • If you are unable to attend any of our in-person events, you must submit new materials online to your Accept’d account by January 1. Please contact us at admissu@syr.edu for further information.
  • Applicants who submit their final audition online must submit at least one additional monologue.
  • Applicants who submit their final audition online must also submit a brief (one-two minute) video recording in which they describe their personal goals in the theater, their specific interest in studying at the Syracuse University Department of Drama, and/or their personal interests other than the theater. Think of this as an opportunity to briefly introduce yourself personally to the faculty.
  • Applicants who submit their final audition online are also encouraged to submit any additional special skills that they wish to showcase (tumbling, martial arts, juggling, Shakespeare speech, poetry, etc.) This is not a requirement. 

Please keep the following in mind when submitting online:

  • Make sure all of the images are clear, not blurry.
  • Be sure the camera was close enough to capture your facial expressions and your body movements.
  • Make sure the auditory portion of the tape is clear and easily understood.
  • You should be the only person represented on the recording, and you should perform against a plain backdrop or wall. Submissions of high school productions are not admissible.

Musical Theater: Prescreening Requirements

  • Acting: Prepare and memorize a monologue that is up to two minutes in length from a modern play (comedy or drama) by a character fairly close to your own age. This should not be taken from a musical.
  • Voice: Prepare and memorize two short songs (approximately two minutes each) of contrasting styles, moods, and time periods (a ballad and an up-tempo number). Both songs must be from musicals; cuts are acceptable.
  • Dance: Present a dance segment that demonstrates your aptitude for serious dance study. The recording should include evidence of jumping and turning abilities; awareness of body position, direction, and line; rhythmic sensibilities; and appropriate stylistic elements and performance qualities relative to your background and training, if applicable. Students should wear appropriate dance attire, and the video should be a full-body shot, approximately one minute in length. Video segments of students dancing in productions are not acceptable.
  • Please upload (1) a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, and when and where produced; (2) a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in musical theater; and (3) a photograph of yourself alone. This does not have to be a professional head shot.

Please note: Applicants who wish to be considered for both the acting and musical theater programs must indicate this when they submit their prescreening audition. In order to receive consideration for both programs, applicants must submit both the required acting audition materials and the required musical theater audition materials.

Musical Theater: Requirements After Successful Prescreening

  • Students who complete their final audition in person may present the same monologue and songs chosen for the prescreening submission, or they may choose new materials in the same format. The songs MUST contrast with one another, and for women, one song must show the legitimate (non-belting) voice. If you choose to submit your final audition online, you must submit new materials to your Accept’d account. 
  • Be prepared to sing one of the two songs prepared. The second will be heard if needed.
  • You may bring your own accompanist, but an accompanist is provided. You must bring your sheet music in a binder so that the pages may be turned easily (a small, hard-back three-ring binder works best) and in the key in which you will sing it.
  • Dance: All musical theater applicants are required to participate in a dance audition. When auditioning in person, you will be asked to learn a short dance combination to be performed in small groups. Students will be evaluated to assess level of achievement, aptitude for dance study, and potential for success in a demanding training program for musical theater triple-threats (students equally proficient in acting, singing, and dance). Students should be fit, demonstrating the physical facility to participate fully in rigorous studio work. Prior dance training, while desirable, is not always required for acceptance. Enthusiasm and obvious potential may, on occasion, substitute for prior training. Candidates should dress in basic dancewear or rehearsal attire—clothing that allows freedom of movement. Women should wear leotards and tights. Men should wear jazz pants or tights and a T-shirt. Jazz shoes are recommended for both men and women. No bulky or oversized sweatpants or sweatshirts are permitted.
  • Please bring with you to the audition (1) a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, and when and where produced; (2) a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in musical theater; and (3) a photograph of yourself alone. This does not have to be a professional head shot.

Musical Theater: Audition Preparation

Preparing for your audition should be fun for you; it's a chance to show us who you really are!

If you audition in person, you will audition privately for the faculty. The audition will be in a room, not on a stage. Faculty may question you about your experience and your reasons for wanting to be in the theater.

Some helpful audition hints:

  • Choose material with which you are comfortable. Don't attempt Shakespeare or any other verse drama unless you feel entirely comfortable with it.
  • Choose a character close to your own age and experience. Connection to character is one of the most important components of the audition.
  • Choose material and songs that are not identified with a specific performer, such as Hello, Dolly! or Funny Girl. This sets you up for a comparison that might not be in your favor.
  • Choose songs that showcase your voice and range. Don't attempt difficult pieces unless you feel entirely comfortable with the material.
  • We are not looking for students who necessarily have an extensive performance background. We are looking for students with dedication and talent and who are open to direction and training.
  • Remember that it is okay to be nervous or apprehensive. The people on your audition committee have been in your position and will have empathy.
  • Do not audition if you are ill. We will do our best to reschedule you. If that is not possible, you may submit an online audition.

Musical Theater: Presenting Your Audition After Successful Prescreening

1. IN PERSON

If you successfully prescreen, you will be sent instructions to register for an in-person audition and may choose to audition at one of our numerous on- or off-campus audition days.

On campus

In-person audition appointments are available on specific dates at Drama Campus Days. Once you have received notification about your prescreening status, you may schedule your audition through the registration site.

Off campus

Auditions for applicants to musical theater are available off campus on specific dates at various locations. Once you have received notification about your prescreening status, you may schedule your audition through the registration site.

2. ONLINE
  • In-person auditions are preferred.
  • If you are unable to attend any of our in-person events, you must submit new materials online to your Accept’d account by January 1. Please contact us at admissu@syr.edu for further information.
  • Applicants who submit their final audition online must submit two new songs and an additional monologue.
  • Applicants who submit their final audition online are encouraged to submit additional dance materials IF they can show an additional style: ballet, jazz, tap, modern, etc. Also, any other special physical skills (gymnastics, bellydancing, etc.) are welcome at this time. However, applicants do not need to submit another dance video if they feel the first video represents their abilities well.

Stage Management

Program-Specific Requirements

Applicants applying to stage management must present a portfolio and have an interview with faculty.

  • Your portfolio should consist of samples of stage management production materials such as a complete production book, running notes, or other materials that show evidence of organizational skills and stage management abilities, as well as photos of past productions if possible.
  • Also submit (1) a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, and when and where produced; (2) a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in stage management; and (3) three letters of reference from directors, theater teachers, or technical directors with whom you have worked.

Presenting Your Portfolio

Applicants to stage management may complete the required portfolio and interview either in person or online but should only make one final submission. Your portfolio review may be completed before or after your application but should meet all deadlines.

1. IN PERSON

Registration is required for all in-person events.

On campus

In-person portfolio review appointments are available on specific dates during Drama Campus Days. To schedule your on-campus portfolio review/interview, please visit our registration site.

Off campus

Portfolio reviews for applicants to stage management are available off-campus on specific dates at various locations. To schedule your off-campus portfolio review/interview, please visit our registration site.

2. ONLINE

If you are unable to attend an in-person portfolio review/interview, you may submit your portfolio to us online at suvpa.slideroom.com. The online portal offers additional instruction for submitting materials. For technical assistance, contact support@slideroom.com. There is a $10 fee for each submission you make through SlideRoom.

Once your portfolio has been submitted to Slideroom, you will be contacted by a stage management faculty member to schedule your required interview. If you have any questions, you may contact the VPA Office of Recruitment and Admissions at admissu@syr.edu or 315.443.2769.

Theater Design and Technology

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Present 10-15 examples of work that demonstrate a variety of skills, which may include:
    • Drawing and/or paintings
    • Use of design elements: color, line, texture, form, light
    • Drafting or mechanical drawing, CAD drawings
    • Light plots
    • Photography (composition, texture, use of light)
    • 3-D work such as sculpture, costumes, masks, models, etc.
    • Production paperwork such as schedules, magic sheets, plots, etc.
    • Evidence of your thought process for technical solutions
    • Photographs of produced work, finished and in stages of completion
    • Relevant video clips of specific work in action
  • Submit a current resume listing all productions in which you have been involved, your role in the production, and when and where produced.
  • Include a brief statement describing why you are choosing a career in theater design and technology. Specify if you have any particular area(s) of interest: set, costume, lighting, and/or theater technology.

Presenting Your Portfolio

Applicants to theater design and technology may submit their portfolio either in person or online but should only make one final submission. Your portfolio review may be completed before or after your application but should meet all deadlines.

1. IN PERSON

Registration is required for all in-person events.

On campus

In-person portfolio review appointments are available on specific dates during Drama Campus Days. To schedule your on-campus portfolio review, please visit our registration site.

Off campus

Portfolio reviews for applicants to theater design and technology are available off-campus on specific dates at various locations. To schedule your portfolio review, please visit our registration site.

2. ONLINE

Applicants may submit their portfolio to us online at suvpa.slideroom.com. The online portal offers additional instruction for submitting materials. For technical assistance, contact support@slideroom.com. There is a $10 fee for each submission you make through SlideRoom.

  • For each work included, list: the title of the piece; the size; the medium; date completed; if done in the classroom or independently; if based on real life, photo reference, or imagination; and concept.
  • If including production photos, please indicate what part you played in the creation or execution of the item or items shown in the photo.

B.S. in Drama: Theater Management

Program-Specific Requirements

If you’re interested in the theater management track, you should apply to the B.S. in drama program.

  • Submit a resume showing prior theater and/or related work experience.
  • Submit a statement of interest.
  • Schedule an interview with a representative of the Department of Drama by emailing the VPA Office of Recruitment and Admissions at admissu@syr.edu. Please be prepared to discuss your interests in theater management and your career goals both during college and after graduation. We will be interested in hearing about the qualities and skills that you have (or hope to develop) that you feel will allow you to succeed in a career in this area.

Scheduling Your Interview

Applicants to theater management may complete their interview in person or by phone. Your interview may be completed before or after your application but should meet all deadlines.

1. IN PERSON

Registration is required for all in-person events.

On campus
  • To register for an in-person interview during a campus event, visit our registration site.
  • To schedule an interview on a non-event day, please contact the VPA Office of Recruitment and Admissions at admissu@syr.edu or 315.443.2769.
Off Campus

Interviews for applicants to the B.S. in theater management are available off campus on specific dates at various locations. To schedule your interview, please visit our registration site.

2. ONLINE AND PHONE
  • If you are unable to attend an in-person interview, you may submit your resume and statement to us online at suvpa.slideroom.com. The online portal offers additional instruction for submitting materials. For technical assistance, contact support@slideroom.com. There is a $10 fee for each submission you make through SlideRoom.
  • You must also schedule a phone interview by contacting the VPA Office of Recruitment and Admissions at admissu@syr.edu or 315.443.2769.