Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin audition-, auditio, from audire
- 1: the power or sense of hearing
- 2: the act of hearing; especially : a critical hearing <an audition of new recordings>
- 3: a trial performance to appraise an entertainer's merits
An audition is a sample performance by an actor, singer, musician, dancer or other performer. It typically involves the performer displaying their talent through a previously memorized and rehearsed solo piece or by performing a work or piece given to the performer at the audition or shortly before. In some cases, such as with a model or acrobat, the individual may be asked to demonstrate a range of professional skills. Actors may be asked to present a monologue. Singers will perform a song in a popular music context or an aria in a Classical context. A dancer will present a routine in a specific style, such as ballet, tap dance or hip-hop, or show his or her ability to quickly learn a choreographed dance piece.
The audition is a systematic process in which industry professionals select performers, which is in some ways analogous to a job interview in the regular job market. In an audition, the employer is testing the ability of the applicant to meet the needs of the job and assess how well the individual will take directions and deal with changes. After some auditions, after the performer has demonstrated their abilities in a given performance style, the audition panel may ask a few questions that resemble those used in standard job interviews (e.g., regarding availability).
Auditions are required for many reasons in the performing arts world. Often, employing companies or groups use auditions to select performers for upcoming shows or productions. An audition for a performing opportunity may be for a single performance (e.g., doing a monologue at a comedy club), for a series or season of performances (a season of a Broadway play), or for permanent employment with the performing organization (e.g., an orchestra or dance troupe). Auditions for performing opportunities may be for amateur, school, or community organizations, in which case the performers will typically not be paid. As well, auditions are used to select or screen candidates for entry to training programs (ballet school or circus school); university programs (B.Mus, M.Mus, MFA in Theater); performance-related scholarships and grants; or to be considered for representation by a talent agency or individual agent.