Signature in the Schools - for Students

Signature in the Schools is a theatrical training program unlike any other! If chosen to participate in the program, here’s what awaits you:

  • The opportunity to work on a world premiere production, written, directed and designed by professional theater artists.
  • Creating a production that also features a professional actor in the cast.
  • Working on a professional-level play in Signature Theatre’s state-of-the-art MAX Theatre as an actor, stage manager, prop crew member, costume crew member, lighting board operator, spotlight operator, or sound bound operator.
  • Creating a piece that creates conversations about issues that matter. Past productions have looked at things like social media and mental health; the New Deal and its contemporary relevance; the power of the vote; and freedoms of expression. This year we’re looking at mental health, activism and women’s rights through the lens of Nellie Bly’s 1887 famous expose of a New York insane asylum.

And it’s all completely free to participate in.

Signature in the Schools needs you. This program aims to reflect the greater Arlington community onstage and backstage, telling stories about people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The play is not written until it’s cast, and it is all tailored to what you bring to the table. We cannot wait for you to experience this program.

Eligibility

Signature in the Schools is available to students who currently attend Arlington Public Schools high schools, grades 9 – 12.

Signature wants to meet student actors and technicians of all experience levels and of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and expressions, and students living with disabilities.

Health and Safety

Please note that, if accepted, students will need to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. We will offer exemptions for those unable to be vaccinated, such as people with certain medical conditions preventing vaccination or those with closely held religious beliefs that prevent vaccination. Exempted students will need to provide regular and timely negative COVID-19 tests to participate. Students do not need to be fully vaccinated by auditions but will need to be by the time the program begins on November 7.

Signature Theatre is continually updating its plans in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Additional health and safety protocol will reflect current guidelines from the CDC and the State of Virginia and will be provided to accepted students closer to the start of the program.

Time Commitment

When you sign up to audition, you’ll get a chance to tell us about any scheduling conflicts you may have. We will honor all submitted conflicts. Any conflicts that come up after the audition will have to be approved by the director (and they might not be approved!)

The general breakdown of how the program works is listed below.

Student Calendar

PART I – Boot Camp and Table Work: Designed to create a true theater ensemble, these sessions are devoted to theatrical skill building and hands-on lessons about the year’s given subject matter. Additionally, there are regular opportunities for the cast and crew to gather to read through the script and to discuss it with the writer as it goes through revisions. Please note: Boot Camp has been reduced from 15 to 10 days this year. The trade-off is that these days are 30 minutes longer than they were in the past. Don’t worry – we’ll provide snacks every day!

PART II – Rehearsals and Crew Calls: Once Boot Camp has concluded, the cast and stage management meet together for two weeks in December and three weeks in January to stage and rehearse the show. During this same time, costume crew and prop crew meet one to two times a week to build the show.

PART III – Tech and Preview Performances: Mandatory for all participants in the production. This is the week where the cast, crew, designers, stage managers and directors all bring their work together to create a fully produced play. They also perform it for a preview audience before they make their final revisions and open the production.

PART IV – Performances: Following tech and previews, there are four performances for area field trips and up to two performances for the public. Field trip performances are on weekday mornings and public performances are in the evening. We will help you and your parents get you excused from the classes you need to miss. After tech is over, there are no more rehearsals – you just show up and do the show! After the final public performance, the show is closed and the program is over for the year.

Auditions and Interviews

Signature Theatre is looking for student technicians and actors of all experience levels, and of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and expressions. Signature is also looking for student actors and technicians living with disabilities.

  • Technical theatre positions are available for costumes, lights, props, sound and stage management.
    • No experience necessary.
    • Technical theatre applicants will be asked questions about their work ethic, work experience and their interest in the program. The interview takes about five minutes.
  • Actors are needed.
    • No experience necessary.

To audition, please prepare a 1-minute memorized, contemporary monologue of your choice. Don’t have a piece? Look here for a few options to choose from. Pick one that speaks to you! If you have time to memorize it, we appreciate it but otherwise you’re welcome to read it for us during your audition.

Auditions and Interviews will take place at Signature Theatre on September 30 beginning at 3:30PM.

  • There is no preregistration for in person auditions. Simply show up to Signature as soon as you can after school and sign up for a slot. We will see people in the order that they arrive and register.
  • We will have copies of selected monologues printed out for actors to read if they do not have a piece of their own.
  • Signature Theatre aims to be an open and accessible institution. If you need any special accommodations for your interview or audition, please email sigschools@sigtheatre.org.
  • Masks are required when in the building. Actors will be permitted to remove their masks while performing their piece.

Can’t make it on September 30? No worries!

Prerecorded acting audition option: If you cannot attend the live auditions on September 30, you may apply by submitting a prerecorded audition video of your contemporary one-minute monologue. Once you have created your video, you’ll upload it to YouTube as an “unlisted” video (NOT “Private”) and then upload it at the link below. Prerecorded videos are due by 11:59PM on October 1.

Please note: We are having difficulties receiving video submissions through our website. If you click on the “Upload Video Audition” button below and receive a message saying that the form is closed, please email your video to sigschools@sigtheatre.org. We apologize for any unexpected inconvenience.

Upload video audition

  • Actors who need access to WiFi can find free WiFi access through Arlington County’s free wireless service.
  • Check out these tips that will help your prerecorded acting audtion stand out.
    • Lighting: The most important thing is that we are able to see you clearly. If possible, place a lamp in front of you while you audition, interview or tape. Make sure the lamp doesn’t block your camera/phone.
    • Background: Pick a spot where you can stand out. A perfect place is in front of a solid-colored wall. If not, any background is fine as long as you stand out.
    • Filming: Video yourself or have a friend/loved one help you. Placing your phone between two textbooks is an easy way to make an at-home stand.

Audition and Interview Coaching

Want feedback on your audition piece or want to do a practice round of your interview? Get the feedback you need to succeed at your audition! New this year, we’ll be offering open time where you can log onto Zoom and get coaching on your audition piece or your interview with a member of Signature’s staff. You can meet with a staff member on September 26, 27 and 28 between 3:30PM and 5PM (your appointment will take a max of 30 minutes, likely less than that.) To sign up for a slot with a staff member, email sigschools@sigtheatre.org with “Coaching Time” in the subject line. In your email, let us know if you’re interested in acting or interview coaching and what day/time you’d like to work with a staff member.

We want you to succeed. Have questions about Signature in the Schools? Send your questions to sigschools@sigtheatre.org.

Signature is committed to becoming a more equitable, anti-racist organization. In this company, we condemn all acts of racism, discrimination and hatred. Signature Theatre celebrates diversity and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability status, or any other applicable characteristics. Signature Theatre is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities.