Signature in the Schools - for Students

Signature in the Schools is a theatrical training program unlike any other. The chance to be in a world premiere production, written, directed and staged by professional theater artists, featuring a professional actor. And beyond all of that, it’s the chance to participate in a theatrical conversation about issues that matter: race relations in America, veteran issues, the Arab Spring, immigration. These are just a few of the topics that Signature in the Schools productions have delved into.

“Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide…many cities did he visit…moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his life and bring his men home…” Thus begins Homer’s The Odyssey. This year’s Signature in the Schools play draws parallels between this classic work and the sufferings by sea that millions of Syrian refugees have made and are making. As these parallels are explored, questions about who the United States has and hasn’t allowed into its borders at different times are inevitably asked. With its newest play, Signature in the Schools continues its tradition of bringing difficult subjects alive by connecting them to history, politics and literature.

Want to audition? Would you rather work backstage? Good news, any high school student currently enrolled in an Arlington County public high school is eligible to apply for both acting and technical positions. No experience necessary – we’ll teach you on the job!

The Audition and Interview Process

Students interested in auditioning or interviewing for Signature in the Schools are welcome to attend on October 6 beginning at 3:30PM at Signature Theatre (4200 Campbell Ave). Students will be seen in the order they arrive. No advance appointments are available.

Potential Actors: Applying actors should come prepared with a memorized 1-2 minute monologue. Those who are unable to come with a monologue will be provided with a monologue to read when they arrive.

Potential Stage Crew: Applying crew members should be ready for a simple 3-5 minute interview aimed to find out whether your work ethic is right for the program. Questions like “Tell me about a time you had to work hard at something” or “Tell me about what your hardest class is at school and what you did to succeed in it” will be asked.

Then what?

Then, you wait. If you make it into the program, you’ll get an email from Signature staff on October 13.

Time Commitment

Signature in the Schools is a serious time commitment. When you audition, you’ll get a chance to tell us every day that you’re unable to come to rehearsal/crew call. Any conflicts that come up after that will have to be approved by the director for you to miss them (and they might not be approved!).

Before you audition, look over these calendars closely. Note mandatory days. Students with an excessive amount of conflicts will not be considered for the program.

Download the Student Calendar

Whoa, that’s a lot of dates. The general breakdown of how the program works are in the boxes on this page.

PART I – Boot Camp: Aimed to create a true theater ensemble, these sessions are devoted to theatrical skill building as well as hands-on lessons about the year’s given historical subject.

PART II – Table Read: Cast and crew gather together to hear the script for the first time and to discuss it with the playwright. Actors then have a week off for memorizing lines.

PART III – Rehearsals and Crew Calls: Rehearsals are every day after school and occasional Saturdays. NO ACTOR WILL BE CALLED EVERYDAY. After Boot Camp and Table Read, costumes and props should plan on meeting to work 1-2 days a week after school. Lights and sound are not called again until tech. Stage Management is called to every rehearsal and performance.

PART IV – Tech: All of the departments have been working separately for weeks. Now, we finally put it all together. Every minute of tech is mandatory for every person working on the production.

PART V – Student Matinees: As noted on calendars, students involved in the production miss their morning classes for five days. While students are excused from their classes to participate in morning performances, they are not excused from doing their work for those classes. Students are responsible for school work and class time missed.

PART VI – Evening Performances: It’s not just for the students though. There are two free performances for the public so everyone you know can come see you in a professional-quality show!

Have questions about Signature in the Schools? Send your questions to See you in October!