Play Selection and Casting procedures
Unlike many similar companies, the Nonentities Society does not cast its plays by competitive audition. Instead it uses a method in which auditions, play readings and the experience and knowledge of the Artistic Director and a Production Advisory Group are interwoven. Whilst some new Members may find the system slightly strange, we believe it has the benefit of fairness, whilst ensuring strong casting for all plays across the season and allowing the skills and talents of all members to be encouraged and developed.
Here is an outline of the procedure by which we choose plays and then cast them:
All full members of The Nonentities Society are entitled to recommend plays for consideration for performance, and to be considered for casting in the production programme.
The established method by which plays are selected, and casting is carried out, is as follows.
1. New Members:
All new members who wish to act with The Society will, on acceptance of their application and payment of the appropriate subscription, be invited to one of a series of periodic Auditions, organised by The Artistic Director, at which members of the Production Advisory Group will also be present.
Intending participants at the Auditions are invited to prepare Audition pieces in order to demonstrate their experience and abilities.
(Members to the Production Advisory Group are appointed annually by The Artistic Director, and their names will be reported to The Committee and the Membership as a whole, as appointed. It is expected that members of the PAG will, as a matter of course, see all Nonentities productions in performance.)
[Established members may also apply to attend one of the periodic auditions should they wish to demonstrate a side of their talents, which they believe may have been overlooked in the previous Casting Process.]
1: Play selection procedure
- The Artistic Director will seek play suggestions from the membership, as a precursor to the selection of the season, and may define the policy on which plays are selected and a suitable theme around which a particular season will be built.
A Season of Plays will be chosen by The Artistic Director and the Production Advisory Group. After discussion with, and ratification by, The Committee, the chosen season will be presented to The Membership, usually in a formal General meeting, of which due notice will be given. This will usually be held in the Summer which precedes the new season which will then start in the autumn of each year. The season will have been previously ratified by the Committee and will therefore not be subject to a vote by The Membership as a whole.
The Committee may, in advance of the procedure, define criteria for the selection of plays, in order to meet the Society's objectives from time to time.
2: Appointment of Directors and Casting procedure
The Nonentities Society does not, as a matter of usual practice, cast by a competitive Audition process. Our practice aims to achieve as far as is possible, what we believe to be essential balance and equality of opportunity for all acting members. This however does not prevent the Artistic Director from time to time calling for auditions for specific parts and Members of the PAG and the appointed Director will attend these auditions. The primary objectives of the casting procedure are to ensure, as far as is possible, that:
- all Nonentities Productions are cast with equal strength across the season,
- all members who wish to act are treated fairly and their abilities respected,
- and that within the requirements of the chosen plays, as many members as possible are enabled to play interesting or significant parts during the season as a whole, always allowing for the availability of the actors concerned.
- All acting members are enabled to improve their skills and experience by encouragement to play as wide a variety of parts as may lie within their compass.
- An additional objective will be to ensure "balance" from one season to the next.
- Choice of Directors for the various plays lies solely with The Artistic Director.
- Casting is solely in the hands of The Artistic Director and the Production Advisory Group. The appointed Directors will always be consulted by The Artistic Director as to casting preferences and will have the opportunity of discussion as to their choices, but the final decision on casting will always remain with The Artistic Director and the Production Advisory Group.
- The Committee of The Society should monitor the casting procedure.
- Prior to casting, The Artistic Director will request from the Members details of their availability for the forthcoming set of plays. This is usually carried out by the issue of pro-forma availability sheets to all members. Experience suggests that this procedure is best undertaken twice during the season. At the same time as seeking availability, the Artistic Director may ask the Membership for their preferences as to parts for which they wish to be considered. Submission of Availability is a pre-requisite for expressing casting preferences and wishes may be expressed in confidence.
- The Artistic Director will hold a series of Play Readings for all the plays in each portion of the season, in good time before the start of rehearsals. These play readings will be attended by the designated Play Director and members of the Production Advisory Group. They will be organised in such a way that acting members as far as possible are afforded the opportunity of reading a variety of parts, and particularly those for which a preference may have been expressed in their availability returns. (In the event of non- attendance at the play readings, The Artistic Director and the PAG will be guided in their decisions by their knowledge of the abilities of the acting company.)
- Final Casting will be based on these criteria:
- The need at all times to provide "balance" in casting from the actors who make themselves available.
- The experience of the play readings.
- The knowledge and experience of the Artistic Director and The Production Advisory Group, of the abilities of the Acting Members.
- Where possible, the wishes of the appointed Director
- The Artistic Director will announce the casting decision in good time before rehearsals are due to start for groups of plays,or, if circumstances require, for individual plays.