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Choosing an audition monologue? Plenty of ideas here

Musical Theatre Academy auditions day (l to r: Helen Evans, head of acting, Carly Hainsby, head of dance, Nick Crossley, deputy head of dance)
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Choosing audition pieces, showcase monologues and so on is clearly not ‘one of your holiday games’ as T S Eliot might have put it.

But even as someone who comes at this from the margins of the industry rather than at the cutting edge, I am well aware that the material I repeatedly hear trotted out at showcases or scholarship auditions is too often unoriginal and lacklustre.

Well, the publishers seem to be doing everything they can to rectify that and I’m receiving a whole spate of newly published books of monologues at the moment. And, interestingly, they seem to be becoming increasingly focused and specialised because, of course, when it comes to monologues one size definitely doesn’t fit all and anyone who pretends otherwise is asking for trouble.

Nick Hern Books  for example has just added to its already extensive series, Good Audition Guides with two new titles: Contemporary Monologues for Women and Contemporary Monologues for Men, both edited by Trilby James. Already in the series are Classical Monologues (Marina Caldarone), Contemporary Monologues (Trilby James) Shakespeare Monologues (Luke Dixon) and Shakespeare Monologues for Young People (Luke Dixon).

Meanwhile just published by Oberon Books come Classical and Contemporary Speeches from Black British Plays, Monologues for Men Volume 1 and Monologues for Women Volume 1, both edited by Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway.  And like Nick Hern Books, Oberon has a good backlist of books of monologues.

And from Applause, yet another publisher with a useful range of monologue books, I have In Performance: Contemporary Monologues for Men and Women late teens to twenties, edited by J V Mercanti.

Although there is, inevitably, some overlap of content in these books, taken together they add up to a wide range of material likely to be new to many, including perhaps the people who have to listen to auditions professionally.  So I hope teachers and students make good use of them. There really is no excuse for dogged (lazy?) reliance on the same old tried and trusted favourites when there’s so much on offer.

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