Young Ensemble

Every year, McCarter Theatre Center casts twelve young actors in the Young Ensemble, a group of children ages 5-13 who take on roles within our annual production of A Christmas Carol. Members of the Young Ensemble have the opportunity to perform alongside professional actors on McCarter’s Matthews stage.

Important Dates:
  • Information on 2019 auditions will be announced in late summer. To stay updated, please sign up for our mailing list.
What to Prepare:
  • The audition sessions will begin with a group activity and warmup. This will last for approximately 15 minutes. The group will be dismissed and we’ll move to individual auditions. Each individual audition will last 2-3 minutes. Your child must come prepared to perform the scene he or she has been given and to sing a one-minute a cappella song (or verse of a song) of his or her choice. We recommend songs that tell a story (i.e. from a musical) rather than a pop song. All children will sing and then perform their prepared scene.  The casting team may then work with the child for several minutes.  If you have a younger child who is not comfortable reading, he or she may prepare another piece of text instead. This can be anything your child is comfortable with – a nursery rhyme, short story, poem, something memorized for school, or even an anecdote from his or her own life.
  • There are three scenes being used for audition purposes. The scene your child is given will be determined by his or her age and gender. These scenes do not include all of the roles your child may be considered for at auditions and the role they are reading for is not necessarily the role for which they are being considered.  Rather, each allows us to see the performances and energy we are hoping to find in all members of our Young Ensemble.
What to Bring:
  • Please bring a copy of the scene and song lyrics to the audition, even if both pieces are memorized—these copies are for the child’s own reference just in case they need it, since nerves can sometimes cause them to forget.  These copies will not be given to the adults auditioning your child.
  • Please bring a photograph of your child to the audition with his or her name on the front that the casting team can keep.  While an 8x10 picture is preferred, a smaller size will suffice.  An enlarged photo printed on computer paper or a Xerox of a photo is fine. (Please do not spend any money on unnecessary audition materials such as professional/new headshots or resumes.)  Photos will not be returned.  You are welcome, but not required, to submit a “resume” for your child outlining past experiences and lessons that might be of interest to us.
  • Children should dress as they normally would on schooldays or weekends.  New outfits, dancing clothes, special hairdos, etc. are strongly discouraged.
Additional Information:
  • Due to Union regulations, we regret that we cannot consider any child who is fourteen years of age or older. This includes any child who will turn fourteen in this calendar year (before January 1, 2020). Community Ensemble auditions, for those ages 14 and up who would like to take part in our 2020 production, will take place in the spring of 2020.
  • Parents are not allowed to attend or observe their child’s audition or callback.
  • Parents and children should both be aware that there are very few roles available. We see over 120 children each year, and our casting policy is based on many factors, some of which are beyond a child’s control. Please make it clear to your child that it is absolutely not a personal failure if they do not receive a role.
  • Your child may be asked to attend a callback audition. We will call and notify you of whether your child has been asked to attend a callback or not by Friday, September 28.
What To Expect If Your Child Is Cast
  • Only one group of children will be cast and children who are cast will perform in every performance.
  • Parents may not stay at the theater during rehearsals and performances (unless they are an usher). Our facility has space to accommodate cast members, staff, children, but not parents.  Therefore, it is requested that parents pick up and drop off their children for rehearsals and performances.  There will be a Young Ensemble Manager on staff at all times to supervise the children once they are at the theater.
  • All children who are cast and their parents will be required to attend an orientation, date TBD.
  • If cast, we ask that you do not cut your child’s hair until you have met with our costume shop. Each child cast will have a costume fitting prior to November 8th at a mutually convenient time.