THEATER: Utah Festival seeking child actors

It’s a long-term goal for a lot of adult actors to appear at the Tony-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. Now, artistic director Brian Vaughn is on the lookout for children as well.

He’s holding open auditions Jan. 21. What makes the opportunity unusual is that the available roles are major. This will give talented kids a chance not just to play some iconic roles, but to work alongside highly experienced and accomplished Equity (union) actors.

Vaughn’s seeking five children who look between the ages of 9 and 12 to play the major roles of Scout, Jem and Dill in the celebrated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Young Cosette and Gavroche in "Les Miserables."

Here’s a listing of details, as provided by the festival:

When: Jan. 21, 2012, "To Kill a Mockingbird" auditions will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. "Les Miserables" tryouts will be from 2p.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Auditorium Theatre, on the Southern Utah University campus on the corner of 300 West and University Blvd.

What to Bring: A current headshot, resume, and a completed actor application form, which can be found at bard.org/about/employment/childauditions.html.

Individuals interested in auditioning for "To Kill a Mockingbird" need to download and prepare the script selections, which can also be downloaded from the festival website.

Individuals interested in auditioning for "Les Miserables" need to download and prepare the musical selections from the Festival website. An accompanist will be provided.

Character descriptions:

Scout needs a strong center or sense of self, an ability to listen and take things in. She has a basic likability or charm and a tomboyish quality. She’s 9 in the script but could be played by someone 10 to 12. Obviously, she’s not begun puberty, but she’s a precocious girl.

Jem is cresting into puberty, but still a boy, really. He is a little bossy, perhaps, and beginning to experiment with being a man. The character is 12, but the actor could be a young 14 or 13.

Dill is a bit of a character. It’s helpful if he’s just naturally a little quirky or funny or off-beat. He’s impulsive, too. He could be a young 12 or even a mature 9. He could be smaller than Scout or about the same size, but should definitely be smaller than Jem. He’s "sort of puny."

Young Cosette is a young, frail little waif. She should look 7 to 9 years old and have a vocal range from A (below middle C) to C.

Gavroche is a kid of the streets, outgoing, brave, tough, witty. He should look 9 to 12 years old and have a vocal range from B (below middle C) to D; his voice has not yet changed.

For further into, contact personnel manager Lise Mills at millsl@bard.org or (435) 865-8231.

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