FAQ about Harold teams and the audition process
So you’ve completed the WIT curriculum and now you’re gunning to be on a Harold team. Awesome! The Harold team program has served as a training ground for hundreds of improvisers.
The first thing you’ll want to do before you audition is check out the Harold Team Mission and Expectations document, which outlines the purpose of the program and what’s expected of players. Below, we’ve outlined some frequently asked questions about the audition process to help prepare you.
How often does WIT hold Harold auditions? When are the next round of auditions?
Harold auditions typically take place toward the end of each “cycle” (i.e. every 6 months). Those cycles are October through March, and April through September. WIT’s next auditions are Sept. 16, 2018, and March 9 & 10, 2019.
Are auditions only to create new teams or to replace members of existing teams?
It depends on a multitude of variables (the number of teams in rotation, vacancies on existing teams, etc.), but Harold auditions can serve as an opportunity to create new teams or place new members on existing teams. This varies cycle to cycle depending on the circumstances.
Do a lot of people drop off teams between seasons? Or do all current members have to re-audition?
The number of players that drop off of teams between cycles varies. Sometimes a few people drop off (leaving the program, moving to a company ensemble) and new members will be added. Sometimes existing teams lose members and the teams are reorganized into new teams. Sometimes a team is cycled out of the program. The end goal is to create teams doing great work, and to create growth opportunity for players.
Harold players or teams can be taken out of rotation after the careful consideration of Harold team coaches and the artistic director. Team compositions or reorganizations are usually determined in a way that’s informed by the audition process.
Players whose development appears to be plateauing or regressing may be asked by the Harold coaches group to re-audition, regardless of how many cycles they have been in the program. Re-auditioning can show the coaches that players are committed to the program, and provides a chance for players to display their skills. Performers who need to re-audition will be notified in advance.
Harold teams are cast, coached, and managed entirely by WIT artistic leadership and are focused on player development. That is, helping individual players develop their skills. Sometimes a by-product of this is a Harold team that’s strong enough to evolve into a company ensemble. This is the exception, not the rule. Current company ensembles Love Onion and Madeline originated as Harold teams.
What do the auditions look like? (Eg. Scenework with a small group on stage, a large jam, a Harold?)
It’s pretty straightforward. Auditions begin with a warm-up, just like class. Your group size may vary but will typically be around 8-10 players. You’ll warm up together with the audition leader acting as the teacher/coach. You’ll usually perform a Harold together and there may be some other directed scenework.
How do dues work?
Dues are $45, paid monthly through PayPal. You can set up a recurring charge so you will be automatically charged. When you are placed on a Harold Team, you will receive more direction on how to pay your dues. These monies help offset coaching, space rental, and other costs.
Who monitors auditions?
Typically the artistic director and multiple harold team coaches past, present, and future attend auditions. Occasionally other experienced players, coaches, and/or directors help in the process.
What are they looking for in the audition?
We asked! Here’s what some current and former Harold coaches said they are watching for during auditions. Different coaches look for different things.
- “Listening to your partner and giving their words meaning are more important than being funny. Have their words or actions affect you, then justify why your character was affected in such a way. Build something fun, don’t have a ‘humorous’ argument on stage.”
- “Before anything else, I look for confidence. Auditions are nerve-wracking, sure — but gurl, so is performing. 😉 The biggest issue you see with greener improvisers is that they get anxious more easily, and it infects every aspect of their play. You can’t access your sense of fun if you’re preoccupied with your sense of fear. So if you feel yourself still holding back, jumping the gun, or living in your head onstage, go force yourself onstage a lot more often. Beyond that, I want to see your personality and creative tastes — because they’re what distinguish you as a performer — and I want to see you make proactive, constructive choices in scenes. And I want to see you have fun!”
- “What I am looking for is a firm grasp of scene foundations. Can you show who you are, what the scene is about, and where you are? More importantly, can you focus on the relationship of the scene instead of going transactional? Auditioning is always a little stressful because you are with a mashup group in front of an imposing audience. It is tempting to showboat but you will actually shine brighter if you stick to a good foundation. Emotions, being affected, and having stakes will go very far.”
- “The biggest thing I am looking for is for people to be super affected—facially, vocally, physically—by whatever is going on with their scene partner. Physicality is a big one for me, personally. Always bringing the scene back to the relationship and making honest choices based on that instead of inventing and looking for a good joke.”
How are casting decisions made?
It’s a little different every time, as multiple factors play into these decisions. Main factors we consider:
- Players who demonstrate the skills and qualities noted above.
- Players who we feel will make a good fit into existing team/s. When we have a team of eight and are looking for a ninth player, sometimes we get a strong feeling who may be a strong choice.
- Notes from former WIT teachers are sometimes taken into consideration, especially if a teacher raves about a student who had a so-so audition.
- Diversity: we seek to include diverse voices in the Harold team program.