URTA Launches Arts Leadership Initiative


URTA is excited to announce our Arts Leadership Initiative, aimed at promoting the fields of arts management and producing. As part of this initiative, candidates in Theatre Management at URTA’s 2016 National Unified Auditions and Interviews will have all registration fees waived, and be able to take advantage of free seminars and workshops.

URTA President, Brant Pope says, “An increasingly important function of URTA is its ability to serve as a bridge between member programs and the theatre and entertainment industry. This Initiative is perfectly positioned to assist our members attract and train these management professionals and make them known to employers.”

The Arts Leadership Initiative is sponsored by the Westin Michigan Avenue, the Chicago site of URTA’s National Unified Auditions and Interviews, and a longtime supporter of URTA.

Applications for the 2016 National Unified Auditions & Interviews are available now at

Want to Get a Sneak Peak of the URTA Auditions?


Announcing: URTA Auditions now have a “Sneak Peek” program!

For 46 years, the URTA auditions have helped to match the best MFA candidates to the best training programs across the country and internationally. We’ve seen some big stars come through our process, from Ty Burrell, Kate Burton, Frances McDormand, Norbert Leo Butz, Keegan-Michael Key, Lauren Graham, Joel McHale, Kunal Nayyar, and thousands of other professionals that have built solid careers working in the arts—from acting to design to directing to theatre management. We’re so proud of all the candidates that trust us with this important step in elevating their craft to the next level.

URTA is always looking for ways to nurture the next wave of theatre artists. With that in mind, we believe undergraduate acting students would really benefit from viewing the URTA process; seeing first-hand the work and preparation that goes into the MFA candidates’ auditions. What better way to study audition technique than to watch a diverse selection of artists make their choices, right there in the room?

For the first time ever, URTA is opening her doors at all 3 audition sites to help you get a head start and put some of your classroom training to the test. Welcome to the Sneak Peek!

A trial run last year, with an acting class attending the URTA Auditions in San Francisco, was met with a great response.

“Again, thank you so much for the amazing opportunity to sit in on auditions this weekend. Not only did it help to clarify and prepare those students for next year, but it honed their sense of judgement. They spent hours afterwards critiquing the good and bad points of the material presented, the attitude and energy of the students.”
— Dr. Caroline Mercier, Cal State, Stanislaus

If you or your school would be interested in taking part in the Sneak Peak program for 2016, please email Christy Ming-Trent at Space is very limited, as the Sneak Peek is meant only to give students a short window of time to view the auditions.

We will continue to offer the best service to our applicants and recruiters while developing this vital outreach to younger artists hungry for industry know-how.

Acting for the Stage: Call for Essays by Theatre Scholars

Focal Press (an imprint of Taylor & Francis) is developing a new book series, PERFORM: Succeeding as a Creative Professional. Edited by Anna Weinstein, this series will serve as supplemental text for undergraduate and graduate students that professors across disciplines in the arts can use to accompany their primary textbooks. The books will have a conversational tone and will serve as career development to help students understand how to navigate the industry and vocational possibilities in their field. Specifically, this series will address business as opposed to craft and will offer insights into the day-to-day realities of the professions as well as long-term planning strategies to build and sustain a career in the arts.

The editor is currently sourcing essays and interviews to be included in the series, on the subjects of:

• Directing for the Screen
• Writing for the Screen
• Acting for the Stage

Appropriate contributors and interviewees for these first three books include:

• Theater and film artists (actors, writers, directors)
• Theater and film scholars
• Professors of stage acting, film directing, and screenwriting
• Conservatory instructors
• Private acting and voice coaches

Each book will have 30 contributors, approximately 15 essays and 15 interviews. Essays and interviews will be 3,000 words. Books will have five chapters with the following titles: “Getting Started”; “Sticking It Out”; “Finding Success”; “Getting Ahead”; and “Starting Again.” First-person narratives, magazine style articles, informational lectures, research summaries, and interviews with high-profile artists and industry professionals are welcome as long as the primary context of the submission fits within one of the five chapter titles listed above.

Researchers, artists, practitioners, and media professionals covering theater and film are invited to submit a 250-word proposal on or before June 5, 2015. Proposals should indicate “essay” or “interview” and should explain what the piece will cover (five to ten main points), the name and profession of the interviewee, if relevant (and any connection to that individual), why the contributor is suited to write and/or interview about this topic, and any unique experience and input the contributor or interviewee can offer readers about the subject.

Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by email by June 15, 2015 and will receive guidelines as well as the contributor agreement, interview release, and permissions form. Full essays are due August 1, 2015, and full interviews are due September 1, 2015.

Visit here to submit a proposal by June 5, 2015.

Announcing the 2015 NUAI Amazon Gift Card Winners!

For the second straight year, URTA has awarded a $100 Amazon gift card in a sweepstakes to 10 lucky participants in the National Unified Auditions & Interviews.

The winners are:

Alison L. of Salt Lake City

Kenna M. of Long Beach

Tasha M. of Philadelphia

Robin L. of Pensacola

Jordan G. of Evans

Colton S. of Huntsville

Emily K. of  Idaho Falls

Andrew M. of Glenview

Joe M. of Cape Girardeau

Bryan M. of San Jose

Congratulations folks!


URTA Sponsors KC-ACTF Allied Design and Technology Award at USITT

Once again, URTA is proud to be a sponsor of the Kennedy Center – American College Theater Festival’s Allied Design & Technology Award. The program provides outstanding student designers from the various ACTF regional festivals the opportunity to attend the annual USITT Conference. USITT is the premier event in the theatrical design and technology industry. Attending the conference gives students the chance to take part in specialized workshops, professional seminars, and industry panels that develop their skills and craft, as well as network and build contacts with professionals in the field.

URTA is happy to show our dedication to the quality training of future theatre artists by helping to make this award possible.

This year’s USITT Conference runs from March 18-21 in Cincinnati.

URTA at USITT March 19th


Are you heading to Cincinnati for the USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) Conference next week? So is URTA–and we’d love to see you there!

Be sure to check out the URTA panel discussion:

Undergraduate Teachers: Frontline Educators/Mentors/Guides

Thursday, March 19th, 1:00 PM – Room 232

URTA and USITT present a panel discussion on teaching theatre design and technology at the undergraduate level. The panel will be led by distinguished faculty, and attendees will be fully involved in the conversation on topics including: what type of education and skills students should seek to acquire on-campus and off (and how faculty can help them acquire it); the significant challenges in undergraduate instruction; mentoring for graduate training, internships and career transition; time off—if any—between undergraduate and graduate enrollment; and most importantly, an open forum for Q&As. This session continues a process of networking undergraduate and graduate education and training—an important discussion now and into the future. Faculty and students are welcome to join the conversation.

In addition to URTA’s Scott Steele, participants to include:

Holly Poe Durbin  Professor and Head of Costume Design – University of California, Irvine

Sarah Nash Gates Professor EmeritusUniversity of Washington

Mary Heilman Head of Applied Design for Performance, and Recruitment Manager – California Institute of the Arts

Sean Savoie Sr. Lecturer and Coordinator of Design/Technical Theatre Program – Washington University in St. Louis

Kenton Yeager Associate Professor, Head of MFA in Entertainment Lighting Design & TechnologyUniversity of Tennessee/Clarence Brown Theatre

Mark your calendars now, and we’ll see you at USITT!


URTA Events at SETC 2015

setc_logoSETC 2015 opens this week in Chattanooga, and URTA is there! Be sure to check out these two great events:

The Art and Craft of the Graduate School Audition – Thursday, March 5  7:00pm-8:15pm

How can you present yourself to faculty recruiters in only two minutes? David Haugen (Ohio University) will explore the particular needs of the grad school audition. He’ll work hands-on with actors who bring memorized audition material. There will also be a discussion of what you should expect in a graduate school audition and some new perspective on how to prepare. Actors and coaches are invited.

Is Graduate School the Next Step? – Saturday, March 7 – 9:00am-10:15am

Aimed at students in design and technology, this panel explores the question of when is the right time to pursue graduate-level training. Are you ready for that next step? Does it make sense for you at this point in your career? Panel leaders are Brackley Frayer (UNLV) and Marianne Custer (University of Tennessee, Knoxville).

URTA’s Sara Falconer will also be on hand at both sessions to discuss the URTA audition & interview process.

Bring your questions and concerns about graduate school–we look forward to seeing you there!



URTA at KC American College Theater Festival!

KCACTF Region III attendees–Don’t miss URTA’s workshops at the Festival today and tomorrow!

URTA will conduct an audition workshop today at 3PM (Room MIT361). Lori Adams, Head of Acting at Illinois State University, will observe monologues and offer feedback and perspective. Come with your prepared audition piece, or simply watch and learn!

Tomorrow (1/9) at 11AM (Room MIT 195) URTA presents a session for design/tech students: “Is Graduate School Next? Straight Talk for Designers and Technologists“. Faculty designers including John Stark (Illinois State University), Michael McNamara (Purdue University) and Karen Kangas-Preston (Michigan State University) will offer discussion on graduate training, followed by one-on-one critique and review of your portfolios.

To keep up with all the events this week, download the Guidebook App and the load the KCACTF Region III guide!

URTA also plans to attend the KCACTF Region VII event in Ellensburg, WA in February, and SETC in March in Chattanooga, TN. Like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest news.


Hotel and Transportation Tips for NUAI Candidates

So, you’re registered for the URTA National Unified Auditions and Interviews, but now you’ve got to arrange your hotel and transportation.

You should have received details on URTA’s special hotel rate–but some cities/dates are already full. Never fear–there are some great deals to be had by checking around the web. Check sites like Groupon or LivingSocial–they often have great rates for hotels in New York City, as January is a rare “down-time” in the tourist trade there.

For getting to and from the auditions, you might look up Mega Bus, Bolt Bus, or other affordable coach lines. Their rates on direct routes to cities like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco can be extremely competitive!

URTA intern

Meet Kyle Mencel, URTA’s Newest Intern

This fall marks the launch of URTA’s new internship program and we are delighted to introduce our very first intern: Kyle Mencel!

Kyle comes to us from The New School for Drama. He has been acting for about 7 years and has performed in productions ranging from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Charles Mee’s Under Construction. Kyle is also a producer and director who is currently creating a variety of web series and invisible theatre work with his production ensemble, End of The Line Productions. Along with scripted work, the production company is very involved with developing scripts and theatrical performance through improvisation. Always encouraging new artists to join their group allows the ensemble to keep ideas and energy fresh.

The URTA internship will bring theatre students from all disciplines into our national office to gain firsthand experience in theatre arts administration by working in each of our URTA’s programs. We are excited to welcome Kyle to the team and to provide both he and our future interns an invaluable opportunity for their personal and professional enrichment.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to be an intern at URTA, contact our Director of Operations, Christy Ming-Trent at cmingtrent (at)