We Advocate for Diversity and Equity in College-level Theatre Training Programs

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The Fund for College Auditions is a New York City-based non-profit that offers financial support and college guidance to acting and musical theatre students with limited resources who want to audition for post-high school training programs, especially those who identify with groups that are historically and currently underrepresented in theatre, film, and television.

Through supporting qualified young theatre artists who may not otherwise have access to the resources needed to excel in the extremely competitive audition process for college-level training, we advocate for diversity, equity, and belonging in college-level theatre training programs. We believe our mission of providing support for those seeking theatre training will aid in the diversification of theatre, film, and television at the professional level and a significant reduction of the systemic inequalities that persist in those fields.

Why are we needed?

Based on current admissions statistics, the college audition process for acting and musical theatre programs is more competitive than any Ivy League university admissions or medical school admissions. For a student who aspires to attend college for acting or musical theatre, talent and passion aren’t enough.  Students with sufficient financial resources are able to invest in:

Access to detailed information about post-secondary training programs: Which programs fit my academic profile? Which programs fit my career goals? Which programs are potentially affordable to them?

Professional guidance through the many tasks required to get to the audition phase: Is a pre-screen required? What does a pre-screen involve? What makes good audition material? What do schools mean when they say to show off my uniqueness?  What is this extra material they want me to film, sharing something about myself? Is my audition material “ready?”

Logistical and strategic audition guidance: How do I schedule auditions if I pass my prescreen? Should I audition on campus or at Unifieds or another consortium audition?

Audition year costs: dance attire; headshot printing; pre-screen videography; pre-screen dance choreography; professional piano accompaniment tracks; audition travel, food, and lodging; vocal health aids (humidifier, personal vocal steamer); mock auditions; master classes and summer programs with college faculty and other experts.

Experience and Training: voice lessons; dance lessons; local theatre classes and shows; theatre summer camps; experiencing professional plays and musicals.

National Principal Employment in Plays

During 2013-2015, there were 30,452 unique, new work opportunities in the U.S. for weekly employment on an Equity Principal Contract in plays.

National Principal Employment in Musicals

Between 2013-15, there were 14,834 new Principal Contracts offered on musicals.

In the 1,200 top-grossing films in the U.S. from 2007-18, 15.5% leads or co-leads were from racially/ethnically underrepresented groups. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 39.5% of Americans self-identify as being part of one of those groups.

Source: http://assets.uscannenberg.org/docs/inequality-in-1200-films-research-brief_2019-02-12.pdf

Join the #BelongingMatters Conversation!

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (ED&I) conversations have become an important part of every profession. Many corporations have entire ED&I departments, and others regularly hire consultants. BELONGING, as you see here, is the outcome when Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are truly balanced in an institutional structure.

Our Values

Post-secondary education is key to a sustainable life in the theatre.

Rigorous post-secondary theatre training should be accessible to all students regardless of income and circumstance.

Training in the theater is a gateway to many diverse and fulfilling career paths; our goal is not “Broadway or Bust”. Trained theatre artists are positioned through their education to make an impact in many fields, including but not limited to performance, directing/choreographing, producing, education, law, public policy, entrepreneurship...the list is infinite.

How We Work

Our award process:

Our Educational Advisory board considers each student application. Scholarship recipients are chosen based on their application materials (introduction and audition video, teacher recommendations, and academic profile), financial need, and demographic details.

Scholarship awards are based jointly on the student’s documented financial need and the amount of artistic preparation necessary, as evidenced in their application materials. 

Scholarship recipients can use the financial award funds for training with one of our educational partners, audition-related travel, or any other audition-related expenses.

Our Village

In order to ensure that our students can use their scholarship funds for training and costs related to the auditions themselves, we employ three powerful and knowledgeable volunteer networks to support our students and their families:

TFCA students are each matched with both a current college student mentor and an industry mentor for the duration of their training and preparation. Those mentors share the same background as the student and are available to them as theatre big brothers and sisters, to help the students navigate the hardest and scariest parts of the audition process and the inequities in the theatre world which underrepresented students see and face. The students guide how frequently or infrequently they are in touch with their mentors.

Because the college audition process can be very stressful for families, TFCA families are each matched with a parent whose child has successfully completed the college audition process within the last 4 years. The Personal Family Resource is available to provide any advice or guidance needed to any family member who is playing a part in the student’s audition process.

Our Director is available to provide any needed guidance for each student’s overall audition process, providing expert support based on her three decades as a college audition coach.