Auditions/Work with Us
We are committed to building a creative and dynamic workplace that celebrates individual differences and diversity and treats everyone with fairness and respect. ArtsWest does not discriminate in practices or employment opportunities on the basis of an individual’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, disability, or any other category protected by federal, state, or local regulations. We value intersecting identities and recognize the fluidity within them. We value an organization that allows each of us to show up leading with our authentic selves.
Artistic / Production Work at ArtsWest
ArtsWest’s mission is to produce theater that provokes conversation, incites the imagination and uses live theater as a powerful agent of change. Fulfilling this mission often leads us to produce disruptive work that responds to what’s happening in our world and challenges the status quo. For the past several years, ArtsWest mainstage seasons have been comprised of at least 50% BIPOC playwrights and stories. In 2021 and beyond, we have instituted a series of practices to further support the artists telling these stories and the audiences who experience them.
In 2021, we began programming our seasons collaboratively with a collective of ArtsWest Associate Artists. The group was created as a new power-sharing method of season curation. Rather than limiting the minds and voices involved to those of ArtsWest leadership, the group adds new interdisciplinary, majority BIPOC theater artists into the conversation each year. In collaboration with ArtsWest leadership, the Associate Artists source, discuss, debate and program as a collective the material for our mainstage season.
Each season at ArtsWest is programmed around a “theme,” though the season seeks to go much deeper than the word implies. Each season has at its heart a deep and pressing question that arises from the world the season finds itself in. This question is explored through six widely different lenses over the course of a year-long season of theater and visual art exhibits, placing the theater we make in solid conversation with the world around it.
ArtsWest seeks to create a nourishing home for artists where they can show up as their authentic selves and find the support necessary to create visionary work. The following policies and practices have been created with two goals in mind – to open our doors, inviting artists who have never worked at ArtsWest before to join us for the first time; and to continue to develop ongoing and long-term creative relationships with artists who find an artistic home at ArtsWest. Since 2017, at least 40% of artists employed by ArtsWest each year have been BIPOC, and at least 50% of the plays produced each year have been written by BIPOC playwrights. In 2021 and forward, at least 50% of the artists we work with will be BIPOC and plays by BIPOC playwrights will continue to constitute at least 50% of our work. However, BIPOC artists are valued not just for one aspect of their identity, but as artists full stop. For that reason BIPOC artists work on shows throughout the season, not just on BIPOC plays.
Beginning in 2021, each year we will hold an open submission process to get to know stage managers, crew members, designers, and other creatives who have never worked at ArtsWest before. Interested artists are invited to submit work samples on a rolling basis, and to come in for an annual day of conversations with a committee consisting of ArtsWest’s Artistic Director and fellow community artists. Below are more details specific to each discipline.
New non-union stage managers and assistant stage managers are invited to submit resumes, work samples, or simply letters of interest at any time, which we will receive and collect throughout the year. Each year, we schedule a day of 10-minute appointments for interested stage managers to meet with a committee consisting of ArtsWest’s Artistic Director, a fellow stage manager, and an actor from the community. For the 2021-2022 Season, meetings with PSMs and ASMs will take place on September 25, 2021. Please email materials to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be invited to self-schedule a time to come in to meet with the committee.
Each season we employ six Production Stage Managers. At least one will be new to ArtsWest, with two positions reserved for pre-existing partnerships with directors, and three reserved to continue fostering ongoing creative relationships with ArtsWest.
Our crew consists of non-union run crew, wardrobe, board ops, master electricians, carpenters, and/or scenic charge artists, depending on the needs of each production. Each year, at least 40% of these positions will be reserved for those new to ArtsWest.
Each year, we schedule a day of 10-minute appointments for interested technical crew members to meet with a committee consisting of ArtsWest’s Artistic Director, Technical Director, and a designer or two from the community. For the 2021-2022 Season, meetings with new technical theater artists will take place on October 2, 2021. Please email materials to email@example.com and you will be invited to self-schedule a time to come in to meet with the committee.
New directors, designers, and other creatives are invited to submit resumes, work samples, or simply letters of interest at any time, which we will receive and collect throughout the year. Each year, we will schedule a day of 10-minute appointments for interested artists to meet with a committee consisting of ArtsWest’s Artistic Director, a director with an ongoing relationship to ArtsWest, and a designer from the community. Season meetings for 2021-2022 will take place on September 18, 2021. Please email materials to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be invited to self-schedule a time to come in to meet with the committee.
Each season, at least 30% of the designers and other creatives will be new to ArtsWest, with 30% reserved for pre-existing partnerships with directors, and 40% reserved to continue fostering ongoing creative relationships with ArtsWest. A minimum of one director new to ArtsWest will be brought onboard each season.
At this time, ArtsWest has no new works program. Typically our seasons are programmed from published plays with prior productions that are licensable through licensing houses or the playwrights themselves. Occasionally we will produce the first production of plays that have been fully workshopped and are not in need of any additional development process. Playwrights interested in pitching such plays are invited to submit them year-round via this form (coming soon). We will not be able to respond to every inquiry, but you can rest assured that your work will be seen by ArtsWest staff.
ArtsWest recognizes that actors are on the frontlines of our work, bringing their hearts, minds, and stories to bear every time they step into the audition room or onto the stage. At all steps of the process, we seek to create brave, supportive spaces in which actors can thrive and create incredible work. We practice identity-conscious casting and producing, an idea coined by Lavina Jadhwani in her fantastic HowlRound article as an evolution of the practice of color-conscious casting. Some ways this practice shows up can be found throughout the information below. When offers are made, we disclose who else is on the team and keep all updated as artists continue to join the project. ArtsWest employs mainly non-union actors with limited Special Appearance contracts available for AEA actors.
Each season ArtsWest produces at least 50% plays by BIPOC playwrights. With very few exceptions, these plays are directed by BIPOC directors, and BIPOC casting associates are present in all casting rooms regardless of the identity of the playwright. ArtsWest also employs BIPOC actors throughout the season, including in plays by white playwrights and so-called “canonical” material.
In all of the above cases, ArtsWest has operated under a philosophy of “color-conscious” casting as opposed to “colorblind” casting. This has been far from a perfect practice, but in the best cases it has meant that racialized narratives created by casting choices are thoroughly discussed by the director, casting associates, and creative team, and developed in collaboration with the actors involved. This work is supported by cultural and/or racial equity consultants on each show. This also means being specific in regard to races called for by the script.
The emerging idea of “identity-conscious” casting has further galvanized our desire to ensure that the practices above show up in all cases, not just in the best cases. You can read more about identity conscious casting here. Identity conscious casting doesn’t just end in the casting room, but becomes a fundamental aspect of design and rehearsal processes, as well as performance runs.
We hold General Auditions once per year, after that year’s season is announced. These are comprised of five-minute slots in which actors are invited to show an example of their work. From there, callback lists are generated on a per-show basis. We ensure BIPOC representation in all casting rooms, in addition to representation of other identities specific to each play in all callback rooms.
2021-2022 SEASON GENERALS
For the 2021-2022 season, in-person general auditions will be held in five-minute time slots September 11-14 at ArtsWest for those vaccinated and not requiring social distancing. Video submissions will also be accepted for anyone unable to audition in person or those who would require social distancing. Our audition spaces do not accommodate social distancing and we appreciate everyone's support as we ensure safety for all involved.
Your five minutes are yours to use however you see fit – one long monologue, two short monologues, a monologue and a song, or any combination thereof. Please be sure to limit your material to five minutes. Two sessions will be reserved for auditions that include singing and will have an accompanist available. Please note that the only open roles in this season that require singing are Black women.
Saturday, September 11, 10am-2pm (SINGING)
Saturday, September 11, 2:30pm-6pm (MONOLOGUES)
Sunday, September 12, 10am-2pm (MONOLOGUES)
Sunday, September 12, 2:30pm-6pm (SINGING)
Monday, September 13, 2pm-10pm (MONOLOGUES)
Tuesday, September 14, 12pm-8pm (MONOLOGUES)
You are invited to self-select a time slot that works for you here for in-person auditions. Click here to schedule an audition! Please select a musical audition if you are intending on singing. If you’d like to email a headshot and resume rather than bring a hardcopy to the audition, please email those to email@example.com in advance of your audition. If you are submitting a video audition, please upload your materials to a private youtube page and then email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEADSHOTS AND RESUMES
Headshots and resumes can be sent electronically or brought to auditions. The traditional demand for hard copy headshots is not a requirement to audition at ArtsWest. Knowing that headshots in general can be difficult to acquire, ArtsWest is pleased to offer biannual free headshot sessions to our community, open to all those for whom lack of a headshot creates a barrier. Limited slots will be available, and we would like to prioritize the needs of the those whose voices have been historically marginalized, erased or excluded. We ask that individuals take this into consideration when self-evaluating whether this opportunity is right for them. For the 2021-2022 season, these sessions will take place sometime in August.
Links coming soon!
PIANO PRACTICE TRACKS
ArtsWest typically produces up to two musicals per year. Knowing that preparing for a singing audition can be an obstacle, ArtsWest is pleased to offer quarterly recording sessions to our community in which they can obtain a piano practice track of their audition song in their key and tempo. While open to anyone for whom lack of a practice track creates a barrier, limited slots will be available. We’d like to prioritize the needs of the those whose voices have been historically marginalized, erased or excluded, and ask that individuals take this into consideration when self-evaluating whether this opportunity is right for them. For the 2021-2022 season, these sessions will take place sometime in August.
Sign up for a time slot (coming soon)
WORKING ON AN ARTSWEST SHOW
While there are constraints and limitations in all producing settings, ArtsWest works to give as much agency and support as possible to artists to create work that is authentic to them, especially when it comes to centering BIPOC artists in the telling of their own stories. Solutions to producing challenges are found through creative collaboration and a people-first approach, rather than through organizational overrides, and we will always be prepared to support and defend the artistic choices of the creative team to the public.
As the team is assembled, we ensure competent, proficient and accessible walkthroughs of inventory and spatial configurations for all new and returning designers and creative team members. In 2021, we will begin a practice of disclosing who else is on the project when offers are made, and keeping the team updated as additional members are brought on.
Also beginning in 2021, identity conscious casting and storytelling will become a central part of the discussion in early creative and production meetings, and be returned to throughout the design process, adding into the mix any racial equity or cultural consultants involved with the project. In all cases, the ways in which race and other forms of oppression manifest in the narrative will be named and discussed from the early stages of the process onward.
Specific needs of each project will be anticipated and attended to early on. An example of this practice is BIPOC hair and makeup design, especially in regard to Black hair styling, which is to be designed in collaboration with the actor, in consultation with properly trained designers, and budgeted for by the organization. These specific needs will also have impact in such areas as lighting and costume design, and will be anticipated and accounted for early on.
Rehearsal schedules at ArtsWest are malleable and developed on a per-project basis to suit the needs of the project and the people working on it. This can look like a mix of daytimes, evenings, and/or weekends, all constructed based on the needs and schedules of the humans involved. The majority of rehearsals outside of tech are no more than six hours long. Rehearsal processes are generally 4-5 weeks long, including tech. Beginning in 2021, ArtsWest has eliminated 10/12s, opting for 8-hour days over a longer timeframe.
A substantial portion of time on first rehearsal is dedicated to introducing the cast and creatives to each other, the staff of ArtsWest, and acclimating all to the space which will become their home over the next several weeks.
Practices such as stating pronouns, inquiring about access needs, and forming community agreements are strongly encouraged in all rehearsal settings. Beginning in 2021, a statement of values will be read and distributed at first rehearsal which addresses such things as: land acknowledgement, racism, sexism, and all other forms of oppression, and ends with a commitment to prioritizing the needs of and celebrating the work of those whose voices have been historically excluded in the curation, creation, and presentation of our work.
ArtsWest’s grievance process will also be reviewed and distributed at first rehearsal. The process includes multiple choices of who to speak with, and prioritizes the ability of each individual to express their concerns to someone they feel comfortable with. Responsibility to then resolve these concerns fully lies with the leadership of the organization and not with the affected person.
The goal of working rehearsals is to create an environment that is transparent, open, safe and brave. ArtsWest seeks to provide the maximum level of support to the rehearsal room through a variety of means. Funding is provided in every production for a consultant or consultants to support exploration of the intersecting identities and issues in the play. Past examples of this have included cultural consultants, gender consultants, racial equity consultants, and more.
In addition, ArtsWest now has a reciprocal relationship with SOUND, a mental health organization, which will make available therapists to the cast and creative team when we are producing content that deals with racial and other forms of trauma.
In the first working rehearsals, it is expected that the ways in which race and other forms of oppression manifest in the narrative will be named and discussed by the cast, creative team and consultants in a way that feels necessary and productive to each particular group’s process.
Shows at ArtsWest are typically scheduled for a 3-5 week run, with performances Wednesday or Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3pm.
The goal during the run is to continue the level of support and responsiveness experienced from the creative process onward, adding the audience into this mix. Shows with challenging themes are always presented with context for the audience through content in the lobby, content in the program, curtain speeches, and post-show or ancillary programming such as talk-backs and panels. Beginning in 2021, a statement of inclusion for BIPOC audience cultural practices will be included in programs, displayed in the lobby, and covered in the onboarding and training of Front of House volunteers and staff.
Beginning in 2021, ArtsWest will redouble efforts to support the audience for which BIPOC artistic work is intended. Initial steps toward this goal include providing a welcoming space for BIPOC audiences, continuing to foster collective organizational cross-racial relationships, and investing in reciprocal relationships with BIPOC communities via our ArtsWest Voices program.
The artists involved in the production are not called upon to be the facilitators of talkbacks or ancillary programming unless there’s a specific desire or reason to do so on their part. In all cases we will ensure all artists are compensated for appearances at ancillary events, including talkbacks and donor events, and are never asked to volunteer their time. Beginning in 2021, ArtsWest will ensure that all talkbacks and panels are moderated by culturally competent facilitators who are fluent in bystander intervention techniques.
ArtsWest has developed a process for artist approval and compensation for use of their image in marketing and fundraising materials for any use after the season in which the production was presented. This will appear in every contract beginning with the first production of the 2021-2022 season.
All production processes end with the opportunity for all involved to share post-mortem learnings as we work to incorporate progress made and lessons learned into our processes moving forward.
Staff / Front of House
ArtsWest values all employees not just for their staff roles, but for all that makes them who they are. We recognize that identity contains multitudes and is fluid, intersectional, and of vital importance.
Our policies regarding hiring and employment at ArtsWest are designed to make it clear on all levels of the organization that we honor and value lived experience and the truths of the human beings and the energies and talents they bring to their work. The goal is to create an environment of abundant and creative space, especially for those whose intersecting identities and voices have been historically excluded, marginalized, or erased.
ArtsWest is foremost a theater and visual art gallery and we know that creativity is best generated with authenticity. Whether an employee fulfills an administrative or relational public-facing role, we consider our entire team to be artists in their own right. We are a small, but nimble team that allows for collaboration and much self-directed work.
As a historically white-led organization, ArtsWest is committed to operating as an anti-racist institution throughout all of its operations. You can read more about our anti-racist commitments here.
We seek to find individuals dedicated to the mission of this organization, who center anti-racist and anti-oppressive values, and who understand the privilege and responsibility that we have as theater producers. As an organization we center our people and conduct ourselves accordingly, centering relational work over transactional processes.
ArtsWest is committed to equitable hiring practices that center the matching of skills, interests and learned experience over education requirements and previous employment.
All job openings will be posted with a salary attached and an expected timeframe for the process.
Our hiring is done by a committee of at least three individuals with global majority representation. The committee will explore their own biases before the interview process so that this awareness can be factored in our hiring process. The committee will establish the criteria for the position and create a rubric to mark candidates during the hiring process. All candidates will be reviewed anonymously by the committee as decisions are made to move candidates to the interview portion of the process.
During an interview, a candidate can expect a conversational, non-confrontational environment focused on questions that speak to experiences. We do not want any barriers to interviewing for our candidates and as such, interviews can be in person or over zoom, and at a time of day that works for the candidate. We will ask about and will meet accessibility needs. Following an interview process, every candidate interviewed will receive a phone call to share the outcome.
As ArtsWest re-opens our theater in the Fall of 2021, we expect to hire a Casting Associate, Company Administrator, and Relationship Manager. It is expected that we will also hire Bartenders and House Managers. Please check back here for specific postings.