John Bell Scholarship Audition Tips & Tricks



Applications for the John Bell Scholarship are now officially open! We can’t wait to witness some incredible talent over the coming months as we audition students throughout Australia for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

However, we know that auditions can sometimes feel daunting. To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, we sat down with our Resident Artist in Education, Huw McKinnon, for the lowdown on preparation, approaching Shakespeare, and what your JBS audition will look like. Read on for his top tips and tricks.

Firstly, what is the John Bell Scholarship?

It’s a fantastic opportunity for high school students and aspiring young actors in regional areas of Australia to audition to win the opportunity to spend a week at Bell Shakespeare where they’ll be learning the ins and outs of the company and participating in workshops with a whole bunch of professional directors and actors.

How should I prepare for my audition?

I would say the most important thing is to read the play your monologue is from. You don’t need to know every single detail from the play, but we want you to have an opinion because your opinion and your perspective when you approach Shakespeare is so important.

Also, of course do your best to learn your lines, but don’t freak out if you drop a line. We’re not testing your memory; we’re testing your creativity.

What advice do you have for approaching Shakespeare’s language?

I would say the single most important thing you can do when you’re approaching Shakespeare’s language – particularly a monologue like this – is find an image for every sentence and every thought. Sometimes it’s really obvious and the image is there in the language because the language is full of imagery. And if it’s not obvious and you don’t know exactly what image Shakespeare might be talking about, come up with one for yourself; an image in your mind to attach that line to.

What will happen in my audition?

It will be a pretty relaxed environment – we want you to feel good about what you’re here to show. You’ll have the chance to do your monologue, and then you’ll get fifteen minutes or so to workshop your piece with a professional actor in the room.

And if you can’t audition in person, we one hundred percent encourage you to put your audition in a video and send it through.

Any final audition tips?

On top of everything else, don’t forget that what we want to see is you. We want to see you in that role, we want to see some of your personality, and we want to hear your natural voice.

Good luck to everyone auditioning for the John Bell Scholarship!