ANN CICCOLELLA, Artistic Director. Ann Ciccolella joined Austin Shakespeare as Artistic Director in August 2007, following an eight-year tenure at Austin’s ZACH Theatre as managing director, and executive director at Austin Circle of Theaters for nine years. Ciccolella led the Renaissance Theater Company for ten years, producing and directing Off-Off Broadway shows. Prior moving to Austin, Ciccolella served for three years as associate director for SHAKESPEARE ON WHEELS from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country.  In 2013, she directed Off-Broadway for Austin Shakespeare, a new adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem by Jeff Britting at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.



Austin Shakespeare’s mission is to present professional theatre of the highest quality with an emphasis on the plays of William Shakespeare, bringing to the public performances that are fresh, imaginative, thought-provoking, and eminently accessible, connecting the truths of the past with the challenges and possibilities of today. Founded in 1984 Austin Shakespeare is the only professional classic theatre company in Central Texas.  Austin Shakespeare also brings professional actors and directors directly into the classroom throughout Central Texas.  Austin Shakespeare is a member of the Austin Creative Alliance, and is funded in part by the City of Austin through The Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Austin Shakespeare welcomes professional actors (Equity/Non-Equity) for open auditions 12 noon Sat Jan. 25, 2020 by appointment only from at the Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd.  Actors of all ethnicities are welcome.  These auditions are primarily for actors who have not auditioned this season, focusing on A Midsummer Night’s Dream for April-May 2020 in Zilker Park.


New auditioners should prepare a 1-minute piece of heightened language; pieces from Midsummer and other Shakespeare plays are welcome. Audition speeches should be memorized or read with familiarity. On occasion, Austin Shakespeare uses cross-gender casting. Also, age range noted in character descriptions is a matter of appearance. Auditioners should familiarize themselves with the play, particularly pronunciation of names.  


Midsummer Night’s Dream dates: Zilker Park Performances are Thurs-Sunday 8 pm for (outdoors)Performances: May 7; closing May 31.  Rehearsals begin April 7, weeknights 7-10 pm Sat daytime Sunday 4-9 pm; conflicts do affect casting.  Non-Equity actor are paid a stipend.


More details about A MDISUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and Austin Shakes:  Combining poetry, fantasy, comedy and music, Midsummer bridges the worlds with magical Fairies (Oberon, Titania Puck and their crew), the ”Mechanicals” (Bottom and his fellow workers), four young lovers, and a royal court. 


Especially interested in actors with training in “heightened language” and/or Shakespeare as well as those with experience in dance, music (singing or an instrument) mask-work, Comedia, and fight choreography.  



ABOUT AUSTIN SHAKESPEARE: Audiences love the company for their surprising and entertaining productions at the intimate Rollins theater, as well as Free Shakespeare in Zilker Park each May.  The only professional classical theater company in Central Texas, Austin Shakespeare stages performances that are imaginative, and thought-provoking. In the fall and spring, Austin Shakespeare also produces plays with heightened language The Long Center for the Performing Arts Rollins Studio Theatre.  The company has staged full productions of master playwrights including Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter, Stoppard, Pinter Shaw, and Schiller.

Tips on auditioning 

From Ann Ciccolella Artistic Director, Austin Shakespeare

To be successful at our audition means you are present, relaxed and connected during your audition. We want a sense of who YOU are… at first very simply: your voice and body, spirit and personality. We am very interested in the uniqueness you bring to a character.  So, don’t try to guess “what the director wants.” In fact, sometimes we see “something” in someone that we hadn’t anticipated and changed our vision of a character.

 *Speak in your genuine voice. Don’t pretend to be British or try to create a beautiful sound. We want to hear YOU.

 *Be clear about what the words mean, .ie. what you WANT at each moment. Don’t anticipate. Discover with each phrase.  

*SHARE your story. MEAN what you are saying. The words will tell you what the character wants. KNOW the result you want in this moment from saying these words.

*You want to get it NOW as the immediate result. If you working in a scene, LISTEN to your scene partner.  Acting is re-acting.

*Plunge into the moment. Take Risks, surprise me. Surprise yourself.And enjoy it all. And of course--Breathe.


NERVES.  It is natural to feel tension at auditions. Envision a relaxed environment before you come into the room. Tell yourself that relaxing will help you perform better. Breathe, drink water. Encourage yourself to make the audition as a playful as a sport. Again do what gets you to enjoy, relax and be present. Let all your tension turn into that energy that is excitement.  


“to celebrate the best within us” is Austin Shakespeare’s motto!

Coach yourself with kindness to do that.

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