Banner image: Irene Ryan finals at Saginaw in 2010.

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Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions

Reviewed November 1, 2017.

Rules regarding the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships were updated in 2015 and reviewed in 2017. Please read carefully, as there are some significant changes from past years.


  1. Round One - A maximum of three minutes in the regional preliminary round to present a two-person scene and a monologue. Only 1 selection may include singing.
  2. Round Two - A maximum of five minutes in the regional semifinal round to perform the preliminary round scene AND a contrasting two-person scene (which may or may not incorporate singing) using the same partner for both scenes.
  3. Round Three - A maximum of six minutes in the regional final round to present the semi final round audition scenes plus the monologue or solo musical number from the first round.

Timing of the audition will begin with the first action or word in character following the setup and introduction and will not stop from that point onward. The timekeeper will stop participants when they reach the time limit at each round.

Musical Acting Audition: All musical accompaniments must be live. No recorded accompaniment will be allowed. If a scene in the audition incorporates singing, the scene must be in dialogue or duet with the partner. The accompanist will not count as the partner (unless the accompanist performs as a character in the audition).

Student Status: Only those performers who have appeared in either a participating or associate KCACTF entry and are bona fide students in a college or university at the time of the KCACTF production response are eligible. For the purpose of these awards, a bona fide student is:

  • an undergraduate student* registered for at least six semester or equivalent quarter hours;
  • or a graduate student* registered for at least three semester or equivalent quarter hours;
  • or a continuing part-time student* enrolled in a regular degree or certificate program.
  • Undergraduate, graduate, and continuing part-time students must be matriculating and pursuing a degree at the time of the KCACTF official response. The chair of the theatre department (or their delegate) must verify the candidate and partner's bona fide student status by completing the Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition Form.

Number of Nominees: Each college or university may nominate one student performer from the cast of each of its participating entries and one student performer from the cast of each of its associate entries. KCACTF representatives may nominate two additional performers from the casts of participating entries, and one additional performer from the casts of associate entries.

Partner Limitations: No Irene Ryan nominee may serve as partner for another Irene Ryan nominee. A student may serve as partner for no more than two Irene Ryan Scholarship nominees per festival. All scene partners must have been a bona fide student at the time of the initial KCACTF response or during the term in which the regional festival occurs (confirmed in writing as outlined above). Nominees and their partners need not be students at the same institution.

Composition of Preliminary and Semifinal Rounds: Sixteen nominees shall appear in the final round at regional festivals. If more than sixteen nominees qualify for the regional festival, the regional chair will determine a screening system that will yield sixteen finalists. Whenever possible, the auditions should be combined with oral feedback sessions from judges, an audition workshop, or both.

Final Round Scheduling: The regional screening and final rounds should normally occur prior to the performance of any regional festival production. However, if the regional chair can ensure that final round judges will not have seen any of the finalists in any other capacity, such as productions, workshops or showcases prior to the final round, the final round may be held any time during the regional festival.

Final Round Judges: Academic professionals affiliated with institutions within the region of the festival must not judge the final round of the regional festival.

Audition Introduction: Each Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominee and partner shall be introduced by name and material selection only (name of play and playwright). No school affiliation shall be identified.

Furniture and Props: Two armless chairs and one table will be provided at each round of the auditions. No other furniture is allowed. If simple hand props are used, the nominee must provide them.

On-site Rehearsal: At the regional festival, a rehearsal shall be scheduled in the performance space before the final round of auditions. Coaches may attend this rehearsal.

Rights/Permission: Written proof of permission from the rights holder must be presented at each level of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition for any material that has not previously been designated as available (see royalty information on website). Any royalty fee(s) for material performed in the auditions is the sole responsibility of the nominee.

Cuts or changes: Performers should seriously consider that when internal cuts and the realignment of text are made to scenes or monologues, there is the risk of significantly altering the interpretation of the dramatic idea of the play and the author's intent. Most authors would not support such an action, even for an audition. Both coaches and students are reminded that they assume the liability should any rights holder choose to formally complain about the way the material is used.

Order of presentation of scenes/material is at the discretion of the nominee in ALL rounds—there is no prescribed order in which the two (or three) pieces must be performed.

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