Up Close and Personal: Why Does Drama Have a Final Round Callback?

By: Kathy Hood, Administrative Director – Drama Division

This year marks the second year that the Drama Division has conducted a final round callback process in New York. Last year, the east coast was hit with a major snow storm (of course!) and many of finalists struggled to make it to us for the weekend’s events. As we communicated with each candidate about their arrival status, we were hearing amazing stories of candidates driving through the night or flying forwards and backwards through several airports to find a way to land in New York or finding alternate methods of transport to get to New York despite the terrible weather. It was such a relief when everybody finally arrived at Juilliard safe and sound. I know the Drama faculty, staff and students were very moved to know what each person did to get themselves to the callback weekend with all the weather obstacles. Each person displayed amazing strength, patience, courage, desire, tenacity and humor. It was extraordinary thing to witness. With all of the challenges, it ended up being a successful first experience for the Drama Division. We were able to spend serious time getting to know our candidates better and observe their work and the candidates got to experience life as a Juilliard Drama student.

On March 15th and 16th, we will welcome forty-four finalists for an intensive two-day final round callback process here at the school. The finalists have been selected from a group of nearly 100 individuals who received callbacks during our auditions in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The callback process allows us to give our finalists a first-hand look at the life and work here in the Drama Division. Over the two days, they will take classes with the faculty and meet students; completely immersing them in the life of the Division.

The Drama Division has discussed creating a process such as this for a long time but it wasn’t until Jim Houghton came on board as the new Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division in the summer of 2006, that this came to fruition. It was one of Jim’s priorities to “open the doors” of the division and give the candidates a thorough experience that would allow for a better understanding of the training and the kind of commitment that they would be undertaking for four years should they choose to come to Juilliard. It is an important choice to devote oneself to rigorous training and we want to make sure our candidates have all the information they can in order to make the best decision possible for their education and future.

While view books, catalogs and blogs are a wonderful introduction to getting to know the school, we believe that through experience and action a candidate gets a real feel for the school; its atmosphere, its values, its energy and passion. We are thrilled to be able to welcome our finalists to the school and share with them what we love about our division and why we feel this is a special and unique program.

We are hoping the candidates bring to the final round callback their full selves and dive in with a spirit of play and curiosity. The faculty and students of the Drama Division will be doing the same.

Needless to say, I am hoping for warm weather this year!