Hamlet Audition Information
Auditions will be held on Sunday, July 10, and Monday, July 11. Auditions will be separated into
three time slots depending on which character you would like to audition for.
Sunday July 10 Audition Slots:
● 6:00 - Ghost, Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
● 6:45 - Ophelia, Polonius, Laertes
● 7:30 - Gertrude, Claudius
Monday July 11 Audition Slots:
● 7:00 - Ghost, Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
● 7:45 - Ophelia, Polonius, Laertes
● 8:30 - Gertrude, Claudius
***Please note: We are only reading primary roles at auditions. If you are NOT interested in a
primary role, and ONLY wish to be considered for ensemble roles, we still need to hear you read.
Please select a primary role that most closely matches your age and read for it. You should
indicate “ensemble” in the number 1 slot for preferred roles on your audition form, and list the
character you are reading as number 2.
● Under 30 - Read for Ophelia, Horatio, Laertes, Rosencrantz or Guildenstern
● Over 30 - Read for Gertrude, Polonius, or Claudius
Character Description and Casting Guidelines
The ages listed for each character refer to their stage-age, not the actual age of the actor. All
actors must have an actual age of at least 16. Actors auditioning for Ophelia should be at least
We are open to gender flipping several roles that are traditionally played as males. This includes
Polonius, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
The Hamlet production team supports diversity in all its forms. All races, ethnicities, and gender
identities are encouraged to audition.
***Please note: You do not need a British accent for these auditions. The British accent that
existed during Shakespeare’s time was a much less refined, much more visceral sound with very
hard “R”s. Much closer to a general American accent than it is to RP.
Claudius is a very dangerous person. He murdered his own brother in order to steal his crown
and his wife. He appears jovial on the surface - he drinks too much and laughs too loudly - but
underneath is a man with a devious intellect, no empathy, no moral compass and an inflated
sense of self-importance. He could very well be diagnosed as a narcissistic sociopath.
Aged 35 - 50
Gertrude is a formidable queen who was a perfect match for her beloved dead husband. She
marries Claudius both to retain power for herself and to secure the throne for her son, Hamlet.
She does not see Claudius’s true personality and mistakenly views him as essentially harmless.
Whatever else is true about Gertrude, she adores her son. She lives for him, and will eventually
die for him.
Horatio is Hamlet’s best friend and devoted servant, and the only person that the melancholy
prince trusts completely. Horatio has been with the royal family since early childhood and was
raised by them to be Hamlet’s companion. Taking care of Hamlet is not just his job, it is his whole
identity and his life’s purpose. He will attempt suicide when he realizes that Hamlet is dying.
Aged 40 and Up
Polonius has two sides to his personality. When he is in front of powerful people he is the ultimate
sycophant. He is unctuous, ingratiating, and overly servile. There is something about him that
makes you want to wipe your hands off after touching him. But when he is not in the presence of
power, he becomes controlling, imperious, and cruel. He uses his fragile daughter as a tool for
his own ends and sends spies to France to report to him on his son’s activities.
Ophelia starts the play emotionally fragile. She has been raised to be a tool for her father and is
not allowed to make any decisions on her own. She has no confidence in her own feelings or
thoughts and has lived solely for the men in her life. When they all abandon her, she loses all
sense of self and her mind shatters. It is commonly thought that she commits suicide, but that isn’t accurate. She falls into the water
and is so detached from reality that she doesn’t recognize that she is drowning. She simply
allows herself to sink, incapable of making the decision to save herself.
Laertes feels familial loyalty to his father, but not love. He leaves Elsinore for France as soon as he
is an adult to get away from him. He loves his sister, Ophelia, but chooses to save himself and
abandon her to their father’s cruelty. Being raised by a controlling father makes him the perfect
tool for Claudius to manipulate into killing Hamlet.
Along with Guildenstern, Rosencrantz has been brought from Wittenberg by Claudius and
Gertrude to hang out with Hamlet and try to figure out what is going on behind his strange
behaviors. Rosencrantz is good-natured and fairly innocent about the political machinations
taking place in Elsinore. He may not be the smartest student at Wittenberg, but he truly cares
about Hamlet and believes that he and Guildenstern have been called in to help him get
Guildenstern is a social climber and is very aware of the political intrigue in Elsinore. He
understands why they have been called home by Claudius and is more than willing to ingratiate
himself to the king by spying on Hamlet for him. He is often frustrated by Rosencrantz’s
cluelessness and loyalty to the prince.
In his life, King Hamlet was larger than life. He was a great warrior, a hero to his people, and
beloved by his wife and his son. What is left of the man he was is debatable. The Ghost is a
creature of anger, jealousy, and vengeance who cruelly describes his horrible death - in detail -
to his young and mentally unstable son, and then demands that he commit murder for him.
Hamlet himself will later wonder if The Ghost is actually the spirit of his father or a demon from hell
trying to damn his soul.
***The actor playing The Ghost will likely be cast in an ensemble role as well.
There are many wonderful ensemble roles in this play. We are seeking a group of 3 to 4
dedicated actors, each of whom will take on 2 to 3 separate characters. Other than the Player
King, any of these roles could be filled by any gender.
Marcellus - A veteran commander of the guard who served under King Hamlet. He is
unquestioningly loyal to Hamlet.
Barnardo - A young member of the guard that Marcellus has taken under his wing. He too is loyal
Gravedigger - He has been in the business of burying Elsinore’s dead for much of his life. He is
surprisingly philosophical, intelligent, and has a macabre sense of humor.
2nd Gravedigger - The gravedigger’s long-suffering apprentice.
Osric - Osric is a Claudius toady who follows him around and does his bidding.
Player King - A once great actor now reduced to being a member of a traveling troupe.
Looking for someone with a great voice and a flair for the dramatic.
2nd Player - The member of the acting troupe who specializes in playing women’s roles.
3rd Player - The member of the acting troupe who specializes in comic roles and villains.
Priest - A self-righteous clergyman who is openly disdainful about performing Ophelia’s funeral
rites because she is suspected to have committed the sin of suicide.
Switzer - A paid bodyguard for Claudius. He does all of Claudius’s physical dirty work for him.
Each of the principal roles has 1-2 audition sides. You may be asked to read one or both. If you
would like to reference a modern translation of Hamlet, you can find one here:
Follow the link below to the Google file, and be sure to select ALL the sides for ALL characters
you would like to read for. You should be able to view, download and print what you need.
If you would like to print and fill out your audition forms and bring them with you, you can find
the link below, otherwise, please arrive five minutes prior to your audition slot to complete them.
Please feel free to contact the director at HamletCFTA@gmail.com with any questions.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions!
Connie Downer - Director