Young actors learn the foundational skills needed to pursue careers on stage, screen, and television.

Over the span of two years, Residential High School actors test their growing craft in a series of ever-increasing challenges including scene presentations, rehearsal projects, cabarets, dance demonstrations, and main stage productions. The focus is on developing sound values and techniques that form the entire student—voice, physical instrument, intellect, creative spirit—as well as the basis of a life-long pursuit of excellence.

Led by professional artists and performers, the Drama program is built on a conservatory model and provides training in the following areas:

Acting | Dance | Movement | Performance | Shakespeare | Singing | Speech |Stage Combat | Theatre History | Voice

Seniors participate in the Unified Theatre Auditions in New York and Chicago, where they audition for the foremost colleges and conservatories in America.

Student Achievements

  • 10 Drama students have been Theatre Finalists in the prestigious National YoungArts Competition, including a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts Award Winner. 
  • 13 Drama students have been awarded scholarships to the famed Juilliard Drama Division. 
  • 9 Drama graduates have appeared on Broadway stages since 2010 and have received three Tony nominations, including one Tony Winner for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. 
  • 3 Drama students have received the Carnegie Mellon Presidential Scholar's Award—the Theatre Division's highest honor—while 2 Drama students were awarded the Kenan scholarship (four-year full scholarship) to the University of North Carolina School of the the same year. 

When To Apply By Grade

Drama students apply for the Residential High School program in the 10th grade to attend in the 11th and 12th grades.  Learn more about the application and audition process below.

Dramatic scene from Governor's School production
Scene from Hamlet production
Scene from Elephant Man production

Our alumni have landed lead or supporting roles in...


The online application will be available in early fall!

All Residential High School applicants must –

  • Satisfy requirements for legal residency in South Carolina 
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average or higher 
  • Possess a high level of commitment, motivation, and maturity 

Candidates may apply for up to two art areas, but may attend in only one. 

Here’s what you’ll need to complete the online application.


A passport-style photo of yourself from the shoulders up. This will be used as your student ID photo if you are accepted.

Teacher Recommendations

To request recommendations and other necessary forms, you will provide the names and email addresses of the arts teacher(s), academic teacher, school counselor/registrar and other individual for homeschool/virtual school recommendation (if applicable) on the application. 

Arts Experience

You will list classes/training/experiences you may have had in the past two years. Limited experience is not detrimental to your candidacy.

Essential Questions for All Monologues

You will answer a list of questions for one of your monologues. While you will only submit one set of answers as part of the application, we encourage you to do this work for all monologues, always. The list of Essential Questions can be accessed using the link below, but final answers must be submitted using the link on the application

Essential Questions for All Monologues


A headshot (head and shoulders) in black and white or color

Parent/Guardian Contact Information

General contact information for the individuals who have legal custody.

Audition locations fill up quickly, so please submit your completed application as early as possible.

The Admissions Office will notify you if information is missing from your application. Incomplete applications cannot be processed.


For the audition, please prepare two monologues and one song. During the audition, you will be asked to start by performing one monologue and a song. You may be asked to present a second monologue if a fuller picture of your potential is required. 

Two Contrasting Monologues

Select two contrasting monologues from modern playwrights (after 1940) that are 60 to 90 seconds long and reflect your age, experience, and understanding. This should be material you connect with personally.

Check out the list of modern/contemporary plays (published after 1940) below. These plays contain one or more monologues suitable for audition purposes, though some may need to be cut together or edited somewhat. You may use the list as a guide, or choose material not on the list by written by established professional playwrights.

If you have difficulty finding material, note that the modern classics listed below with an * should be easy to find in many school and local libraries. 

For Women 
   The Red Coat, John Patrick Shanley 
   A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry * 
   The Piano Lesson, August Wilson * 
   Jitney, August Wilson 
   Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley 
   The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams * 
   I Oughta Be in Pictures, Neil Simon 
   Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon 
   Collected Stories, Donald Marguiles 
   Sight Unseen, Donald Marguiles 
   A Young Lady of Property, Horton Foote 
   A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller * 
   All My Sons, Arthur Miller * 
   Eleemosynary, Lee Blessing 
   Sally’s Gone, She Left Her Name, Russell Davis 
   You Can’t Take it With You, Kauffman and Hart * 
   Picnic, William Inge * 
   Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee 

For Men 
   Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon 
   Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller * 
   A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller * 
   The Crucible, Arthur Miller * 
   The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams * 
   The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, William Inge * 
   Picnic, William Inge * 
   Bus Stop, William Inge * 
   The Piano Lesson, August Wilson * 
   Jitney, August Wilson 
   A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry * 
   In a Northern Landscape, Timothy Mason 
   Conversations with My Father, Herb Gardner 
   Sally’s Porch, Russell Davis 
   The Red Coat, John Patrick Shanley 
   Rabbit Hole, David Lindsay Abaire 
   Proof, David Auburn 
   Catfish Moon, Laddy Sartin 
   Master Harold…and the Boys, Athol Fugard 

Monologue Tips
  • Read the ENTIRE PLAY from which each monologue is taken, so that you understand what’s happening, where you are, who you are talking to, and why you are talking to them. We may want to talk to you about the play or coach your monologue.
  • Prepare and fully memorize your monologues well in advance of your audition so that you are confident and can engage your talent and imagination. This takes many hours.
  • Avoid plays written expressly for high schoolers or internet-only sources, as well as accents or characters far from your age and understanding.
One Song

Memorize a short selection from a song – preferably 16 bars. Be prepared to sing this selection without accompaniment.


A panel of theatre professionals will conduct a personal interview with you following the performance component of your audition.

What to Wear

A drama audition and/or callback can be a very active experience. Please dress appropriately for the audition in neat attire (no torn jeans, flip-flops, or t-shirts) that is comfortable and allows you to move.

Callback Auditions

The callback audition is an opportunity for Drama faculty to become better acquainted with the work of selected applicants for the Residential High School Drama program. 

Information regarding callbacks for the 2021-2022 Residential High School Drama program is forthcoming. 

Important Dates

Application Deadlines 

  • November 30, 2020 - Deadline for application fee waiver.

  • January 6, 2021 - Final application deadline. 

Teacher recommendations must also be submitted by the above deadlines in order for your application to be considered complete.

Audition Dates

  • Saturday, January 30, 2021 - Upstate
  • Saturday, February 6, 2021 - Lowcountry
  • Saturday, February 20, 2021 - Midlands

Admission Decision Notification

Applicants will be notified of decisions via email by early April. Decisions will not be given over the phone.


Application Fee: $50 for all applications submitted after November 30. For those in need of financial assistance, the Application Fee Waiver on the Submission Confirmation page of the application can be submitted instead of this fee.

Tuition: Free 

Residence Hall Fee: $150, non-refundable residence hall fee

Meal Plan: $3,575 annual food services fee paid directly to Aramark Food Services. Payment plans are available.

Financial aid is available for residents of South Carolina with validated financial need.

Fees and Financial Aid