The Bats

The Bats are unique to Manhattan’s Off-Off Broadway theater scene. An Obie Award-winning non-Equity resident company, they are a thriving theatrical community whose 100+ members perform professionally, generate their own work, and collaborate with the country’s leading artists. Bats have given world premieres to work by A.R. Gurney, Will Eno, Thomas Bradshaw, Adam Rapp, Beau Willimon, Elizabeth Swados, Erin Courtney, and Kim Davies, among others.

Meet The Bats!


Find out about Bat Auditions 2020!

The 2020 Bat auditions have been postponed to May 1st – May 8th 2020 and will take place via online submission for the safety of all during the COVID19 pandemic.

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Niegel Smith and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, seeks actors to join our resident volunteer acting company, The Bats. The Bats are an inclusive and prolific company who appear in new plays by world-class playwrights, original performance art, reinterpretations of the classics, our late-night play competition, SERIALS, and our first-ever family programming initiative, Cereals. The Flea has produced world premiere plays by Taylor Mac, Thomas Bradshaw, Erin Courtney, Adam Rapp, and Elizabeth Swados featuring The Bats. In addition to performing on The Flea’s stages, The Bats volunteer in all aspects of theater making at our new home at 20 Thomas Street. To be a Bat you must be non-union, must not be enrolled in a full-time academic program, and must be over 21 years of age.

As part of our commitment to reflecting the diversity of New York City, we had previously scheduled culturally specific auditions in addition to general open calls. All previously announced audition calls will now require taped submissions. Of course, your identity is more nuanced than these categories, but it is our hope that these calls serve as an opportunity to counter the under-representation of certain peoples in our field and create a more equitable culture in the arts. Artistic Director Niegel Smith shares, “The work on our stages must be made and performed by a community of artists that reflect multiple perspectives. The history of theater practice in America is burdened by dehumanizing cultural appropriation and a woeful under-representation of specific cultures, ethnicities, and bodies. To help change this, The Flea practices culturally aware casting practices. We strive to level the playing field by welcoming into The Bats a pool of performers who bring diversity to our stages and in turn our larger field.”

The Flea will be accepting submissions from all performers beginning Friday, May 1st at 11 am and ending at Friday, May 8th at 7 pm. In order to consider your audition, we ask that you to fill out a short questionnaire, submit your headshot and resume, and submit an audition tape using our online submissions form.

Your submission should consist of the following:  two contrasting (one comedic and one dramatic) monologues and sixteen bars of a song (or “Happy Birthday”). One monologue must be classical (written before 1800) and the other contemporary (written since 1980).  Please select monologues from theatrical works only (absolutely no TV, Film or digital media monologues). Each monologue should be no longer than one minute (monologues over one minute will not be watched in their entirety). The song should be performed acapella.

Please slate at the beginning and end of your audition submission. Your slate should include your full name and the names of the pieces you are performing.

Please do your best to tape your audition in a clean space without a distracting background.

Please submit your audition via a single Vimeo, WeTransfer, or Youtube link. Your submission will be viewed by The Flea’s Artistic Director, Company Manager, Associate Producer, and Resident Directors and Associate Artists. Please make sure that your link does not expire until at least May 9th and that it is not password protected.

We anticipate receiving a high volume of submissions. We guarantee that we will view the first 75 submissions from each culturally specific call and the first 150 submissions from the open call, so do submit as early as possible (these are the numbers of people we are able to see when we host in-person auditions). If you do not hear back from us please know that we appreciate your submission and that we invite you to audition next year, hopefully in person at 20 Thomas Street.

Please direct all questions to

My life is what it is now because in the summer of 2011 I walked into a building I didn't know and auditioned to become a Bat. The Flea was my introduction to what would become my artistic family and collaborators. The relationships I've forged and fostered at The Flea have brought me to almost every theater company and group I could imagine working with.

-Cleo Gray, Bat Alum

The Bats also produce SERIALS, a raucous late-night play competition featuring New York’s hottest actors, writers and directors. The concept is simple: five plays enter, three plays leave, and the audience votes on their three favorites, which then return the next week with a new installation. Each year SERIALS showcases over 35 playwrights, 35 directors and 70 actors in 200+ roles. Writers can submit material for consideration; all acting and directing roles are filled by The Bats.

My time at the Flea was a valuable one. I can't stress that enough. The company of actors were top notch and made me a better actor. And the community of artists that I've met and connected with has led me to numerous projects including my first off Broadway show. I am forever grateful for the 2 years I spent with this theater company. There aren't enough words to express my wonderful experience as a Bat at the Flea.

-Ugo Chukwu, Bat Alum

The Bats are meant to be a stepping stone for young artists seeking to make a career in the arts. Most stay with the company for two to three years and the relationships they form are for life – many continue to work together after they leave, and many come back to work at The Flea as paid artists. Participants are selected through open call auditions. There is no fee to audition or be part of The Bats.

To this day being a Bat remains one of the best experiences I have had as an actor. When asked for advice by young actors in NY, I always point them to The Flea - there is no better theater in NY for a young thespian who wants to cut their teeth and develop their chops.

-Michael Gladis, Bat Alum

Bat Press

“Best Off-Off-Broadway Theater to Act With” –Backstage

“The fuel in the theater’s engine.” –The New York Times

“The performances by the Bats, the Flea’s young resident company, are all well thought out and fresh. The Bats are most definitely a talented group of young artists.”  –

“The Flea’s Bats are perennially outstanding.” – Flavorpill

“The Flea such a special place for me. I always have fun with The Bats, and I can tell it’s because they’re having fun, not just pretending to. “
– Huffington Post