2019 Bat Auditions are now Open!

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, devised theater, reinterpretations of the classics, our late-night play competition, SERIALS, and our new family programming initiative, Cereals. In addition to performing on The Flea’s stages, The Bats volunteer in all aspects of making theater at our brand new home at 20 Thomas Street.

This year’s auditions will take place Monday, May 20th–Sunday, May 26th. As part of our commitment to reflecting the diversity of New York City, we are hosting several culturally specific auditions in addition to general open calls. 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.”

All prospective Bats are welcomed and encouraged to attend any posted audition slot with which they identify. If you do not identify with any of the ethnically and culturally specific calls please do attend the general open calls.


More Details:

All auditions will take place at The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas Street. Sign-up sheets will be available at the theater one hour prior to each call time. Do come early—do not procrastinate—the available slots are filled very quickly. If you cannot make a specific date, please look below for the full schedule of auditions. We will be happy to see you anytime we have availability.

Actors must prepare two contrasting (one comedic and one dramatic) monologues. One must be classical (written before 1900) and the other contemporary (written since 1900).

Please also prepare “Happy Birthday” or 16 bars of a song that shows off your range to be performed a cappella. Please remember to bring a current headshot and resume.

All signups take place the day of the audition in person.

You must be over 21 years of age and not enrolled in a full-time academic program to be a member of the company.


Audition Dates:

Monday, May 20th 11 a.m.–4 p.m.: African American, African, Caribbean, and African Diasporic Performers
Tuesday, May 21st 3 p.m.–8 p.m.: Middle Eastern and North African Performers | Performers with Disabilities
Wednesday, May 22nd 11 a.m.–4 p.m.: Latinx Performers
Thursday, May 23rd 3 p.m.–8 p.m.:Asian American, Asian, South Asian, and Asian Diasporic Performers
Friday, May 24th 11 a.m.–4 p.m.: Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Performers | Native American, and Pacific Islander Performers
Saturday, May 25th 12 p.m.–7 p.m.: Open Call
Sunday, May 26th 12 p.m.–7 p.m.: Open Call


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.

Click Here to Meet The Bats!

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.”  –NYtheatre.com

“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