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  • Writer's pictureSylvie Mae Baldwin

AUDITION TIPS: Selecting a Monologue for Child Actors

Updated: May 1

Monologues for Kids | Sylvie Mae Baldwin

If you search "monologues for children" on Google, you'll be inundated with a mix of overused pieces from Disney movies or Broadway Musicals and compendiums of stand-alone monologues written for children, but not taken from established plays.

As a former child actor, I remember choosing my first monologue. It was a daunting process. Luckily, I had amazing mentors and teachers at the Seattle Children's Theatre who helped develop my audition technique and insisted that, though I was young, I could find a monologue that would show off my growing talent.

Now, as a professional actor and educator, I'm excited to share my tips on selecting a monologue for child actors. Of course it's important that a monologue is age appropriate, but it's best to avoid overused pieces and stay clear of stand-alone monologues.

Below I'll share 5 criteria for a great monologue. I'll offer suggestions on where to search for age appropriate pieces, and I'll discuss adapting monologues from children's books or young adult novels.

5 Criteria for a Great Monologue


In a great monologue, your character is speaking to someone specific. While older, more advanced actors might attempt a monologue where the character addresses two people or even a group of individuals, this can be confusing for auditors (i.e., the people watching the audition).


In a great monologue, your character is trying to get something from someone, to solve a problem or to figure something out.


In a great monologue, you can relate to your character on a deep level. Maybe this is because you share similar life experiences or enjoy the same hobbies. Choosing a character who is your same age is important for this reason.


A great monologue steers clear of accents/dialects (e.g., British, Southern) and avoids language or situations that could make the performer or auditors uncomfortable. If you do choose a monologue from a more intense play, avoid speeches or scenes that take place during the play's emotional climax.


When it comes to monologues, shorter is better than longer. One minute is more than enough time to show off your ability.

Finding Material

Age appropriate material can be hard to find and individual families may be more or less comfortable with different types of subject matter. The suggestions below are curated to be family friendly. However, I always recommend that parents or guardians peruse content before sharing it with children. You know your family and your child best!

Plays for New Audiences (PNA) is a division of Children's Theatre Company - one of the foremost children's theatres in the world. PNA publishes and licenses scripts "for multigenerational audiences and actors." They have a catalogue of over three hundred shows.

Their website includes descriptions of their plays, PDF previews of each script and the option to purchase a PDF script for $12.

Monologues for Kids _ Plays for New Audiences _ Sylvie Mae Baldwin

⭐ Play Anthologies

Seattle Children's Theatre: Six Plays for Young Audiences Volume I

From the School Library Journal: "The Seattle Children's Theatre commissions original plays as well as plays developed from established children's fiction. [This anthology includes] Louis Sachar's adaptation of his book There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, an adaptation of Janet Lisle's Afternoon of the Elves and an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. Additionally, the volume includes original work such as Suzan L. Zeder's Mother Hicks, a tale of witch folklore that is set in Illinois during the Depression."


Seattle Children's Theatre: Six Plays for Young Audiences Volume II

Plays in the volume include Still Life with Iris by Steven Dietz, Great Expectations by Barbara Field, The Book of Ruth by Deborah Lynn Frockt, Cyranno by Jo Roets, The King of Ireland's Son by Paula Wing and The Taste of Sunrise: Tuc's Story by Suzan Zeder.


Playful Plays

"This lively collection of eight short plays for children and young people is supported by inspirational drama games designed to bring creativity and fun to the rehearsal room. The stories are based on traditional folk-tales from countries including China, Ghana, Greece, Japan, Turkey and Scandinavia. The book is written in such a way that young people can easily pick it up and use it themselves. The plays can be performed by groups of children on their own, or under the direction of an adult."


Theatre for Young Audiences: 20 Great Plays for Children

Plays in the volume include Charlotte's Web by Joseph Robinette, According to Coyote by John Kauffman, A Thousand Cranes by Kathryn S. Miller and MANY OTHERS!


⭐ Books, Novels or Short Stories

Adapting a monologue from a book, story, etc. is acceptable if it meets the "5 Criteria" I outlined above. See below for an adaptation example.

Don't forget to use your local library as a resource when selecting material! Librarians can help you find copies of plays to read and borrow. They may also have material suggestions. Many libraries have dedicated children's librarians.

How to adapt material from a book, novel or short story into a monologue:

⭐ Once you find a suitable excerpt, cut everything except the words of the character who you will be portraying.

⭐ Read your isolated "cut" to make sure the monologue makes sense.

⭐ If necessary, include words from other characters or from the book's narration.

⭐ Simplify physical action. A monologue should take place in one location and at one specific time.

⭐ Read your final edit and shorten the monologue if necessary. Remember, shorter is better and one minute is more than enough time to show off your acting chops!

Adaptation Example

Bolded text will be used in the final cut. Highlighted text will be included to enhance the clarity of the monologue.

Excerpt from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe: Chapter 3 by C.S. Lewis:

Lucy ran out of the empty room into the passage and found the other three. “It’s all right,” she repeated, “I’ve come back.”

“What on earth are you talking about, Lucy?” asked Susan.

Why" said Lucy in amazement, “haven’t you all been wondering where I was?

“So you’ve been hiding, have you?” said Peter. “Poor old Lu, hiding and nobody noticed! You’ll have to hide longer than that if you want people to start looking for you.”

“But I’ve been away for hours and hours,” said Lucy. The others all stared at one another. “Batty!” said Edmund, tapping his head. “Quite batty.”

“What do you mean, Lu?” asked Peter.

“What I said,” answered Lucy. “It was just after breakfast when I went into the wardrobe, and I’ve been away for hours and hours, and had tea, and all sorts of things have happened.

Don’t be silly, Lucy,” said Susan. “We’ve only just come out of that room a moment ago, and you were there then.”

“She’s not being silly at all,” said Peter, “she’s just making up a story for fun, aren’t you, Lu? And why shouldn’t she?”

“No, Peter, I’m not,” she said. “It’s — it’s a magic wardrobe. There’s a wood inside it, and it’s snowing, and there’s a Faun and a Witch and it’s called Narnia; come and see.” The others did not know what to think, but Lucy was so excited that they all went back with her into the room. She rushed ahead of them, flung open the door of the wardrobe and cried, “Now go in and see for yourselves.”

Selecting A Monologue for Child Actors _ Adaptation Example

Lucy's monologue from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe: Chapter 3 by C.S. Lewis:

Why, haven’t you been wondering where I was? I’ve been away for hours and hours. It was just after breakfast when I went into the wardrobe, and I’ve had tea, and all sorts of things have happened.

I'm not being silly. And I'm NOT making up a story for fun.

The wardrobe - it's - it's a magic wardrobe. There's a wood inside it, and it's snowing, and there's a Faun and a Witch and it's called Narnia.

Go in and see for yourself!

Selecting A Monologue for Child Actors _ Works Cited

Works Cited:

  1. Audition Workshop Packet, Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School, Seattle, WA, 2005.

  2. Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 1978.

Selecting a Monologue for Child Actors

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