2017 Dark Harbor Cast

Behind the Scenes – 2019 Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Cast Auditions

Have you ever wondered what the process of auditioning for your favorite Halloween haunts would be like? I’ve considered trying out for them year after year, ever since I turned 18. Yet, after reading and hearing about what takes place, I felt I wasn’t quite ready. This past weekend, I had to the pleasure of sitting in on the auditioning process for the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor.  Not only was it extremely entertaining, but it was also insightful and brought a newfound respect for all the hard work that goes into these events.

This year marks the 10th anniversary for Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, one of the nation’s most authentic haunted attractions. With mazes, live entertainment, secret bars, and rides, there were a lot of auditions to go through. Upon arrival, the performers were directed to a room where they filled out a questionnaire and application. Their information was collected, had their picture taken, assigned a number, and then they waited. Depending on whether they were returning cast members or newly applicants would decide their next move.

Monster Training

For first timers, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor staff offered monster training provided by Amazon Beard. With 13 years of experience as a scare actor, she knew exactly how to prep them. Beard had the group spread out in a circle and stretch while thinking of their monster. “What does your monster sound like? How will it look? How will it move?” were some of the questions she asked while engaging monster development. Her words were encouraging as she suggested it didn’t matter whether they made a small, medium, or large choice – what mattered was making the choice.

The Audition

After training, the group was taken into the audition room, where walls were set up as a mockup small maze. Here is where Executive Talent Director David Wally took center stage and interacted with the applicants. The group was divided into half, and those auditioning were asked to take a lap and listen for direction. He gave direction and instructions that helped them transition into monster mode. It progressed as Wally gave more direction after he placed everyone at a station within the mockup maze. At this point Wally and the second half of the group did a walk through to give those auditioning a chance to interact. The final portion was asking the individuals to come from behind the walls, one-by-one, and recite a nursery rhyme of their choice. David Wally randomly asked them to change the approach, enhance it, or even draw back.

Between groups, I had the chance to ask David what exactly he looks for in this process. He explained that he wants to see how everyone moves, if they are light on their feet, paying close attention to body control. His focus is on how quickly they can transition into character and at what level. I saw first-hand what he meant; there were some who naturally had the energy and were in tune with their character. Wally also mentioned that the individual’s personality is important as well, because all else aside, this is a job. Although someone might not make a great monster, their charisma could land them a position elsewhere. The possibilities were bountiful; there were fire dances, jugglers, hula-hoopers, go-go dancers, tarot card readers, and contortionists.

Final Thoughts

I just want to thank the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor staff for having us behind the scenes and being so kind and patient. What we witnessed at these auditions can be easily described as one major tease! The amount of talent, energy and pure passion left me with great anticipation for the haunt season to kick off. With this small taste of the greatness to take over the Queen Mary this fall, we can guarantee attendees are in for one hell of a ride, and I mean this in the most enjoyable way possible. Tickets for Dark Harbor can be purchased here.

For more pictures check out our Instagram for highlights.

About Anna

Hello readers, I was born and raised in Southern California. Throughout my upbringing I grew fond of the horror movie genre thanks to my mother. With my interest in true crime, I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in forensic investigation. I enjoy art of all kind and appreciate subject matter outside the social norm. I like to engage in conversation involving my passions, so lets talk.

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