Our mission is to inspire young people and audiences to create community and build confidence - encouraging them through educational experiences in the performing arts.

WHO WE ARE

On the outside we are a local non-­‐profit 501c3 organization whose mission is to inspire young people to create community and build confidence-­‐encouraging them through educational experiences in the performing arts. On the inside, we are a small, but growing family of young artists from different parts of town, at different ages, with different backgrounds, building bridges, and finding community by creating art together.

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT

Our vision for The Theater Bug is all about community, a place for young artists to grow up in. This is why we incorporate an all ages model into our programming. What we see at the Bug are the younger actors striving to be better because they look up to the older actors, and the older actors striving to be better because they are put in a position of being mentors. After several years, we are getting to see the kids who were our youngest members take on a leadership role as an older student, and older students who have stayed in the program through high school and college as interns, teacher’s assistants and have even instructed classes!

Our other defining quality is our choice of performance material. It is top priority that our students are doing theater that challenges them not only as actors, but as people. Theater that matters. We always tell our students that we are not a children’s theater company, we are a theater company where our actors happen to be children. Our young actors could give any professional a run for their money in heart, work ethic and skill. We are proud to present high quality shows with meaningful subject matter to our audiences. Each year we perform original material written specifically for our students that has addressed topics such as bullying, children with disabilities and children who have battled serious illness.

WHAT WE OFFER

The Theater Bug offers year round affordable and sometimes free programming centered around the performing arts. We offer financial assistance for all programs and try to make sure that all children who wish to participate can, regardless of their financial situation. Throughout the year we offer two full-­‐length original shows, a Shakespeare production, camps, specialty workshops, concerts, playwriting, home school programming and the performance of an original piece written by our students. With interest growing faster than we can accommodate, it is our hope to find more opportunity for young people than ever!

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Cori Anne Laemmel

Cori Anne Laemmel is the artistic director of The Theater Bug. Cori grew up in a youth theater program that was one of the most influential parts of her young life. She studied voice and song writing at the Musician's Institute of Hollywood before moving to Nashville a decade ago. Cori was the youth programs director for Street Theatre Company where she created and directed programming for 5 years. Cori has also worked as a teaching artist for The Nashville Children's Theatre Company, The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Studio Tenn Theatre Company, Metro Parks Nashville, Vanderbilt University, University School of Nashville and several other elementary and middle schools in middle Tennessee. Cori has written and produced 10 original plays and musicals for The Theater bug that have since been performed at The Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Studio Tenn Theater Company, The Public Theater of Kentucky and Edmonson Elementary School. Cori has directed almost all shows produced by The Theater Bug in the past 6 years. Cori hails from Santa Cruz, CA and has proudly called Nashville home for over ten years with her husband and son.


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LAURA MATULA

Laura Matula is an entrepreneur, artist, actor and performer based in Nashville, TN. Laura graduated from Berklee College of music after studying Music Business/Management and Vocal Performance and moved to Nashville where she worked for years in the music and entertainment industry. She is currently an owner and partner of MA2LA, a husband and wife Nashville-based creative firm specializing in brand identity, photography and film. Laura performs regularly in professional theater in Nashville, TN as well as in the recording studio and is honored to have been able to perform on some of Nashville’s greatest stages, including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, TPAC’s Jackson Hall and coming up at the Ryman with Studio Tenn’s THE CASH LEGACY. Laura has most been seen on stage in such iconic roles as The Wicked Witch of the West in Studio Tenn’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Fantine in ‘Les Miserables’, Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’ and more. She has more recently expanded her focus into music directing, arranging and conducting as well as vocal coaching. Most importantly Laura is a wife and mother. WWW.LAURAMATULA.COM


Laura Donahue

Laura Donohue (Teaching Artist) has been singing, teaching singing, and talking about singing for almost twenty years.  She has served on the faculties of Belmont University and MTSU, and maintains a private voice studio of songwriters, rockers, actors, rappers, opera singers, and shower singers of all ages and levels.  Laura is also the co-creator of GirlsUpAloud, an empowering musical experience for middle school girls.  She is VERY excited to be working with The Theatre Bug, as she is a HUGE fan.  When she's not making music or teaching music she likes hanging out in East Nashville with her awesome family and friends.


Bakari J. King

Bakari is a middle school theatre instructor at University School of Nashville. He also works professionally in local theatres here in Nashville. He also enjoys playing trombone and being cheerleading coach. Bakari says, “I really enjoy sharing my passion with others, either on a stage or in a classroom. I especially love interacting with younger students because I am a big kid at heart.” He got his start late in his high school years and did not have the tools and know how that he has now. This is why he is excited to show our kids what they need to know so they can succeed now. Bakari is always to excited to work at The Theater Bug in whatever capacity they need him in. This is the place where his inner child, G’Greg, can run free and where he can share his teaching philosophy of teaching life lessons through theater


CASEY HEBBEL

Casey, like many of the Bugs, began her singing, dancing, and acting career at a very young age.  She has her BFA in Musical Theatre from Belmont University (2012) and then lived in NYC for a short time post-graduation. She is now currently in the process of getting her Masters of Arts in Teaching Theatre, also from Belmont.  Locally, Casey performs regularly with Studio Tenn, appearing in their productions of Hello Dolly!, Cinderella, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, and Wizard of Oz.  She has also performed around the country at theatres such as The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina (Hilton Head, SC), Flat Rock Playhouse (Hendersonville, NC), Summer Repertory Theatre (Santa Rosa, CA), and Transcendence Theatre Company (Sonoma, CA).  Casey's teaching experience includes instructor at New York Kids Club, camp counselor and Director of Education at Transcendence Theatre Company, dance captain and assistant choreographer at Belmont University, and more! She is thrilled to be a part of the amazing team here at the Bug! 


Santiago Sosa

Santiago Sosa earned a BFA from Texas State University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin. As an actor, teaching artist, and/or voice & text coach, Santiago has worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Muse of Fire Shakespeare Company, Door Shakespeare, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Writers Theatre, Forward Theatre, Definition Theatre, TPAC, NCT, Nashville Rep and Shakespeare Rep.  He also was the artistic director of From the Branch Theatre Company for seven years. Santiago is the recipient of the Horton Foote award for playwriting, the Robert Yeager Award for Directing, and the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship for acting.

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RICHARD MCCOY

President, Member since 2016

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KORTNEY WILSON

Vice-President, member since 2016

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LAYNE SASSER

Member since 2016

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KARA KINDALL

Treasurer, Member since 2016

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KERRI POWELL

Member since 2016

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MIKE ZAZWORSKY

Member since 2016

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AMANDA LAMB

Secretary, Member since 2016

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BAKARI KING

Member since 2016

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JULIE COVINGTON

Former President, Member since 2014

 

The Theater Bug Policies

Updated: December 2017

Our mission is to inspire young people and audiences to create community and build confidence - encouraging them through educational experiences in the performing arts.

The Theater Bug Policies

The Theater Bug is a non-profit theater providing a complete theater experience for young people. This program and all participants benefit from the mutual respect gained by following a standardized set of rules. 

Parent Contract

You are required to read and understand these policies before participating in any program at The Theater Bug. You will be asked to acknowledge receipt and acceptance of these policies when you enroll.

Casting

No child will be cast until all paperwork has been submitted. Role offers will be sent out via email within a week of callbacks. After all roles have been accepted, a full cast list will be sent to the participants. Casting is always done by a team of at least two Theater professionals, one being the director of the show. There are many things to consider when making casting decisions, but our goal is always to tell the story the best way possible. Preparation and a great attitude are a must. Recent rehearsal or performance behavior and attendance will also be a consideration in casting.

Auditions are hard. We sincerely appreciate the courage it takes put yourself on the line and to risk what feels like rejection when you don’t get the role you want, or even a part in a show. We also know that the casting decisions we make will inevitably disappoint some of you.

We are committed to keeping exceptional training at the heart of what we do, and so we want to offer every student an opportunity to learn from their audition experience. Most of the time an actor has done all they can in an audition to work toward the role they want. Casting is a complicated puzzle where each role affects another and many of those variables are out of a student’s control. However, if a student wishes to inquire, and we believe there are specific things a student could work on to help their audition next time, we are glad to share these thoughts in a loving and encouraging way.

This feedback takes a very specific form, and is crucially distinct from the casting process. The following guidelines clarify this, and are meant to help students and their parents know just what they can expect from us once a cast list has been posted, and what in turn we expect of them.

What we won’t do:

  1. Reconsider a casting decision. Once a casting decision has been made, it is final. The casting team will not offer explanations for, entertain complaints about, or discuss in any way the decisions that have been made, with anyone.
  2. Discuss the casting decision with parents. The casting team will not discuss the casting decision or the student’s audition with the student’s parent(s).

What we will do:

  1. Provide written feedback to student inquiries about the audition. If a student wishes to receive written feedback about his/her audition, he/she is welcome to write an email to auditions@thetheaterbug.org, and one of the directors on the casting team will respond to him/her with a personal email as soon as they are able after casting is completed (this may take several weeks, so please be patient with us). The response will include kind and constructive feedback regarding a student’s audition, and specific advice about where to most effectively direct efforts for improvement.
  2. Help describe what does go into casting a show. Casting is a challenging and complicated process, involving multiple variables. A number of key elements that go into a casting decision are simply out of a student’s control. By the same token, we would like students to know what elements they can control and improve upon.
  3. Encourage ongoing training. Finally, we urge students to continue their training through workshops and classes, whenever possible, and will happily point any student toward upcoming opportunities at The Theater Bug (or elsewhere) that require no audition to participate. We believe it is much more productive and effective to work on one’s performance skills when the pressure of auditioning is not looming ahead.

Character Roles/ Stage Time

Every show produced at The Theater Bug is unique. The number of students participating in each show also varies. We strive to put students in roles where they will shine the brightest and provide honest and captivating storytelling for our audiences. An actor’s stage time is not always reflective of their skill or audition, but when you are a part of The Theater Bug community it is understood that the show quality is high because every actor in every size role is strong, and giving their best effort no matter how many lines they have.

Memorization of Lines, Blocking and Scene Work

Each actor is an invaluable part of the team and is expected to arrive prepared, with a positive attitude, ready to do the work in and outside of rehearsal to make sure everyone is ready for opening night. Expectations regarding memorization will be communicated with the cast and parents throughout the rehearsal process.

Communication

Communicating with staff or instructors on their personal cell phone is prohibited. If there is an issue, please contact them using their provided email address or on The Theater Bug business phone: 615-818-7358 and they will be asked to return your call. If you have an issue and wish to contact the Theater Bug board of directors, please email them at boardofdirectors@thetheaterbug.org, or call the business line and your message will be delivered and returned as soon as possible. The exception to this policy is communication with the stage manager who may offer their personal cell phone.

All communication will be conducted via email. It is your responsibility to check your email regularly as email notices will be sent in a daily and weekly call from the stage manager. During a production, the stage manager may provide their cell phone as a means of communication. If you have a question after rehearsal hours, please contact them via email. Otherwise you may call will questions regarding schedule, materials or deadlines.

Please make sure to list all emails addresses that you wish to receive updates on your enrollment forms. The rehearsal schedule will also be sent out via email. If you have not received copious emails, then you need to let us know that your email address has fallen off the list.

What to Bring to Rehearsals

All cast members will need to bring their scripts and two sharpened pencils to each rehearsal along with a labeled bottle of water.

Dress Code

All actors are expected to wear comfortable clothing and shoes that allows for movement. Flip flops and bare feet are not permitted. Shorts should be worn under dresses and skirts.

Food and Drinks

No food will be allowed backstage. Please eat prior to rehearsals and performances. Cast members may bring a snack and will be given a short break during which they may eat.

We encourage children to bring healthy snacks and water in a container that can be secured tightly. Containers without secure lids are not permitted. All students are required to dispose of their own trash. Due to large cast sizes, snacks or lunches that require microwave or refrigeration are not permitted.

In addition to snacks provided from home, we sell concessions on show days and at some rehearsals. The concessions are a fundraising activity for The Theater Bug. IOUs are not provided.

Please note: If you have specific dietary concerns or allergies, please let us know and we will notify the students about what is safe to bring.

Conflicts

Actors are required to create a conflict list ahead of casting to let the director know when they are unable to rehearse. This conflict list must be strictly adhered to. All casting and rehearsal schedule decisions are made based on this list. You may not add conflicts later.

Please look CAREFULLY at the rehearsal calendar and list all possible conflicts. It is important to be truthful about conflicts and obligations. Casting decisions can be influenced by a student’s availability and excessive or added conflicts may result in removal from the show.  Not all cast members will be scheduled for every rehearsal or for the entire rehearsal session. 

Absences

You may not miss rehearsal other than pre-stated conflicts. Unlike most activities, when an actor is missing there is no one who can fill in. An unscheduled absence requires everything to be relearned the next rehearsal and sets the whole show back. Due to limited rehearsal time and large cast size, we will not be able to go back and re-teach or re-block scenes for students who are absent.  If a cast member misses a rehearsal, they may not be placed in that particular number or scene.  A detailed schedule will be given out in advance.  It is extremely important that you keep track of the schedule and which days your character is scheduled.

In the case of illness or emergency we ask that you notify the stage manager as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to reach out to the stage manager for blocking, music or choreography notes learned that day. If you have a fever or stomach virus, please remain home until you are 24 hours symptom free.

Rehearsals Drop Off/Pick Up

Rehearsals start promptly. It is important that cast members are dropped off and picked up promptly. If cast members are late, they need to contact the stage manager and let them know as soon as possible. The days are planned around each child’s availability so when you are late, the whole rehearsal is held up. If you are late you may miss out on opportunities to be in scenes or musical numbers. Also, there are several groups using the theater and we need to clear out quickly before other rehearsals can start.

Students under the age of 16, must be signed in and out by a parent. Please walk your child into the theater and come in to the theater to pick your child up. Students 16+ can sign themselves in and out. You must pick up and drop off on time and communicate if there is a problem. That said, we will never leave a student at the theater unattended.

On the first day of rehearsal we will have a carpool permission form and you may list any adult, other than yourself, that has permission to pick up your child. We will not release your child to anyone other than the individuals you have given us written permission to release them to.

Tech week

Tech week (the week of the performance) attendance is mandatory. Missing a mandatory rehearsal may result in being removed from the show.

Parent Volunteers

Parents who sign up for a volunteer position are expected to follow through with this commitment. We are a small organization that provides a lot of free and affordable programming, and the only way we can continue to provide high quality programming like this is with the committed help of parents and the community. Every student is required to have one adult volunteer in attendance for at least one performance and on set build day.

Costumes

At the beginning of each rehearsal process, we will send a detailed list of what each cast member needs for a costume. It is not mandatory for parents to provide costumes. If you are unable to provide a costume piece, you must email the costumer with the performer’s name, character name, item(s) needed and size by the date specified.

Closed Rehearsals and Performance Expectations

During performances, no one except actors and parent volunteers will be allowed backstage. We realize that it is fun to say "Hi" to your friends and family, but the actors need to be focusing and concentrating on their characters and the performance.

Parents are not permitted in the room during rehearsal. This is the easiest way to make sure that every adult in the room is a safe and trusted adult. It also allows students and instructors to feel like they can work without an audience.

Behavior and Dismissals Policy

Every student and parent is expected to be a kind, loving, hardworking advocate and member of this community. If an actor or parent is not able to be a positive part of The Bug, the family may be asked to leave the show or program. It is our goal that every person involved feels that the Bug is a safe place, and that no one’s educational evolution is impeded by another student or parent’s poor behavior. All staff members must be treated with respect. If a behavior issue arises with a student, we will first address with the student directly, and then involve parents if needed to resolve the problem. Inappropriate behavior from parents will be addressed through our Board of Directors.

Cell Phone Policy

We recognize the importance of students having cell phones in order to stay in contact with parents.  We require that the auditorium be silent during rehearsals and that performers pay attention so that they can learn from the other actors working on stage and so that they do not miss their own cues.  Cell phone use is permitted as long as it does not interfere with these conditions.  Cell phones must be turned off if we find that they are being used excessively or interfering with rehearsal.

During productions cell phones must be turned off to avoid distractions, missing cues, and unnecessary noises.

The Theater Bug is a Bully Free Zone.  

Definition of a Bully:
Someone who intentionally causes physical or emotional harm to someone else as a way to gain power or influence, in person, by cell phone or online.        

You are acting as a bully if you:

  • Make derogatory comments or call bad names to someone’s face or behind their back, spread lies with gossip or rumors
  • Make efforts to socially exclude or isolate someone
  • Physically abuse someone by hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting, etc.
  • Take money or other belongings from someone
  • Force or pressure someone to do something against their will or encourage them to do something inappropriate
  • Brag about your abilities, talents and roles or criticize the talents and abilities of others 

If you recognize bullying:

 

  • Get help from an adult
  • Stand up for what’s right
  • If you hurt someone, apologize and make it right! 

The Theater Bug staff does our best to monitor and understand all social situations between the students while at The Theater Bug. Issues outside our program must be handled between students and their parents.

Non-discrimination Policy

It is the policy and commitment of The Theater Bug that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Admissions

The Theater Bug admits students of any race, color, national origin, sexual orientation and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and other programs.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Theater Bug is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on account of race, age, color, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or religion or otherwise as may be prohibited by federal and state law. 

Any employee, board member, volunteer, parent or student who believes that s/he or any other affiliate of The Theater Bug has been discriminated against is strongly encouraged to report this concern promptly to The Board of Directors.

Discriminatory Harassment

Harassment or intimidation of a parent, staff person or student because of that person’s race, age, color, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, or religion is specifically prohibited and may be grounds for termination. Harassment and intimidation includes abusive, foul or threatening language or behavior. The Theater Bug is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of any such harassment and will not tolerate discrimination against staff members, volunteers or students. 

Issues of discriminatory treatment, harassment, or intimidation on any of these bases should immediately be reported to the Board of Directors and, if substantiated, prompt action will be taken.

Policy Sources: 

Nashville Children’s Theatre; Nashville, Tennessee

Upstage Arts; Webster, Texas

Youth Musical Theater Company; Berkeley, California