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