- Approximately how many kids try out for the cast and crew?
- Is there a fee to audition or participate in an Encore Stage & Studio production?
- Are all kids who are selected for the cast and crew experienced?
- How do auditions work?
- Who decides which children are selected for the cast and crew?
- Why wasn’t my child cast?
- What is a typical rehearsal schedule for an Encore production?
- Is it possible for actors or crew members to miss rehearsals?
- What are the time demands of crew members during rehearsals and performances?
- How are Act III (summer) shows different from Children’s Theatre (school year) shows?
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For most productions, between 60 and 100 students audition for cast. Most productions have 20 to 28 students in the cast, so there is strong competition. Participation in the backstage crew is also competitive. Between 20 and 30 students apply for crew positions in each play, and 8 to 12 are selected, depending on the technical demands of each particular production.
No, Encore does not charge an audition or casting fee like many other children’s theatres.
No. We are proud to give many children their first real acting experience. Usually each cast reflects a balance of new and experienced performers.
However, students who have more experience, have better stage presence, are more likely to be cast. Acting takes practice. This is one reason why Encore Stage & Studio offers classes and summer camps. These are great ways to learn about acting and gain experience for the next audition.
During the advertised days of auditions, students may arrive at any time during the audition time at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (follow the signs to the rehearsal/audition rooms) on either day of the audition. Each student will need to fill out an audition form which must include schedule conflicts. Forms will be provided at the audition or they can be downloaded here. Students are assigned a number once their paperwork is turned in and will audition in this order. After the first audition period, between 35 and 50 students are “called back” for a second audition (generally Thursday of the same week).
No prepared material is required. Those chosen for the cast are normally notified by the following Sunday evening, and rehearsals begin the following week. Students must attend both auditions (the first and the “call back”) in order to be cast. Each year Encore offers one or two optional workshops to help prepare children for the experience of auditioning.
The Director of each play and the Artistic Director decide who is cast in each production. The Technical Director and the Artistic Director make the selections for the backstage crew.
Casting a production requires balancing several factors, which include many attributes beyond “raw talent.” The Director and the Artistic Director must not only choose casts which reflect their artistic vision of the show, but also must balance ages (e.g. including teens to mentors younger students, and those just starting out who will be the mentors of tomorrow), experience (aiming for a leadership group already experienced with our procedures, a group of middle experience who have acting experience but not with Encore, and new actors just beginning to learn), and other important qualities such as ability to listen and follow directions, and the ability to work well with a group.
Often, qualified students are not cast because they have conflicts with the rehearsal or the performance schedule. Encore regrets that there is not time to contact each student to explain the reasoning for casting decisions, and asks each to keep in mind that it may be no reflection on that “raw talent:” We encourage you to keep on trying!
Participating in an Encore production is a big commitment, but very rewarding. A tentative rehearsal schedule is available at each audition and posted on the Encore website a few weeks before an audition.
Our typical rehearsal schedule include rehearsals two days a week for 6 or 7 weeks. Generally Tuesdays from 5/6 – 7/8 pm and Fridays from 6/7 – 9/10 pm. However, during “Tech Week” (the week before the play opens) the cast and crew rehearse every night, Sunday through Thursday, for approximately four hours each evening, in order to incorporate the scenery, costumes, sound, lighting, and make-up.
Almost never. A determining factor in casting sometimes turns out to be scheduling conflicts. Students must list any potential conflicts when they turn in their audition forms. Many of them have numerous and serious conflicts ranging from a need to miss several rehearsals to missing actual performances.Missing rehearsals is generally not allowed except for absences approved prior to casting. Families must understand that an ensemble activity such as a play depends on the active participation of each actor and crew member. In order to give each student the most rewarding experience possible, Encore does not make use of understudies; the presence of each member of the cast and crew is critical. No performances or tech week rehearsals may be missed except for actual acute emergencies.
Crew members attend fewer rehearsals than actors because their main job begins when the production moves to the stage during tech week. But the crew has only a short few days to learn their jobs and to coordinate hundreds of lighting, sound and set cues; therefore their tech week rehearsals may be longer than those of the cast. Crew members are trained to use professional sound and light boards, and learn their jobs under the supervision of talented professionals.
Participants in the summer Act III show are older youth, ages 15 and up, college students, and even adults from the community. The plays are somewhat more demanding musically or thematically than Children’s Theatre plays, and may appeal more to an audience of older students. Recent Act III shows include Anything Goes, Beauty and the Beast, and The Pirates of Penzance.