Players of the Stage, which is affectionately called POTS, started in 2000 with sixteen children getting together to put on a recital for a church’s Christmas banquet. What we thought would be a one-time gig has lasted for over ten years. POTS has produced many plays including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Carol, Tom Sawyer, Pride and Prejudice, The
Importance of Being Earnest, A Miracle Worker, and The Little Princess.
Players of the Stage’s vision is to be an established, reputable Christian youth and community theatre in the Lehigh Valley. Our Mission is to Glorify God and bring His light into the World of Theatre. We accomplish these things by equipping our students, reaching out to the community, and strengthening the Church. Our students are taught fundamental drama skills and theories. We do this through games, exercises, lessons, scene work and performances that give them the basic foundation of stage presence, voice and movement, characterization and
concentration. As they grow in their skills we challenge them on an individual basis and help them find their own style of acting that is consistent with who they are as a unique person. An added benefit to the instruction that we give to our students is that it prepares our students for public speaking through experience in front of audiences, not to mention our vocal exercises.
We seek to bless our community by giving the Lehigh Valley a quality family theatre. We don’t do ‘children’s shows’ but family shows that are done with excellence so that everyone can enjoy a solid piece of theatre. Additionally, Players of the Stage gives back to the community in a monetary way. In the fall of 2005 Players of the Stage began doing their shows as benefit shows to local charities. They have donated proceeds to Care Net, American Ministries to the Deaf, and to the Allentown Rescue Mission. Since then they have raised over 65,000 dollars, every cent of which has gone to those organizations.
At Players of the Stage we believe that God created the world and that He is the originator of all the many art forms we see today. Since God is the Master Playwright, we have a short devotional time at most of our rehearsals from the Bible that help the students grow personally and creatively. Here students learn the importance of giving glory to God by living one’s entire life for Him, and by going out into His world to work for Him. Students are trained to be respectful of their elders, to be diligent, disciplined servants, and to work together as a team.
It is our desire to see the Church reestablished as a patron of the arts. We strengthen the Church by creating works of theatre that are excellent and beautiful, by expounding upon the truths of scriptures through the stories and characters of the plays, and providing a unique form of outreach and evangelism to their communities. Hundreds of years ago, the Bible was presented through dramatic presentations because people could not read. As our culture today is becoming less auditory and more visually oriented, drama is becoming once again an important way to share the Gospel of Christ.
Theatre would be nothing without an audience. Primarily, our desire is to communicate God’s glory and truth to our audiences through our plays and performances. This is not done by merely producing a bunch of “Christian” plays; but it is done by producing plays with excellence that they proclaims God’s amazing creativity and plays that are so truthful to the condition of humanity that our need for Him will be felt – whether the play quotes scripture, mentions God, or alludes to Christianity or not.
An Overview of the Production Process
Each show starts with auditions. At auditions we will have the parent fill out a form that gives us the students information as well as any conflicts that there may be with the rehearsal schedule. Please bring your calendar with you to auditions so that you can give as accurate information as possible.
After audition, casting is decided and the parents of students being offered principle roles will be contacted first to discuss the time commitment needed for the role and whether the parent believes their child is ready and able to play a principal role. If a student being offered a principle or supporting role has conflicts with rehearsals they will be asked to rearrange their schedule so that they can attend every rehearsal in order to play the part. Casting will be announced a week or two after auditions. The families will then have a set time, determined by the director, to decide whether they accept the role or not. Once a part is accepted the registration form and fee needs to be sent to the production manager.
The very first rehearsal we have is a read through. We get the whole cast together and do exactly what it sounds like - we read through the script. After that we discuss the show and the director explains the artistic concept and direction for the show.
Blocking days are when the entire cast shows up to find out where they enter, exit, move on stage etc. It is imperative that the students bring their scripts and a pencil with them to rehearsal so that they can write down their blocking.
Depending on the size of your child’s role and the show they may not need to be present for the entirety of the blocking day. If that is the case a blocking schedule will be sent out after casting is finalized.
Rehearsals & Runs
For several rehearsals we break down the script and work on several sections of the scripts at a time. As we get closer
to the show we start runs, where we rehearse a large section of the play. This will vary from one whole act to the whole
Tech rehearsal is where the technical aspects of the show are worked out. There are two parts of this rehearsal. The first part is a rehearsal just for stage and tech crew with the technical and artistic director. During this time they work on figuring out what needs to happen and how that will happen. The second part of this rehearsal is when all the actors come and have run of their show. This gives the actors and the crew an opportunity to rehearse together and be able to better cement the technical aspects.
At Players of the Stage we give our students who are twelve or older the opportunity of volunteering to be on stage or tech crew. Stage crew involves moving the props and set pieces while tech crew involves lights and sound. Our students who participate in tech are trained by our technical director to be excellent in fulfilling the technical needs of the show.
Dress rehearsal is where all the actors wear their costumes and go through whatever costume changes they may have. Dress rehearsals are treated as a show. Dress rehearsals are longer than normal rehearsals because the actors must have time to get into costume, makeup, hair and also have time to get out of all that and put everything back in order.
Media day is typically a dress rehearsal where members from the media are present to take pictures and have interviews with the actors. No one ever quite knows what will happen during media day as the reporters needs may be different than anticipated but it is always an exciting day.
Production week is the most exciting time during the rehearsal process. We meet everyday for a minimum of two hours. This is the week when the artistic and technical aspects of the show are polished and we get ready for our audiences. Everyone is running high on adrenaline as we get our show ready for our audience members. This can also be one of the most exhausting weeks and can be all consuming leaving little room for other things besides drama. You may find that your child(ren) need more time to rest and rehearse at home during this week. We encourage families to schedule as little outside activity as possible during production week so that the students can focus on the show.
Performances are the highlight of the process. Cast call is an hour and a half before the start of a show. Students need
to arrive on time for their cast call so that they can get into costume and focused. After the show a student must put all
their costumes and costumes pieces neatly away in the dressing room before they can go home.
Strike happens at the end of the very last show. During strike the stage is torn down, props are put away, costumes are packed up to be washed, and the building is cleaned and restored to it’s original setup. This takes several hours and is an all hands effort.
The week after our final performance we have a cast party to celebrate the success of the show and the blessings of God on our work. We have a potluck dinner for our cast and their families and have a time of fellowship. We also present the money we raised to the charity during the evening.
What to Expect
Expect your child to have a wonderful time! We want our students to have a challenging and incredibly fun experience. Our rehearsals are often filled with laughter as we play theatrical games and have times of interacting and getting to know one another better. Being a part of a production often gives the cast a family like feel by the end of the show and many of our students form strong friendships during the rehearsal process.
Expect your child to learn! Every week we do vocal exercises, theatre exercises and have lessons that teach our students many skills for the theatre as well as everyday life. Many of our lessons are accompanied by handouts that they will be given for future reference. We have a strong emphasis on helping your child(ren) grow to be the very best actor they can be and we do this through activities, lessons and experience.
Expect your child to work hard! We are a youth and community theatre but we believe that children can and will excel when pushed to it, and we push them. Theatre is a lot of work at rehearsal and at home.You will need to give your child time at home to work on their scripts and if your child is younger you may need to help them with that.
Expect your child to participate in something amazing! Players of the Stage gives away a portion or the entirety of their donations to a local charity. God has richly blessed our group and given us the amazing opportunities of giving tens of thousands of dollars away to groups who are ministering to those in need in our community. For our students, being able to participate in such successful fundraisers is an incredible opportunity for them. It’s a rare thing that such a young child can have such a huge impact but that is exactly what happens at Players of the Stage.
Expect your child to be told about Jesus! Players of the Stage is a Christian, Bible believing organization. We welcome members of all beliefs to be apart of our group but we will be praying in Jesus’ name and talking about Him on a weekly basis. We base everything, including our acting, on the work of God and His Son; to leave that out of our production process would undermine everything we are seeking to do and would lesson the quality of our performances.
What They’ll Need
Drama is very active. Students should dress in comfortable, loose fitting, and modest clothing that allows them to move freely without the worry of revealing anything. Additionally, they should wear flat shoes that are easy to move in. We ask that every student brings in their own bag with their names on it that they can use to store their costumes in. Please do not bring in plastic bags or backpacks as we have found them not to work very well. We need to have everyone’s bag in before the first dress rehearsal.
Often we ask that the students provide their own socks, shoes, slips and undershirts. Depending on the show, students may be asked to bring other items from home to be used as costumes. All items brought from home must be marked as ‘belongs to (name)’ to prevent the items getting confused with the costumes that belong to the theatre. Anything that your child(ren) brings in to use as a costume becomes property of Players of the Stage for the duration of the show and the student must ask before taking it home. The costume manager will communicate with you early on in the rehearsal process if your child(ren) is expected to bring anything.
During production week we strongly encourage everyone to bring deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste with them. Often we have rehearsal before a show and it is helpful to be able to freshen up before getting into costumes. We put a lot of time and money into our costumes and so we want to take the best care of them as possible, so personal hygiene is a must! We ask that the students bring in their own hairbrush and/or comb and hair things to dress rehearsals and productions.
For girls who regularly wear make up, we ask that they bring make up remover or to not apply make up the days of dress rehearsals, media day and shows. Girls who are playing adult women in the performances may wear makeup but the colors and application must be approved by one of the staff.
The Team Effort
Theatre is a collaborative art form, and even a small production takes many people to make it happen. We are always excited about the children, families and adults who participate in our productions. In order for everything to run smoothly and for our end product to be as excellent as possible, Players of the Stage holds to the following policies:
We are a youth and community theatre. We expect that our students will act like children because that’s usually what they are! However, we also expect that they will be respectful to the staff and each other. We hold our students to the following theatre etiquette and common courtesies.
If we have behavioral problems with a student we will address it with them privately. If it is a recurring problem we will talk with the parents. If a student is being disruptive and is not changing his behavior after attempts made by the staff to talk to him and his parents, they may be pulled from the show if the staff believe it is in the best interest of the production's integrity. If a child is pulled from a show, tuition will not be refunded.
We ask that our students arrive fifteen minutes early before rehearsal begins to ensure that we start on time and that they be willing to stay fifteen minutes after the rehearsal to help clean up if needed. Chewing gum is not allowed during rehearsal as it inhibits the students speaking properly. Any student chewing gum upon arrival will be asked to throw out their gum.
Water is allowed in the rehearsal area but food and other drinks are not. We will have a break during each rehearsal that will allow students to eat a snack if they desire to pack one.
When an instructor is teaching, or when a student has been called on by an instructor to share their thoughts we expect the other students will be respectful and listen quietly. The instructors are expected to give the same courtesy to the students.
We expect our students to be cooperative with the directions given by the staff from being asked to help clean up to a direction for their acting. We encourage them to do this with cheerful attitudes. Our directors desire to be sensitive to each of the students and what they are comfortable doing. If a director ever suggests blocking or an approach to their character that the student is uncomfortable with we encourage the student to talk to their director about it. The director will work with that student to find a solution that fits with their artistic concept and is comfortable for the student.
We do not allow cell phones or other electronics to be on during rehearsals, as they are often distracting and take away from the rehearsal experience. If a student needs to make a phone call they must ask permission from one of the staff to either turn on their cell phone or to use one of the staff’s phones. We expect students to bring their script and a pencil with them to every rehearsal. If a student or family loses a script and needs to replace it at the cost that POTS paid for it.
It is imperative that students are absolutely silent backstage so as to maintain the professionalism and integrity of our shows. We expect our students and staff to not talk backstage during performances and rehearsals unless there is an absolute need.
Props, lights, sound and sets are not to be touched or played with by anyone, including the tech and stage crew, outside of practicing with them for rehearsal or using them in the show. If an actor or tech/stage crew member would like to have extra time to practice with props they must get permission from either the artistic director or the technical director. If a member of tech or stage crew desires to practice with lights, sound or sets they must get permission from the technical director.
Costumes are not to be played with. Like props they are only to be used during rehearsals and shows unless permission is given by the artistic director or the costume manager. Eating is not allowed in costume unless it is in the show. Drinking water while in costume is allowed and strongly encouraged! If a student needs to take a costume home for some reason they must get permission from the costume manager. If you damage a costume you may be required to pay for it’s replacement.
Every part, even an extra, is an incredible important piece of the whole production. Just like you can’t finish a puzzle with one piece missing, regardless of how small, so our rehearsals are impossible to run smoothly without everyone there. Because of that we have a strict attendance policy. Players of the Stage keeps rehearsals to a minimum to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules so we expect people to come to the scheduled rehearsal that we do have.
Students with small parts may have two excused absences from non-mandatory rehearsals. A small part, is usually an extra or characters with few lines. However a director may sometimes use characters with few lines in important blocking, therefore the director has the final say as to whether a part is small or not. All absence requests must be approved by the director of the play that the student is participating in. If a student is unable to get an excused absence before a rehearsal, they are expected to contact the director to let them know why they did not attend. Students with principal parts must attend every rehearsal. When they accept to play a principal or supporting role they are committing to rearrange any conflicts that arise. If a students misses three rehearsals or a mandatory rehearsal they will be pulled from the show.
Obviously, there are some situations that cannot be controlled, and there do come times when it is absolutely unavoidable to miss rehearsal. Things like serious illness, death in family, family emergencies, are understood and will not be held against anyone if they have to miss a rehearsal because of such an event. If a conflict comes up that the student or parent feels is unavoidable, they can discuss it with the director of the play and they will do their best to come
up with a solution that is compassionate to the situation of the student and/or family without compromising the integrity of the show.
Because of our limited rehearsal time we strongly encourage everyone to view all rehearsals as mandatory and not use up their two excused absences especially since unexpected things like illness do often occur! We do have rehearsals that a student must be able to attend in order to take part in the show, regardless of the size of their role. Mandatory rehearsals include:
The three Thursday rehearsals before production week
Production week rehearsals
If a student misses a mandatory rehearsal, they will be pulled from the show and their tuition will not be refunded. Before you commit to a show we strongly encourage you to look over your calendar and make sure that your child can attend all mandatory rehearsals. This is our policy regarding missed rehearsals, however we reserve the right to adapt our policies for individual situations that the production staff believe warrant.
Tardiness and Early Dismissal
Players of the Stage is not merely a production company. We are a teaching company. We have lessons and activities that train our actors and help them advance in their skills. Having a student come to a rehearsal late or leave early, may not only impede our ability to start the rehearsal but it can impede their performance at that rehearsal. If a student is thirty minutes late to or leaves early from a rehearsal, without getting approval from their director, it will be
considered an unexcused absence.
If your child desires to participate in one of Players of the Stage’s productions but has an unavoidable, recurring conflict that prevents them from arriving on time or requires them to leave early, it may still be possible for them to participate in the show as an extra, as long as they can attend all mandatory rehearsals for the whole time. This decision is up to the discretion of the director and it must be worked out with him or her.
Players of the Stage keeps our tuition very low so that it is easier for everyone to be involved. The non-refundable registration fee is to be sent in with the registration form. The registration form will be sent out with the casting announcement. The form is to be sent to the production manager with the fee before rehearsals start. If the form or the fee is late you may be charged a fifteen dollar late fee.
The remainder of the tuition is to be payed on the first day of rehearsal. If necessary a payment plan can be arranged with the production manager. If tuition is not given on the day of rehearsal or is late according to the pre-arranged payment plan, one of the staff will remind you to please bring in your tuition at the next rehearsal. If payment continues to be unpaid you may be charged a fifteen dollar late fee.
Parental Involvement Policy
We have at least one mandatory parent meeting for each show. We do this so that we are able to communicate with the parents what we our goals are for each show and also to get feedback. It is mandatory that one parent of each student attends the meeting and we expect that they will make every effort to come. If there are circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from attending, they are required to find a way to get the information from the meeting and are expected to let the artistic director and production manager know beforehand that they will not be able to attend and to let them know afterwards that they have received the information from another source. And of course, we always want feedback so if a parent is unable to attend a meeting we encourage them to let us know their thoughts after they have had a chance to review the information they’ve been given.
Players of the Stage heavily relies on their parents to get everything done. Parents must perform a production week job in order for their children to participate in the production. We also ask that parents who are able to volunteer on committees. Information about committees and production jobs will be available at auditions.
Currently, Players of the Stage has no outside sources of support. All of our production costs must be raised by our group. We typically need seventy-five dollars per student to run all of our shows in the black, though the actual dollar amount is subject to change depending on the show. We ask that our parents help offset the costs by doing various fundraisers. We expect that each family will make an effort to raise the amount needed to cover the cost of the production.
Set up and Strike Policy
Because Players of the Stage currently does not have our own building, we often have to do extensive set up before we can rehearsal. This is especially true for our tech rehearsal, our dress rehearsal and the first day of production week. We will ask those who are available to come early on those days to help us with set up.
Strike happens at the end of the last show and is the most time intensive tear down as the stage needs to be broken down, props need to be put away, costumes need to be packed up to be washed, and the theatre space needs to be cleaned. This process can take several hours lasting late into the night and sometimes into the early morning of the next day. Most theatres require every cast member to participate in strike until everything is done. As we work with young children and families that have young children we do not require that from our families. We do ask that you stay and help for as long as you can so that the staff is not doing everything by themselves early into the next morning.
Players of the Stage has from 30 - 70 kids involved with each show. We take great enjoyment out of working with our students and seeing them grow in the skills and talents that God has given them. For information about upcoming camps and auditions or if you have any questions please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with and getting to know your student.