Due to the nature of overlapping rehearsals, we will not be available to answer questions during rehearsals. If you need to ask a question of Karli or Lois, you can do so before 5:00pm or after 7:30pm. Otherwise, please email us (contact@NWYouthTheatre.org) or call/text at 503-941-0228. We both work at other full-time jobs, so if we don’t respond in a reasonable manner of time, feel free to bug us again! We’re not intentionally ignoring you!
We have very little time at rehearsals to talk to parents and answer questions. Having a parent meeting at the beginning of each production helps everyone to get on the same page, and helps us to go over any changes that might be different from show to show. Our parent meeting will be Tuesday, September 13th from 5:30-6:00pm.
We are very different from other theatre programs. Most of the time, you would sign up for classes that may have a small “show-and-tell” type production at the end. In addition to classes, you may have the opportunity to audition for a production, but with no guarantee of a role. In our program, we combine the best of both worlds! We do not require experience, and everyone gets a role! We work hard to ensure that everyone feels valued and knows that his/her role is crucial to our performance. We combine “class” with “rehearsal” so that they are learning by doing. We play theater games, sing songs and work HARD! We rehearse Tuesday evenings (and some Saturdays) and by the end of the term, we put on a full stage musical!
We rehearse Tuesday evenings. Little Stars (Grades K-2) rehearse from 5:00-6:00pm. Our older students, Mid Stars and Big Stars will have staggered start times for rehearsals. Mid Stars will rehearse from 5:30-7:00pm and Big Stars will rehearse from 6:00-7:30pm. While the older groups will be determined roughly by age, final grouping will be based on casting. If you have already registered for Big Stars, plan to attend the first two weeks at 6:00pm. After auditions are completed, we will split into different groups. If rehearsal time impacts your ability to participate, please let us know as soon as possible.
At rehearsals we will be focused on teaching songs, dances and blocking (where to stand). There are some things you can do to help us with this process. 1) Make sure your student has used the restroom before rehearsal! This is so important, as we do not have time to take bathroom breaks. 2) Work with your child at home. They should be listening to the CDs and practicing their lines out loud with an adult EVERY day. Most shows like this would rehearse every single day, or at least multiple times a week. We put on these shows with only 1 rehearsal a week (and a few Saturdays). Kids need revisit their parts much more often than that to retain it in their brains. Also, ATTENDANCE is crucial. When your student misses, s/he not only misses out on important information that we don’t have time to redo, but it significantly impacts everyone else with whom s/he is on stage. Please let us know in advance if your child cannot attend rehearsals, via phone email or text. Unexcused absences may result in lines/parts being given to other students, or may result in your student being dismissed from the performances.
No! Absolutely not! In fact, it’s better if you don’t. We absolutely understand the need for you to stay and make sure your students are comfortable. But (especially for our youngest performers) every person in the audience becomes a distraction. If you must stay, we do ask a few things. 1) Please stay at the back of the cafeteria, as far away from the stage as possible. 2) Please do not bring siblings to rehearsal. 3) Please remain as quiet as possible, and please step into the hall if you have to answer a phone call. Our final week of rehearsals will be closed to spectators.
We typically provide a bulk of the costuming. However, different shows and parts require different things. We will usually request that you provide some sort of base on which we can build a costume. This usually consists of a specific color of top, pants and shoes, and will be communicated after your child receives his/her part.
Our ticket sales go directly to cover the cost to rent our facility. In addition to the simple rental fee, they also cover the professional staff at the theater whom we are required to use when we rent the space. These staff members include lighting, sound, production manager, house manager and occasionally crew. They are incredibly talented and work hard to make our shows much more professional looking and feeling than we could ever manage on our own. Additionally, we have custodial fees, insurance policies and a hodge podge of other costs associated with the rental. On top of that, we have to pay royalties to the company who licenses the scripts. These fees can amount to thousands of dollars and these costs are completely funded through ticket sales. We have chosen to keep the ticket prices lower than most comparable shows. We researched all the local theaters and our prices are lower than all of them, and in a better venue. We have also worked hard to provide ways to earn tickets if you are willing to put in a little bit of effort. Our ticket prices fluctuate each term, depending on our performance venue.
For Willy Wonka Jr, we are trying something new. In order to ensure we sell enough tickets to cover the costs of the show listed above. Therefore, we are requiring each family (not student) to sell eight (8) tickets to either (not both) performance. Ticket sales need to be completed and money turned in two weeks before the show (April 8th, 2014) in order for your student to participate in the performance. Tickets can be sold to friends, family, co-workers, etc. However, we don’t want this to be a hardship for you and plan to set up a ticket exchange… many of our families will want more than 8 tickets. For those who feel they cannot sell all 8 tickets, they can sign up on the exchange, and “sell” their tickets to other families on a first-come first-served basis. Additionally, our top two ticket sellers who sell more than 10 tickets will receive free tuition to future terms.
Theater is surprisingly expensive! In addition to facility rental fees (just for rehearsals), tuition covers all costumes, scripts, materials, sets, etc. Especially as we do new and bigger shows, we create more and more from scratch. We do not charge costume fees. Additionally, we have on-going costs throughout the year, such as insurance and storage fees, which we pay whether we are in session or not. Finally, our instructors do put their heart and soul into these performances and tuition dollars go to accommodate their time and talent. We do not have grant money that many theatre companies get (with just the two of us, we don’t have the time to go out and apply for it!), so we rely solely on tuition dollars. We also provide our own in-house need-based scholarships and financial assistance.
We have performed in a variety of locations over the years. In our recent home in Hillsboro, we have performed at both Brown Middle School and Liberty High School. We are currently trying to obtain performance space at Century High School. The fact is, the talent that these little actors have has allowed us to keep doing bigger and bigger shows, and we have simply outgrown Brown’s facilities. We LOVE Brown and the Hillsboro School District for letting us use their rehearsal space. However, since Brown doesn’t have a drama program anymore, their facilities continue to fall deeper and deeper into disrepair. Their lighting is all burned out, their curtains are torn and their sound system does not work. When the kids put so much time and energy into performing, they deserve better. So, whether we are able to rent a space at Century, or we have to rent sound and lights to make Brown a more professional experience, it’s something we think these kids deserve.
The short answer: It’s theater. If your child continues on to any sort of theater experience, the dress rehearsals will run long and late. It’s the nature of the beast. And because our students only get ONE dress rehearsal in their performance space with all the sound and lights (which is kind of crazy when you think about it) we have to make sure everything is right. It just takes time. We appreciate your patience.
For the safety of the performers, we need to limit the people that are in and around the stage and backstage area. The easiest way to do this is by only allowing people in who are wearing nametags and volunteering. Additionally, it’s the ONLY rehearsal that there are not parents there watching, and really the only one where the kids can really focus. We need them as focused as absolutely possible. We promise we’re not trying to be mean.
These kids have worked hard for twelve weeks. Most have never had performing experiences before… for many, this might be their only one. When they do the first one, they finally get a taste of what it’s like to do it for a real audience, and one is just not enough for them! They come for the second performance with much more excitement and less nervousness, and end up having a blast. They deserve it.
Depending on our performance venue, we occasionally require students to stay between performances. We don’t have enough time in between performances to get everyone out of costume, have them leave and come back. It’s much easier for everyone to have them stay. Additionally, when we have let students leave in the past, it makes a logistical nightmare for keeping track of them and making sure they’re back on time for the second show. So, send a sack dinner and enjoy some time to yourself! That said, we occasionally do have to send the kids away between performances. If that is the case, we will notify you closer to show day.
Photography is dangerous for our performers. Even if you think you are turning off a flash, inevitably, someone’s goes off. This is very distracting and potentially dangerous for the kids. We will provide a time for you to take pictures in costume at the end of the show. For some of our shows, we provide a DVD recording. Unfortunately, due to our licensing contract with Music Theatre International, no audio or video recordings of any kind are allowed for Willy Wonka Jr. Should recordings be made, we could be fined and/or lose our ability to license shows in the future. We appreciate your understanding.
We have been doing children’s theater for a combined total of… about a million years (I know, and we look so young!). Lois and I (Karli) have been working together since I was in 7th grade and her assistant, going on about 18 years. Children’s theater is unlike anything else you’ll ever experience. Every single time we wait and worry and worry and wait for it to come together. And it ALWAYS does. In fact, we have had some experiences where even WE didn’t think it was possible, and yet, it happened. Truly, these kids will AMAZE you, and you won’t have a clue how it happened. (Which is exactly why they need two performances, to get to do it right twice!) One thing we’ve learned over the many years is children will NEVER rehearse like they perform. During rehearsals they see all the parents sitting out there (they can’t see the audience during the performance with all the bright lights on them), there’s other noises and distractions, and they’re frankly thinking about everything else around them. But come performance time, something magical happens and they pull it together. It’s so fun to see!
Northwest Youth Theatre is an Oregon Not-for-Profit 501(c)3 Corporation. Its purpose is to provide education and experience in the performing arts to children regardless of their past experience or training. It was founded by Lois Lents in Portland, OR in 1995, and offers youth a variety of performing opportunities, through after school and summer day camp programs for children from preschool through high school. NYT classes are filled without requiring students to audition — we believe that by working on performance skills and team-building activities in the rehearsal process, every group of young people can produce an excellent program. In addition, NYT policy is that no child will be denied access to our programs because of inability to pay. Contact us for information on tuition assistance.
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