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Theater Rules and Policies


Upstage Arts Theater Handbook


Upstage Arts is a non-profit organization committed to inspire, challenge and promote artists and art in our community. We are dedicated to offering children the full theater experience creating a special place for them to learn and thrive in the arts. Upstage Arts encourages student participation in every aspect of each production including building and painting sets, running the technical booth, selling concessions and working backstage during performances along with performing in lead and support roles.


Upstage Arts Policies

Upstage Arts Youth Theater is a non-profit community theater providing a complete theater experience for children and youth. It is a privilege to attend 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 attending Upstage Arts. You will sign the contract when you enroll.


Production Value

Upstage Arts continually produces the best youth theater productions in the area. This happens because of volunteer time from parents. Your tuition does not cover elaborate costuming and sets. All costuming and sets, playbills, and concessions, come from volunteers. The overall scale of the production is based solely on the effort and number of volunteers.


Tuition covers the following expenses:

  • Rights and royalties for the show being produced

  • A copy of the script and CD with music

  • Rehearsal time in the stage space

  • Teaching and coaching time from the director.

  • Programmed lights, sound and background projection

  • A minimum of 2 performances.


Tuition does not cover:

  • Costumes-Parents are required to provide basic, easy to locate, inexpensive pieces

  • Private lessons

  • Late pick up

  • Theatre maintenance and upkeep

  • Concessions including water

  • Additional performances- although most show runs include 3-6 performances

  • Playbills

  • Show shirts

  • Cast party



No child will be cast until all paperwork has been submitted. Cast lists will be sent out via e-mail within a few days of the casting day. Your child will be judged on their stage presence, reading fluency, volume, expression, and overall acting ability, as well as their conduct during auditions (respect for the property and for others auditioning). Recent rehearsal or performance behavior and attendance can also be a consideration in casting.


Character Roles/ Stage Time

Every show produced at Upstage Arts is unique. The number of students participating in each show also varies. We strive to give each actor as much stage time as possible dependent on their talents and abilities. Sometimes shows will be single cast and sometimes shows will be double cast with actors playing a role during half of the performances. It is expected that sometimes an actor may be double cast and be assigned a technical role, such as lights, sound or stage management. Each actor is expected to do their best at their assigned role and not complain.


Memorization of Lines, Blocking and Scene Work

Each Actor depends on every other Actor in the Cast. It is this teamwork that creates the great shows. It is expected that actors meet all deadlines regarding memorization. Any actor not meeting their deadlines may lose their role or part of their role based on the discretion of the director. We work hard to make sure each actor is not given more lines than they can handle. If the actor is having problems, he or she must discuss with the Director before the deadline in respect of the Director and the other actors.



All communication will be conducted via e-mail. It is your responsibility to check your e-mail regularly as e-mail notices will be sent frequently (sometimes after every practice). Please make sure to list all e-mails addresses that you wish to receive updates on your enrollment forms. The rehearsal schedule will also be sent out via e-mail. 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 a pencil to each rehearsal along with their closed toe shoes (preferably jazz shoes). Actors will not be allowed on stage without their closed toe shoes.


Dress Code

All actors are expected to wear comfortable clothing that allows for movement.  Closed toed shoes are required.  Jazz shoes are encouraged for all Main Stage shows and camps.

Actors participating in the Spot Light show are required to wear black jazz or yoga pants and a black shirt or Upstage Arts shirt.  Jazz shoes are required and hair must be pulled away from the face.


Food and Drinks

No food will be allowed in the house. Cast members may bring a snack and will be given a short break during which they may eat in the lobby.


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.


In addition to snacks provided from home, we sell concessions.  The concessions are a fundraising activity for Upstage Arts and we appreciate donations such as crackers and cookies.  IOUs are not provided.

Please note: If you have specific dietary concerns or allergies, please let us know and we will make every effort to accommodate you. 




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. Some roles require fewer rehearsals and we can often adjust the rehearsal schedule to accommodate certain conflicts, but you can be dropped from the show if we find out after casting and setting the schedule that you won’t be at several of the rehearsals! Not all cast members will be scheduled for every rehearsal or for the entire rehearsal session.  Larger roles will require a larger time commitment. 



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.  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.

If an actor is truly ill then they have the option of sitting on the top row and taking notes or if they do need to miss rehearsal, then they are required to make up that rehearsal time privately.

The private lesson is to be worked out with the discretion of the director and the cost is $10 per 30 minutes.


Rehearsals Drop Off/Pick Up

Rehearsals start promptly and do not run late unless previous notice is given. It is important that cast members are dropped off and picked up promptly. If cast members are late, they may miss out on opportunities to be in scenes. Also, there are several groups using the theater and we need to clear out quickly before other rehearsals can start.

You must pick up and drop off on time. If an actor is consistently late or left after rehearsal hours, after hour tuition costs may be imposed or additional private lessons may be assigned at $10 per half hour.

That said, we will make all accommodations possible to meet your student’s needs, and will never leave a student at the theater unattended.


Tech week

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



If you are absent for one of your scheduled performances, another actor will fill in for you - you will not be given another date.


Parent Volunteers


As a non-profit theater, our shows couldn’t possibly take place without the help of our many wonderful volunteers! Volunteer opportunities are plentiful and we will help you find the perfect job. For all performances, parents are required to work at least two shows per child enrolled in any of the available volunteer positions. They are typically in the concessions, backstage, and side stage areas. For Spotlight Shows, parents are required to volunteer with a specific theater project/need. See Volunteer Section for more information.


Theater Upkeep

Upstage Arts is a 501 c 3 non-profit community theater. It is not a private business. Many students and parents use the space daily and everyone is expected to help maintain and improve the conditions of the building. Please help take out the trash, wipe down windows and bathrooms, sweep and maintain general orderliness. Actors will be fined $1 for each piece of trash left on the floor or for each costume or prop piece left out of place.


Rehearsal Support

One parent volunteer is expected to be at every rehearsal for safety and support of the children. A volunteer signup will be posted. This volunteer will be expected to assist in the lobby, monitor the doors, administer first aid, and occasionally manage small rehearsing groups.



Some costume parts may be provided but costumes are ultimately the responsibility of each cast member. We will make every effort to keep costs to a minimum and to allow flexibility and creativity.  Specific items may be required. All members will need black jazz shoes.


Performance Behavior/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. Also, no food is allowed backstage. Water is allowed only if it is in a container with a closed lid.


Refund Policy

All shows require a $100 non-refundable deposit. In addition, there are no refunds of the remaining tuition paid once the cast list is posted except in extenuating circumstances such as death in the family, a medical injury, serious illness or surgery not known about prior to the first rehearsal.

No refunds of tuition will be given to cast members removed from the cast by Upstage Arts staff for behavioral reasons.


Behavior and Dismissals Policy

Here at Upstage Arts we strive to strike a balance between hard work and fun.  Without hard work the production suffers. We want actors to have a great time creating their show within the bounds of appropriate behavior.  Cast members and their parents must be aware that rehearsals can be strenuous and require cast members to have the ability to focus for up to 90 minutes at a time. We have clear rules and any performer that intentionally chooses not to follow the rules will be given a warning.  Disruptive students will be asked to sit out of rehearsal and will not be eligible to participate in the number being taught. The third time a director must interrupt rehearsal to correct the student, they will be required to leave practice.  Parents will be expected to immediately pick up their child who will be waiting in the theater lobby.  This will count as an unexcused absence.



You are probably hearing this word more and more. We are wanting to step up the level of professionalism in our actors. This does not mean that we want to get rid of the heart and fun of Upstage. It is, however, meant to reduce stress.

We want kids to be prepared with their lines and blocking, come to rehearsals on time, wear appropriate clothing, listen to their directors and treat the building with respect. When actors leave their trash and damage theater property, it creates more work for everyone. When kids lack respect for theater rules, it also creates stress for everyone. When they come unprepared it puts stress on the entire cast.


We must make a good impression on everyone that steps through the doors and create a respected reputation in the community.


Memorization of Lines, Blocking and Scene Work

Each Actor depends on every other Actor in the Cast. It is this teamwork that creates the great shows. It is expected that actors meet all deadlines regarding memorization. Any actor not meeting their deadlines may lose their role or part of their role based on the discretion of the director. We work hard to make sure each actor is not given more lines than they can handle. If the actor is having problems, he or she must discuss with the Director before the deadline in respect of the Director and the other actors.


A Healthy Sense of Competition

As we grow, we realize that we need to meet the needs of our students who are developing into strong actors. We will always welcome every new actor into our theater, but we also need a place where our developing talent can continue to grow.

Our actors will push themselves to be more professional, to make a good impression on their directors, to come to casting prepared if they have to compete. Competition is a part of life and certainly a part of theatre at large and we are not providing quality training if we do not allow actors to have a chance to be a part of an authentic audition process.


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.


Upstage Arts 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 

                          And stand up for what’s right.

If you hurt someone, apologize and make it right!



Non-discrimination Policy


It is the policy and commitment of Upstage Arts Inc. that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, or religion.



Upstage Arts Inc. admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. 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 school-administered programs.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Upstage Arts Inc. 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, or religion or otherwise as may be prohibited by federal and state law.


Any employee, board member, volunteer or client who believes that s/he or any other affiliate of Upstage Arts Inc. has been discriminated against is strongly encouraged to report this concern promptly to the Executive Director.


Discriminatory Harassment

Harassment or intimidation of a client, staff person or guest 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. Upstage Arts Inc. is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of any such harassment and will not tolerate discrimination against staff members, volunteers or agency clients.


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


Non Discrimination Policy
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