Frequently Asked Questions

I know a young artist who would love to be in a show! Can you tell me more?
What’s it like to do a show at Tacoma Youth Theatre?

Tacoma Youth Theatre is designed specifically for the safe, hands-on learning of young artists, so it’s the perfect place to be in a show! ALL actors learn best ‘on their feet,’ and each show provides a total theatre experience – ultimately culminating in several public performances, complete with set, props, lighting, sound & costumes.

Throughout this process, all instruction is designed to give both beginning and experienced young actors the tools necessary to advance in their understanding of the art form. We’ll play a variety of games and exercises that both help to facilitate the ultimate goal of performance, as well as promoting such general skills as: teamwork, self-confidence, responsibility, basic human empathy and understanding, creativity and communication.

Here are some other things you can expect from Tacoma Youth Theatre:

  • We have a Montessori approach to theatre education, with plenty of hands-on learning opportunities.
  • We have a deep understanding and appreciation for each young artist's unique thought process and learning style. We respect each young actor's individuality and work hard to ensure everyone's success.
  • We highly value diversity.
  • We cast between 10-20 actors to ensure that each young artist receives the individualized instruction and attention that they deserve.
  • We primarily adapt our own plays from public domain works. We do not currently produce musicals.
  • Each cast member will always have a speaking, vital role in their production, and complete ownership of their character. We never double-cast or allow understudies.

What is the cost for audition-based programs?

We know that times are hard and money is tight for everyone. We ask that every young artist enrolled in our program pay either a full tuition or select a lesser payment their family can afford. Our only requirement is that everyone pay something and help make up the difference through ticket sale fundraising. Tuition for audition-based productions is $300.00 -- Pay What You Can. PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN tuition does not mean FREE tuition. Tuition must be paid, ONLY IF CAST. Tuition is NOT DUE until the first rehearsal. Everyone must pay SOMETHING on the first day. It is FREE to audition.

Click here to view a printable tuition form here for further explanation

Aside from the rehearsal times, how do main-stage productions differ from after-school productions?

Our after-school productions are designed for an all-youth cast. Younger actors usually play younger characters while teenage actors often play adult characters. During after-school programs, we focus a lot on our core values and actively collaborate to maintain a kind and nurturing learning environment. With each new cast, we explore the basics of acting, staging, and work very intentionally to learn and follow good theatre etiquette. After school productions usually perform over the course of one weekend, and are open to the public. Tickets for the performances are by pay-what-you-can donation.

Main stage productions are designed to provide dedicated young artists the opportunity to collaborate with experienced adult actors and educators. These adults will mentor the young artists and take on the roles of most adult characters in the production. Casting for main stage productions will be selective. While a wealth of acting experience isn’t required, a complete understanding of and adherence to good theatre etiquette is imperative. We expect all young artists who seek roles in main stage productions to be committed to doing their best - both on and off stage. Main stage productions perform over the course of multiple weekends, and are open to the public. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children.

Can you tell me more about auditions?

Auditions for Tacoma Youth Theatre are FREE and open to any young actor. The audition process itself is as low-pressure, and nurturing as possible – consisting of group exercises and cold readings or recitations (Non-readers are more than welcome, too!) from the scripts. No prepared material, resumes or headshots are accepted, as we believe that all young actors should enter the process on equal footing. All actors will be notified directly (via telephone) and either offered a role or gently told that they were not cast. If cast, tuition is due on the first day of rehearsal.

Why Auditions?

We’re glad you asked!

  • Most of our plays are Tacoma Youth Theatre’s original adaptations of public-domain works. This affords us the unique ability to be flexible with cast size and slightly re-work scripts, between auditions and the first rehearsal, to best meet the needs of each specific group of young actors.
  • After auditions, roles are offered to the young actors and their parents via telephone. By casting privately, actors own their roles prior to the first rehearsal, ensuring a less competitive, more collaborative learning environment.
  • The casting process simply allows us to create an effective, nurturing group-dynamic in which all participating actors will be most successful.

What is Tacoma Youth Theatre looking for at auditions? What are the chances that my young actor will/won’t be cast?

In brief, Tacoma Youth Theatre is looking for young actors who are enthusiastic about participating and ready to do their own personal best. Your young actor will most likely be cast. That said, there are many, many considerations during the casting process. Please feel free to ask if you ever have any questions.

Here are a few more audition tips:

  • Every single step of the audition process will be explained as we progress. Absolutely no preparation or experience is necessary. The auditions are fun.
  • Actors should wear comfortable clothes and shoes in which they can freely move.
  • Actors are 'auditioning' from the minute that they walk through the door, so being pleasant and respectful to fellow actors is always noticed and appreciated.
  • At auditions, it’s important that we’re able to assess each young actor’s independent abilities. Parents are always welcome to observe auditions and rehearsals, but unless a special circumstance or need demands your assistance, this is your young artist’s time to shine.

What should actors wear to rehearsals? (Will actors need to provide a costume?)

Actors will be most comfortable in clothes in which they can freely move. Leggings, loose-fitting or stretchy jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. are all great choices. Actors should wear closed-toed, comfortable shoes. Tennis shoes are perfect. Please do NOT wear dresses, skirts or shoes that easily slip off (i.e. NO sandals or flip-flops!) as these items tend to be restrictive and hinder movement. In addition, please dress in a manner that is respectful of the multi-aged atmosphere. While actors may be asked to wear simple items that they have at home (socks, tights, etc.) as a portion of their costume, Tacoma Youth Theatre will furnish all costumes.

What should actors bring to rehearsal each day?

Each day, actors should plan on bringing a sack-lunch or snack if they anticipate being hungry. Healthy, protein-rich foods are great & we ask that actors refrain from sharing food, due to allergies. After the first day, actors will also be responsible for bringing their script (provided by Tacoma Youth Theatre) to and from rehearsal. Actors should not bring unnecessary toys, games or other distractions to rehearsal, and we ask that cell phones be silenced and put away during all Tacoma Youth Theatre programming. (If actors must use their phones during breaks to connect with parents, we ask that they do so quickly and re-join the group.)

We’re glad you asked!

  • Lunch/Snack
  • Script (after 1st day)
  • Be well-rested & ready to enjoy the day, any cell phones silenced and put away.

What will parents be asked to do?

On the first day of rehearsal, parents should plan on staying at least long enough to fill out an EMERGENCY CONTACT FORM and a standard PHOTO/VIDEO RELEASE FORM. (These forms will be kept on file for one year, so after the initial forms, we won’t ask you to do so again until next June.) Please be ready to: list at least one alternate emergency contact (in the event that you cannot be reached,) list any medical conditions/allergies of which we should be aware, and provide basic contact/policy information for your child’s preferred health care provider.

Beyond that, parents are welcome to observe at ANY time, although we ask that you do so from the audience (as all those working directly with young actors have passed Washington State Patrol Background Checks.)

Fundraising through ticket sales in an important role for parents. Also, parents may choose to volunteer for simple, performance-time tasks: ushering, box office, etc.

What if I have more questions?

Maggie Knott and Scott Campbell are always more than happy to answer any other questions or simply chat with you about your young actor and Tacoma Youth Theatre. You may reach us anytime by phone (253) 677-0531 or email: Maggie@tacomayoutheatre.org or Scott@tacomayouththeatre.org

Location

924B Broadway
Tacoma, WA 98403

Tacoma Youth Theatre is located in a 88 seat black-box theatre housed on the first floor of the Historic Pythian Hall, right across the street from the Broadway Center.

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General Info:
info@tacomayouththeatre.org
Maggie Knott, Artistic Director:
Maggie@tacomayouththeatre.org
Scott Campbell, Managing Director:
Scott@tacomayouththeatre.org