Not Just For Actors: The Roles that a Parent Takes On When Their Kid Does Theatre

Not Just For Actors: The Roles that a Parent Takes On When Their Kid Does Theatre

Ellen is the OKTC costume mistress, and theatre mom to three boys!

I’m sure most kids go through a phase of wanting to “be a famous singer” or “be on television” at some point.  Those kids who take it to the next level and actually get involved in theatre realize very quickly that it’s a long, challenging journey to “the top,” and they’ll be taking on a variety of roles along the way, from the dancing tree to the star of the show!  Luckily, theatre kids have their families to support them — and parents new to the theatre world are surprised to find out that it’s not just their kid taking on different roles!

If you have a kid involved in theatre, you either have played or can look forward to playing any or all of the following roles:

  • BANK — if the company costs money to join, and when you buy tickets to the show and/or show merchandise
  • COACH — helping with audition preparation and line memorizing
  • SHRINK — helping analyze characters and/or consoling when your child doesn’t get cast in the role they wanted (or doesn’t get cast at all)
  • DRILL SERGEANT — if you have to make your child practice at home or learn lines
  • CHEERLEADER — being in the front row of all their shows, with all your extended family
  • TAXI DRIVER — hauling your kids back and forth to rehearsals
  • VOLUNTEER / “VOLUNTOLD” — you may get recruited into helping with sets, props, costumes, hair and makeup…
  • SHIELD — holding up a coat for your bashful child to change costumes behind
  • INTERPRETER — explaining the weird noises and howling coming from your kid’s bedroom (“They’re practicing for their show…”)
  • PERSONAL SHOPPER — buying rehearsal blacks and dance shoes (generally more than once, seeing as those darn kids won’t stop growing!)
  • RESEARCHER — helping find monologues and songs for auditions; learning about the new hot shows on Broadway
  • CHEF / BAKER — inevitably you’ll have to contribute some sort of goody for a cast party; if you don’t cook, see “Personal Shopper” above
  • PUBLICIST — putting up your child’s show poster at your place of business; keeping the family informed of your kid’s next show and possibly even buying all the tickets for everyone
  • ARCHIVIST — keeping a scrapbook or memento box of all your child’s posters, playbills and other theatre paraphernalia

Theatre parents, chime in — what roles have you played in your child’s theatre career?
Share your suggestions in the comments!

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9 thoughts on “Not Just For Actors: The Roles that a Parent Takes On When Their Kid Does Theatre

  1. DOCTOR – making sure your child is properly medicated/hydrated so that he/she can make it through the show, after coming down with a nasty virus (usually coincides with opening or closing night). Backstage follow up check ups may be required.

  2. Producer – When you kid decides to write and direct a fringe show, someone needs to foot the bills, if you’re lucky like me, they will pay you back, and make a profit to share.

  3. Looking for or making props and costumes, working box office or concessions, chaperone backstage, set construction, being part of the drama booster club board with meetings to attend, budgets to make and keep or modify (President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer, Members at Large & Committee Chairs)- all functioning under the rules and regulations of the school district, contributing to meals for cast, crew, pit & parents, contributing to concessions, banquets and snacks, coordinating volunteers for the different activities, AND MORE!

  4. Fundraising, Costume Mom, Hair & Make up researcher and stylist, (styles appropriate to period), concession chair (begging other parents to bake and man the booth to sell), Rehearsal chaperone, prop master, selling ads for programs, scouring thrift stores for items that can become costume components, sewing seams that came apart on stage during the show!!

  5. Audition Partner: My daughter auditioned for a part but they didn’t have enough auditioning to read with her, so to avoid waiting for next group to fill up I read the script with her.

    Party Planner: planning cast party

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