Theatre Etiquette 101 with Yours Truly on the Theatrefolk Podcast!

Theatre Etiquette 101 with Yours Truly on the Theatrefolk Podcast!

Hello everyone! How’s it going? Just wanted to drop in and let you know that I’m appearing on Theatrefolk.com’s podcast, talking about all things theatre etiquette related! Click here to check it out, or copy and paste this link: http://www.theatrefolk.com/podcast/theatre-etiquette-101/

I created a course for their sister site, the Drama Teacher Academy, all about theatre etiquette as well. It was a challenge but so much fun and I hope you’ll check that out too.

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Rehearsal Etiquette For Performers (Video Post!)

Rehearsal Etiquette For Performers (Video Post!)

This video is inspired by an older post of mine, Theatre Etiquette: Concerning Rehearsals. My theatre etiquette posts are some of my most popular on this site, so I hope you’ll find this video useful!

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New Ebook: The Ultimate Guide to Theatre Etiquette!

The Ultimate Guide to Theatre Etiquette

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I have an ebook for sale!

Some of my most popular posts on this site are related to theatre etiquette, and I think this ebook will be a super addition to any theatre person’s library!

This 27 page ebook is jam-packed with practical information about the ins and outs of theatre etiquette, from the first audition to dealing with post-show blues.

Chapters include:

  • Concerning Auditions
  • Concerning Rehearsals
  • Concerning Costumes
  • Concerning Props
  • Concerning Tech & Dress Rehearsals
  • Concerning Pre-Show Preparation
  • Concerning Showtime
  • Concerning Strike
  • Concerning Post-Show

Written in easy-to-understand language, this ebook is the perfect resource for drama teachers, youth theatre directors, camps and classrooms!

You can get your own copy here — only $12!

That’s a great deal, isn’t it? I’m really pleased and proud of this book, and I hope you will find it useful!

While you’re at it, please check out my Gumroad shop — you never know what will pop up in there next!

5 Ways to Quiet Down a Noisy Drama Class… Without Yelling

5 Ways to Quiet Down a Noisy Drama Class... Without Yelling

Drama classes are naturally noisy, chaotic places. You’re taking a whole bunch of outgoing, creative, enthusiastic kids filled to the brim with great ideas… and asking them to be quiet and focus on the work. While you’re at it, try squeezing this toothpaste back into the tube. Amirite?

Yes, drama class is fun. But you still need to have your students’ focus and quiet to teach your amazing lessons without having to scream your guts out; and frankly, who wants to do that anyway? You’ll just end up with a strained voice, frayed nerves, and students who either hate you or eventually ignore you in spite of your bellowing.

Unless you possess the magical skills of Minerva McGonagall and can silence the room with a wave of your hands (or strike fear into your students’ hearts like Severus Snape), you may need some help. Here are 5 different ways I use to request (not command!) silence, without having to yell.

Just start the lesson.

Sick of waiting for your students to pipe down? Just go ahead and start the lesson. Those who are closest to you or really keen on learning the lesson will pay attention, and the others will realize soon enough and quiet down… or miss the lesson completely and be forced to play catchup.

This one does have a few risks. Certain students will interrupt and say “I didn’t know you were starting” or demand that you re-explain what they missed. You can either refuse to answer (which may result in the student resenting you, or force their teammates/partners to have to catch them up) and make them figure out the lesson, or take time to go back and explain what they missed. But it does show your students that you mean business and that class time is your time, not social time.

Don’t want to have to re-explain everything? Try these next suggestions.

Clap back.

Try a sound cue, like clapping out a pattern (“clap clap clap-clap clap” is the most common pattern) and having your class repeat it back to you. This signals that it’s time to stop talking and start listening.

“And a hush fell over the crowd!”

This is one I hear frequently at camps. The cue is the leaders saying “And a hush fell over the crowd!” and the actors whisper back “Hushhhhhhhh…” and then quieting down. I’ve found that the risk with this particular technique is that sometimes actors choose to yell “HUSHHHHHH!!!!!” instead of whispering, which does create more noise. If you use this technique, be sure to reiterate with your students that the goal is to reply at a level of pianissimo, not double forte.

“If you can hear me, do this.”

I love this technique. Simply say, in a quiet voice, “If you can hear me, do this” accompanied by a gesture of some kind (touching your nose, patting your head, jazz hands, tapping your chin, etc). Those actors who can hear you, do the gesture with you. Keep repeating “If you can hear me, do this” until the whole classroom is doing the gestures together. This technique can take a little while to get everyone’s attention, but you can make it into a game or competition, challenging your students to be able to quiet down in less than five gestures; though the ultimate goal is to not have to use this technique at all!

When all else fails… stare at the ceiling.

For some reason, this works like magic for me. At the beginning of the year, I tell my students, “I don’t like to yell, so when I want quiet, I’ll stare at the ceiling until you’re ready to work.” And for some reason, whenever I do this, it works. (If someone can explain this to me, I’d love to know why… but until then, I’m not jinxing it!) Someone in the class will usually (loudly) whisper, “GUYS SHE’S LOOKING AT THE CEILING” and everyone pipes down. This may not work with particularly stubborn students, but until the magic stops, I’m keeping this technique as long as I can!!!

What are some techniques you use to get your students to quiet down?
Share your ideas on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

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Theatre Etiquette: Pre-Show Preparation

Theatre Etiquette: Pre-Show Preparation

Pre-show is an exciting time in the theatre — it’s fun to get into costume and makeup, anticipating a great show and thinking about who might be in the audience. But it’s also a time when things can get out of hand if you let them. So without further ado, let’s discuss some pre-show etiquette in the theatre!

1.  Respect each other’s personal space and preparatory processes. Some actors need to be quiet and focus during their pre-show prep. Respect their space and don’t bug them, and keep the volume down. There’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate and get into character while someone is going on about their problems on the other side of the room!

2.  Keep your personal items to a minimum, and help keep the space tidy. Most theatres have very small dressing areas, so it’s best to leave as many personal items at home as possible. Not only does this keep things from going missing or getting stolen (you never know), but it saves people tripping over piles of bags and clothing! Like your mother said — clean up after yourself!

3.  Get ready and then get out of the way. There’s no sense loitering in the dressing area — you’re just in the way of others trying to get ready. Get in, get into costume, get your hair and makeup done, and get out of the way!

4.  Make sure all your props and costume pieces are ready to go. Do a pre-show check of everything you need and make sure it’s where it needs to be. There’s nothing worse than having a panic attack mid-show because you can’t find your pants. Save yourself the stress during showtime!

5.  Drink water and warm up. Water is the best thing to consume before a show. Soda makes you gassy, milk coats your throat, and juices can stain your costume if they’re spilled. Hydrate with good old H2o! Take the time to warm up your body and voice. Do some stretching and tongue twisters and get in the zone! Going through a pre-show warm-up will help calm your nerves too.

6. Don’t be late to group work (for example, dance or vocal warm-up, or fight call). If your cast does group warm-ups, join in. Don’t hang around backstage preening in the mirror. Get out onstage and work with your cast. Not only are vocal and physical warm-ups important for you as an actor, it’s important to spend that time with your cast and bond as a team!

7.  Treat the backstage crew with respect. They have been working their butts off to make the show look amazing, and they don’t get the big bow at the end of it. So if the wireless mic assistant needs to put your microphone on, don’t make them wait! Pick up and hang up your costume instead of leaving it in a wad on the floor for the costume team to deal with. Put your props back in their correct spot so the props team and ASMs don’t have to hunt for them. In other words, don’t be a diva!

What’s your pre-show process? Hit me up on Twitter or share your thoughts in the comments!

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