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Parents and Carers

Children in Theatre Services ensures that your child is at the centre of everything we do. Whether they are at the beginning of their theatrical journey or an experienced performer we ensure that their workplace, educational and welfare needs are always put first.

We understand that managing being a working child in theatre and a pupil at school is a balancing act for both child and parent! Matthew and Hannah's personal experiences in both professional theatre and education will ensure that your child's needs are being met at all stages of the production process. 

 

 If your child gets an audition or the part in one of our productions we will guide you every step of the way, alongside the production team. Whether you are new or well versed in the theatre industry, you will naturally have lots of questions. Please see below some of our most frequently ask questions. 

  • How do we find out about auditions?
    There are many ways for your child to get an audition. This starts with the type of production casting for roles. There are four main ways that you can find out about auditions: - Through our casting alerts – sign up on our home page - Through your child’s agent if they have one - Through your child’s drama school or drama group if they attend one - Through advertisements in industry publications such as The Stage or productions programmes Please remember to only apply for an audition if your child meets the set-out criteria such as age, height and location. Casting directors set these for the production’s requirements, and these aren’t personal. Remember other opportunities will always pop up and it is unfair to put your child up for a role that they will ultimately get rejected for as they didn’t meet the set criteria in the first place.
  • What will the impact of working on a production be on my child’s education?
    This will largely depend on the hours that your child is required to work, the length of the contract and all parties commitment to ensuring that the child is being supported academically throughout the duration of their contract. To meet licence requirements your child will still be required to attend their normal school daily, or an alternative educational provision agreed by the local authority of where the child resides ( this usually only occurs if your child is a principal role in a major professional production however, this is not the norm). It is important to state that your child must attend school when they are not working for the production. If the terms of their licence is broken it can result in them being pulled from the production. The benefits of working on a production for most children are huge, they gain life skills such as public speaking, time management and professionalism at a young age. As a family you must be fully committed not only to the production, but also to your child’s education. At Children in Theatre Services we have extensive experience in both fields and are here to support in both for all of the productions that we work with.
  • What happens at an audition?
    Firstly, there are two types of audition: open or closed. At our open auditions you can expect to be met with a long (often outside) queue and a long day ahead! You should bring provisions such as food, water and comfortable clothing for both your child and you. Closed auditions follow a very similar pattern, however your child will be invited to audition at a fixed time for which they should arrive in ample time to sign in and use the loo. You should not attend a closed audition unless invited, otherwise you will be turned away. When you reach the front desk you will be signed in by a representative of the production. They will often ask for you and your child’s name, contact details and to fill in any outstanding paperwork. Once this is complete you will be shown to a waiting area where your child can warm up and go to the loo if needed. You will be around other children and parents at this time. It’s important to remember that some people will be nervous as well as excited. The time you spend in this area can vary from a few minutes to a few hours. Some auditions happen as individuals or as groups but at no point are parents invited into the audition room. Your child will be supervised by a DBS checked, licenced chaperone whenever they are not with you. Once your child enters the audition room they will meet the audition panel which often includes the director, casting director, producers and musical director as well as one of our team. Each audition will vary according to the needs of the production at this point. Your child may take part in group activities, individual performance, or be asked to follow direction or choreography. The panel may want to chat with the children to understand their suitability for the role. Following this your child will return to you in the waiting area. Dependent upon the audition schedule the panel may ask to see your child again later that day or on another day (this is called a recall). Alternatively, if your child has not on this occasion been successful, they will be thanked for attending and sent home. While your child will be given an audition outcome, as standard practice we do not provide individual feedback. This does not mean that your child did not perform well. If your child is offered a recall, you will receive further information on what to expect next. It is important that you and your child understand that a recall is not an offer of a role but instead an invite to the next stage of the audition process. If the audition is on a school day, it is imperative that you have permission from the school to attend and do not call your child in sick. This can result in an offer of employment being withdrawn and can impact their chances of being granted a license. Honesty between all parties is essential from the outset. As mentioned, your child should wear audition appropriate clothing, this should be comfortable clothes that they can perform in - typically activewear and trainers unless otherwise stated. Costumes and school uniform are not appropriate.
  • What hours will my child be working?
    Unlike school, theatre is 7 days a week! However, your child will not be asked to work every single day and will perform on a rota agreed by the production, local authority, and school. You must explain to your child that they will be asked to work on Saturdays and Sundays and should not accept a role unless prepared to commit fully. At Children in Theatre Services alongside the local authority and production we ensure that your child’s working hours are in line with and do not exceed the legal requirements set out by the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014. While we cannot state the exact requirements of each individual production your child’s daily hours should never exceed: Age 0 -4 – 5 hours Age 5 – 8 – 8 hours Age 9+ - 9.5 hours We will work with local authorities and productions to ensure that children’s hours are kept to a minimum and they are only at work when required. As a parent / carer having a child working in theatre is a huge commitment that should not be taken lightly. You must be prepared that for the duration of your child’s contract they can be called in on any day of the week between the hours of 7am and 11pm. We do not allow for any holidays or conflicting commitments for the duration of the contract unless in exceptional circumstances. You will be expected to bring your child from school to work and home again. If anyone other than the parent / carer is dropping off or collecting the child this must be pre-agreed with the production. You should never send an adult to collect a child without prior authorisation. A child is never allowed to be collected by someone under the age of 18.
  • Does my child need to attend a drama school?
    In short, no. Attending a drama school can equip children with extra skills and advice on how to get opportunities in theatre. However, children will be cast based on their talent and attitude, not the school that they have attended.
  • Does my child need to have an agent?
    While having an agent can be an advantage for some children to gain extra audition opportunities, it is not a necessity as there are often open auditions for all children on many productions. If you decide to go down the route of getting your child an agent, please remember to do your own due diligence. Not all agents are created equal, and it is important not to get caught up in the excitement of an offer of representation. Some will specialise in representing just children, some will represent both children and adults. It is important that you make the right decision for yourself and your child. Please do your own research before signing any contracts or commitments. You can sign up to our casting alerts for open auditions at the bottom of our homepage.
  • What will my child be paid?
    This will depend wholly on the production that your child gets cast in. Generally, in professional theatre your child will be paid. However, the amount will depend upon the size and type of production. This can vary from no payment to just expenses to being paid a weekly / monthly salary – this is for the child only, not their parent / carer. This will be discussed with the production upon the signing of contracts. If your child is being paid a fee and has an agent, it is important to remember that their fee will also come out of this. Working in theatre is an exciting opportunity for young performers and their love of performing should be their primary reason for taking part.
  • Will transport costs / food expenses be covered by the production?
    Food is sometimes covered, transport rarely, however, this wholly depends on the production and will be agreed when signing contracts.
  • Who is responsible for looking after my child while rehearsing / performing?
    A fully licenced chaperone. This is someone who is employed by the production to look after children. They all have a DBS check and will remain with your child whenever they are at work. Your child will be supervised by a licenced chaperone at all times. They are there look after children’s welfare and to communicate with the adult production staff on your child’s behalf. A company manager (sometimes company stage manager) alongside the chaperone will be responsible for the day to day welfare of the children in the building. They will ensure that the children’s licence is adhered to. The stage manager is responsible for the child’s safety in rehearsals and on stage. They will work with the chaperone to ensure that your child is kept safe whilst working. At Children in Theatre Services we ensure that all of the productions we work with understand their role and responsibility to keep children safe, we offer productions safeguarding and child protection advice and consultancy.
  • Can I be a chaperone on my child’s production? Will I be allowed to attend rehearsals / be backstage during a performance?
    We strongly advise against children’s parents / carers being chaperones on their own child’s productions as this is not good practice. When your child enters the theatre / rehearsal space they are entering a professional working environment and will be treated as such. Chaperoning on a production that your child is working on can cause a conflict of interest. Allowing your child to go to work independently will give them the opportunity to grow in independence, social skills, confidence and learn how to behave in a professional working environment. We always encourage parents / carers to watch the show as an audience member, to encourage and support their child.
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