About 2/3 of the students are repeats each production, and the 1/3 newbies represent a range of age and experience.
I do prefer that students are able to read, but have taken students who are challenged in many areas. It is best for me to know in advance if your child has any particular challenges so I can respond properly.
Students come with a wide spectrum of ability. The younger ones usually land group roles and if they are able, sing in the ensemble.
Soloists are auditioned the 2nd week of class, by singing "Happy Birthday" or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" a capella. Lead roles are also auditioned the 2nd week of class.
The first 2 weeks we read through the script, discuss some of the elementary mechanics of drama and play theater games. After the 1st week of class, students take home a character and a costume card which they return the 2nd week. On the character card, they write down every role they would like to be considered for.
Casting is completed between the 2nd & 3rd week of class and emailed out to the families so the student is familiar with his/her parts coming into the 3rd week. Casting is an enormous, sometimes emotional puzzle. We try to give students at least one of the roles they request, but that isn't always possible. Most students play several characters.
My goal is to present the best show possible from the talent pool given.
I expect the students to memorize their lines and cues by the 5th week of class.Leads may have a bit longer to memorize, and those with only a few lines usually have it down the 3rd week :9 The sooner they can get the script out of their hands, the sooner they can focus on movement, expression and group dynamics.
Parents may deliver their child(ren) to class and feel free to leave once they and their child(ren) are stablized. We do 98% of the costuming; you may need to send in a basic item or a pair of shoes. During performances, I ask for help with the admission table and a back-stage mom to help "hush and mush" the students between the dressing room and the stage for each show. Occassionally a family will volunteer a prop, set piece or costume and that is always welcome. Following performances, we all pitch in to break down the show and load the trailer and it is remarkable how quickly that happens with so many helping hands!