Welcome to the Drama Studio Parent Handbook! Here you will find important information on our policies, ticketing system (Brown Paper Tickets), as well as answers to many frequently asked questions!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do classes run?
Classes run from September until May, with an extended break in December - January for other rehearsals. There will be a Sharing (a chance for you to come see the work) in December and May. Your student will also perform in Cabaret (mid May). Some classes need to finish after Cabaret due to conflicts and make-ups.
2. What’s a Sharing?
A Sharing is an informal presentation of the work in class. It is a chance for family and friends to see work in progress, scenes, or improv techniques demonstrated. It is often the first step toward performing, and gradually can get more and more formal. Your student’s participation is very important for the class! You do not need tickets or reservations.
3. What is Cabaret?
Cabaret is the May Studio-wide event where all classes share a short sampling of their work, and perform it for each other and (usually sold-out) audiences. It is a fantastic time for first year students to see what lies ahead. As each class performs twice, each of the six to eight Cabaret shows offers different line-ups of classes and pieces.
4. How is Cabaret scheduled?
Faculty try to work around set-in-stone conflicts to choose two performances for each class, so please respond promptly when the faculty ask for conflicts! Sometimes a date that works for everyone is impossible, and they must adapt a piece for different casts.
5. Do I need tickets for Cabaret?
YES! We encourage you to purchase them as soon as they go on sale.
6. What are the other opportunities for performance?
This is the “other half” of conservatory life. Some students opt not to audition and only take class. Some audition for everything! Your student may audition for any part in his or her age range in: fall and spring mainstage plays, the Winter Shorts Festival (a series of one-acts), COWFest (one acts) and the school touring shows, DramaTours. Any student cast in DramaTours will miss some school time for the production, which visits Springfield Public Elementary schools during the school day. Drama Studio will provide an absent note but all participants are required to have guardian permission to miss school.
7. How does my student audition?
When a part fits their age range, they should sign up with the front desk for a time slot. They may come early to read the scripts, or sometimes the scenes or monologues will be available before the audition. For most auditions, there is no need to memorize or prepare a piece. Musical auditions will require singing, but no prepared songs. Some auditions are improv based as well. Please be prepared that often the auditions run late! Sometimes there will also be a “call back” audition, which means your actor made it past the first round and another audition is needed.
8. What if my child is not cast?
Remind them that part of being an actor is dealing with the fact that even professional actors are not cast each time they audition. (And with over 200 students, remind them that they are in the majority!) Part of the training at Drama Studio is learning to go through the audition process. It can take time before the right part comes up, and is a match for your actor. Remind your student to keep trying, to talk to the faculty if they have questions, and that it will happen! Also, many students love to work backstage (lights, sound, costumes, props) when they are not cast.
9. If my child gets cast in a play, what is an example of a typical rehearsal and performance schedule?
It varies by director, but usually ranges from once to three times a week, working around conflicts. Tech week (the week before opening night) usually requires rehearsals every night, and performances are usually 3 - 5 shows a weekend. School touring productions require 1 - 3 days or partial days off from school.
10. How do I get tickets to see my student perform?
How to Use Brown Paper Tickets
1. Using the link shared on our Facebook page, official website, and in the Constant Contact/Remind message announcing ticket sales, go to the event page. If you cannot find this link, go to Brown Paper Ticket’s Search tool. Type in the performance title along with Drama Studio. Alternately, you may tap Browse All Events and sort by category/location. Then select the orange Search Events button.
If you are unable to access the internet, you may ask our front desk staff to help you reserve a ticket.
2. Select the event listing to see the full event page.
3. Select the date from the left, your price level (student, adult, or Drama Studio student) and desired quantity of tickets then tap the orange Add to Cart button.
4. You will be taken to a confirmation page that will list your current tickets and provide options to shop for additional events or dates. When you’re ready to check out, select Check Out Now.
Drama Studio students are encouraged to attend performances and will not be charged for their tickets. This policy only applies to students currently enrolled in at least one course at Drama Studio.
Once check out is complete, your tickets will be held at will call at the front desk until the day of performance. Just give the names of your attendees at the desk to gain admission to the show!
11. Do you have a lateness or absence policy?
Any student who knows that they will be 15+ minutes late or absent from a class is asked to contact Drama Studio by calling 413-739-1983 and letting our front desk staff know. If a student is absent twice in a row with no contact to inform faculty, Drama Studio staff will reach out to the family.
12. How does enrollment work?
Students can enroll for courses as soon as they are announced. Drama Studio courses fill up quickly, but we always do our best to accommodate all interested students, even when this means adding a new section for the course. Returning students may enroll for classes that were recommended to them by faculty. If a student is unsure if a class is an appropriate fit for them, they can contact our Director of Conservatory, Amelia Hays-Rivest (Amelia@dramastudio.org).
13. What if my child wants to drop a class?
Students who withdraw from a course fewer than 5 days before the first class will not receive a refund of their deposit. Students who withdraw from a course once it has begun will receive a refund that is calculated as follows: $50 will be deducted from the total tuition payment and the balance refunded will be prorated based on the number of classes the student attended. Any student withdrawing after twelve class sessions will receive a prorated credit toward future classes with Drama Studio.
14. Do you offer payment plans?
Yes! Payments of $105 are due on the 15th of every month, for a total of eight installments, however we encourage all families that are able to pay in full at the start of the year. If you would like to discuss an alternative payment plan, please contact Jane, our Office Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 413-739-1983. Jane is in the office Tuesday-Thursday, 9am-12pm.
15. Are there scholarships available?
Each year, Drama Studio is proud to offer up to $15,000 in scholarships to students who are not otherwise able to afford attending our classes. Please ask for a scholarship application form from the front desk. All of your information is private and will be kept confidential. We want all children who are interested in and invested in theatre training to be able to attend Drama Studio.
16. My child lost something at Drama Studio! Do you have it?
All items left at Drama Studio will be put in the Lost & Found for the full Conservatory year (September through June). Items left in the Lost & Found through the summer will remain through August prior to the start of the following Conservatory year. If you feel your child has left an item at Drama Studio after the close of classes and you’d like to retrieve it over the summer, please call ahead and arrange a time during our Summer Classes to pick it up.
17. What is your safety policy?
To ensure the safety of our students, our front desk will be staffed to check students in and out for classes, auditions, and performances. No student will be allowed to exit the building without notifying a member of staff to confirm their transportation home.
In the event that an unidentified person enters Drama Studio and refuses to identify themselves, they will be asked by front desk staff to leave the premises. In the event that they do not comply, front desk staff will call the police and notify the Director of Conservatory.
Drama Studio building is equipped with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. In the event of fire, students will exit single file through the nearest exit. All exits are clearly marked with back lit signs above the door or hallway they mark. On the first day of classes, students will be informed of the exits nearest their classes. All students and any other individuals present at Drama Studio at the time of emergency should assemble at our meeting place, the Forest Park Library courtyard next door. We ask that no one leave the meeting place until everyone has been accounted for.
18. Are there any policies my child should know?
Drama Studio has a strict policy against harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students are asked to report to faculty any instances of harassment, intimidation, bullying, and/or cyberbullying (bullying via text, social media, or email). Through communication with all parties, including parents as necessary, Drama Studio will determine next steps to resolve the situation.
19. How can my child get involved with tech or stage management?
Stage management and tech work at Drama Studio is an amazing opportunity for our students. Many alums talk about the fun times and significant life-time skills that developed from their work backstage. If your student is interested in being backstage, experimenting with lighting, sound, stage management/scenic coordination or any other technical theater elements, have them talk to their teacher, and/or reach out to Austin in person or at email@example.com who will help coordinate these opportunities when they arise.
Our techies and SM's take on great responsibility, learn fantastic job skills, and strengthen their acting abilities by knowing every aspect of the production process. Parents should be aware that the student stage managers function as full professional stage managers, including sending out cast emails to students and parents, attending all rehearsals and working with the directors to coordinate communication with designers.
The copier in Drama Studio’s administrative office is available for students to make copies for classes, auditions and rehearsals, only with prior permission from faculty and staff. Students should not otherwise enter the administrative office without permission or supervision, and should never access file cabinets or use administrative computers, including the desktop in the administrative office and the laptop at the front desk.
20. What is the Drama Studio Store?
We sell Drama Studio stickers, which are all-weather and can go on your car! You may also order sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, etc. from the Store. Orders for apparel are usually placed in the fall with arrival for December.
21. How can I get involved with the Drama Studio?
Lots of ways! Come join the Drama Studio Parent Action Committee! Who are we?
We’re a fun behind-the-scenes group at Drama Studio who make all sorts of things happen! Parent Action Committee members run the concessions at intermissions, sew costumes, make phone calls, help with computers, run the Studio Store, take photographs, create displays, drive pickup trucks, schlepp stuff, send care packages to recent alums, and find weird and wonderful props, just to get started.
Parent Action Committee members also get playbill ads, consult and advise on administrative issues and outreach, fill tables at the Brunch, and even serve on the Board. And now that we own a building, we are also a small army of this-old-house-handy’ers and landscapers, adventurous and hearty!
Whatever skill set or time you have, the Parent Group needs you! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to let us know how you would like to be a part of this essential Drama Studio support.
You can also get involved by helping our Development Team raise vital funds for our conservatory and community outreach programs!
Tuition payments provide much-needed funds to sustain our Conservatory programming and ensure that our performances are replete with props, costumes, set design, sound design, and lighting. These payments also support our building upkeep.
To cover our administrative, operational, and outreach expenses, we pursue foundation grants, government grants, partnerships with local businesses, and individual gifts from our community members. We also sell ad space in our playbills, for very reasonable rates ($50-250 depending on size).
Annual Fund Drive
Each year, we write to our constituents requesting monetary support to uphold our mission and values and sustain our programming. These letters are usually sent in early winter and late spring. As part of our Annual Fund Drive, we publish a newsletter to inform our community of new developments at Drama Studio and to publicly acknowledge our donors. Every contribution that we receive is valued, no matter the amount.
Every year, we host over 10 performances to thousands of audience members. Every single performance has a playbill, which we fill with advertisements to support our programming. We welcome all sorts of ads, from major businesses to individual practitioners. To place an ad in our playbill, visit http://dramastudio.org/show-your-support/
We are always looking for volunteers to help spread the word about Drama Studio playbill ads. Not only are they a great marketing opportunity, they also allow local businesses to support programming that benefits over 3,500 children annually. If you are interested in soliciting ads on our behalf, please contact our Office Manager, Jane Schneeloch (email@example.com) for a digital or print playbill ad brochure.
This year, we are pursuing business partnerships from $1,000-2,500 to support our new outreach program, TheaterReaders, which currently operates in Boland and Zanetti schools and seeks to improve literacy rates among third graders.
We offer our business partners a number of marketing and volunteer opportunities in return for their support. If you are interested in learning more about our business partnerships or would like to refer a business to us, please contact our Director of Conservatory, Amelia Hays-Rivest (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a full digital or print business partnership package.
The Studio Brunch
Every Spring, we host a brunch benefit for Drama Studio. Usually held the first Sunday in April, the Studio Brunch is a wonderful opportunity for our community members to introduce their beloved Drama Studio to their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc.
At the Brunch, we offer a fully catered brunch buffet, well known for the fabulous French toast! (Gluten-free French toast is available, and we report all known guest allergens to our caterer).
Entertainment is provided by many of our talented students, usually featuring several Musical Theater students and a scene or two from one of our recent productions. Students, parents, staff, and alum speak about their experiences with Drama Studio. At the close of the two-hour event, guests are asked to make a contribution to Drama Studio. These gifts may be one-time contributions, monthly gifts, or multi-year pledges.
We ask for 25-30 volunteers every year to act as Table Captains to invite guests to fill a table of eight. Being a Table Captain is a great service to Drama Studio. It allows us to share our mission and our programs with as many people as possible, increases our student body, expands our reach, and contributes to our annual funding. If you are interested in being a Table Captain this year, please send an email with the subject Table Captain, stating your interest, to email@example.com.
This year we will be using a Family Portal where you can access information about classes, rehearsals, shows, cancellations, etc. right from our website! Click on ‘Family Portal’ at the top right-hand corner of our website & type in the password to enter (ask any staff member for password).
Any further questions about Conservatory programming or our Parent Action Committee can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org and all questions regarding enrollment and billing to email@example.com.
Welcome to the Drama Studio family!
We are thrilled to have you in our community.