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What is your best advice for theater teachers producing their first show?

Whether you are new to teaching or a beginner in theater, producing your first show can equally evoke excitement, nervousness, and terror. You know you want to be great for your students and your audience, but beyond that, how can you not stress too much?

I went straight to the source to get inside information from those who were there: theater teachers.

I asked: What is your best advice for theater teachers producing their first show?

It takes a village

Don’t try to do everything yourself. (Glenn K.)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate. Find out who is good at it and get involved, especially parents! It takes a village to put on a show and have fun! (Tatiana B.)

Ask for help. (Kathy S.)

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. (Jack S.)

Ask your parents for help. Their support is invaluable. (Jacque A.)

Build a network of parents for your crews – suits, props, tickets, etc. These will be invaluable to you. Relax and enjoy the process. Listen, kids – they often have great ideas. Keep your vision in front of you at all times. (Deborah Z.)

Use trusted friends and teachers as adult staff. No matter how much they want to help their parents, there can be more problems than they deserve. Encourage them to stay put and enjoy the show. (Thia T.)

You have a strong creative team that supports your vision. (Heidy P.)

Start small and include as many people in your community (local / school / area) as possible. Many hands make it work easily and there is no better feeling than when everyone feels part of the show. This becomes “our” show instead of “show”. (DWME)

Delegate as many tasks as possible. (Tamara S.)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help !! We were all there! (Carolyn G.)

Find (or make) a tribe! Chances are you know someone who knows how to use a sewing machine or who has a bunch of weird clothes. This is your suit! Do you have a friend who is really detail-oriented and who starts on his own? This is your production manager. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be creative! (Jeremy T.)

Use your resources! Ask for help! (Paige M.)

Ask other teachers to lend them things – then thank them for the program! (Maureen K.)

Get your students involved

When in doubt, let the children lead. And don’t be afraid to delegate! (Cynthia R.)

Involve children behind the scenes. Give them responsibilities with props, transitions, costume changes, etc. I love them and take them so seriously and it gives you more ability to handle things that you can’t delegate. (Shelley M.)

Let the children teach you something. The best scenes can be spontaneous in their imagination. (Kelly R.)

First of all, do this for the kids! Not just for the public and good publicity. (Petra B.)

It doesn’t have to be perfect

It will not be perfect, but it will be perfect what it should be for that moment in your career / the lives of your students. Simplify when you need to simplify, delegate to students as much as you can, and remember that it is meant to be an educational experience for everyone involved! (Tabitha C.)

No matter what happens and what you put on that stage, parents will love it and your children will have learned something. (Marisa B.)

You have this

Let the educator in you lead. Then it’s always an amazing hit! (Christa V.)

Know that it will be fine. I repeat: it will be ok. Because guess what? That will be fine. (Annie B.)

You will never feel that you have enough time. EVER. So you don’t think you feel that way because you’re supporting your first show. (List B.)

Don’t forget to have fun. (Pieter V.)

Don’t get complicated

Don’t try to go too high. Choose a less technological / minimalist type of show so as not to overwhelm you or your children. Then, as you become more confident, move on to something bigger. Lots of great minimal shows. Delegate to the children and put them first. To have fun! (Melanie F.)

Keep it simple and achievable and most importantly, HAVE FUN. (Amanda P.)

Keep your drawings simple. The human imagination can fill many. (Josh M.)

Choose something that the audience notices and do well. Next time, do two things right. In the end, everything will be amazing. (Kristin B.)

Start small! (Julie S.)

Make a piece of vignette. (Rebecca A.)

Focus on acting at the expense of other things if you have to choose, and if you choose a show that highlights the kids you have, your job is much easier. (Heather T.)

Self-care matters

To breathe! Don’t work every day – you have weekends! (Makaela H.)

Eat. Drink water. At bedtime. Students will imitate your habits and now is a good time for them to learn healthy habits so they don’t run out. (Patrick S.)

Keep your energy high and your anxiety low. The show will happen … finally (Arbaayah T.)

Work with what you have, give it your all, and know when it’s time to say, “It’ll be fine the way it is now.” (Usually a day or two before opening.) (Chachi C.)

Stay organized

Stay organized, get help when you are offered, and remember that it is more about the process than the outcome. (Alison B.)

At first, eliminate as much as you can, more than you normally would, so that you have room for fun decorations and room for missed rehearsals. Locking, controlling, designing everything saves a TON of stress in the end. (Kaitlyn L.)

Read the script 5-10 times before you begin. (Mary Beth E.)

Two or three helpers, delegates, have a well-organized backstage / prop table area, with each prop or props sectioned with duct tape (AND clear rules if it’s not your props. DON’T touch or MOVE), run sheets, copies behind the scenes of the scriptures, a designated person to help with quick changes, etc. And have fun !!! (Adra CL.)

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