Newton North High School's Teaching and Working Theatre
Theatre Ink, Newton North High School's Teaching and Working Theatre, is a student-centered community that emphasizes the process of artistic collaboration and instills a disciplined work ethic. By practicing professionalism, collaboration and emphasizing individual development, we bring to the stage high quality theater productions.
We seek to prepare students to be lifelong learners, critical and creative thinkers, and problem solvers committed to open and honest communication. We believe that these are universal skills that can be applied productively to any endeavor. We want students to leave our program well prepared to navigate their way toward success in a challenging, complex, and exciting world.
And you don't have to be in a show... to be in a show! By staging 11-12 productions each year, Theatre Ink offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to have a complete hands-on learning experience in all aspects of theatre arts, both on and off stage. We strongly encourage all students to participate in all areas of production and reap the lifelong benefits that the program has to offer.
Theatre Ink values and celebrates diversity of all kinds. Encouraging diversity of participation is an overall goal of the program. Theatre Ink actively encourages all students to participate in productions as members of cast or crew. All students who audition are considered equally in an inclusive environment and in accordance with Theatre Ink casting principles. Theatre Ink hopes to be a reflection not only of the varied backgrounds and experiences of Newton North's staff and students but also of diverse world cultures, life experiences, and theatrical traditions. By carefully selecting a range of different shows each year we strive to tell theatrical stories that represent the richness of our world while offering a wide range of opportunities. With these ideals and practices we hope to provide equal access for all students both on and off stage.
Theatre Ink Casting Principles
Both student and staff Directors always strive to cast fairly, with the guiding objective of assembling the overall cast that will best serve the directorial vision for the show. This requires many hours of careful analysis by the Directors and Mr. Brown, who take their responsibility in this area very seriously. Mr. Brown watches every audition and participates as a mediator and guide through every casting process.
Theatre Ink casting decisions are not based on seniority (grade level in school), or years of participation in the program. This is a firm programmatic value arrived at after years of assembling casts, and seeing the exciting results that come from having students collaborate across the grade spectrum from freshman to senior, each cast solely on his or her fit for a given role as revealed through a rigorous and thoughtful audition process.
Auditioning for a show can be competitive and sometimes daunting. In keeping with the program's emphasis on theatre as a vehicle for learning and individual development, Mr. Brown is available to coach and support students as they seek to improve their speaking, presentation, and performance skills through the audition process.
Casting is a very complex process. In the end, the Directors must choose the students who best fit the roles in many dimensions, both by the individual skills they present in audition, but also in the dynamics that develop between actors who will be creating the driving energy of the show in scenes together. Such dynamics are a large part of what is explored in the Callback round of auditions. For students, auditioning is an exciting, yet difficult, process that can bring about greater success, whether cast in the production or not. The more a student auditions, the better they will become, especially if they seek and receive feedback and guidance. The feeling of "rejection" over not getting cast seems disappointing at first, but we strongly urge you to encourage your child to get right back to work as soon as possible so they can sharpen their skills for a future audition. In theatre, as in life, all of us experience both disappointment and success. Our goal is to teach our students how to deal with both, so when they leave Newton North High School they will be well prepared to navigate their way toward success in a complex world.
All actors must be in good academic standing, passing at least 20 credits in order to participate. If a report card shows that the student is not passing 20 credits, they will be removed from the production. Several progress reports will be assigned throughout the process, to be signed by all teachers. Progress reports must be handed in on time to attend rehearsal, or it will count as an unexcused absence. You must be in school during the day in order to participate in rehearsals and performances after school. If there is any question as to whether you should come in for a rehearsal you need to contact Adam Brown for verification.
We will do our best to prepare a rehearsal schedule well in advance and stick to it, although cast members are expected to check the callboard and their email daily for updates. In order for us to prepare a rehearsal schedule, we ask that you and your child provide a complete list of conflicts before rehearsals begin. These include both weekly "recurring conflicts" (such as music lessons, or practice sessions), and known one-time appointments on your calendar. Much time and energy is spent assembling a schedule that tries to accommodate each student's stated conflicts. For this reason, we will not accept new conflicts once rehearsals begin, except in an important extenuating circumstance, which must be discussed with the directors, and possibly Mr. Brown. Actors are expected to bring a note for any tardies (such as extra help from a teacher) or absences not listed before the rehearsal process, otherwise it will be considered unexcused. Three or more unexcused tardies or absences may result in removal from the production.
From casting until the Production, your child may be called any weekday afternoon. For the majority of the process, rehearsals will be primarily afternoons, although we may choose to hold some evening rehearsals (the afternoon will be free the day of any evening rehearsal). We may also choose to call specific cast members for some afternoon or evening rehearsals to work on scenes, character development, earn solo, duet, or trio musical numbers. These rehearsals will be scheduled around cast members' conflicts.
In the two weeks preceding the show, please expect that your child will be called for some weekend rehearsals, and that weekday rehearsals may run later, and generally until 11 pm in the final "production week." In these final weeks, no new conflicting activities should be planned, and usual weekly conflicts must be rescheduled. Traditionally, the Saturday before the week of the show is reserved for a technical rehearsal that requires all cast and crew to attend, usually from 9 am to 6 pm. For some shows, especially musicals, students are required to be there Saturday and Sunday. This is an important rehearsal where all the elements of the spectacle are brought together and give the production an important next step before beginning the dress rehearsal period.
We will keep parents posted on scheduling and optional social activities via email. Please be sure your student provides us with your current email address. Your volunteering in the parent-run Arts Opportunities Committee will also be greatly appreciated, as there are many ways, large and small, for parents to help support the show, and have fun doing so!
Due to the large audition pool Theatre Ink shows typically experience, your child's audition does not guarantee him or her a role in the show. If your child is not cast (and also if he or she is cast), we strongly suggest that (s)he meet with the Directors and/or Mr. Brown to obtain valuable feedback while it is freshly in mind, in order to further develop skills for future auditions.
While disappointment for some is an inevitable part of the experience in any competitive tryout situation, be it an academic, athletic or artistic pursuit, one of the hallmarks of Theatre Ink is that there are many other ways to get involved working on the production if you are not cast in an on-stage role. These include technical crew (set design and construction, lights, sound) working with Mr. Barrington-Haber, Theatre Ink's Technical Director; or on the many other teams, such as props, costumes, publicity and makeup. There are also opportunities to be a student producer or stage manager, which you can discuss with Mr. Brown or the Directors. If slots of interest are not available in the current show, please consider looking into such opportunities in an upcoming show. The wide range of types of shows, and the large number (11-12 per year) is designed to make as many theatre arts opportunities available to as many students as is feasible within the resources provided by the Newton Public Schools. We also strongly encourage each student to take a Theatre Arts and Speech class -- offered as an elective to all grade levels -- and go to Improv Club during X-blocks. These theatre education experiences will further enhance your child's skills in these areas and give them more confidence for the audition process. The wonderful spirit of camaraderie and collaboration that develops during shows is equally shared by on- and off-stage participants. Talking to students who have worked in various roles and jobs will confirm this for your student. Keep an open mind, and seek out a new experience! GET INVOLVED!
If you and/or your child are not satisfied with the casting decision and wish to inquire as to the reasons for it, the first step is for the student to meet with the show's Directors. If further discussion is desired, the student should then meet with Mr. Brown. If, after those meetings, you and/or your child do not feel you received valuable feedback or information you are satisfied with, you are then encouraged to make a joint parent/student appointment with Mr. Brown. Please be assured that a student's future participation in Theatre Ink will not be jeopardized in any way by seeking to have concerns addressed according to this established process.
If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact Adam Brown at 617-559-6306 or Adam_Brown@newton.k12.ma.us. He strongly encourages open and honest communication and always looks forward to meeting with students and parents.