1) What role do adults play in the running of the company?

From the classroom to the boardroom and the audience to backstage, adult participation is important to the mission and process of The Free Theatre. Though the programming was created and is intended to be run by students, it’s important to note that everything is done under the appropriate supervision of experienced adults. Our Artists in Residence and Mentors are professionals with experience in an educational setting who mentor, facilitate, and guide the educational process every step of the way.

2) How is casting determined?

Entry into the program is at the discretion of the Artists in Residence, the Company Manager, the Production Team and the Creative Team of the current production. Casting within the company for a particular role is done under the guidance of our Artists in Residence and in partnership with the Director, Musical Director, and Choreographer of each particular show. Our goal is to admit as many students as possible while maintaining a quality process and experience. 

3) How will the company be funded?

Like all nonprofit organizations, The Free Theatre relies on both contributed and earned income. To keep our mission of providing a free theatre experience to all our students, tax deductible contributions are accepted. Earned income from ticket sales and merchandise also contributes to our operational budget each season. We also seek out grants and corporate partnerships. For more information on how you can support The Free Theatre, please visit our donation page.

4) Will The Free Theatre continue each season?

The Free Theatre was started in 2018 by a small group of like-minded (and like-trained) students. They saw a need for a quality theatre experience, open to all students in grades 8-12, where students could learn and perform together without the high costs associated with local theatrical training in the DMV. The company was established to bring a strong sense of mission and a quality process of theater making to the greater Washington DC metro area, and hopes to continue to do so for years to come!

5) What kind of training are the students getting? Is this really educational?

Today, students learn differently than they did even just a few years ago. Peer-to-peer, experiential learning is a growing and successful trend in education, in both artistic and non-artistic spaces. Non-traditional roles and responsibility sharing environments are quickly becoming the blue print for successful organizations around the world. Our belief is that there is nothing a well-organized, well supervised, and well-motivated group of young people can’t do. Ours is a world of collaboration by design. Our Artists in Residence, Advisory boards, Mentors, Master Class Teachers, and Company Members shape and deliver our curriculum and our programming. From the outset, we have known that we are taking on a new and bold idea – one where everyone is responsible for the learning and teaching – and we are proud to put that model to the test.

6) What makes this company different from other pre-professional programs in the DMV?

While we build on the fundamentals that you should find in any quality theatre experience, we are entirely unique in our approach. As a peer-to-peer experiential process, important interpersonal skills are employed, such as collaboration, reflective listening, patience, goal setting, and tolerance. Students are encouraged to use advisors and mentors to guide them in selecting shows, casting, rehearsal schedule planning, design, and handling production issues that arise in a theatrical setting. 

7) What commitment are students being asked to make to the company?

When you join The Free Theatre, you are making a commitment to learn, teach, work, and have fun. Students are expected to take their work and responsibilities seriously, coming to every weekly rehearsal prepared and ready to work and collaborate. From there, the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless! We also expect all students to promote kindness and tolerance in our space.

8) What happens if a student needs to miss rehearsals?

We understand that kids are under a lot of pressure these days — schoolwork and events, family responsibilities, sports teams, testing, jobs — there’s a lot to balance in life. With this in mind, we know that there may be a few rehearsal conflicts. If a student must conflict out, it is their responsibility to find out what they’ve missed and catch up before the next rehearsal. Keep in mind though that theater is a team sport and requires all members to be present to learn and collaborate. If you cannot commit to regular attendance and participation, this might not work for you. Tech week rehearsals and performances are mandatory.

9) If a student misses multiple rehearsals or violates the code of conduct, what will happen and how will that be determined?

The Free Theatre has a commitment to maintaining a safe, productive, and educational environment for all. Adherence to the Code is important and violations of it will be taken seriously. Our Artists in Residence will be responsible for making certain that the code of conduct is upheld and reviewed by the current class each season. 

10) What will a typical rehearsal look like?

Our rehearsal process will typically include a technique or skills building section, staging, music rehearsal, and choreography. A rehearsal may also include a master class or visit from a working artist in the field as part of our educational component.

11) What will performances be like?

Our fully produced, fully staged productions will be a sight to see. We use a mix of professional and student musicians in our pit to provide live music, and our sets are built under the supervision of a professional master carpenter and designer. We hope you’ll be able to attend one, so check out the dates of our upcoming productions on our home page!

12) Is The Free Theatre just for onstage performers?

If you are interested in the technical side of theatre (production management, lighting, sound and set design, costumes, props, hair and make-up, etc.) or the marketing side (public relations, advertising, program design, photography, social media), there is a place for you at The Free Theatre!  Students from all over the greater Washington DC metro area interested in leadership positions in Directing, Choreography, Music Direction, Stage Management, Social Media and Marketing and more should apply to join us.  There are also opportunities for student musicians in our pits – our goal is to make the process and performance as student-oriented as possible, with constantly adapting support from adults and industry professionals. Every job in theatre is important! If you have a special skill or talent, we want to hear from you!

Still have questions?  Send a note to info@thefreetheatre.org so we can get you answers!