Open Forum

Holding the kiddos accountable

  • 1.  Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-01-2018 14:57
    Edited by Kristin Lundberg 12-02-2018 08:53
    Overall, I have a pretty strong troupe of actors at the school with a dedicated team of officers but had an incident with an officer and its member recently who backed out of their ITS and show contracts.

    I am overly patient and work with the kids to accommodate schedules, but I am curious how others handle accountability especially when they are an active ITS member and/or troupe officer. I know it's once a Thespian always a Thespian, but there has to be some rules in the membership about issues like these.


    Kristin Lundberg
    Theatre Arts Teacher, Director, IB Instructor
    Rocky Mount High School
    Rocky Mount NC

  • 2.  RE: Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-02-2018 08:32
    I have a contact for officers that states they must be involved with every show in some shape or form. This is primarily because they get first dibs on leadership positions for shows at the start of the year- I already know in August if they'll be auditioning or working production staff on a show. That being said, they know if they audition and don't get cast then they need to be willing to do tech for the show (ergo be good role models for the rest of the troupe by staying involved and supporting the show even if they didn't get their first choice). Lastly, they help pick the shows for the year- so a religious objection would never happen because they would've been part of that selection process and would have raised their concerns then. Inevitably, we wouldn't have selected a show of that nature without full support of the entire governing board.
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  • 3.  RE: Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-02-2018 19:24
    If she's chosen to step away from the show, perhaps she should also step aside from being an officer.

    Billy Houck
    Theatre Teacher, Retired
    Carmichael, CA

  • 4.  RE: Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-03-2018 09:28
    International Thespian Society membership is, indeed, a lifetime proposition, so I don't see an easy way for a troupe director to expel a student from the organization.

    That doesn't mean that there can't be consequences for dereliction of duty.

    Some years ago, my troupe co-director caught our troupe president smoking during a rehearsal break.  We immediately relieved her of her office, and referred her to our school's administration for disciplinary action according to our school district's code of student conduct.  Our troupe vice president assumed the office of president for the rest of that school year.  Our ousted president remained a member of our troupe, however.  In fact, she ultimately attended an important fine-arts college, became a professional lighting designer, and even has a Broadway credit on her resume.  Maybe we taught her something about following rules and expectations, and maybe that became some minor part of her professional success.

    Jeff Grove
    Theatre Teacher, Aesthetics Department Chair
    Stanton College Preparatory School
    Jacksonville FL

  • 5.  RE: Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-03-2018 10:57

    It seems to me that, in the first case there is no problem at all if he/she never committed to that production, and in the second case that the student with the game conflict overcommitted and has to violate a commitment either way.  That is an unfortunate part of growing up as kids learn responsibilities that come with opportunities.  I hope that student let you know right away about the conflict to minimize the trouble. 


    This brings up another issue, though, and one for adults to look at honestly.   I am not a fan of what some people call "loyalty" and I call clique.  We should not be offended when kids make choices with their time.  We should be supporting their choices, and giving them the perspective of hey-thanks-for-the-things-you-gave-us-Break-a-leg-on-what's-next-for-you, and not if-you-don't sit-at-our-lunch-table-every-day-then-you-aren't-welcome-here.  That is modeling the wrong behavior.  Student life is rife with petty politics; theatre should be a place that accepts everyone and all their dreams.  Including dreams that lead them away from us at some point after they arrive.  I want kids to feel welcome here, not pressured to stay.  No one has a Thespian wedding ring, and shouldn't be flirting with other activities. 


    I suggest giving them both hugs, thanking them for what they have given, and showing all your students that loving each other is paramount. Love is not conditional on doing that I want, even if, especially if, I REALLY needed her/him in that show. 





  • 6.  RE: Holding the kiddos accountable

    Posted 12-03-2018 11:50
    In our Troupe we have Active and Inactive Members.  Obviously, their membership to the International Organization is lifetime and they will always be a part of our Troupe in terms of that membership.  BUT, if you are not active in our organization, you do not get the awards from our Troupe.

    I absolutely believe that students should be involved in their interests and am hoping that Theatre isn't the only thing in their lives.  They need to be well-rounded, but they also need to learn to prioritize and commit.  If a Troupe Member is not participating in Troupe events, productions and/or activities then I wish them well and support them in their choice, but come the end of the year or graduation I don't bling them.  I don't have a big enough program - primarily financially - that I can give pins and cords to inactive members.

    Amy Learn
    Ballwin MO