Kristen,Avoid 24/7 by only doing what only you may do. Delegate everything else: it empowers kids (oversight is so much less time consuming than doing it yourself), takes advantage of parent/faculty talent if you choose to (I don't)...and here's the new idea: hire a parent as an Assistant Coach (plenty of sports precedent for that!) that becomes legally able to supervise kids as they paint, build costumes, rehearse under your stage manager/student director, etc. I found it was worth slicing off $100 from my meager coaching stipend to have someone I could call on (they were willing to volunteer but couldn't be hired without getting some pay) so I wasn't there 24/7.We've gotten extra rehearsal time from the musical groups by proving we can strike and re-set their class-time [orchestra] setup after school and ready for that night's concert while leaving behind no trace we were ever there (with organization, practice and a small army of theatre kids, one can spike and strike a 60-piece orchestra setup in under 5 minutes and re-set in 5-10...easily worth the 2-3 hours of rehearsal.
The notion that the auditorium can not be used the afternoon when there's a speaker, awards, etc. at night is just ludicrous. Fight that battle. Those events can be set up by theatre folks in moments to minutes. NO need to cancel a full stage rehearsal for a lineup of chairs, a podium and a working mic on the apron!I figure about 1 hour of rehearsal for each minute of performance.Our theatre shares space with hs & ms including all band/orchestra/chorus performances (both HS & MS of each). We do a full length straight play in the fall, the MS does a full musical in the winter, we do a full musical in the spring. We also squeeze in 4 TheatreSports county-wide tournaments.Our administrator has been good about not renting out the theatre to outside groups, at least not without checking with me first. You MUST document any and all incidents from things that break or get moved unnecessarily to nastiness with our student technicians, to build a case against outsiders using your facility.
We do have a Black Box. After the spring musical we have student-directed short plays in there.All other small projects (conference and Thespian performances; Shakespeare festival; district/regional/state competitions) come as class projects, with a few extra rehearsals thrown in as needed.
Sydney covered how we do our scheduling of the space (we work at the same school), so I'll answer your other questions:
What does your rehearsal schedule with more than 2 productions looks like?Typically we rehearse M-F for 2-3 hours, depending on the show and the cast, and some Saturdays. I have put a practice in place that I won't work 2 Saturdays in a row, and I try really hard to stick to that so that at least every other weekend I get 2 full days off. Pretty much when one show ends, the next show begins. We rarely rehearse more than one show at a time (exception is when we're doing Shakespeare in the black box - we start really early with text analysis with that, and it does overlap with our winter play).We have a couple of weird overlaps. One is in the winter, with our student directed one acts and the winter main stage play. We've just created a culture that one acts get the first rehearsal hour, and I get the next two. So one acts are guaranteed the time and space to rehearse from 3:30-4:30. If there are scenes I can rehearse without interfering with one acts, then I do. Otherwise, I start my rehearsals at 4:30.
The other is the spring children's show. We used to do it through a class, so students might be in both the children's show and the black box, which perform 2-3 weeks apart. However, since the children's show is done through a class, they would only have about 7 days of after school rehearsal, so I just had to plan around that. It was sometimes hard on the kids to be learning multiple scripts at once though. At one point I had a student working on 5 scripts (2 one acts, the children's show, the winter main stage and the spring black box). They definitely got a taste of what it was like to work for a rep company!This year, we decided not to do the children's show through a class, and instead one of my alumni was directing it for college credit. In that case, we held auditions for the children's show and black box at the same time, then I cast my show and she cast from those left in the pool. Unfortunately, neither show got to perform due to C-19.Does your season consist of a combo of plays and musicals?Yes, we have a fall musical in October or November, student directed one acts at the end of January, winter main stage play at the end of February, a children's play at the end of April and our spring black box play in mid-May. Sometimes we have another children's show, and that's in mid January.
Do you have large cast productions?Our musicals typically have 30-40 actors, 10-15 backstage, and another 15-20 in the pit. That's our largest, for sure. It goes down from there. Our black box can be anywhere from 10-20, depending on the show, and that's the smallest.Are you at the school 24/7?Depends on the day! The closer we get to the show, the longer I'm there. But no, I try to get out of there by 7 on a normal night.Do your shows overlap?See aboveWhen do you start your rehearsal for fall shows?Mid August, 2-3 weeks before school starts. It's the same time that fall sports are allowed to start practice.Any suggestions on how I can advocate for our school NOT to allow other schools to use our space? (This one might be tricky)This one can be tough, but I think the biggest thing is that the space is for the high school programs to use, and therefore they should get priority. As Sydney said, we do have lots of outside people who use our space - middle schools, elementary schools, community choirs, dance companies - but we always get first dibs (and by we I mean the high school programs). Most of us use the same general dates over and over - the fall musical is typically on the same weekends each year, the winter main stage is always the same general time, etc. That makes it easier, because even when I haven't given her my dates, Sydney has a good idea of when I want to do things. That said, if I don't reserve it, I don't get it, so you know I get my dates in as early as possible! Then if another group wants something around the same time as us, Sydney will approach the teacher of that program and see what compromises can be made. We've had many times where someone wanted a middle school orchestra concert on a Tuesday between our show weekends. I said that was fine, but they had to perform with my set still on stage. Things like that. We make it work.If you can create a culture of "this space is for the high school students, but we're happy to share when we're able" it can definitely help. We also often have high school students who help work the outside events, running lights, sound, etc. so it's great for them to have that opportunity as well. So perhaps you can approach it that way - that since the space is for high school students, they should get priority, but that once those events are scheduled others are welcome to schedule around it.
Hi. Sorry this took me so long! With the end of the year, zoom meetings are piling up, and more time at the computer is really difficult! So, I teach in a small (220 kids in good years, grades 7-12), independent, co-ed day school. We do three performances per year, each coinciding with the end of a trimester. My early to mid-November play is open to all students. The midwinter play is devised and performed by the middle school students (grades 7 and 8). The teacher who runs this performance is also a playwright. The spring play is also open to all. We rarely do musicals, partly because we don't have a pit, partly because we don't have the budget, and partly because I like to offer plays that all sorts of students can shine in, not just the singers and dancers. I never rule them out (we've done Pippin and Working when we had the right casts), but I often find plays that have moments of dance or singing when I have the talent. The program has grown over the years (I'm heading into year 29), so the cast sizes, originally around 8-12 are sometimes up to 25. It varies. We rehearse Mondays through Thursdays from after school (about 2:40) until the bus leaves (4:40). Our only Saturday rehearsal is a Tech Rehearsal from 9-5 two weeks before we open. We also schedule two work days per production, from 9-4, usually on the Monday holiday that coincides with each production and the Friday no school day when teachers are writing progress reports (I write mine mostly the night before). The only time we stay late is production week, Monday and Tuesday usually until 6, Wednesday until 8 (Dress), Thursday is dark. Students are expected to hang around for around an hour after we close to help strike the set.We also have two to three concerts in the space each year, and since we have built our new space, we have a lot more interest in outside groups. This means that we have had to change how we conceive of sets. We only get to put them in place the week before tech, and that has been a real challenge to do plays that have box sets.Negotiating the space is a constant battle.
Hope that helps!