Open Forum

Thespian Advisor involvement

  • 1.  Thespian Advisor involvement

    Posted 11-09-2018 01:07
    Hey all,

    I am new to working a thespian club, and I am wondering how involved the faculty advisors tend to get.  The last advisor was extremely hands off, and I am wondering if that's the norm?  Thanks and any feedback about what you do with your group would be awesome.

    Adam Herzig

  • 2.  RE: Thespian Advisor involvement

    Posted 11-11-2018 11:03

    Hi Adam,
    Off the top of my head I have a bunch of questions.  

    Is this a "Club" in your school?  Is it a drama club with the Thespian Troupe being part of the club?  That's the why it's set up in our school.  We don't have any theater as part of the curriculum.  So the school pays for an advisor.  That's their only investment in the program.  

    So the next question would be, is there money available to pay creative directors, technical directors, music directors, choreographers and any other people necessary to put on a show or do the students assume all of those responsibilities?  

    In our case, I am the advisor but I'm also the technical director and I handle most of the duties under the tech side such as sound, lights, set design and anything else needed.  (I know someone will chime in regarding all of those being totally different things and shouldn't be handled by one person but I do what has to be done)

    We have a creative director who right now is given a stipend and thankfully she stays on.  

    I won't get into much more detail unless you have specific questions but I think what I'm trying to say is this:

    Get involved.  In any way.  If anything, just to see what goes into the whole process and see what the students have to go through to put on a production.  If you school pays for all of the people needed to bring a show together, that's great.  If you're just needed to be an "advisor" so there's a school employee present, then maybe you can at least learn some things about theater to help you relate to your students.  

    Sorry if my answer is all over the place.  I'm not sure of your situation so it makes it hard to give a thorough answer. 

    Chuck Yarmey
    Advisor/Technical Director
    Wyoming Area Drama Club
    Thespian Troupe 4795
    Exeter PA

  • 3.  RE: Thespian Advisor involvement

    Posted 11-11-2018 20:34
    Hi Charles,

    Thanks for this.  We actually have a pretty stable theatre curriculum with school sponsored shows.  The thespians are just sort of a supplemental group with a ton of kids that are not actually taking theatre classes.  I appreciate your feedback as I try and sort exactly how involved I should be.



    Adam Herzig

  • 4.  RE: Thespian Advisor involvement

    Posted 11-12-2018 08:16
    Thanks for serving as an advisor to your kids.

    Ours also is a student-run troupe. The officers make plans and execute them to the best of their ability. But I am there to keep them on track. It is a tremendous learning experience for them and a chance to spread their leadership wings.

    I meet with the Thespian officers several times over the summer to set priorities and the agenda for the year. I make sure they are familiar with the constitution which lays out all the rules they must follow. We brainstorm and lay out the big picture for the year. We also set the meeting schedule and a rough idea for what each meeting will consist of.

    I have a strict no surprises policy. So the Thespian officers should never come up with something I do not already know about.

    During the year, I sit in on Thespian meetings and clarify discussion topics and make brief comments about what is happening in other parts of the theatre program (auditions, crew sign-ups, classroom, etc). But the kids run the meetings. If the officers want to have a guest speaker I line that up. If they want to have a workshop I line that up, as well. Of course I complete and submit building permits for their activities and provide permission slips when necessary.

    I sometime have to remind the Thespian officers of approaching deadlines or other calendar issues. They sometimes need reminded of the activities they planned to undertake. But for the most part, they are on their on.

    Mark A. Zimmerman
    Theatre Director,

    Akron School for the Arts
    Firestone High School
    470 Castle Blvd
    Akron, Ohio 44313