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Theater Department

Backstage Policies When a Minor Is Involved in a Production 

The theater department will assign a Child Safety Certified chaperone/parent liaison for backstage. The parent liaison must be with the child at all times unless the child’s parent or guardian is present. The parent liaison must also have all emergency contact information for the child’s parents at hand.

Any correspondence or communication needed between Child Actors and parents during performance times should go through the parent liaison. 

Staff who are not on the production staff or involved in the show should avoid being backstage after half hour or during a technical rehearsal during which child performers are present.  This includes eating lunch in the green room.  

Guests should not be in the dressing room areas or hallways after half hour or during technical rehearsals in which child performers are present. Guests should never be left unattended backstage at any time, regardless of the presence of children.  

No one but the parent liaison(s) should be in the children’s dressing room. Costume/wardrobe staff, sound staff, or stage management should not enter the children’s dressing rooms without checking with parent liaison first. 

Child Actors

Parents will be given an Informed Consent/Permission Form in order to authorize their child's participation in the Production. This will include an FAQ.

If costumes or microphones need to be fitted to a child this initial fitting must be with prior consent of a parent or guardian and in the presence of a chaperone. The child should be given a full explanation of how the costumes and/or microphones will be fitted by their parents/guardian and then by the staff member, treating the child with respect while the action is being carried out. 

School Groups

No school group, youth group or group from a care setting should be left without one of their legally responsible staff members present at all times (e.g.) a teacher for a school group or two trained staff members should be present. 

Child Actor Information FAQ

What if my child becomes ill?

  • Before a performance: Notify stage management as soon as possible before half-hour of any illness or injury that will prevent your child from performing. Your Stage Manager will give you a number to call if your child will be late or unable to perform.
  • During the show: It is required that you provide contact numbers where you can be reached in case of emergency so that management can contact you immediately. You should also consider providing management with a signed document authorizing the provision of medical treatment for your child until you arrive.

What precautions are taken to ensure my child’s safety?

Safety is extremely important to Smith College. Each production will develop its own safety program with instructions detailing how all parties work together to reduce risk to performers and crew. However, backstage areas frequently contain hazards, so it is important for your child to understand how to stay safe. With trap doors, lifts, scenery and other equipment moving in and out, safety is a top priority. It is especially important that parents/guardians instruct their child on the importance of following the directions of the parent liason so that the child's safety is ensured.

What should I do if my child gets injured?

If your child is injured during the course of participation in the Production, the College will immediately notify you. An accident report will be filed by the stage management with the College's Human Resources department.

If your child is injured in a non-production related activity, immediately inform the production manager so that you can mutually determine if the child can continue to participate in the production.

Please report any injuries to the production manager and company manager as soon as possible, no matter how minor the injury. 

Why can’t I wait backstage while my child is rehearsing or performing?

In order to maintain safety and maximize space backstage and in rehearsal halls, access is often restricted to only those individuals actually employed in the production. The parent liaison is your key contact person for backstage; any correspondence or communication needed between child actors and parents should go through the parent liaison.

How is my child expected to behave?

It’s important for young performers to know that they are expected to behave the same way any adult would while at work. One of the most important things you can discuss with your child before he or she enters a professional work environment is the importance of working cooperatively with all the show personnel while backstage or onstage. 

Important People to Know

Stage Manager

Coordinates productions during rehearsal and performance and maintains the artistic integrity of the show. If your child has any special health or dietary needs/allergies/sensitivities/restrictions, you should inform your Stage Manager.

Child Chaperone

The parent liaison serves as the Child Chaperone, the producer-designated supervisor of children at the theatre. This person takes your child to the stage and waits in the wings until your child is offstage. Though they are not tutors, it is helpful for you to meet them and to let them know if there is any schoolwork that your child should be working on independently while backstage.

“Peter and the Starcatcher”

The Smith College Department of Theatre presents Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice February 28, 29, March 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m. in the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre. The play, which is adapted from the children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and features music by Wayne Barker, is a prequel to Peter Pan that upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be “The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up.”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

The Smith College Department of Theatre presents The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, October 25, 26, 31, November 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre 14. Directed by Ellen W. Kaplan, the play—adapted from the Mark Haddon novel by Simon Stephens—tells the story of Christopher, an autistic teen, who sets out to solve the mystery of who murdered the neighbor’s dog. Their detective work leads to an earth-shattering discovery, and to a thrilling journey that will change their life forever.  

New Play Reading Series Fall 2019

The Smith College New Play Reading Series marks its 25th year with an eclectic fall season featuring new work by a Smith MFA candidate, two short radio plays, a reading from a memoir, and a dramatization of a short story by Sylvia Plath.