Sally Allsopp formed her theatre with the express intention of presenting charity productions whilst providing a theatrical learning environment for local children. In its attempt to promote musical theatre and dramatic performance, children between the ages of 4 and 19 are accepted into the group for rehearsals and to take part in shows and community events. Weekly sessions are held for each separate age group as well as stand-alone skills workshops. Here the children experience many aspects of theatre including drama games, improvisation, stagecraft and singing. Whilst some prominence is given to producing shows, the theatre tries to acknowledge the needs of individual children and encourages fun, enjoyment and the thrill of working together. Therefore, skills such as communication, team-building and speech/movement co-ordination are also emphasised.
The theatre supports a several charities. The main charity it supports is Cancer Research UK. This is an absolutely fundamental aspect of the theatres purpose and mission. This alignment of charity and entertainment is considered a potent influence for good on the members of the group. Children are welcome to apply for membership when there is an vacancy, otherwise they are added to a waiting list. There is some cross-over of groups at the discretion of the principle, for example in the case of brothers & sisters. All members pay a subscription to become members and attend rehearsals. Some items will be charged at cost over and above the regular subscriptions where it is unavoidable.
It is advisable that members only belong to LBCT. As it is difficult to commit to two theatre groups and members often find that rehearsals for different groups will clash and cause a dilemma to member and director. When children reach year 10 of their school years they are asked to commit to only one of the towns youth theatre groups as after this time pressure of schoolwork can affect students performance. This can be reviewed when a pupil starts full time employment or joins the sixth form when they can attend The Advance Theatre Company and LBCT Youth Section.
LBCT encourage members to take dance lessons and have a list of recomended schools locally which share the ethos of LBCT.
There are major productions every few months and smaller community events more frequently. The major productions are supported by a production team made up from friends and parents. The theatre organises trips and outings from time to time. Any members wishing to take advantage would be expected to cover their costs of the activity. The theatre contributes to its selected charity any income which is not required to cover any reasonable expenses. The theatre does not register as a charity because this would restrict the amount it could contribute to an external charity. LBCT is owned and run by Sally Allsopp. In this role she is helped by various groups and individuals which exist at her discretion:
The two main groups which control the running of the theatre are the:
The Executive Committee This team comprises Principal, Secretary and Treasurer and is responsible for all the administrative affairs of the theatre. It will meet once a month to discuss relevant business items. This will include bookings, grants and applications for grants, donations, subscriptions, funds, publicity, fund-raising, community liaison and the selection of theatre helpers. It is non-elected.
The Artistic Committee This team comprises Principal, Musical Director and Rehearsal Assistant and is responsible for the operation of the theatre during rehearsals and shows. In this job it will have the support of the following groups:
Production Team Assembled from willing helpers, friends and parents specifically to resource the presentation of shows from time to time. All matters relevant to these occasions are dealt with as a standard theatrical production team under a single producer.
Rehearsal Pianist Contracted to support the rehearsal schedule and to contribute fully to the overall operation of the rehearsal staff. Expenses only paid from time to time if needed.
Youth Helpers Volunteers for each of the sections. The role provides opportunity for working with children and experience in running a childrens theatre work.
Children are asked to wear sensible clothing to rehearse in if possible and footwear should be flexible and soft. (plimsolls, ballet shoes, jazz shoes if possible) Children in Mini and CT groups are expected to wear red theatre t-shirt to rehearsals. Children are admitted to the LBCT at the age of 5 to 18 years of age. Children are admitted to either of the groups dependent of their age. Children may bring a drink and a snack to rehearsals which can be consumed in the official break. Chewing gum is not permitted.
Children are encouraged to take part in all suitable activities with LBCT and as such are encouraged not to take part in other local drama clubs which meet weekly as this often causes a rehearsal dilemma to member and director. When children reach year 10 of their school years they are asked to commit solely to LBCT as pressure of schoolwork and split loyalties mean they can only function positively in one such group. This can be reviewed if a member leaves full time education or if a member stays within the theatre structure after the age of 18. Basically they will be too busy with us to have time for two groups. We see our group as a training organisation and believe that the work we do with individuals should benefit our group and the local community. Children are expected to treat the adults they work with and their peers with respect and are encouraged to realise that theatre does not work without co-operation. We operate a verbal warning system which is followed up by verbal conversation with parents if we believe a child is continually behaving in an inappropriate manner. If after this a member still acts in an inappropriate way we will ask the child to leave.
We are not responsible for members personal property and all bikes must be locked during rehearsals. All members must fill out a membership form and medical details form with emergency contact numbers. We encourage each child to fulfil his or her own aims within her ability and will encourage and help any individual where possible to find suitable training when leaving the childrens theatre either for new location or further education. The Childrens Theatre does not act as an agent for any individual but will encourage any individual suitable if a professional audition opportunity arise, parents must be expected to meet necessary expenses. We aim to involve as many children as possible in every event. Costumes are provided by the theatre for individuals for productions but all are expected to provide the basic blacks:
As well as producing one large scale production a year per section we take part in various smaller events. Community events are often limited in numbers of participants and those involved are asked at the discretion of The Director. Parents are encouraged to help in the production team and all offers of help are welcomed. Children are not usually put through an audition procedure but casting takes place through workshop sessions judged by director and often a neutral visitor. The Directors decision is final.
Parents are asked to advise us of absence, any child failing to advise us of absence and being absent for more than two sessions can be recast by The Director. Extra rehearsals are called by The Directive as and when necessary. Principals involved in a large scale production can expect two rehearsals a week and must be available to attend extra rehearsals when necessary, given reasonable notice.
Children's Theatre should be fun, educational and fulfilling to all involved. It is hard work and all members must be able to commit time both during rehearsals and for line learning, costume calls and so on.