JST casting protocol

We are writing to address some of the confusion and concern around Matilda casting protocols, specifically, that a handful of people were invited to attend callbacks when they had not auditioned.

Journey Summer Theater (JST) has always worked a little differently than our normal school year shows. This is by design, and is an opportunity to live out our mission to “youth and their families” in a slightly different way from the rest of the year. It is a chance to widen our community, as we invite adults into the mix for a show.

JST is also designed to be a step towards more “professional” standards of theater, not only to attract older talent but also to give our younger students a chance to experience more of the “normal” theater world, an exposure without which Journey youth could be quite jarred once they graduate out of the Journey way. The casting approach is one example of this. For one, JST auditions have traditionally been “closed”, a much more common practice than Journey’s school year approach to “open” auditions in front of the large group. Another example is recruitment. Professional and community theaters alike (as well as as the film industry) keep files and files of resumes, names of actors they will tap for projects based on skill, experience and fit for the role. Many of these places do indeed “pre-cast” much or all of their shows. While Journey does not pre-cast roles, we do allow ourselves for JST (and on rare occasions for a youth show) the ability to reach out to individuals as needed to fill in specific gaps we are seeing and strengthen the show. For Matilda, this allowed 4 more young adult dancers to join and participate.


Another notable difference is the production fee. While this is extremely important in our model to offset the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to produce a show, this is very untypical of the rest of the community theater world which would either pay actors or at least not charge them to be in a show. We therefore try to find a balance, by reducing adults’ production fees to $50. All cast members are still required to bring a committee member, (also very odd for the theater world), but essential to make the Journey way possible.

There are of course other differences between JST and our normal programming, and we recognize that we can do a better job communicating these up front. We will improve that for the future. In the meantime, if there are any questions at all, please reach out to Heather Bode, Show Coordinator, or Bethany Larson, Program Director.

Again we apologize for the confusion, and are grateful for your grace as we move forward together.

Sincerely yours,

The Journey team

For further reading!
Another thing people may not know: Being a Journey staff member, donor or anything else does not affect casting. In fact, in all of our shows (youth and JST), artistic team members and staff members with a family member auditioning are required to step out of the room during the “deliberation” process. They are not involved in the casting of their own family members. The artistic team is empowered to put the needs of the show first, as they are guided by our mission, vision and values of community, quality and integrity.
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