The North Texas Performing Arts is committed to developing the character of youth through quality performing arts education and entertainment. To promote healthy and positive development, the Governing Board of Directors of the North Texas Performing Arts has adopted this Casting Philosophy to provide guidance to NTPA casting directors and their process while offering background and context to parents and students. This philosophy sets NTPA apart with a uniquely transparent and open approach to the casting phase of a production. Individual student experiences may differ, and NTPA management reserves the right to modify the casting process when it is necessary and appropriate to accommodate specific circumstances.
Developing and communicating the cast of a production is the most difficult task faced by a Director. The Director is presented with an auditioning cast that often represents a wide variety of ages, skills, interests, and preferences. The Director is then challenged to assemble the casting assignments in a way that optimizes NTPA’s objective to deliver the best educational experience while providing the best possible production for all involved.
NTPA’s youth theatre productions will follow a standard, rigorous casting process:
- Casting is conducted either through online video submissions or through the scheduling of successive 10-minute in-person auditions to allow time for the audition itself and, when appropriate, guidance and feedback. Alternative audition methods must be approved in advance by the Managing Director.
- There will be a team of at least two professional casting directors, including the Director of the production. The Director may generally employ a casting rubric to objectively develop their cast.
- A Director may conduct callbacks as appropriate to the show and the roles that need to be filled.
To discourage “no show” audition reservations, effective for auditions taking place after March 1, 2019, NTPA will charge a “No Show Fee” of $15.00 for 6-12th grade productions to those students that commit and then skip their audition time slots. A reminder will be sent via email at least two weeks prior to the audition, and the student can change or cancel their audition timeslot up to 24 hours prior to the audition without incurring a fee.
Upon selecting the cast, the Director will announce the roles in the following manner:
- All roles cast will be announced via a single email to all auditioning actors by the date committed on the Audition Expectation forms unless otherwise notified.
- A student may accept or reject a role within 24 hours.
- Directors may continue to recruit until the 2nd rehearsal for open roles.
To promote consistency and fairness in its casting, the following standards will generally be applied. Deviations may be permitted with approval of the Managing Director.
- Directors reserve the right to move students into vacated roles.
- If other roles become available, Directors may reconsider students who initially rejected their assigned roles.
- Given the cost of the audition process, if a student repeatedly declines participation after being cast in roles that they expressed a willingness to accept or repeatedly signs up for auditions for which they don’t appear, a Director may consider this behavior in future casting decisions.
- Prior NTPA experience and level of mastery of the audition may be considered in casting as well as prior exemplary commitment to the Ten Characters.
- A Director may actively recruit students to participate in their show and may suggest multiple roles for them to consider. Such recruitment should not be considered a commitment for specific casting. A Director may not commit or promise a specific role prior to publicly announcing the cast.
- Once announced in a role, the student is entitled to the role unless they agree to a new assignment or are forced to withdraw from the show for other reasons.
- A Director may choose not to cast a student if that student (or the student’s parent) has violated the Code of Conduct in the prior twelve months.
- A Director must double cast all major roles provided there are students available to fill those roles. A role may only be single cast after all those that participated in the auditions have been assigned roles. Single-casting requires the approval of the MD and his/her management. A role may not be “triple cast” without Governing Board approval.
- If a Director determines that a student is not ready for a specific role and believes that assigning that role may adversely impact the student or their show experience, the Director may choose not to cast this student as that character, even if that means the part is single-cast by another student.
- A student is eligible to compete for and accept any role without regard to participation in other NTPA activities provided that these activities do not impact their ability to attend the required rehearsals. Simultaneous involvement in multiple lead roles is discouraged and may be considered in casting decisions.
- A Director may consider a student’s conflicts (both NTPA and non-NTPA) that impact their ability to attend rehearsals. A student that does not fully and honestly disclose their conflicts before or during auditions may be subject to a change in casting.
- If the script outlines specific casting requirements or allowances, the Director must either follow those stipulations or secure waivers from the publishing entity for any deviations.
- A double-cast student may be cast in their off-night role in a tech, backstage, swing, or ensemble role. Students may be excused from active participation in some shows or rehearsals at the discretion of the Director.
- If approved by the MD and announced prior to the first rehearsal, a Director may modify the rehearsal schedule and excuse some cast members from certain rehearsals.
- A student’s frequency of participation at any specific NTPA location will not be considered in casting decisions.
- No video auditions are accepted after callbacks unless open roles are being actively recruited.
- A Director may cast without regard to sexual orientation or gender.
- Casting shall be conducted in a way that avoids real or perceived favoritism or preference for certain students or volunteers.
- Casting decisions must be made without guidance, influence, or attempts thereof from parents or Board Members.
- Any criticism of casting decisions should be raised privately to the Managing Director or, if the MD is the director, the MD’s manager. Any challenges, criticism, or attempts to influence a casting decision must be reported by the Director to the MD or the MD’s manager, and students whose parents are involved may be dismissed from the show.
- All casting decisions shall be reviewed and potentially modified by the Managing Director (or the MD’s manager if the MD is the Director).
- A Director may not give special treatment or advantages to students taking private lessons and will make every effort to avoid even the appearance of such advantage.
- A Director may not explain or justify their casting determinations and may not be placed in a position of doing so by anyone aside from NTPA management. After the show is completed, a Director may offer guidance to the student on how to improve for future auditions and callbacks.
- A Director shall not consider a student’s appearance, race, color, gender, disability, national origin, religion, family status, or sexual orientation in casting decisions.
This casting philosophy shall be in effect for all NTPA youth theatre organizations as of October 1, 2018.