(Frequently Asked Questions)


What is the age range of participants?
There are opportunities for all ages ranging from children over the age of six to teens and adults. The minimum age to participate is 6 years old (by the first audition workshop). For our Mainstage productions we strive to have participants take on roles within their own realistic age ranges. Adults play adults, children play children and older teens can stretch into younger adult roles when appropriate.

Is experience required?
No, as part of our educational process, each participant will receive training in dance, voice and acting as required for the production. We have a variety of skill levels with many performers being new to theater with little or no previous acting, dancing or singing experience. Many of our performers are also returning participants from previous e.T.c shows or have experience through classes or other theaters companies.

Do you offer specific acting or singing classes?
At this time, we do not offer specific classes. Our education process takes place during the workshops/rehearsals as we prepare for each production. We do offer education programs to individual schools.

Where are the rehearsals and performances held?
Currently, rehearsals are held at College Park Elementary School in San Mateo. Performances will be held at the Cañada College Theater in Redwood City.

How are rehearsals scheduled? What is the time commitment involved for participants?
Participants are organized into ensemble groups to facilitate the scheduling process. At the beginning of the program, ensemble workshops/rehearsals are held on Saturdays and Sundays for 2-3 hours each day. As the production progresses, workshop/rehearsal hours will increase. Saturdays usually begin with the first ensemble group arriving at 11:00 AM, on Sundays the first group session usually begins by 1:00 PM. Participants with speaking or specialty roles may have additional rehearsal time one evening per week.

How are ensemble groups assigned?
Ensemble groups are assigned at the director’s discretion. Often groups are divided by age, but sometimes they are divided by ensemble role or other criteria.

What is the parent commitment?
e.T.c. relies on our volunteers to ensure a quality production. Parents are required to volunteer AT LEAST 25 hours (per family) and be on at least one production committee! Participation is mandatory. There are a variety of committees and ways to help with each production. Click here for a listing of our committees. Link for production committees.

What about conflicts?
We request that all known conflicts be listed at the time of auditions. Due to our compact schedule, conflicts must be kept to a minimum in order to keep the continuity of the rehearsals. Excessive absences may require that a participant perform in a reduced amount of ensemble numbers. For the benefit of the show, please look at the rehearsal schedule carefully and make sure you can fully commit to the production. Due to the importance of Tech Week there can not be conflicts during this week.

How can I register myself or my child?
When registrations are being accepted for our production, simply complete the registration forms (links will be at the bottom of the registration guide page) and mail it along with the appropriate registration fee to our office. Everyone who registers, with payment, will be in the production, unless there is a waiting list (you will be notified if this is the case).

When do I need to pay the registration fee?
The registration fee is due with the initial registration application/forms.

What if I register my child and he then decides he is not ready to participate or we find we have too many conflicts?
Our refund policy is: 100% refund prior to the first audition workshop; 75% refund prior to the first audition day. In order to promote the ensemble atmosphere, there are NO REFUNDS following auditions and casting.

What other costs should I expect?
There are a few items that are optional for purchase, such as performance tickets, our show t-shirt and sweatshirt (one t-shirt is included with registration), one-liners (messages to our stars that are printed in our show program), raffle tickets, business or personal ads for the program. Required purchases include a headshot taken by our professional photographer for our lobby display during the show (A previous e.T.c headshot or a 4 x 5 black and white approved picture other than a school photo, may be substituted) and costume fee which varies based on role(s). Tickets are not included in the price of registration regardless of which committee one serves on.

Who provides the costumes?
Costumes are the responsibility of each participant. Our costume committee will either specify what the costume requirement is or provide costumes and request reimbursement for the cost or rental fee. Make-up, costumes and shoes are the financial responsibility of each cast member based on the creative team’s concept. If specifically asked to purchase, rent or create a special costume, each cast member is only responsible for the first $125 (not including shoes or make-up).

Will I be able to watch my child during the workshops/rehearsals?
e.T.c. had a strict closed door policy with regards to watching the workshops/rehearsals. We have found that both the participants and artistic staff become distracted when parents watch or interrupt the workshops/rehearsals. Parents are welcome to register as participants and join the cast as part of the production, making e.T.c. a fun family activity. Alternately, they are welcome to wait outside the rehearsal area.

Do all participants need to audition, even if they only want to be in the ensemble?
Yes, auditioning has a two-fold purpose. As part of the educational process, each participant is asked to audition to gain audition experience as well as stretch one’s personal boundaries. Additionally, auditions give the director insight into how to best organize the ensemble groups as well as cast speaking and specialty roles. Audition workshops are provided prior to the auditions to help educate participants in how to prepare for an audition and to help ease audition jitters. Following auditions, each participant will be given an audition feedback form. This form will help give constructive information regarding strengths and give suggestions in areas that the participant may wish to improve.

What is a call-back?
Call-backs are follow up auditions when the artistic staff wants the opportunity to evaluate a participant again to see if he/she may fit into a speaking or specialty role. Frequently, a person is called back to read or sing with another person being considered for a different role. This enables the staff to see how certain performers/characters look and interact together. A call-back is not always necessary to cast a role. When the artistic staff may feel the person is right for the role from the onset, they may not require a call-back, the role may not be announced until all preliminary casting is announced. Callbacks are generally for actors that the director has questions about and needs to see more of in order to make an informed decision as to what spot (ensemble and/or speaking) the participant best fits in.

Why are there two casts for each production?
Dual casting enables more participants to have the opportunity for a speaking or specialty singing/dance role. Whenever possible, each role is double cast to allow more opportunities among the participants. ALL participants are in both casts. Only the specialty roles are double cast.

Will every participant get a speaking/specialty role?
While every participant will be in at least 3 ensemble musical dance numbers, not every participant will have a speaking role. The number of speaking and specialty singing or dancing opportunities is based upon the number of roles available in the script. We try to double cast each role to provide more opportunities for participants. Being an ensemble based company, we emphasize the importance of every participant working together and being an important part in building the ensemble numbers.

How many shows will each participants be part of?
Each participant will perform in all 6 main stage (Fri, Sat & Sun) performances. There are also 2 additional Field Trip shows that participants perform in. Regardless if a speaking/specialty role is offered ALL PARTICIPANTS are in EVERY SHOW. All Participants are required to attend both Field Trip performances to maintain the continuity of the show, unless there is a hardship case relating to school. Hardship cases (school/work related) will be dealt with on an individual basis and must be presented well in advance of a performance to the stage manager & director. Participants who accept a pivotal speaking/specialty role are required to participate in their role during the field trip shows, unless it is arranged well in advance with their counterpart to fill the role for the performance.

What is Nitty Gritty Day?
This is a specific workshop day that is set aside for volunteers to get all the necessary, but cumbersome, tasks completed. One representative from each family is required to come and help on Nitty Gritty Day

What is Tech Week?
Tech week is the most critical week of the pre-production portion of the show. It usually begins with full Saturday and Sunday rehearsals followed by Monday through Wednesday evening rehearsals (6:00PM – 10:00PM). It is generally the first time the participants are at the theater with the full set, costumes and orchestra. The lighting, sound and stage cues are being set at this time. Chaperones and stage crew are also learning the cues. It is vital that there are no conflicts during Tech Week.

What are Field Trip Shows?
Field Trip shows are designated weekday morning performances at the theater that schools or organizations are invited to attend at a reduced price. The shows are at 10 AM (with a call time of 8:30 AM) and are usually finished by 12 noon. Most participants are able to go back to school or work following the show. The field trip shows give our participants the experience of being in front of a live audience, prior to the weekend main stage performances. They also provide educators with the opportunity to give their classes a chance to view live, quality theater at a reduced price. Pivotal speaking participants are required to participate in their cast performances, unless it is arranged with their counterpart to fill the role for an individual performance. All performers are expected to attend both field trip shows in order to maintain the quality of the production and benefit from the additional performances. Hardship cases (school/work related) will be dealt with on an individual basis and must be presented well in advance of a performance to the stage manager & director.

How many productions does e.T.c. do each year?
e.T.c. usually produces two main-stage productions per year (Fall and Spring). In addition, e.T.c. works in conjunction with the San Mateo Park and Rec. Department on a summer musical theater day camps. Please check the San Mateo Park and Rec. Spring/Summer guide for information.

What considerations go into selecting a show for a Mainstage production?
There are a number of selection criteria used to determine which shows are selected. The show must be appropriate for family audiences and have a recognizable title to ensure public interest. The show has to have a variety of specialty roles open for children to portray as well as rich ensemble appropriate for young performers. The script and the music must be compelling and enjoyable and the show must be available for licensing on the dates of our shows.

How can I contact someone for additional information?
Email us at contact@bayareaetc.org and a representative will be in touch.
If you have a question that is not answered on this page, please email it to us so that we may include it here.

Summer Program FAQ’s

What is the age range of participants?
There are two program levels offered during the summer: The Children’s Program is for children entering 1st through 3rd grades and the Youth Program is geared for children entering 4th through 9th grades.

Where are the rehearsals and performances held?
Facilities are provided by the Park & Rec Dept and vary from year to year. Check the Summer Camp page to see where this summer’s
camp will be or contact Park & Rec.

How can I register my child?
Registrations are handled through San Mateo Park and Rec.