Show Basics for Parents (and Students)

CYT relies heavily on the support of our parents and we want your involvement behind the scenes to be as rewarding and fun as your child's experience on stage. This is your starting point for information related to the show, including parent committees, a glossary of theatre terms, a guide to taking your child’s measurements, and other topics!

(If you are looking for information and forms related to CYT Classes, please go to the Classes web page.)

Welcome new students!

Is this your first show? Here's a quick timeline-based overview of what to expect (for both students and parents):
  1. Classes - you need to be enrolled in the same Chapter in order to audition to be in a show.
  2. Auditions - you can find details and audition tips here.
    • Audio Files & Photo Uploads - all files for auditions need to be uploaded in advance. Instructions can be found on the class callboard when registered for a class.
    • Costumes - see below for measurements required on the audition form.
  3. Callbacks - you may or may not get called back for more auditioning
  4. Rehearsals - Friday evenings and Saturdays for about 7 weeks
    • Parent Meeting - if you are cast, this meeting is a must for parents
    • 2nd Parent Meeting - final prep and required meeting before Show Week 
  5. Tech Week - Dress rehearsals typically run 5-9pm the Monday - Wednesday before performances. Check your chapter page for the official dates and times each show as they are based on venue availability and show specifics.
  6. Performances - there are shows in fall, winter, and spring
    • Show Crew - if you are not cast, you can still sign up to work behind-the-scenes.
    • Parent Teams - parents meet during tech rehearsal and show weeks to work on their team. 
  7. Cast Party - usually after the opening night performance - lots of fun!
  8. Strike Party - shortly after the last show, with awards and food!
Additional notes:
  • Class and production dates and location details will be listed on your chapter page.
  • Audition sign ups will open two weeks prior to auditions.
  • Callback materials will be provided.

Costume Measurements

You can help our parent volunteers on the costume committee by providing accurate measurements.
  • In addition to general clothing and shoe sizes, you will need the following measurements:
    •      Chest (just under armpits)
    •      Waist (near navel)
    •      Hips (widest part)
    •      Inseam (crotch to floor)
    •      Shoulder to Shoulder (shoulder seams of shirt)
    •      Sleeve Length (shoulder to wrist) - added after video was created.

Student Backstage Crew

The backstage crew and tech teams are the "magic" that make a show happen! Members of our crew have the ability to learn sound, lights, running projections, and backstage crew where you are moving sets on and off the stage for scene changes. Some of our CYT kids are now real life stage managers in the professional world! Check out our current list of classes to see if there is a tech class offering near you or simply join one of our shows as crew to start learning how it all works!

How Are Parents Involved?

Unlike many children’s theatre programs, parents are essential to CYT. Not only does CYT welcome parents to all aspects of our program, CYT requires parent involvement at a number of levels. First and foremost, CYT depends on parents to get their children to class, to rehearsals, and to shows on time and prepared.

If your child is cast in a show, there are two mandatory Parent Meetings (one during the first rehearsal weekend, and one toward the end of the 7–week session) that will give you all the information you need for the weeks to come. Each cast member must have at least one parent (or representative 18 years or older) attend these meetings.

Likewise, at least one parent (or adult family representative) is required to be involved in preparing for the session production. CYT has found that “Parent Production Committees” are the best way to get the essential jobs done! You will actively serve a minimum of 20 hours on one of the many Parent Production Committees throughout preparation for the show and/or during the show. Working side by side enables families to share a common goal and provides community connections.

Parent Production Committees

Below are descriptions and approximate time commitments for the parent committees to help you decide where your gifts will best be used! The committees work with the Production Coordinator and Director to develop sets, props, programs, advertising and many other things to create an unbelievable end product together!

Parents on teams will need to complete a background check, valid for three years.


Below are descriptions and approximate time commitments to help you make your decision about a team. Keep in mind that not all chapters have all of these teams, and some might have unique teams.

Backstage — Assist crew of both students and adults with moving sets on and off stage during dress rehearsals and productions. Maintain crowd control; able to keep kids quiet and orderly backstage during show. Look good in basic black, team builder, organized, flexible and cool under pressure. 
Timeframe: Dress rehearsal week and all shows including move-in and strike; can divide up time among team members.

Clean Up — Tidy, toss, and sweep after Saturday rehearsals, tech week rehearsals, parent meetings, and shows.
Timeframe: After most Saturday rehearsals, tech week rehearsals, and shows.

Costumes — Assist the head of the team in designing and fitting costumes for each character in the production. Enjoy thrift shopping, sewing and/or making alterations.
Timeframe: Before the show gathering and making costumes, during the show any upkeep or replacements. After the show, collect all costumes and launder washables. “A well-costumed show is a labor of love and joy to behold.” Most Chapter Costumes Teams meet at the rehearsal site to work together.

Green Room — Create simple activities for cast members and maintain a quiet, orderly Green Room. Make cue sheet, clean-up charts and circulate supervision sheet to make sure each dress rehearsal and show is covered. Need to be a good disciplinarian.
Timeframe: Dress rehearsal week and all shows; divide up time among team members.

House — Enjoy serving people and providing quality customer service. Sell tickets at the door, set up ushers for all performances. Oversee care and upkeep of the seating and lobby areas of the theater.
Timeframe: A few hours spent pre-show recruiting ushers and equipment preparation and during the show; can split up time among team members. May be required to serve with another committee (often refreshments, sets, or strike) due to minimal time commitment.

Makeup — Assist the head of the team in designing characters’ makeup and applying specialty makeup at shows. Apply makeup and style hair. Help instruct cast and parents in applying makeup and styling hair. 
Timeframe: Costume Parade, a few rehearsals, all dress rehearsals and shows.

Marketing — Help distribute fliers and posters and publicize show to the community (as well as program ad sales information and contacting schools). Supervise the publicity table and student tours during the shows. Will need to work with the CYT Chicago marketing team.
Timeframe: Before the show, during shows at PR table, can divide up time and responsibilities among the team.

Parent Photographer — Takes photos during dress rehearsals; helps process parents’ order for these photos. Takes photos for program.
Timeframe: Throughout the run of the show.

Production Assistant — Oversee all the above committees. Work closely with the Chapter Coordinator and the Director in all aspects of the show production. Someone who enjoys all aspects of theater, works well with people, and is organized.
Timeframe: During rehearsals through end of show.

Props — Collect all props needed from the Production’s prop list. Enjoy searching thrift stores or being creative at making props with a minimal budget. Supervise the prop table during dress rehearsals/shows. 
Timeframe: Rehearsals the week before move-in with props. Before show and during dress week and show, checking to make sure all props are accounted for and in order. After show returning props to CYT storage and borrowed items to owners. Can divide up time among team.

Refreshments — Responsible for purchasing refreshments and supplies at wholesale and selling food items at public performances.
Timeframe: Before show to purchase items, before show, and at intermission, setting up and cleaning up refreshment area as well as selling refreshments. May be required to serve with another committee (often House, sets, or strike) due to minimal time commitment.

Sets — Build, borrow, buy or rent any sets needed for the production. Work with Director on obtaining a list of scenes to be built. Unload sets at the theater and set up. Make any necessary repairs to the set during the run of the show. Take down the sets following the last performance and take to the CYT storage.
Timeframe: Before show opens, during, and after show closes.

Silent Auction — Collect fundraising items for Silent Auction. Plan, collect items, and create Donation Baskets. Work the Donation Basket and Silent Auction tables during all the public shows. Assign and instruct cast members for collecting donations during the show intermissions. (Often part of the Souvenirs Committee.)
Timeframe: Before the show and during the week of dress rehearsals and shows.

Souvenirs — Purchase and make unique show-themed items, flowers, and congratulatory items to sell during public shows.
Timeframe: Before and during shows.

Strike Party — This committee organizes the party for all cast families after the show closes. This is the committee for those who like event-planning, have a gift of hospitality, are creative and sociable, are a bit thrifty, and love celebrating with the cast and crew for a job well done. Often oversees rehearsal and tech means and may be required to serve with another committee.
Timeframe: Before and during shows. May be required to serve with another committee (House, refreshments, sets, or strike) due to minimal time commitment.

Tech — Assist and monitor cast with microphone use. Set up and run sound board and/or lighting per schedule set by team head. Works well under pressure and is able to be flexible and take direction. 
Timeframe: Must be available for show week from move-in through strike, including school day shows. Theater technical experience is desired but not necessary.
Each committee must have a Chair to oversee the team and delegate and help execute responsibilities. While the committee Chair is responsible for organizing and conducting sign-ups, each member is encouraged to become familiar with the committee procedures. The Chair makes sure all aspects of the job have been assigned and are completed. Chairs typically put in extra hours for planning, communicating, and preparing for their committee work.