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Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

  • 1.  Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-20-2023 11:35
    On our posters & program we have traditionally had at the top Theatre presents versus Performing Arts presents for both the musical and the play. 

    It has recently been asked to have Performing Arts when we advertise for the musical and I am conflicted because the Performing Arts dept works on the show but the Theatre Department pays for everything and coordinates it all (ie... me). I have the philosophy that when the band plays in the pit they are part of the theatre department. It isn't the choir singing, it is the students who auditioned for the show who sing. 

    I am wanting to give credit where credit it due, I just have a hard time with something like this when I want us to be inclusive and feel like a part of what I have been doing is being taken away or lessened. 


    And please be kind...this is a hard question for me to ask/post. 

    Julie Estrada
    Theatre Educator & Director

  • 2.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-20-2023 17:18

    I always have a hard time seeing live theatre advertised as "the arts." Professional theatre is not funded by arts organizations: like mainstream film, it's funded by investors who want a return on their investment. It's considered show business, with the accent on "business."

    I'm sure that doesn't answer your question, but the difference does create a perception that too often gets in the way.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 3.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 08:38
    As long as the theatre program is footing the bill, they get the credit. For me that means the posters says, "Firestone Theatre presents  . . .  "

    I make sure to give everyone credit for their contributions in other ways.the music director, conductor, and choreographer get credit on the poster, Everyone is listed in the program (of course), everyone gets a bio (of course), everyone gets Thespian points, everyone is included in the communication platform, everyone gets their name on the t-shirt, etc.

    It might be a theatre production but so many other kids fit under that umbrella!

    Although, now that I think about it, lately I have been crediting both. So my posters say across the top "FIRESTONE THEATRE" and in much smaller type it also says "The Akron School for the Arts" and "Firestone CLC" on the second line. And then below that the word, "presents."

    Take it for what you will.

    Mark A. Zimmerman
    Theatre Director,

    The Akron School for the Arts
    Firestone Community Learning Center
    470 Castle Blvd
    Akron, Ohio 44313


    Board Member, Ohio Educational Theatre Association
    NE Ohio Area Representative
    Workshop Committee
    Displays/Vendors Committee

    What am I Working On?  A new season of plays and musicals

    What am I Reading?  "Shy" by Jesse Green and Mary Rodgers and "The Philosophy of Modern Song" by Bob Dylan

  • 4.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-23-2023 17:24

    Shows, either plays or musicals, are "presented" by (the name of school) (the mascot of the school) Players.  My high school performances were

    The Miller Place Panther Players

    Whomever was financing the shows were listed as Producers inside the program.

    David Kramer

  • 5.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 11:24

    I think within your question lies a potential answer- if they want it to be "Performing Arts Presents" then ask them which part of the presentation are they willing to fund and take charge of (i.e. the posters and advertisement itself.)? Is the choir director coming in to direct the singing of the ensemble piece and teach them how to do so correctly so that you can focus on directing a scene while they are learning their singing part of their roles. It would mean more of a collaboration between leaders and a willingness to let go, or they may decide they don't want the responsibility and leave it to you as a "Theatre Arts Presents". The result could be fantastic or a fiasco but, it would be an experiment.

    Cherri Seeton
    theatre teacher and director
    Strack Intermediate

  • 6.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 17:01
    Are you in fact a Thespian Troupe presenting the show using you Thespian Troupe budget? As a Troupe that is a member of The International Thespian Society, we always state "school name, Troupe #........ presents: If another budget or school program budget helps to support the show we add "With .....  after our troupe #.--
    Jill K. Campbell
    Theatre Educator
    PA Thespian Chapter Board
    Secretary/Treasurer ESU Central PA Branch

  • 7.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 08:28
    I do 3 shows each year - the play & our student directed one-act festival are presented by the theatre program, but the spring musical is presented by the performing arts department. For me it has nothing to do with money or who puts in the most work, but simply an acknowledgment of the fact that everyone in the department & all of our boosters help with the production - and I could not do it without all of their help.
    I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice with something like this, nor do I think the public really pays attention to what’s printed at the top of the poster when deciding whether or not to attend a show. This is about what feels right for you, your colleagues & your school.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 8.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 09:23

    At our school, we have created a border that goes around all of the performing arts posters.  It has our school's name and Performing Arts at the top; and our school website and school year at the bottom.   All posters created in the Performing Arts Department are dropped into the border.  This provides consistency for the department as well as the ability to designate more specifically who is producing the event.  

    Terri Ferguson
    Performing Arts Chair
    Ursuline Academy

  • 9.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 09:15
    Could you give your theatre department a name and then include both that and "performing arts" in the ads? For example, we named our theatre dept "Spartan Theatre" (based on our mascot), so you could say "Spartan Theatre and the Performing Arts Department present..." Wordy, but at least names you first. 

    Alternatively, I wonder what would happen if you voiced this concern kindly to whoever is asking you to change it. Could funds be drawn from the other areas or the department pot to support the change? (Ha, I know, but worth a shot.) 

    Good luck!
    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
    Lindsay Hearn Brustein, MFA
    Director of Theatre Focus
    St. Stephen's Episcopal School

  • 10.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 10:25

    Hi Julie,

    I have the same conflict every time I make the poster. Although, admittedly, mine is an internal one as no one has ever asked or made a comment. 

    I have started to just say "Name of High School Presents" rather than attributing the work to theatre or the arts department. My way of thinking goes:
    1) even though I am completely funded through ticket sales and fundraisers, the school does pay my salary, provides a wonderful space to perform and rehearse, and all the students are part of the school
    2) if we want to be part of the bigger picture of the school this is a chance to say "here we are"
    3) it is a reminder to those looking at the ad of where the performance is being held 
    4) "a rising tide lifts all ships" It doesn't take anything away from your hard work to elevate someone else. It might actually help everyone in the long run. I hope that is maybe the intent of whoever asked you to make a change. If you feel like someone is trying to take credit for themselves then maybe it is another issue all together. 

    I totally know where you are coming from and still question my verbiage every time I am about to create the advertising. 

    Congratulations on putting up your show!

    Break A Leg,

    J. Harvey Stone
    Jamestown High School Theatre
    Williamsburg, VA

  • 11.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 11:39
    Ahhh....thank you for these responses. Students asked the band teacher who in turn asked me about it. I agree �� about the rising tides & those who have said they could not do this without the other departments. I wholeheartedly agree.

    I also feel conflicted and I have often thought it should just be Windsor High School presents and don't want to lose the theatre identity. This is where I struggle because to me the theatre part is inclusive to band, orchestra, and choir. Not sure if that was clear in my original post.

    Julie Estrada
    Theatre Educator & Director
    Windsor High School
    (970) 686-8131

  • 12.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 13:27
    Who asked you to list it that way?
    I always felt that the purpose of the posters was to advertise the show and give people the information they may need before they come. Eye-catching graphics, title, author, date, time, venue, cost, plus any extra information required by contract. 
    You can list presenters, producers and directors in the program.

    Billy Houck
    Theatre Teacher, retired.

  • 13.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-21-2023 15:29

    I understand it has nothing to do with money and so forth in high school. No problem there.

    However, school is supposed to be about teaching students how to be ready for their next step, and theatre is no exception. Theatre is a legitimate career field, and getting them, parents, and others to think of it as training for a career, I believe, should be a consideration. And that includes their perception of it. In this country, "the arts" are always begging for money, while "the entertainment industry" is making money hand over fist.

    If we want (or care to) have others perceive theatre as a possible career option, we need to make it clear what professional theatre is.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 14.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 08:30


    At my school, I am the Drama Club sponsor, and I direct one straight play and co-direct the musical with the music teacher who teaches both choir and band.  For the straight play I usually put on the programs and flyers "[Name of School] Drama Club proudly presents...."  But when it comes to the musical I list our music department first because the music boosters usually pay for the musical.  However, several of our shows in recent years have involved students from all three levels:  elementary, middle school, and high school, so I have started to list the name of the school corporation first on the programs and flyers and then the other groups that are involved in producing the show.  I admit i have never been questioned about how I advertised who presents our shows, but I do not think it should be creating a problem for you.  Like all of us, I am sure you already have enough to worry about when It comes to putting a show together!

    Ken Robinson  

    Kenneth Robinson
    Drama Club Sponsor
    Wapahani High School
    Selma IN

  • 15.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 11:24

    Money talks. The producer is the Theatre Department when the Theatre Department funds the production, just as if theatre students participated or the lighting designer lent their expertise to the spring concert, the producer is the Music Department. There are many instances where departments share resources and create interdepartmental opportunities for productions. Perhaps there is a way to give credit within the program to folks from other departments such as placing asterisks behind their names, etc. or listing the performing arts department in the 'special thanks" section. But unless your school explores the option of allocating funds from both departmental budgets, the title page credit goes to the department that foots the bill.

    Tomica Jenkins

  • 16.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 11:24

    It is a fair question. When I have produced a straight play and I have done the casting, directing, producing, etc., I reference the performance as being presented by the theatre department. If it is a musical and I have used the support of additional teachers within the building (band director, choir director, dance teacher, art teacher, etc.) I would use the performing arts verbiage. 

    An easier or more practical compromise might be to use the company name for all performances (eg. Yada Yada High School invites you to experience __________ Presented by the Gray Curtain Theatre Company). 

    Rebecca Cates
    Berea KY

  • 17.  RE: Theatre Department or Performing Arts Department?

    Posted 05-22-2023 12:32
    I agree with you that it is really the theatre. We use the company name on all advertising. However, like you, our district is telling us to change to the fine arts department for the advertising next year. It is a school and district policy, so in the end you really can't buck the system without hurting yourself and your theatre department. But I think your argument is valid and really well stated, so it might be worth just putting it out there for the higher ups to mull over. Don't go against them on this issue if you value your career.

    Break a leg and may all your theatre seats be filled.