“Creative Coffeehouse” – Or whatever you want to call it, is a simple small event that costs you little to put on, but seems to be popular and meaningful to students, providing an alternative experience to the big stage. For the cost of custodial fees (or even less, depending on your school), you can present this student-run event. You won’t make a lot of money, but you shouldn’t lose any either, and if you are a new Theatre Director, looking to drum up some department excitement, this activity may appeal to you and your students.
What is it?
- A talent sharing show – no competition, no prizes. Low key, caring environment.
Where is it?
- On your theater stage or black box classroom. If onstage, bring chairs up for the audience to sit onstage with the student performers. This is an intimate event.
- You decide. Consider exclusivity for Theatre students, but others can perform in groups if a theatre student is in the group. If you have a close relationship with your music department, you may wish to include Choir students also.
- Hold auditions the week of the Coffeehouse; any sooner and kids won’t get it together. This is an opportunity for the students who may or may not make your big shows; the kids who know theatre kids and want to find out more about the department, but aren’t sure how; the kids who can’t make a commitment to your major productions, but want to share.
How does this come together?
- Talk it up as soon as you secure a date on the calendar and make it part of your season events.
- Give guidelines to some department student leaders/Thespian Troupe Officers, but let them lead it and organize it. Check in with them to make sure they’re on track.
- Even if kids lead and organize, you still need to be part of auditions in order to ensure fairness. Student leaders are great; student cliques not so much.
- Communicate with your booster group; they can use the opportunity to sell coffee, doughnuts, whatever the kids think will work.
- Consider a Thursday night, and finish before 10 p.m. These dates are often easier to procure and lend to the unique flavor of this event.
- Make sure you have techs lined up to run simple sound and lights.
- Keep it simple, small and intimate; sell tickets for $5 or less or just donations.
What to Expect…
- Singing, dancing, rock bands, guitars, juggling, stand-up comedy, spoken word, rap, improvisation, scenes from your Theatre classes, lots of fun and enthusiasm. Be sure to have a student MC to introduce each performer. Demand encouragement and kindness.