KIDSTAGE Summer Independent Proposals
Applications for summer 2023 were due September 14, 2022.
What is Summer Independent?
The Summer Independent program is a professionally mentored program unique to Village Theatre. It is the pinnacle theatrical experience for students in the KIDSTAGE program and provides autonomy, resources, and mentorship to aspiring theatre professionals to produce their own full-scale show from start to finish. Unlike other KIDSTAGE productions, emphasis is put on the design, creation of the show, and peer-to-peer mentorship. Students take on every aspect of producing; from directing to designing and building sets, creating costumes, running sound and lights, marketing, management, and more.
Village Theatre’s entire professional staff — from the technical and design studios to the marketing office, the stage managers, and beyond — are involved in mentoring the artistic team, all of whom are interns. The Summer Independent program is an entry point to professional theatre for the entire production team and Summer Independent performers are challenged with the goal of reaching the highest professional standards possible.
The KIDSTAGE Summer Independent program is designed to give young theatre professionals creative control over the entire production process. To produce a show, students form a proposal team and submit a written proposal detailing the shows the shows they wish to produce and the artistic vision that will bring their shows to life. Applications are reviewed by Village Theatre Executive Producer, Artistic Director, and KIDSTAGE staff, and interviews are held with select teams before a show is selected to produce.
To learn more about Summer Independent, check out this VIDEO.
Read an interview from one of our 2022 Summer Independent student directors HERE.
The Summer Independent Internship program includes:
- A customized learning plan
- 20-40 hours per week of hands-on experiential learning
- Direct mentorship by a theatre professional
- A progressive learning experience that can potentially lead to paid positions
- Theatre skills applicable to career opportunities
- The promotion of positive values through art
- Summer Independent internships include a stipend to reimburse expenses depending on schedule and position
Students prepare a show proposal of what show the team would like to produce for the following summer and submit an application to be reviewed by the Village Theatre Artistic Director, Managing Director, and KIDSTAGE staff.
The Summer Independent Proposal process consists of two steps: the written proposal and the interview.
- Directing team proposals are due September 14, 2022 for the summer of 2023
- Interviews will be held September 28–29, 2022, and a production proposal will be selected by December 2022.
- Production meetings and design deadlines begin in April 2023, with rehearsals starting in June and performances July 2023
- All applications for Summer Independent Design and Assistant positions are due by or before January 13, 2023
Summer Independent Designers
The Summer Independent Program pairs young designers with professional mentors as they work towards putting a show together from concept through fruition. Designers should have experience working on shows in their chosen field, and have an interest in learning how to work in a professional theater environment. Although Directors, Choreographers and Music Directors are typically attached to a show proposal, positions are open for assistants who may wish to propose in the future.
Designer applications are accepted year-round. Applications for summer 2023 are due by or before January 13, 2023.
For more information about youth theatre auditions, click the link below.
Show proposals can be submitted by any student who has been involved in Summer Independent or SummerStock. The proposal team should be college undergraduate students or younger, studying theatre or a relate field. Most of the proposal team should be students who have been trained at KIDSTAGE. The strongest teams have existing relationships with mentors and history working in the Village Theatre shops, on top of other theatrical settings.
This year’s proposal team should be comprised of a Director, Music Director and Choreographer only. It is recommended that proposing teams also have a list of interested designers and assistants included in their proposal. Interviewing and contracting for those positions will be done after the proposed show has been selected.
Below is a brief overview of the positions that can be included on a proposal. It is encouraged to have all three positions on the team before submitting your proposal. If support is needed in completing a proposal team, please reach out to the KIDSTAGE production department.
Directors are responsible for the artistic rendering of the show. They collaborate with the artistic team and designers to tell a cohesive story. They create stage pictures, do dramaturgical research, communicate their concept to visual designers, and coach actors in scenes. Directors are creative, patient, team players, skilled compromisers, and natural leaders.
For a full job description, CLICK HERE
Choreographers create the dance and movement to tell the story of the show. They create original choreography, teach and notate dance steps and formations, clean dance combinations, teach students techniques and dance steps, and run daily fitness conditioning warm-ups with actors. Choreographers are experienced dancers, patient teachers, clear communicators, and able to visualize stage pictures and movement.
For a full job description, CLICK HERE
Music Directors are responsible for the musical rendering of the show, by integrating vocal and orchestral elements into a production. They manage both singers and musicians, working with performers to teach/rehearse music, harmonies, parts, and to clean vocal and orchestral performances. Music directors are knowledgeable about vocal technique and instrumentation, patient teachers, clear communicators, natural leaders, and able to balance the needs of vocalists and instrumentalists.
For a full job description, CLICK HERE
Picking shows for your proposal requires a lot of thought into what makes a production successful. Considerations such as your target audience, the talent required to put on the show, and how the show compliments the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE program are all important to having the strongest possible proposal. It is highly recommended to research the history of KIDSTAGE and past performances before making your selection.
Things to consider when picking a show:
- The show should be marketable and attract both student participants and the public.
- The show needs to operate on a low budget.
- The show needs to operate with an orchestra of 7 or fewer musicians. If the show has an orchestra larger than 7, how can the orchestrations be adapted?
- The show will be performed at First Stage Theatre in Issaquah or Cope Gillette Theatre in Everett.
You should also consider each show through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Review the KIDSTAGE inclusivity statement and Village Theatre’s Racial Equity Plan for information about Village’s journey toward becoming an anti-racist organization.
A successful proposal should include two to three show choices, and answer certain key questions as to why you have chosen the shows you are submitting. Each show should be thoroughly researched. It is best to focus your proposal around your first choice, however, be prepared to answer any and all questions about your second or third choices as well.
Your proposal should include:
- A cover letter that explains your artistic statement/vision and why you want to work on a show at KIDSTAGE.
- Bios of the Creative team: Director, Music Director, and Choreographer
- A section explaining each show choice
Each show selection should include:
- A synopsis of the show (can be sourced from Royalty House website)
- A character outline for every major character
- A clear description of why you chose this show
- An explanation of any concept you might have
- Production challenges and how you might meet them
It is helpful to have research, drawings, or other materials (costume renderings, set sketches, research pictures, etc.) that represent your vision with you. The more visuals you can provide, the easier it is for others to understand what you see in your head.
The cover letter included in the proposal is a letter from the perspective of the student submitting the proposal. It should give the selection board an insight into the desire of each team to produce a show. Personal anecdotes that emphasize what inspired the student to enter theatre or desire to direct are encouraged.
The cover letter is also a great opportunity to briefly introduce the shows included and expand upon any overarching themes or messages that inspired the show selection.
This is the primary portion of the written proposal and should contain all pertinent information related to the selection of each of the three shows being proposed.
What: This is a brief show synopsis, pulled (and sourced) from the show’s rights page, as well a cast list. The cast list should contain a cast size and names and genders for any lead and supporting characters. Please indicate if the genders for specific roles differs from the script; this can be expanded upon in a later section.
Why: The why is the heart of the written proposal. This section should explain why this story has been chosen to be included. It should explain how it connects personally to the team, either individually or as a whole. It should answer the questions, “why is it vitally important that this show be told right now?” and “what does this show say to its audience?”. Any themes, messages, or audience takeaways should be discussed in detail and supported by direct references to the script and score. This section should present every argument and reason for why this show should be selected.
Vision: The vision is often referred to as the show’s “concept”: what makes this specific production special or unique. Often concepts revolve around changing the setting/era of the show or can include a specific design aesthetic to highlight specific themes or components of the show. The vision should complement the why. Not every show needs to have (or can support) a concept, but every show has a reason for being produced, as no two productions of a show are ever the same.
Supporting Elements: While the written proposal does not include any designers on the team, the team must be able to explain how they envision design elements interacting to create a cohesive production. This is the chance to talk about how the designs can support the vision or concept of the show. Any special effects or particularly challenging design elements should also be discussed. However, since designers are not included in the written proposal, please be careful not to design the show. Reference images are encouraged, but it is recommended to stay away from other theatrical production images.
Challenges and Solutions: Every show has unique challenges is presents. It is important to acknowledge each and every challenge present in the script and attempt to present a solution. Challenges often include explicit language, mature content or themes, orchestra size, budget, actor requirements (young roles, specific skills, recruitment for specific ethnicity/race/gender), and more. There is no expectation that the team has an answer to every challenge a show might present, but by recognizing and attempting to provide solutions demonstrates to the selection panel, it validates the team’s ability to tackle and overcome any challenges that may arise throughout the production.
Formatting and Examples
The information to included can be presented in a myriad of ways to best persuade Village Theatre and KIDSTAGE to select a specific team and show for Summer Independent. Each team should feel encouraged to present their written proposal in the format and the content that they feel presents the strongest argument for their team. Other content or alternative formatting and information organization is welcome.
Check out examples of successful proposals from previous years for inspiration.
Submitting your Proposal
Once your written proposal is complete and ready to submit, please submit all documents as a single PDF titled “FirstName_Lastname_Summer_Independent Proposal.”
After you submit a proposal, you may be contacted about setting up an interview. Please be aware that not every application is guaranteed an interview. Ideally, your entire creative team (Director, Music Director, and Choreographer) should be present at your interview. Come prepared to discuss ALL your shows included in your proposal. The interview will focus on the artistic vision of each show.
It is highly recommended for you to reach out to KIDSTAGE and ask questions or get feedback on your proposal before you submit it. For questions or feedback on your proposal, please contact:
KIDSTAGE Productions: KIDSTAGEproductions@villagetheatre.org | (425) 392-1942 x228
What should my cover letter contain?
Your cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself. Use it as a way to inform the proposal review panel about who you are and why you want to be a part of the Summer Independent Production process. You’ll be able to go in depth into why you chose each show during the proposal, but your cover letter is also a great place to give a quick overview of why you chose the shows you’re including, and if you have any overarching concepts that informed your show choices.
How to do I find information about shows to propose?
Each of these websites will tell you whether or not the show you’re interested in is available, a synopsis of the show, and what the casting and orchestra requirements are. If the show you are interested in is not found on these three sites, feel free to reach out to KIDSTAGE and we can help figure out if the show you’re interested in is accessible.
I noticed the proposal only requires a director, choreographer and music director to be included. What about designers?
Designers are not included as part of your initial proposal. Once a show is selected, part of the preparation process includes interviewing and hiring designers to join the team. You are encouraged to talk to designers and include their interest in participating in your proposal, but please be clear with them that all designers must apply once the show is selected.
What is the required length of the written proposal?
There is no mandatory length for your written proposal. You’ll want to make sure to include all the information necessary to state your case and convince the selection panel that you should be granted an interview. In the past, proposals that are selected have often been 25–30 pages, with about 7–9 pages allocated to each show choice.
Can I get feedback on my proposal before I submit?
Absolutely! Not only are you allowed to ask for feedback, it is highly encouraged! If you have questions, need advice, or just want another pair of eyes on your proposal, please feel free to reach out to KIDSTAGE. We are happy to provide feedback and answer any questions regarding Summer Independent. You can call us at (425) 392-2900 x228 or email KIDSTAGEproductions@villagetheatre.org.
I’ve completed my interview. When will I know whether my team has been selected?
Once all interviews are complete, the KIDSTAGE production manager will be in touch to notify teams about whether or not they were selected. The team that was chosen will be also informed of which show was selected by the panel. Decisions are typically announced shortly after interviews are completed.
Once a team and show are selected, what happens next?
Once a team is selected and notified of which show (of the three they proposed) is to be produced, the show will be announced to the KIDSTAGE community. After the show is announced, the proposal team meets with the KIDSTAGE production manager to discuss how to prepare for the next eight months of the process. The most immediate action will be to start interviewing applicants to fill all the design and assistant positions, then begin designing the show!
I have a question not listed here.
Feel free to contact us by phone at (425) 392-2900 x228 or email KIDSTAGEproductions@villagetheatre.org.
Skills for Theatre… Skills for Life
To provide a personal development program for young people which uses theatre arts:
- To teach creativity and responsibility
- To encourage teamwork and personal integrity
- To foster self-esteem and appreciation for live theatre
Village Theatre KIDSTAGE believes that everyone benefits from an inclusive, multi-cultural environment of students, staff and programming. We welcome people of every ethnicity, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, income and ability.