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Checking in again here from Orange Conference 2014, where we’ve been soaking up all sorts of helpful information during preconference breakouts. Wednesday afternoon, Orange production experts Greg Payne and Sunny Williams offered up their experience to teach us best practices when it comes to props, actors and rehearsals.
Instead of begging choir members to act on stage for you, Greg suggested you go to local colleges or high school drama programs, put a cattle call on social media, or hit up any lawyers, corporate professionals, or other business people with experience speaking in front of large crowds. And instead of auditions, build relationships with interested volunteers and start them small. If they excel, give them more.
But getting the performer is one thing… how do you KEEP the performer? By casting vision, over and over and over again. And then again. One way you can do this is by collecting stories from families—find out what is working, what is translating into the real world for families. Then share those stories with your volunteers to inspire.
When it comes to props and costumes, the rule of the game: don’t make it complicated. Enlist help from builders, and from people who love to sew and create. And find storage so you can save things to repurpose. (Pro tip: hit up party and costume stores the day after Halloween for major costume discounts!)
Sunny had great advice on rehearsals, which set up your ministry volunteers for success. This is your ministry to your volunteers. “I have never had a volunteer tell me they don’t want more rehearsal time,” she shared. But how do you have a successful rehearsal? Preparation! Read your script. Again and again. And again. Do some preliminary blocking (planning out the actual physical movement of people and props across the stage). Have all your props, costumes, etc. gathered before your rehearsal. Arrive early to rehearsals, and always start on time–this will motivate your volunteers to be on time as well. And have snacks and drinks. By taking good care of them, you will let them know they are loved and valued!
Break a leg!