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Volunteers / Instructions / Head Volunteer Instructions - Projects & Seasons


Step by step...

1. Four weeks before Tech Week

Get Information

Contact the director of the show (sometimes that takes a few tries, they are always very busy before a show) and get a rehearsal schedule so you know how many after school rehearsals they are going to need. This will tell you how many meals you need to plan for and how much money you'll need to collect from the parents in order to cover them. Additionally, try to get the times they'd like the meals served so you can put the correct call times for your crew on the Sign Up form. (Know that this schedule could change down the road - hopefully, not enough to add or subtract a extra meal, that's rather a problem - but end times and meal times often change.)

Note: If you are Head Volunteer for a Season Play or DTASC you will also need a cast list from the director so you have a head count. This information is not necessary for Projects, we already know the head count for those.

During your conversation, also find out if the director has anything they'd like added to the Wish Lish. Sometimes these are random prop requests, other times they are work requests - like moving theater seats, help building a set piece, or sewing.

All schedule information, Wish List items, cast lists, and changes or additions you acquire should be forwarded to, so it can be added to theatre website.

Make sure you've got a Concessions and Gram Lead

Touch bases with your Concessions Lead and your Grams Lead. If your lead positions are not filled, they need to be filled quickly. You can contact and recruit parents of your choice or ask the director or Lois for referrals. Having these two positions filled with people who know in advanced what they are doing or even better have already done the job, will make your job A LOT easier come performance days.

2. Three Weeks before Tech Week
Organize the Volunteers and Donations

Set up an online Volunteer Sign-Up form at: This takes some time, but once you get the hang of it, it's not that difficult.

  • Your guide for the positions you'll need to create fields for are on the Volunteer Structure chart. It would be advisable to note the name of your Gram and Concessions Leads in the description text fields where you are requesting gram and concessions crew volunteers, so the crews know who to report to.
  • The Drinks fields under meal crew should say "Donate Drinks and ice" - the kids really like a cold drink after a long day. (If no one signs up, consider squeezing this into the budget and picking it up yourself or getting someone else to.)
  • The Dessert fields under meal crew should also say "Donate Dessert" - if no one signs up, no big deal, they can just go without. (Also the Friday before the first show, you may want to leave the field off because Costco has really inexpensive cakes that you can probably squeeze into your budget and you can put "Good luck Cast" or whatever you want - that's kind of a nice tradition we had.
  • The dates and times for your performances will be on the theatre website.
  • Call times for crews:
    • The Meal Crew needs to arrive a half an hour before dinner to set up the room and unload the car of the meal point person and leave about a half hour after dinner is over and clean up is done.
    • The Concessions and Grams crews need to arrive an hour and a half before showtime so they can set up and begin sales an hour before the show starts. We also usually sell concessions for 20 minutes to a half hour after the performance. Grams shuts down after intermission.
  • Locations:
    • Meals are located in Room 130.
    • Grams and Concessions Crew goes to Carolyn's Loft.
    • Concession donations go to the theatre office.
    • Water and snack donations can go to Carolyn's Loft.
  • In addition to the crew requests, you will need to create fields for each day of tech-week as well as each performance date requesting donations of water and snacks for the cast. It's a good idea to note in the description text field of snack donations to "please donate healthy choices", with the reminder you get an assortment, without it you usually end up with a lot of chips.
  • You will also need to create fields for concession donations requests. The more concessions we get donated, the better the profit margin for the theatre department!
  • When the form is done, send the url link to so it can be added to Volunteer Sign Up section on the website.

Email blast parents of cast members

After the above is completed and Lorelei has confirmed with you that it has been added to the website, it's time to send the first email blast to parents of cast members requesting volunteers and meal money for tech-week. The theatre department does have an online account with Mail Chimp for email blasts. Contact for access and instructions. (Note: Lois Hunter will need to approve access prior.)

  • The email absolutely must contain a really obvious link to the page of your show and instructions where on the page to find things, such as - "Click the Volunteer Sign Up on the right side of the page to help or donate, if you are not on a monthly contribution plan, submit your meal money in the box on the right that says "Meals Needed"' (I know this sounds almost remedial, but trust me, there is no such thing as being too clear in the world of email blasts). All information they need is on the one page - but if the link is not obvious, you will get many unneccessary emails and have trouble collecting meal money.
  • The other important tip - keep the email short and to the point. Wordy emails don't get read.

3. Two weeks before Tech Week

Check Status and take action where needed

  • Check in again with your show's director to see if there are any schedule changes or Wish List updates (perhaps people have brought things in, perhaps new items or help is needed).
  • Check in with Lois Hunter and see how many people have paid for meals.
  • Check your Sign Up Genius page and see if you have enough crew and donations.
  • Send another email blast to parents addressing the status of the above and requesting what's still needed...especially if it's meal money collection.

More on meal money...

The Head Volunteer is the overseer of the meal money collection and responsible for initiating collection. We collect a minimum of $10 per meal for a reason...our meal budget has to cover not just the students who are paying, but the tech crew and staff (add 10 people to the cast size). That said, with school discounts and smart shopping choices, we can easily provide high quality meals on this amount, but not if a high percentage of families fail to pay...then we have a problem. Your clear, short email blasts requesting payment are crucial to avoiding this scenario. Doing well at this part of your job saves Lois a tremendous amount of time, because she inevitably is the one who will have to call parents one by one to try to collect and saves you a headache when you're creating your tech-week's meal budget, so please keep the importance of this task in mind.

Planning and budgeting the Tech Week Meals

Hopefully, by now you have the number of meals you need, the number of mouths you need to feed, and have a pretty decent idea of how many people have paid. Now, you need to know an approximate per day budget, how many vegetarians are in the cast, and if there are any students with food allergies. (Lois or Lorelei will be able to give you this information).

At this point, it's a good idea to contact the "Meal Point" people who have signed-up on your form and ask them where they are located so you can choose a convenient venue location for their pick-up or find out if they're interested in cooking the meal themselves (yes, that's actually happened quite often!) Sometimes "Meal Point" people have done this before and have great locations they like to use.

After you've talked to your "Meal Point" people and gathered your intel, you'll have enough information to start making the meal plan. Here's a list of places we've used in the past: LACHSA Theatre Restaurant List

Give your Concession Lead and Grams Lead the email address of their crews

Your leads need to coordinate with their crews. The email address you need to send them will be in your Sign Up Genius account under Custom Reports.

4. One Week before Tech Week

Paying for Meals

After you've got your locations and price quotes for each day, please send Lois Hunter a copy of your meal budget for approval. Once that's approved, Lorelei can work with you from there on out. Some locations will allow over the phone credit cards payments (that's the easiest way, so be sure to ask the venue if they accept over the phone payments). Other venues require in person payment. For those, people can either make arrangements to pick up a check for reimbursement in advance or Lorelei can give you reimbursement checks for you to distribute throughout the week.

For meal reimbursement, each meal must submit a Meal Reimbursement Form, but only AFTER Lois has approved the budget. You can fill out the form yourself if you have the information or you can forward the link to your meal point person. After those are submitted, you can coordinate when to meet with Lorelei and collect the checks.

Again...Check Status and take action where needed

  • Check in again with your show's director to see if there are any schedule changes or Wish List updates (perhaps people have brought things in, perhaps new items or help is needed).
  • Check in with Lois Hunter and see how many people have paid for meals.
  • Check your Sign Up Genius page and see if you have enough crew and donations.
  • ONE MORE THING TO CHECK - Susie Tanner has graciously given us a cabinet in her classroom (room 130) to store our tech week meal supplies in. It is imperative that you look in the cabinet to see how many plates, napkins, utensils, and cups we have. If you do not have enough, add a donation request to your email and have donations brought to the theatre office. If you're still short email Lorelei and she will pick them up for you. Also, see if a drink dispenser is in there. You'll need one. If no one in your class has one, Elizabeth and Lorelei both have one you can use. Just let us know.
  • Send another email blast to parents addressing the status of the above and requesting what's still needed...especially if it's meal money collection.

5. Tech Week

Setting up for Meals

You'll want to arrive at least 10 minutes before your crew so you can get access to the classrooms. You'll need access to both room 131 where the meals are and room 130 where our supply cabinet is located. The office should be able to let you in.

Direct your crew to the front of the school to wait for your meal point person to arrive so they can unload the car. This is important - it's not fun to have a car loaded with food, nowhere to park, and no one to help you. There is a cart in Carolyn's Loft if needed.

Set up the room for dinner, then a whirlwind of hungry teenagers swoop down for dinner. Depending on what's being served, sometimes it's a good idea to have the meal crew serve the kids their first round of food just to be sure everyone gets some. They can always come back for seconds, but leaving the food unsupervised has proven to be unwise.

Depending on the state of the room when the kids leave after the first meal, the second meal may require an "I am not your maid. Clean up your own mess." type speech...just so you know.

Speaking of cleaning...NO FOOD CAN GO IN OUR STORAGE CABINET IN ROOM 130. Items being returned, such as the drink container must be cleaned prior. We had an issue with sticky stuff being put in the cabinet last year. Big no no.

Extra food from dinner can be put in the teacher's lounge refridgerator or brought up to the snack table at Carolyn's Loft for the kids.

6. Performances

Most of your hard work is done now. Just a quick check in with your Concessions Lead and Grams Lead should suffice. Sometimes they need a little extra help on set up - if it's raining, the tents need to be put up etc. Saturday performances usually have a meal inbetween shows, so there's a little more work to be done, but you're pretty much home free at this point.






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