Lower Merion High School's Student-Run Theatre Organization
NOTE: This constitution is a living document. It may be revised any year according to the procedures outline in Article VI.
This theater organization, known as Lower Merion Players, shall maintain its status as a school organization, providing a fun and education environment for the theatrical world through a student-run process.
Beyond the PLAYERS constitution, acceptable behavior is outlined by the LOWER MERION SCHOOL DISTRICT’S RULES AGAINST DRUG, ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO ACTIVITY BY PARTICIPANTS IN INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS AND OTHER PERFORMANCE ACTIVITIES.
Article I – Mission
The name of this theater organization shall be Lower Merion Players (hereafter referred to as Players).
The purpose of Players shall be to encourage the theatrical arts at Lower Merion High School.
Players shall strive to maintain its status as a balanced student run theater organization by emphasizing the necessity of different crews including acting, scenery, properties, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound, and publicity.
Article II – Players Membership
Membership in Players shall be open to any student in the Lower Merion High School and they can become members by:
- Joining a crew after the first company call of each show.
- Auditioning and being selected for a performing role via an audition process conducted by the acting production design staff, with a coach.
- Being selected for a production and design staff position via an application and interview process conducted by members of the Executive Board. These interviews are typically conducted with a coach present.
Eligibility for membership in PLAYERS is determined by adherence to Lower Merion High School’s code of conduct and a student’s understanding of the responsibility to uphold all of the features of a rehearsal and performance contract.
A Student not selected for a position on a production and design staff or not cast in a show shall be eligible for membership of any other crew.
The following crews shall be maintained during shows: acting, scenery & properties, costumes & makeup, lighting & sound, and marketing & publicity. During a production of a musical, a show orchestra shall also be maintained.
An active member of Players shall be defined as a member of Players who has received Thespian credit for at least one of the last three shows.
Article III – Board Responsibilities
The officers of Players shall be as follows: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Project Manager. The elected officers shall work cooperatively and collectively from a committee referred to as the Executive Board.
- Each year following the conclusion of the spring show, the Executive Board shall be elected for a one-year term in a direct election open to all active members of Players.
- Each one-year term shall run from the last day of senior finals following the election until the last day of finals in the following year.
- The old Executive Board shall work in conjunction with the new Executive Board to facilitate a smooth transition during the period directly following the election until the last day of finals. The new Executive Board will run Executive Board responsibilities relevant to the upcoming year with any necessary guidance from the old Executive Board.
The function of the Executive Board shall be defined as follows:
- To serve as an official body representing Players.
- To execute decisions regarding the organization of the club with the advice and guidance of the Head Coach and coaches.
- To consider suggestions made by the reading committee with advisement from the Head Coach and coaches concerning the selection and presentation of plays.
- To appoint student staff positions for individual plays by means of an application and interview process.
Duties of the Officers
- The President shall be the chairperson of Lower Merion Players and the Executive Board and shall represent Players at all functions. The President is responsible for such things as scheduling meetings for the Executive Board, preparing agendas for these meetings, and managing the Players website calendar in conjunction with the current Production Manager.
- The Vice President shall share the duties of the President and assume the duties of the President upon the President’s absence. The Vice President is responsible for overseeing the adherence to this Constitution and any revision deemed necessary to better suit the interests of PLAYERS. The Vice President shall also be responsible for the maintenance of the Post Mortem binder in conjunction with each show’s Production Manager.
- The Treasurer shall keep accurate records of the financial dealings of Players. Any financial dealings within Players must be approved by the Treasurer. The treasurer, in conjunction with the Head Coach, shall review regularly all money to be either deposited or withdrawn to or from the PLAYERS account. The Treasurer or another member of the Executive Board must also authorize all deposits and withdraws. The Treasurer shall also maintain an open means of communication between Players and the Players’ Booster Club, an account unaffiliated with the school and generally maintained by a parent of an active member of Players.
- The Secretary shall be responsible for recording, posting, and organizing the reading of minutes of all meetings and shall be responsible for all correspondence pertaining to Players. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping necessary files of the events of Players as well as be responsible for running Reading Committee.
- The Project Manager shall organize and lead the execution of all extraneous projects the Executive Board decides to take on to aid the running of the organization. The Project Manager’s efforts shall support PLAYERS’ continued growth and alumni connection in addition to any other miscellaneous projects such as any fundraising endeavors adopted by the Board. The Project Manager will also take on responsibilities as a representative of the Thespians-awarding points and company transcript credit, maintaining attendance records of the members of Players, and planning any Thespian activities.
- In the event of unforeseen circumstances, which, if left uncorrected, would cause an undue delay or cancellation of one or more Players productions, the Executive Board, in conjunction with the coaches, shall have the right to exercise its discretion to temporarily override one or more provisions of this constitution or the set of bylaws.
- The intent of this override power is for the sole and exclusive purpose of addressing the emergency situation and effectuating a necessary solution.
- Once the said situation is resolved the override powers shall terminate.
Article IV – Coach Responsibilities
Each active Players crew shall be supervised by a coach or the Head Coach at all times.
Coaches shall be responsible for teaching the design and technical aspects of their specified crew(s), in order for the production design staff members of that crew to better educate the crew members.
The Head Coach and Coaches shall advise the Executive Board and members of Players regarding their duties and responsibilities in regards to all aspects of the Players’ productions and the administration of Players.
The Head Coach shall also serve as faculty coordinator to the Coaches as well as share responsibility for representing Players to the school administration and the community with the Executive Board.
Article V – Thespianship
Players shall maintain The Players Thespian Troupe.
Membership in The Players Thespian Troupe shall be granted upon completion of the qualifications as provided in the Players Bylaws.
At least one induction of eligible thespians into The Players Thespian Troupe shall be held each year.
Article VI – Amendments and Revision
This Constitution of principles shall be accompanied by a set of procedural Bylaws. These documents are for Players and its community and shall be made available at all times to whoever wishes to see them.
Amendment of the Constitution:
The constitution shall be amended by unanimous decision from the Executive Board. The Vice President is responsible for presenting any proposed amendments of the Constitution to the Executive Board. Amendments to the constitution shall be made through consensus.
Amendment of the Bylaws:
The Bylaws shall be amended through consensus among those present at any duly assembled open board meeting or constitutional revision meeting. These changes shall take effect immediately.
Constitutional Revision Committee Guidelines:
- The Executive Board shall choose a revision committee through an application process.
- The revision committee shall read through the constitution and propose amendments, and/or the board will propose amendments for the committee to review.
- The proposed amendments will be presented to the Head Coach and the Athletics and Activities Director for review. The amendments will take effect with their approval.
Article I – Membership Credit
Section 1 – Transcript Credit
- Any student who has completed strike, attended publicity day, and completed 60% of the total possible hours of work shall receive transcript and Thespian credit for that show. Participation in both publicity day and strike are strictly required to receive credit for the show.
- The amount of hours required for strike shall be determined by the Production Manager of each show in conjunction with the Production and Design Staff that show.
- The Production Manager shall create alternative assignments for publicity day and strike for those with an excused absence for these events.
- Hours shall be kept both by individual crew heads and by the Production Manager.
Section 2 – Awards
At the conclusion of every school year, a Players Senior Award shall be given to the most worthy senior member(s) of Players. It shall be awarded via a self-nomination application process and a points system based upon the number of shows participated at Players, number of leadership positions held, membership in the Players Thespian Troupe, and participation in at least 3 crews as defined as follows: Acting, Scenery, Properties, Lighting, Sound, Costumes, Makeup, Publicity, Show Orchestra, or holding the position of Production Manager.
Article II – Thespianship
Section 1 – Thespian Credit
- Any student who has received Thespian credit on a show shall receive credit towards membership in The Players Thespian Troupe.
- Completion of 60% of the possible hours per show amounts to one point towards Thespian credit
- Any student member of another Thespian Troupe in the International Thespian Society may transfer their credit to The Players Thespian Troupe.
Section 2- Thespian Membership Eligibility
- Students must receive thespian credit for a minimum of five shows within Players, thereby acquiring a minimum of 5 thespian points.
- Within these five shows, a student must participate on a minimum of two different crews as defined as follows: Acting, Scenery, Properties, Lighting, Sound, Costumes, Makeup, Publicity, Show Orchestra, or holding the position of Production Manager.
- In lieu of one of these five shows, credit of one thespian point may be earned through participation in a theatrical production outside of Players.
Article III – Executive Responsibilities
Section 1 – Board Meetings
- The Executive Board may call for meetings whenever such a meeting is desired or deemed necessary.
- The presiding Executive Board shall decide the meetings in which the coaches shall attend.
- The Executive Board shall call a meeting open to all active members of Players at least once a year. The Head Coach or at least one coach must be present at these meetings.
- Active members of Players may request an open board meeting to be held. If the Executive Board does not accept this request, the active member of Players may submit a petition of ten names of active members of Players to override this decision.
Section 2 – Board Elections
- In order to run for board, candidates must be active members of Players who earned thespian credit for five shows on at least two different crews. They must also have held at least one PDS position.
- The candidates for the position of President must be current Juniors.
- Active members desiring candidacy must be nominated by ten active members of Players and may submit these names in a petition to the Board any time prior to two days before an election.
- If an interested candidate wants to run for Board but doesn’t meet the necessary criteria, he/she can call a meeting with the current board and the Head Coach and explain why he/she is eligible to run. After a meeting, the board and the head coach can then grant permission for the interested candidate to run.
- A meeting to aid candidates in determining which position to run for will be held prior to the two-day deadline by the old Executive Board. Each Board member will detail their role on the Executive Board and the Executive Board will talk as a whole to describe the responsibilities and commitments of serving the Executive Board.
- Any candidate running for the position of secretary must have been on at least one reading committee.
- Votes shall be tallied by the members of the Executive Board not running for office, and by the Head Coach or at least one coach.
- The victor of each race shall be the candidate with the most votes in their favor.
- In the case of a tie, a second election must be held
- The candidates must present new speeches.
- Voters must listen to all the speeches in order to vote at the second election
- Seniors who cannot attend the election due to senior project can submit an absentee ballot.
Section 3 – Board Concerns
- If any active Players member has a concern with a Board member’s performance, they may submit a Petition of No Confidence signed by 40 active members of Players to the Executive Board. A discussion then must be held between all members of the Executive Board, the Head Coach, and any other coach who wishes to attend.
- If those present at this meeting, excluding the Board member in question, agree by consensus with the concerns raised, the Board member shall give up their position. The duties of this officer will be shared among the other Board members until a new officer is elected in accordance with Article III, Section 2 and Article III Section 4 of the Players Bylaws.
- If those present at this meeting feel that the concerns are not grave enough to warrant a dismissal, an open board meeting shall be called and the Head Coach shall explain the reasoning behind the decision.
Section 4 – Board Vacancies
- If a vacancy should arise in any position on the Executive Board, an election to fill this position must take place within two weeks.
- This election must be executed in accordance with Article III, Section 2 of the Players Bylaws.
Section 5 – Ad Hoc Committees
The Executive Board shall have the ability to appoint an ad hoc committee and a respective Committee Head to coordinate any projects deemed necessary by the Executive Board, with any assistance necessary from the Executive Board.
Section 6 – Board Reelections
- In the event that an election is deemed invalid, a reelection must be held within two weeks with all provisions of this Constitution upheld. Candidates must deliver new speeches and voters are eligible to vote if they have already voted in the initial election.
- To accommodate senior members of Players who may be unable to attend said reelection due to an academic obligation to senior project, absentee ballots will be allowed to senior members who have already voted in the initial election through the following procedure:
- Senior contacts a board member with a legitimate concern about voting and an inquiry about absentee voting.
- Said board member can verify the senior voted in the first election.
- If said board member cannot, the board member contacts the other old board members with an inquiry, and if it is verified, the procedure continues. If not, an absentee ballot is not allowed.
- The senior may email in their vote to the current Players President. The President will place the vote in a spreadsheet, keep a list of voted seniors, but not keep the two together and delete the initial email to ensure anonymity.
- At the end of the process, the list of seniors who voted by absentee ballot may be presented to the old board and candidates to ensure that all agree on their presence, and then the votes on the spreadsheet will be counted.
Article IV – Reading Committee
Section 1 – Purpose
For the selection of every Players show a reading committee shall be assembled to make a recommendation to the Executive Board.
Section 2 – Committee Membership
- The Executive Board shall serve on this committee.
- The rest of this committee shall be selected by the Executive Board via an application process.
- The committee shall be comprised of students representing the various aspects and perspectives of a Players production.
- As many coaches as possible, but a minimum of one coach, shall attend all committee meetings and offer input.
Section 3 – Selection Process
- The schedule for Reading Committees shall ideally follow the schedule as indicated by the yearly production calendar created by the Executive Board under the provisions of Article IX Section 2 of the Players bylaws.
- The Executive Board shall compile a list of shows suggested by coaches, reading committee applicants, and the company at large.
- The board shall take the list of suggested shows and research each show with guidance from the coaches, examining artistry, production size, equal opportunity, appropriateness to Lower Merion Players, and availability of rights for each show.
- The board shall eliminate any show that fails on any of the aforementioned qualifications.
- If the Executive board cannot make any more clear deletions from the suggested list of shows the Board shall call reading committee into meeting.
- In the first reading committee meeting the Board shall present the reasons for elimination of all eliminated shows. If the reading committee questions an elimination, the committee members may bring a show back into consideration through a unanimous vote.
- Each reading committee member shall read the full scripts of each show on the list. After reading all scripts, the reading committee members shall choose the show best suited for Players through consensus.
Article V – Interviews
Section 1- Purpose
For the selection of every production and design staff, the Executive Board shall conduct an application and interview process to fill each position.
Section 2- Applications
- Applications shall be available to any interested students.
- Applications must be submitted to a Board member prior to the established deadline. Late applications will not be considered unless an extension is granted by the Executive Board.
- Failure to accurately report any requested information on an application or during an interview shall be grounds for a discussion to determine if the selected candidate should still be considered for that position.
Section 3- Interviews
- Each student that submits an application must have an interview to be considered for the position.
- Prior to interviews applicants must read about the position for which they are applying in the Post Mortem binder. Applicants should also read the script if the script is made available prior to the interview.
- Interviews shall be conducted by the Executive Board.
- Board members reserve the right to remove themselves from interviews for specific positions if the Board member feels that he or she will not be capable of making an unbiased decision.
- Board members must remove themselves from any interviews for a position to which they are applying and from the interviews for the corresponding assistant or lead position.
- All Board members must be present to interview the positions of Director, Stage Manager, and Production Manager, provided they are not interviewing for the specific position or its corresponding assistant position. This clause holds barring any extenuating circumstance (such as a Board member’s prolonged absence) that will delay the process, as deemed extenuating by the President of the Executive Board. At least three board members will ideally conduct the remaining interviews when possible without disrupting another process.
Section 4- Selection
- Selection shall be contingent upon the content of the application; the responses in the interview process; past Players experiences including number of shows, previous PDS positions, and past disciplinary actions; and the ability of the applicant to perform responsibilities as described in Article VI of the Players Bylaws.
- All PDS selections must be reached through consensus of the Executive Board Members present.
- Coaches are typically present for all interviews and will offer input as they or the Executive Board see fit.
- The opinions of these coaches shall be advisory only and all decisions regarding selection shall be made by consensus of the Executive Board.
- If an applicant has concerns about the selection of a position, he or she may voice their concerns to the Head Coach.
Section 5- Vacancies and Extensions
- A vacancy exists if no applications for a specific position are submitted prior to the established deadline. In this case, the Executive Board shall extend the deadline for that position.
- If no applications are submitted prior to the second deadline, and if the duties of that position cannot be fulfilled by another member of the production or design staff or a sponsor, the most qualified Executive Board member shall be asked to fill the vacant position.
- If it is the judgment of the Executive Board that no applicants for a specific position are qualified according to the standards as described in Article V, Section 4 of the Players Bylaws, the Executive Board may proceed as though a vacancy exists for that position, following the procedure outlined in Article V, Section 5 of the Players Bylaws.
- If a selected member of the Production and Design Staff is unable or unwilling to fulfill his or her duties, the Executive Board shall determine the appropriate course of action to ensure that those duties are fulfilled. This action includes but is not limited to: arranging a meeting with the member in question, removing him/her from the position, appointing another individual to assist in the completion of the duties, or having a coach fulfill the requirements in that position. The specific course of action shall be based on the specific duties of that position, the amount of time remaining in the production, and the input of the coaches.
Article VI – Production and Design Staff Responsibilities
Section 1- Responsibilities
The Production and Design Staff is required to fulfill all responsibilities pertaining to a Players production.
Section 2- Meetings
The Production and Design Staff shall meet weekly throughout a production to discuss progress, raise questions, and ensure continuity and consistency among all aspects of production.
Section 3- Jobs and Qualities
- Each member of the Production and Design staff shall be responsible for fulfilling his or her duties. Attached and incorporated herein by reference is a document entitled Job Descriptions for Production and Design Staff Positions, which fully describes the duties and qualities of the aforementioned positions. PDS Job Descriptions
- The suggested qualities for each position as outlined shall serve as a guide to those interested in applying for each position as well as a guide to the Executive Board in its selection of qualified candidates
- A Post Mortem binder shall be maintained in which the Production and Design Staff members shall complete a page of reflection and advice for future individuals holding the position. Applicants for Production and Design Staff roles shall be required to read the post mortem binder prior to their interviews. The Production Manager shall maintain the binder during productions, and the Vice President shall maintain the binder during the year-long term.
Article VII – Show Orchestra
Section 1- Purpose
The Show Orchestra, in conjunction with any musical produced by Players, shall be maintained as one of Players’ crews. Its daily schedule and routine may differ with that of the other crews, and by designation, shall be run by the Musical Director coach and by the Student Instrumental Director/s who are considered part of the production and design staff.
Section 2- Additional Musicians
The Orchestra is a student operation; adult musicians, including parents, volunteers, and hired professionals, shall not be permitted to play with a group unless no capable high school students can be secured.
Article VIII – Student Rehearsal and Participation Contract
Section 1- Purpose
- PLAYERS strives to maintain its status as a student run organization
- The guidelines outlined by the Student Rehearsal and Participation Contract attempt to ensure that all students in Players enjoy the artistry of a Players production safely through routine attendance and participation.
Section 2 – Participation Guidelines
- All actors, crew members, and members of the Production Design Staff must submit a completed copy of the Student Rehearsal and Participation Contract in order to participate in a PLAYERS show.
- A copy of the Players contract can be found on the Players website.
Article IX – The Production Calendar
Section 1 – The Production Calendar
- The Players Production Calendar can be accessed by any current Players member, Players parent, alumni, administrator, or patron on the Lower Merion Players website.
- The Players Calendar shall be originally created within a week after electing a new executive Players Board. The old Executive Board shall help the newly elected Board to understand the outline of an effective Players calendar.
- During the school year, the current Production Manager and the Players President shall manage the Players Production Calendar.
- The current Production Manager along with the current Stage Manager and individual Crew Heads shall be responsible for updating the calendar with all rehearsals, crew workdays, company calls, PDS meetings, technical rehearsals, design rehearsals, show nights, and all other important production events.
Section 2 – Yearly Calendar
The Executive Board shall maintain a yearly production calendar which it shall revisit on a regular basis. This calendar shall maintain specific dates for the Reading Committees, Production Design Staff Interviews, and all other Board projects. The Board should aim to maintain a calendar that allows for Reading Committees to select shows about halfway through the proceeding show’s process.
Article X – Venue
The venue for a PLAYERS show shall be determined through the following process:
- Reading Committee agrees to a venue to submit to the Director for recommendation through consensus.
- The Director receives Reading Committee’s recommendation for a venue and elects his own choice for the space.
- The Executive Board meets with the Director and a coach to formalize the Director’s decision and present any concerns.