The Guild Program is one of the things that makes All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre a truly unique experience for the youth involved. It has been an AECT mainstay since the beginning, allowing participants to gain a deeper appreciation of all aspects of theatre and setting AECT apart from other youth programs.
When not on stage, participants can work on a variety of crews. Sets, Props, Costumes, Makeup, Lights, Sound, and Puppetry Crew (available for select shows only) are Guild Crews. A Guild Crew is a crew in which participants can earn different badges, progressing from the beginner level, Apprentice, through the Journeyman level, and to the highest level, Master.
Earning guild Badges
In order to earn different badges, participants must hone certain skills, like craftsmanship, organization, and leadership. These skills vary depending on the crew, but no matter which crew(s) a participant works on, the Guild Program provides a unique perspective on the inner workings of the theatre and its backstage environment.
All youth members begin working on their Apprentice Badge when they are placed on a crew—no special sign up is required. If they are interested in going further into the Guild Program, they should speak with their Crew Head for more specific information. Crew Heads will be glad to help with any questions, and there is also a Guild Program Handbook linked below to help with more specific questions and information. The Guild Crew Information handout, also below, offers an overview of all the crews as well.
After earning Apprentice badges in a number of prerequisite crews (demonstrating familiarity with most backstage activities), there is a possibility for a participant to apply to be an Assistant Director or Assistant Stage Manager. As with other crews, these positions provide a progression of increasingly complex responsibility as a participant moves from Apprentice to Journeyman to Master level.
Those interested in directing or stage managing should speak to the AECT Artistic Director, Nina Crumpton, for more details. Aspiring Assistant Directors and Assistant Stage Managers must complete an application (available from Nina) to be considered for these crew positions. Prerequisites, expectations, and the time commitment for these roles are explained in the Guild Book.
At AECT, everyone works on both sides of the curtain. Every participant who has a role on stage must next serve on a crew of their choice, earning a “crew point,” before being cast again for a stage role. This ensures that everyone has a fair chance to learn everything that AECT has to offer and that everyone learns what it takes to put on a show from the backstage perspective.
Note that while participants can't do endless cast roles without alternating backstage, they can choose to be on crews every show if they prefer to be backstage. No one is forced to go onstage!
There are two types of crews: Experience Crews (explained below) and Guild Crews (explained above).
Sometimes a participant is not interested in progressing through the Guild Program, or doesn’t have enough time to devote to a Guild Crew but needs a crew point before they can audition again. In addition, some youth are too young to participate on Guild Crews. For these participants, an Experience Crew might be a perfect fit! These crews provide a crew point, but do not have any progression in responsibility. There are no crew fees for Experience Crews.