Please read and be aware of the following guidelines and expectations for participants in the guild.
Be patient. It's a large file.
Please be reminded that you should not begin work on a new costume until you have shown your designs and swatches to our Costume Mistress, Shelley Monson.
Information and policies regarding the casting process.
The Guild of St. George, Inc. prides itself on its quality of performance and its adherence to an authentic representation of the court of Elizabeth I. In order to maintain this quality, the Guild provides theatrical and historical training at its monthly meetings, stringent costume standards and supplemental learning materials available online.
Any theatrical endeavor requires a great deal of preparation and rehearsal before it is brought before the public, therefore new members to the Guild will be allowed to participate in a performance only if the following conditions have been fulfilled:
1. Performer will have attended two or more rehearsals prior to being permitted to perform at any event.
2. Performer must have been issued a role prior to the performance to provide adequate time for preparation.
3. Performer will have done an adequate amount of independent research on the character, the Elizabethan world and life in the court of Elizabeth I, and devised a believable characterization based on that research.
4. Performer will have provided a costume appropriate to the character and approved by our costume director prior to the event. No costume should be undertaken without first consulting the director regarding the design and materials.
5. Performer will have demonstrated enough proficiency in the principles of improvisation and interactive theatre to be an asset to the ensemble in a performance situation.
6. Experienced veterans and guests from other troupes may be admitted to a performance at the discretion of the Guildmaster. They will be expected to adhere to the Guild's standards of quality to assure future participation.
If you have chosen to participate at a Renaissance Faire style event with The Guild of St. George (this includes anybody who has obtained admission through us), the following are the guidelines to which we ask you to adhere:
1. Be on time.
Opening time may vary at different shows, but plan on giving yourself plenty of time to arrive at the site, park, deal with unforseen circumstances, travel to our dressing area and dress before opening.
2. Attend notes.
We try to hold notes approximately one half hour before the show opens at our guild site. Attendance is mandatory.
Our purpose at the event is to educate the public about the lifestyles of the rich and famous Elizabethans via interactive theatre. This is our reason for existing and the reason you have joined the guild. We do our best in what little rehearsal time we have to provide you the skills to do the job, and different performers have varying degrees of success, but the effort is what counts.
Our environment should be alive with courtly pastimes, games, masques, song, dance, gossip, intrigue, drama, state business. Decide what it is your character can contribute to this and engage in it as much as possible. Do what you can to include our audience, reach out to them. Teach them games or dances, ask their opinions, identify the other courtiers, share information that will contribute to their sense of being in 16th century England.
4. Support the Queen.
Our other great purpose is to support the presence of the Queen. At any event, we have a Monarch with us for a majority of the day. It is our job to make her look as regal and important as possible. It is vital that we're all on board with creating that reality. We must focus on her, make her the center of attention. We create a "Royal Bubble" around her inside which all eyes are on her. Pay attention to staging and maintain focus by avoiding turning away from her (unless you're cheating out), give reverance or kneel off to one side instead of directly in front of her. Remember that our show is not for her, but for the audience.
We must be sure that she is well attended by several people at any given time. The more people who surround her, the prettier the picture and the more important she looks. Sitting anywhere near her is discouraged unless one is invited or a special intimate friend of hers. Try not to wander off unless you can see she is well supported.
We are portraying the Queen on holiday with her courtiers. Her presence gives us further opportunities to illustrate life at court and the various aspects of our characters. Our ambitions, our desires, our fortunes are all tied up with our Queen. Think about what you can do to express that in your interactions with her. Offer her a gift, recite her a poem, present a petition, ask for her blessing to a marriage, campaign for a friend's appointment to some office, request state support for an adventure. Each of these and much more will help educate our public that there was more to the court than spending money and being idle. These folks were obscenely busy, let's demonstrate that.
5. Stay in character
If you are not backstage, you are onstage and a member of the public is looking at and/or listening to you. If you are not manifesting your character and maintaining its home position you chip away at the illusion we are trying so very hard to create. You may not realize it, but when you drop the language or begin to speak of modern issues, your whole body tends to follow and your entire characterization will suffer. You'll also take other performers with you. Keep up the appearance.
6. Pay attention to staging
Not only do we need to be sure to present the Queen to her best advantage, we need to present ourselves and each other well. Always identify where your audience is and play to them. Putting your back to them, or having conversations in small, inward facing groups ("eccles cakes") is not theatrically interesting. Cheat out and encourage those working with you to do so as well. Motion, manners and gestures all add interest. Even when remaining still, be conscious of creating an attractive tableau.
Support other performers who might be doing something large by focusing on it, reacting to and drawing audience attention to it. Try not to step on other's scenes or distract from them.
Place chairs and tables in such a way that they don't block traffic in and out of pavilions and try to place them in such a way that makes a pretty picture. Ladies in hoops and men in swords require about four feet of clearance.
7. Respect your fellow performers - Onstage and offstage
The faire experience is a rough one. We travel over long distances, wear unusual and uncomfortable costumes, dress in less than ideal conditions and engage in extremely trying work. It benefits everyone if we all respect each other and make an effort to get along. You don't have to like your fellow performer, but it is assumed that you are all adults and can be civil and courteous. Please do not allow the effects of an incident of discourtesy to spread like a poison. The ensemble and the performance will suffer. Give your fellows the benefit of a doubt and a touch of compassion - we're all in this together.
Respect one another's belongings as well. We all possess expensive costumes and equipment and our backstage space is often limited and lacking in storage facilities. Try not to move another's possessions or place yours on top of theirs without asking. Keep food and drink well away from dressing and storage areas and try not to congregate in high-traffic areas. Please keep the dressing areas neat and tidy so that everybody can find their belongings and nothing is in the way that might reach out and trip somebody.
8. Work until closing (after if necessary)
Our performance ends when the faire is closed and the patrons have departed. Not before. Please continue working until that time unless you are exhausted or unwell. If you are tired, consider engaging in a low-key activity, or engaging patrons from a seat. If you are too tired to maintain your character, you are too tired to be onstage.
9. Help clean up
Most of our shows involve the consumption of food and we should all take responsibility for assisting in both the preparation and cleaning up afterwards. Just because somebody plays a household servant onstage does not mean that their duty backstage is to serve us. Please offer your assistance, especially if you have sat at a meal. If you take dishes for your own private meal, please wash them yourself upon returning them.
Please help in closing up our environmental area at the end of the day. Put away furniture, carpets, close up the pavilions, etc.
If the environmental area is to be struck at the end of the day, please stay to help in the process. There are a wide variety of things that need to be done and the more people engaged in it, the faster it goes.
Your adherence to these guidelines is noted. Repeated failures may affect your future participation. Naturally, concessions must be made to some individuals conditions and limitations, but communication is the key. If you're having a problem with something which prevents you from fulfilling any of these functions please let me know.