Parkway Playhouse Junior and the Junior Theater Festival (JTF)

Every January, Parkway Playhouse Junior travels to Atlanta, GA for the Junior Theater Festival where students from all over the world join together to celebrate the magic that is musical theatre and Broadway Junior! The festival falls over Martin Luther King weekend and is two full days of adjudication, classes, special performances, and more! This is a wonderful opportunity for students who are serious about broadening their theatre education, but there is a lot to consider before deciding whether auditioning for the Junior Theater Festival group is the right decision for your child. 

Cost: 

  • Parkway Playhouse Junior tuition for all JTF students is $150 (discounted from regular production class tuition).

  • JTF festival fee is $230 (due the first of September by ALL Junior Theater Festival attendants, including parents and any other family members planning to attend). Please note that parents who do not plan to attend the festival but wish to travel to Atlanta with the group will NOT be able to get into any part of the festival, including the 15 minute adjudication! 

  • Lodging for 3 nights (If you wish to stay in the official JTF hotel, bookings must be made via Parkway Playhouse. All hotel costs are due November 1st. Last year, the JTF hotel cost ran ~$150 per night.

  • Gas to and from Atlanta

  • At least one meal out in Atlanta (Average cost: $15)

  • JTF students are also required to have all black pants and black dance shoes for their adjudication performance.
Time Commitment: Generally, Parkway Playhouse Junior Production Classes meet for 2-4 months. For the JTF Group, rehearsals start the middle of August and run through the Junior Theater Festival in the middle of January. Rehearsal Days: Mondays and Thursdays (5pm-6:30pm), Sundays (2pm-5pm) for ages 10-18 

Intensity and Pace of Classes: For the JTF group, we run rehearsals and classes similar to our Parkway Playhouse Mainstage professional rehearsals. Students are expected to take notes during classes/rehearsals and practice regularly away from rehearsals. We also spend a lot of time on technique for dance, music, and acting. Students are expected to participate in ALL activities, stay focused, and work diligently during classes. 

Junior Theater Festival Weekend Schedule: 

  • Friday: We arrive in Atlanta on Friday early in the afternoon, so students will have to miss the full day of school for traveling. We check-in, get t-shirts and wrist bands, and rehearse our 15 minutes for the next morning’s adjudication. Then, students will go with chaperones or parents for dinner and on to their hotel for the night.

  • Saturday: We meet early, go to the JTF Kick Off with 5,000 students from all over the world, and then go straight to our "pod" for a morning full of adjudication. Children will sit as audience members for the other groups’ adjudication before and after our performance and will be expected to be quiet and supportive of ALL groups performing. Following adjudication, we eat lunch in the convention center en masse and then attend an afternoon of classes. We break for dinner, and then attend an evening of entertainment at the "New Works Showcase". After the performances, students are invited to go to a mega dance party with 5,000 of their newest musical theatre friends. It is usually after 10pm before students get back to their hotel rooms.

  • Sunday: We meet again fairly early, and have a day of showcases and performances on the JTF big stage. There is lunch, followed by more special performances and then the JTF Awards Ceremony. We break for dinner and then return for one final evening of entertainment. 

The days are LONG and generally the students are working on little sleep and lots of stimulation. Please consider this when deciding whether your child is ready to attend the festival.

"How do I know if my child is ready?" Here are some questions to consider: Does your child listen to instructions and do what is asked of them by other adults? How does your child handle large crowds? Can your child order for themselves in restaurants or otherwise communicate their needs to adults? How well does your child function when they're tired? Do they frustrate easily when asked to repeat the same task or activity over and over again? Do they REALLY enjoy learning all aspects of theatre, or do they mostly enjoy being on stage?

"Do I have to travel with my child to Atlanta and attend the Junior Theater Festival myself?" We ask for students under the age of 12 to travel with a parent to Atlanta and attend the festival with them. If your child is over the age of 12 and you are comfortable sending them with a Parkway Playhouse Junior chaperone, then you may do so, but please note that you will still be responsible for your child's portion of all travel expenses, including hotel room, food money, and even chipping in on gasoline. You may also decide to travel to Atlanta with your child but then send your child into the festival with a chaperone. Parkway Playhouse Junior instructors are prohibited from being chaperones by the festival, as they have their own activities throughout the day, so your child's chaperone may be a parent of a student that your child may not know well.

"I am confident my child is ready and I understand all that is involved with being a part of the JTF Group with Parkway Playhouse Junior!
Now what?" 

JTF Group Auditions: Auditions for the 2017 JTF Group will be held August 21st at 3pm at the Mountain Heritage Center. Students are expected to prepare 16 bars of a song and be prepared to do a character reading and a dance audition. All students should wear dance clothes and appropriate shoes. 

Notification of Acceptance: Following auditions of all students who wish to be considered, we will send an email out to all parents of students who have been selected to participate in the 2017 JTF Group with Parkway Playhouse Junior. 

"What if my child does not get accepted in the JTF Group?" If your child is not selected, this is not necessarily a reflection on their talents or abilities. There are many things for both parents AND instructors to consider before allowing a student into the JTF Group. Overall, we need a solid team of students in the JTF Group who work well together and complement each other. Please note that instructors use a fair and thorough method of selection. Your child may still participate in the production without being a part of the JTF Group, and we highly encourage them to do so! More experience and this kind of proof of dedication will make their selection more likely in the future. 

"What if my child gets into the JTF Group but doesn't get a part they want. Can we get a refund of money paid up to that point?" No. Parkway Playhouse Junior never refunds money for students who are unhappy with their part. Parkway Playhouse Junior stands by the notion that there are no "small parts" and working together as a team is always more important than being a "star". 

First Meeting: All students and parents will be expected to attend an initial JTF meeting where we will discuss details about traveling to Atlanta and the Junior Theater Festival, as well as schedule. ALL attendants of the 2017 Junior Theater Festival will need to pay a $100 deposit at this meeting (this includes any parents who are planning on attending with their child) to hold your place in our festival group. You must also decide whether or not you will stay in the official hotel at this meeting and whether you are willing to chaperone a small group of students while you travel. All conflicts known for the next 6 months should be emailed to cthayer@parkwayplayhouse.com prior to this meeting.

Additional Technique Classes: JTF students will have additional classes to the Seussical, Jr. rehearsals for technique. There will be a schedule that will go out with these dates on them. These are just as important as the rehearsals and students are expected to attend if called unless there is a conflict given in advance.

"Do I need to fill out a registration form if my child is interested in auditioning for the JTF Group?" No, JTF students' parents will fill out a registration form at the initial festival meeting. 


To read exciting news for Parkway Playhouse Junior from previous Junior Theater Festivals, CLICK HERE!


Please email cthayer@parkwayplayhouse.com with any questions you may have!