In order to ensure that Spotlight Education can continue to serve high school theater programs and students across the state of Minnesota, Spotlight now offers a tiered system of engagement with school productions. There are two different tracks to choose from: the Production Assessment Track and the Non-Assessment Track.
Historically, the Spotlight Education experience has been centered around engaging with schools through the Production Assessment process, now called the Production Assessment Track. Schools submit their annual production(s) for evaluation. Spotlight schedules and sends trained evaluators to the production, and the school receives feedback and honors on the merit of their show. These schools and students will participate in Spotlight Showcase, and can participate in other opportunities offered throughout the year (masterclasses, Critical Review, auditions for Triple Threat and the Jimmy Awards, etc.).
The Non-Assessment Track was created to give schools the opportunity to be a part of Spotlight Education without having their productions formally evaluated. These schools still have access to other Spotlight opportunities, including all masterclasses, Critical Review, Triple Threat, etc. In the Non-Assessment Track, a school may also elect to host a workshop with a Spotlight teaching artist for their students.
The Production Assessment is an educational tool intended to encourage, inspire and enhance Spotlight schools’ theater programs and strengthen the skills of student artists — onstage and offstage. Check the tabs below to learn more about the types of assessments schools have access to.
- Show eligibility
- Spotlight Evaluators
- Pre-Evaluation or Workshop
- Technical Evaluation
- Performance Evaluation
A note for the 2021-2022 season:
If your school is planning to produce a hybrid or virtual performance, please reach out to Spotlight Education to give production context and to determine final eligibility for honors.
The productions that are eligible to participate in the Production Assessment Track must categorize as one of the following (see term definitions below):
Eligible to receive educational feedback, individual honors, and all production honors:
- A published musical, play, operetta or revue (either currently held by a licensing house or in the public domain) that is presented with the approval or permission of the original creators or their representatives. Can be presented in the following ways: in-person performance, recording of in-person performance, live virtual performance, performance that contains live elements and pre-recorded elements.
- An original musical or play, which features an original script, music and/or lyrics, and is covered under a valid copyright that is presented with the approval or permission of the original creators or their representatives. Schools must communicate with Spotlight Education if they choose to produce a show of this nature to ensure Spotlight can provide all the resources needed. Productions of this nature must be performed in one of the following formats:
• 90 minutes, no intermission
• 2+ hours, one intermission
Can be presented in the following ways: in-person performance, recording of in-person performance, live virtual performance, performance that contains live elements and pre-recorded elements.
- An original theatrical compilation of musical/text material from other sources that is presented with the approval or permission of the original creators or their representatives. Can be presented in the following ways: in-person performance, recording of in-person performance, live virtual performance, performance that contains live elements and pre-recorded elements. Excludes: show choir, choral or vocal jazz arrangements.
Eligible to receive educational feedback as well as production and individual honors upon approval from Spotlight Education:
- Junior productions will be considered upon revue of the length and difficulty of the material. Please contact Spotlight Education if you have any questions regarding show submission.
Eligible to receive educational feedback and individual honors only:
- Pre-recorded productions (including pre-recorded Zoom productions) that are entirely composed of pre-recorded, virtual footage of students will be eligible for educational feedback and individual student honors only. Pre-recorded footage of a virtual performance only allows evaluators to see individual performances, and ensemble and design elements are not fully developed in a way that would allow Spotlight to fairly evaluate these productions. If there are extenuating circumstances or outlying cases, Spotlight Education will evaluate and honor certain production elements on a case-by-case basis.
- In-person performance: a live performance with cast and crew
- Recording of in-person performance: a video recording of an in-person performance
- Live virtual performance: a performance that takes place on a virtual platform (Zoom, etc.) and is performed live, in real time with performers
- Performance containing live and pre-recorded elements: a performance with a hybrid of live, in-person, and pre-recorded/produced elements
- Pre-recorded production: a production that is entirely pre-recorded and presented on a virtual platform (Zoom, etc.)
All of our evaluations (Pre-, Technical, and Performance) are conducted by our Spotlight evaluators. These evaluators are professional artists and educators with a strong theater background who have worked extensively in theater performance, technical theater, and or/educational theater. All evaluators are required to participate in an annual training, and those interacting directly with students complete a background check.
Spotlight evaluators’ primary responsibilities and duties are:
- Attend mandatory pre-season evaluator orientation each year of evaluating services
- Be available to evaluate school productions (as per evaluator’s availability) and provide a written evaluation through the online form between 1-3 days after viewing production.
- Provide professional, detailed feedback when completing all evaluation forms with the intention to promote educational growth of individuals and high school programs.
Interested in serving as a Spotlight evaluator for the 2021-2022 season? Email us at SpotlightEducation@HennepinTheatreTrust.org.
Traditionally during a pre-evaluation, a Spotlight Education evaluator attends a final dress or technical rehearsal to engage with your students. In this way, the purpose of the pre-evaluation is to provide feedback prior to the opening of the production and give an informal congratulations to the students on their hard work. Spotlight Education now offers alternative options for the pre-evaluation. See options below:
- A Spotlight evaluator engages during the rehearsal process of a production to work with your students in an area of your choosing. Options could include: diversity coaching, intimacy coaching, fight choreography, vocal performance, video editing, etc.
- A Spotlight evaluator watches a technical or dress rehearsal for your production and provides verbal feedback following the run.
- Spotlight sends a teaching artist to lead a workshop for students in your theater program at any point throughout the school year in an area of your choosing.
The technical evaluation includes a visit by a technical evaluator to a tech or dress rehearsal. Scheduling will be pre-arranged between Spotlight Education and your primary contact. The purpose of this visit is for the evaluator to observe the work of student technicians, designers, and managers as they are immersed in tech week. Evaluators are there to provide helpful and encouraging observations that energize and empower the students as they move toward the run of the show. Recognizing that our evaluators are inserting themselves into the artistic process at a busy time for the students, we encourage our evaluators to meet briefly with them at the beginning of the scheduled tech or dress rehearsal. The goal is to introduce themselves and clarify that their presence is in the spirit of educational support, not criticism. Our evaluators are visiting to be another pair of eyes, to reinforce the work of the educators and to help nurture the development of the technical student artists. The evaluators are not interested in the immediate achievement of the students in the rehearsal, but rather the work ethic and effort they display, helping them to grow through the process. This is the philosophy for all awarded honors.
The performance evaluation is designed to give your students and production team educationally focused feedback on production execution. The evaluation is also a determining factor for honors granted to your school and students. Three Spotlight-trained performance evaluators will attend your production as audience members. Each show is evaluated in several categories, including ensemble and individual performance for movement and dance, vocal performance, and execution of the technical aspects of the production.