WORK HERE!!!! They accept submissions on a rolling basis and that is a rare find these days! They also cast virtually which is amazing for actors and accessibility! They are incredible to work for, the production quality is UNREAL (cmon LED light wall!). The creative team is amazing, so smart and truly great folks. Shane is the BEST. The talent brought in is unmatched. The youth theatre here is broadway quality. The costumes lighting and sound are amazing.I would go back in a heartbeat.
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Behind The LimeLight
Performers and offstage workers give and get advice anonymously while helping our industry.
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I have to be honest and say that I’m incredibly nervous to be posting this, but feel it’s important to share the toxic beliefs and behaviors I had to unlearn after graduating from the teen program at the Palace. There is a lot I could get into, but the biggest takeaway for me is the culture surrounding weight and diet culture. Many members of the staff place a very high value on fitness and the ”broadway body” (or at least they did when I was a student here). I remember being introduced to Whole30 by the staff here, and being encouraged to try it out in order to get more toned in prep for college auditions. My graduating class was told we would all have to lose weight and get in better shape if we wanted to get into BFA programs, and we’re given tips and tricks on how to do that. None of that was healthy or right. In one of our rehearsal processes, we would start every rehearsal with “Broadway Bod” where we would be given a circuit of exercises to complete in groups, and we would do this for about half an hour before getting into actual rehearsal. This was happening while I was actively doing Whole30, so essentially I was under feeding and over working myself, and was made to feel accomplished for it. I even remember working summer camp one year, and a fitness workshop being led in which a resident artist was teaching children about “Broadway Body.” I don’t feel it is my place to tell other peoples stories, but I will say that I and many of my peers had a lot of body image issues and food related issues to overcome after leaving the teen program here, and at least I know I am still struggling to find a healthy relationship with my body and with food. I know that people have very positive experiences working at the palace professionally, but after the experiences I had I truly don’t think I can ever go back even to see a performance. It’s a shame because I have very fond memories and learned a lot of valuable things, but the bad things I learned have stuck with me far longer than any of the good. I’m not posting this in an effort to cancel the creative team at the palace or encourage people not to work there, but if I was an outsider coming to work here this is information I’d find valuable. Hopefully the environment in the program isn’t like this anymore, but these are some of the experiences I had that frankly caused a lot of damage.
One thing I would love to see them work on here is more diversity. I would love to see them cast more diverse bodies, POC, etc... That has been a recurring issue for many people I have discussed experiences with and I'm not sure its intentional by the theatre but definitely noticeable to many. I am hoping in their upcoming shows there can be a shift in a more inclusive direction!
I’d like to provide some insight into the experience I know many MANY young performers have had with the Palace Theatre in the past 10 years. I’m tired of staying silent to protect my peace from their administrators who have, on multiple occasions, punished and harassed previous performers for speaking out against them. From eating disorders, trauma, bullying, gaslighting, and verbal abuse, this theatre has left countless young performers entering the industry with plenty of horror stories. To offer honesty and finally shine a spotlight on the horrors that still haunt me after many years out of their programs, I would like to briefly highlight a few experiences that they should be held accountable for.
To begin with, Carl Rajotte is the most traumatizing power figure I have ever worked with. Carl, and by extension the rest of their administrators who supported and participated in his behavior, consistently put children in toxic and dangerous situations to enforce through fear their outdated ideologies of how the theatre industry would treat them. I know because I was one of these children for many years. On countless occasions, Carl would body shame us and enforce terrible exercise routines upon the 14-17 year olds in their “Palace Teen Company”, including (but not limited to) forcing us to run around the block local to the theatre until we reached a mile, yelling at us to lift metal folding-chairs and squat with 10-pound boxes of copy paper to enforce our “Broadway Bod” WEEKLY, ask us what our weight was and provide feedback on where he thought we should be, encouraging MANY harmful diet trends that promoted purging and fasting, and more. Beyond the body shaming, there were several instances of the staff hosting private meetings with each teenager and telling them, to their face, what their “flaws“ were. This included being “too sensitive”, “caring too much about schoolwork”, or even “not trying enough“. Carl enjoyed ruling through fear and, as such, made sure to reinforce his position through bullying and gaslighting. Several other administrators participated in this behavior and regularly bullied student performers (with the exception of Shane, who has always been incredibly kind without failure). There have also been several instances of text messages between teenagers and staff members, especially Hunter Ulbin, being leaked in which they made jokes at the expense of their youth actors, insulted their abilities, and encouraged harmful bullying.
All in all, the experience of many young actors leaving their teen programs has been a negative one filled with trauma and pain. There are countless other stories that are either not mine to share or too long to post on one forum that would corroborate this claim. The exterior reputation of this theatre and its programs has overshadowed the real stories and experiences of countless young performers who (still) regularly discuss their shared traumas. Please reconsider participating in these programs and hold their administrators accountable for the abuse they have inflicted on many many impressionable teenagers who look to them for guidance as they navigate the arts.
I agree! I love this theatre, the living conditions are great, gym access is awesome, lots of great local coffee shops, but absolutely yes to diversity.