Casting, Auditions and ISE HR Policies – Artist FAQs

Below, you will find information about ISE's policies concerning Auditions and casting, about providing paid honoaria (stipends) to ISE Artists, plus other general ISE HR policies in the following areas:


  • Policy on Social Media use
  • Policy on Personal Appearances 
  • Policy on Cast or Crew interaction with the mass media/press
  • Policy on Guns, Violence and abusive behavor



“All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; 

And one man in his time plays many parts"




The ISE frequently offers audition-less casting to those who have successfully completed a prior run with us.  Additionally, we also offer auditions.  To inquire about cast and crew opportunities or auditions, send Resume, headshot and/or other information to  


While we accept inquiries or information year round, we are most actively engaged in casting from December-April each year.  


See Artist FAQs, below, for much more information.




Part of the outcome-focused work produced by the ISE involves the development of the Metro’s creative economy and artistic workforce.  The ISE provides much to the Des Moines Artistic community.  


For on-stage or back-stage theatre talent:

  •  for new artists or theatre professionals, the ISE provides an entry point towards career development via work opportunities, internships, or classes
  •  for experienced artistic talent, the ISE provides skill-set development and exercise, opportunities for networking into regional productions, and professional paid honorarium or stipends.


For non-theatre artists:

  •  The ISE provides opportunities for musicians, dancers, designers of all sorts (costumes, set, lights, sound, graphics, hair/makeup) and other artistic professionals to collaborate (often with paid stipends) towards eventual advancement into existing regional and national productions.


In fact, for all of the above, the ISE is pleased to provide what in the Des Moines area are some of the relatively rare opportunities for these professionals to have their work recognized with a professional honorarium fee or stipend.


  •  The ISE is proud to provide these opportunities for Artists at a meaningful level of scale appropriate to a Capital city- because Shakespeare wrote for large casts in a manner that has become atypical among modern playwrights (where a play may offer perhaps as few as only 2-6 roles). 
  •  Please see the Artists Frequently Asked Questions Section below for more information on all of these opportunities.


ISE Casting Policies and Artist FAQs:


Although the ISE reserves the right to alter or temporarily suspend any one of our casting policies for cause (for example, such as in an emergency if an Actor must be quickly replaced), to cover standard operating procedures, we do have thoughtful, explicit casting policies for the purposes of creating a fair working environment for all.  These types of policies are standard business practice in many parts of the theatre industry, and reflect our organization’s ongoing strategic planning for growth. 


Why have written casting policies?  The ISE believes that policy-based, policy-guided decision making is the best way to keep “personalities” out of decision making, and to run a fair and smooth operation.   The business of art is challenging and personal, and artists are often subjected to personality-driven, whimsical, or arbitrary decisions that needlessly cause hurt or confusion.  As a measure of respect to our artists, the ISE believes that written policies create practices which lead to success because written, explicit policies are completely transparent and clear to all, reduce hard feelings, and are more fair than idiosyncratic policies which follow no predictable rhyme or reason.


Feel free to contact us with any questions about any of our policies, although we do think there should be relatively little room for confusion.



ISE utilizes Color Blind and Gender Netural or Gender Flexible casting:  As applicable to the role and requirements of the show, the ISE is proud to utilize a strong tradition of color-blind, gender-neutral casting approaches which challenge stereotypes, open doors of success to the widest number of local artists, and thus amplify the value of the ISE to the growth of the local artistic community.  

The ISE provides preferential casting opportunities in recognition of successful long service (wherever possible):  The ISE cannot always provide preferential casting opportunities because the ISE must also cast with an eye to ensuring that our shows are as stocked with fresh new talents as they are with reliable and familiar audience favorites.  


However, within that parameter and as appropriate for the role, the ISE does often offer preferential, often audition-free casting to those who have previously successfully discharged roles or positions for the ISE or for other projects under the direction of the ISE Artistic Director or Executive Director.  


Note:  The ISE explicitly defines a “successfully discharged role” not only in terms of the display of on-stage or other artistic talent, but additionally in terms of the types of “backstage” qualities which just as readily lead to a show’s success - - or failure-- as does physical talent .    Examples of the “backstage” qualities we look for include variables such as reliability, how an Artist represents the ISE in public, the degree to which an Artist participates in (or strives for) team-building, the degree to which an Artist practices a professional, reasonable approach to team communication, and/or the degree to which an Artist is supportive of and respectful to their fellow cast, crew, and ISE staff members, volunteers and audience.


ISE casting policies are local-Artist and Iowa-Artist friendly:  While as the ISE grows, we will utilize a “star system” and/or intern system for some of our shows (thus opening certain roles to out of town talent), the ISE does maintain a steadfast dedication to the goal of developing and providing work opportunities for local, Iowa artists.  In cases where all things are equal, preferential casting will always be applied first towards Artists from the Golden Circle area of Greater Des Moines, and seconds towards Iowa artists, before casting from our of state or the wider region.


ISE policies as related to cyber communication:  The ISE believes that almost without exception, the public forums of the internet such as Facebook and Twitter should never be used to advance negative comments, ad hominem attacks, or negativly represent either the ISE OR any of our colleagues in the Arts in negative manner.   The ISE believes such use of cyberspace is almost always unprofessional and unnecessary, and recognizes the unfair potential that misuse of cyberspace often has to damage a non-profit charity.  SEE BELOW FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.


The ISE seeks to work with a team which is willing and able to live by these guidelines.  Should any negativity be encountered in a public forum, the preferred ISE approach is to quickly correct any errors in fact/perception but, absolutely as soon as possible, to redirect discussions to a more suitable, private forum such as with individual email or preferably, a private phone conversation or private meeting. AGAIN, SEE MORE INFORMATION ON THIS TOPIC, BELOW. 


Notes on ongoing ISE Casting Policies related to protecting our brand:


ISE Casting policies are an outcome of ISE strategic planning in association with professional consultation.  In addition to the standard professional practice policies described above, the ISE has also developed special policies related to our brand specifically as it involves our mission to produce Shakespeare.


Background information: In 2008, the ISE was the fortunate recipient of national-level Branding consultation from one of the nation’s top twenty-five Marketing experts  - experts who provide consultation  to such extraordinary agencies as the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) We received significant consultation about developing our local Brand.  The following policies about casting were developed with an eye to the type of critically important future growth of our brand, since our brand will play a big role in our ongoing success.   


It is possible that relatively few small theatre companies in central Iowa have been the beneficiary of this type of professional development and professional branding consultation, and accordingly, it is possible that ISE policies will be a bit different from other small companies in return.  If so, we believe that represents the cutting edge of the “next generation” of theatre growth in Des Moines - - which for predictable reasons, may create dynamics that some on the local theatre scene will welcome - -while others will deride.  


In any event, ISE policies on casting as it is related to brand are much like any success-oriented policy one would see in any number of disciplines.  For example, our policies are somewhat analogous to the well-known and very well accepted “black out” period (“time out” may be a better choice of language) attached to the United Way fundraising.   These types of policies protect the organization while offering much of benefit to the wider community.  


Below follows and in-depth discussion of these policies related to specifically Shakespeare and the ISE brand.


ISE Casting Policies related to our brand:  The ISE practices a “Time Out” form of a “non-compete” casting policy related to the Shakespeare-specific elements of our brand.


Specifically, the ISE regrets that we will be unable to cast any actor who elects to work with another Shakespeare-based theatre production within a certain number of months on either side of one of our own Shakespeare-based productions.  Currently, the time limit for the “Time Out” is identified as 6 months, although we constantly evaluate this policy and may shorten it or, more likely, lengthen it to 12 months as our evaluations might indicate.


While as generally stated above about all our policies, we reserve the right to make exceptions or generally suspend this policy for various important reasons such as Actor illness or a new collaboration with another theatre company, generally this policy means the following:


  •  The ISE will not knowing cast someone who has appeared in a major Shakespearean role on a stage* (not to include stages in association with schools) within a 35 mile radius at a point 6 months prior to the date our show will open.  This also means that upon accepting a Shakespearean role with the ISE, Actors are requested/expected to agree to forgo accepting any other Shakesperean stage* role within a 35 mile radius of Des Moines for 6 months following the completion of one of our shows.


Thus, in human terms, this policy means that Actors are always perfectly free to choose what they audition for or what roles they accept, just as folks are perfectly free not to give to the United Way and instead to give to whomever they choose.  Thus, this policy does not state, nor are we intending to state, that we will never work with Artists who join or partcipate in productions mounted by other theatre companies.


But in our case, we will have to apply a TEMPORARY “time out” period with folks who work under another theatre company’s name specifically with Shakespearean roles, works or themes.


Why does this policy protect our brand:? 


This policy protects our brand because our Artists are very talented and very recognizable.  So much so that a theatre’s Artists almost become its brand. Although a few people who intensively patronize the theatre may be aware that there are differences and distinctions among local theatre troupes, for the most part, the typical audience member is oblivious to these differences and unaware of almost anything but the Actors they see on the stage.  Thus, we find audience members commonly conclude that the ISE produced a show when they see one of “our” actors in it, even when that show was produced by another theatre company.  Similarly, audiences also frequently assume that all area Shakespeare was produced by Iowa Shakespeare when this may or may not have been the case.  


This deep confusion of brand is not something we encourage; in fact, usually all concerned seek to prevent this.  But it is an axiom of branding that the brand is formed in the mind of the consumer, and that agencies do not control our own brands – the consumer controls the brand.  Thus, this confusion of brand is just a facet of human behavior common to those not deeply involved in the theatre scene.   


The problem is that this type of confusion of brand has the potential to do grave disservice to a theatre company such as ours.  


For example, we frequently learn that our donors have donated to another company upon recognizing some actors in a show who have also been on our stage, thinking they were donating to us, and there are too many other variations of brand confusion to go into here.  


We certainly do not begrudge donations made to any fellow theatre company and are sure such donations are deserving.  But clearly we have to find ways to make it easy for our donors to donate to us if that is the donor’s intent.  Research shows that non-compete casting policies will be of significant assistance in solidifying our brand and reducing this type of harmful brand confusion. 


What this “Time Out” casting policy IS:  


The ISE’s “Time Out” casting policy is essentially, a “non-compete” policy.  The policy is a very LIMITED casting policy common in other successful theatres and businesses alike, which provides MAXIMUM opportunities for Artists in allowing Artists complete freedom of choice while strengthening ISE theatre opportunities for them by strengthening the ISE as a theatre company.  


Unlike some standard non-compete policies where if one is a member of a company, an Artist can NEVER take another opportunity with another company (very restrictive), under our generous policy, Artists can take any opportunity they so choose- just not every single one of them.  


We hope that Artists come to appreciate the fact that our policy is Transparent.  Our policies are clear, known in advance, publicized, and equally applied to all. After all, if we did not have a written policy, we could still cast who we want or don’t want- and simply never be honest with people about what was holding them back.  We think having a clear, written policy is a much better, much more professional approach.


What this “Time Out” casting policy is NOT: (Other limitations of the policy):  


  •  The policy applies ONLY to (non school related*) Shakespeare or Shakesperean-themed shows.  As ever, any artist who wishes to be in any other type of play may do so with any other company and still be eligible for casting in one of our Shakespeare shows. [*School-related shows are shows which take place in high-schools or colleges.  These school-related shows are explicitly exempt from this policy and indeed, the ISE actively seeks to support and work with those coming from a school environment.]
  •  The policy applies ONLY to casting for our Shakespearean or Shakesperean-based plays.  When the ISE produces other types of plays and classic theatre, casting is open to anyone, no restrictions.  The focus on Shakespeare takes place because Shakespeare is such a limited genre which takes on a distinctive brand within the mind of the public.  Thus, it is not necessary to have brand protections like this in the wider world beyond Shakespeare.
  •  Currently, this policy applies ONLY in six-month increments.  If an Actor appears in another Shakespeare show in a prior summer, we will consider him/r for roles with our organization the following summer.  Note that we MAY develop longer timeline restrictions in this single area related to lead roles, but we have not yet done so at this time.  If restrictions aren’t needed, they will not be implemented. 
  •  To reiterate, this policy does not preclude, and is not intended to preclude Actors from other theatre troupes from appearing in an ISE production.  Not does this policy preclude active collaborations with another theatre group which in effect, would negate this policy.  
  •  To the contrary, the ISE welcomes and seeks collaborations with other theatre companies and is happy to engage in relationships which allow cross-promotional and other collaborative activities to take place. As we see fit, we will cast any actor who wishes to be cast and who will commit to the needed number of rehearsals, even if that Actor is formally a member of another producing theatre company.  Also, the explicit time limits written into the ISE policies mean that NO ONE is permanently “banned” or “blackballed” from appearing in an ISE production, and as we deliberately keep reiterating, NO ONE is precluded from working with the ISE at all unless there is a competing (non school related) Shakespeare show involved.   
  •  And to deliberately re-itterate for clarity, as noted immediately above, this policy may be limited by any professional collaborations or consortiums which we may develop with other companies, including those who produce Shakespeare. 
  •  This policy only applies to on-stage Actors.  It does NOT generally apply to backstage personnel, dancers, or other artists except under very particular circumstances which we will make clear as applicable to applicants for positions. 
  •  This policy is NOT in any way related to Iowa’s right to work state status.  The differences and distinctions between a policy like this and “right to work” are so major and so numerous that further discussion here of this matter is irrelevant.  People concerned about whether or not ISE policies might somehow clash with this have completely misinterpreted the “right to work” legislation and in fact, often appear to have their facts backwards.  The “right to work” concept protected in Iowa actually favors EMPLOYERS – NOT employees! 
  •  This policy is NOT in any way related to a punitive system, nor is it intended in any way to be punitive.  The existence of this type of policy is merely a pragmatic, relatively common characteristic related to successful business practices.  The ISE focus on successful business practice may introduce practices new to the Des Moines area, but that should help professionalize theatre here, and should be welcome to all theatre professionals. 



Does the ISE provide paid professional work?  


The ISE provides paid professional honoraria and among Metro area theatre agencies, ISE Founders were among the very earliest pioneers to consistently provide honoraria for local theatre artists.  While not a paycheck in the sense of providing a “living” wage, in central Iowa paid opportunities for local theatre artists appear to have lagged significantly behind paid opportunities in other art forms, so the ISE is proud to be taking steps to reduce that phenomenon with our Honoraria program.  And, the ISE Board is committed to working aggressively towards constantly increasing our artist compensation levels.


We are also proud that our Shakesperean productions are muscular enough to make an impactful difference in local artist earning opportunities, as we feature substantial, robust shows with large casts – a distinguishing characteristic of Shakespearean works.  In short, since Shakespeare wrote for large casts quite unusual by comparison to today’s minimalist playwriting trends, our productions uniquely offer genuinely meaningful ways to provide multiple opportunities for artists in the local community.  Our mainstage shows feature on-stage casts of at least 10-20 Actors, PLUS an average of 10 additional performing artists per show (dancers and/or musicians) PLUS backstage opportunities for dozens more artistic personnel, designers, and arts industry workers.  


The ISE is a true economic engine and incubator for arts and cultural growth in the Greater Des Moines area. 


What is an Honoraria?  How is it different from a paycheck?


Paychecks: The ISE subscribes, as does most of the world, to the commonly accepted wisdom that a paycheck is a mechanism for providing some form of “living” or “livable” wage to a person who has performed services in return.  While there are many, many MANY additional differences between a paycheck and an honorarium or a stipend, a key difference is that a paycheck is based on either minimum wage or some other determination of fair market wages.  And, since a paycheck is intended to meet living expenses, a paycheck is issued on a tight, regular timeline to allow its recipient to address regular living expenses.  


Fair Market Wage Determination:  To determine the fair market value of Artist services, the ISE uses the published, locally-researched rates provided by the local arts agency Metro Arts Alliance.  In 2009, the Metro Arts Alliance hourly base rate for an Artist’s performance hours was approximately $60 per performance hour plus 30 per hour for preparation, with adjustments upwards (or downwards) based on education level and level of general experience and expertise. 


Thus, from the discussion above, it should be clear that the ISE typically does NOT provide paychecks to the majority of its performing artists.  We believe no theatre group in central Iowa does currently provide performing artist paychecks, other than perhaps the very large organizations such as the Civic Center.  

Honoraria (including dictionary definitions):  As completely distinguished from a paycheck, an honorarium or a stipend is not intended to serve as a “living wage”.  Instead, an honorarium/stipend is a professional “thank you” offered as a symbol of our gratitude to professionals who provide services with full awareness that there is no paycheck attached.  In short, Honraria are Thank You Gifts, made monetarily. 


Thus, Artists engaging in a contract to work with the ISE should carefully consider the foregoing and following definitions, and be aware that while you will receive a payment, you should not expect this payment to be anything but what it is.  There will be, for example, no exact dates provided as to when your payment will be made, although there will certainly be a general timeline during which you can expect to receive the funds.  There will be no personnel benefits, and no attempt to match the honorarium with hourly forms of compensation.  


To avoid any possible misunderstanding, we want Artists to be keenly aware of these parameters from the beginning.



Business “Stipend: a fee that is provided to an individual, such as through a scholarship, which allows the individual to pursue a particular interest, such as an internship. Stipends usually do not cover all expenses associated with the pursuit of the interest.”



The Business Dictionary:  “Honorarium: A token payment to express gratitude, symbolize respect, or confer distinction on the recipient.”

The Free Dictionary:  “Honorarium: A fee paid to a professional person for services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required “

Collins English Dictionary: “Honorarium: A fee paid for a nominally free service

Your ‘Honorarium A payment to a professional person for services on which no fee is set or legally obtainable”



For what are ISE Artist Honoraria paid?


ISE Honoraria attach to particular pre-agreed roles or positions which are contractually assumed by Artists who agree to join one of our casts.  Thus, ISE Honoraria attach to the typical, best practice and industry-standard functions of roles or positions, but NOT to specific activities.  We do not attach Honoraria or adjust Honoraria according to specific activities because traditionally, theatre artists often go above and beyond the call of their role to provide multiple forms of assistance to non-profit productions.  So it is impossible to quantify all specific activities in which show personnel might engage beyond those contractually listed for specific roles, and ISE will not provide extra Honoraria for any extra, voluntarily-assumed activities or services without a pre-agreement to do so.  Thus, if an ISE artist elects (as often happens) to provide photographs of a show, assistance with getting props, assistance with their costumes, or any number of other forms of assistance which are of benefit to the show, the ISE will gladly and gratefully accept this assistance as a donation to our non-profit and to the cause of theatre in Des Moines.  But will be unable to provide additional honoraria for these activities in the absence of a pre-agreement to do so.


How are ISE Artist Honoraria calculated?


It is a stated top priority of ISE Board and staff that the ISE will increase Artist Honoraria as consistently often and as richly as possible within the growing abilities of the ISE agency.  We hope that in time our honoraria can come to approximate fair market wages for artist services.  We believe that commitment to grow in this direction is not only an ethical obligation, but also a way in which to significantly contribute to local economic development and to expand the local creative economy.  see number of jobs created, below.


Some ISE Honoraria are negotiated for in advance in the form of a set fee for a particular role (ie portraying a particular character/characters on stage) or position (ie serving a production as Costumer, Props Master, Wardrobe Assistant, Festival Manager, etc) or set of activities (serving as a productions Documentarian/photographer, manning a check in table, etc.)  Other Honoraria not negotiated for in advance are described below.


ALL persons receiving any form of ISE honoraria are expected to participate in reasonable daily load in or festival/stage set up activities, and end of night/ end of show strike activities.  In the event a particular stage venue requires load-in or load-out activities to take place in a such volume as to be notably above-and-beyond industry standards, the ISE will make some form of additional compensation available to the team; typically, a pre-set split share of voluntary contributions from audience members (ie “the Bard Basket), or from ticket sales to audience members.  


Some ISE Honoraria for artists working under a lead artist, such as for dancers or band members or Costumers, are determined NOT by the ISE Artistic Director, but by that Lead Artist (Choreographer or Music Director, etc) within an overall budget set by the ISE Artistic Director.  


However, in the absence of a pre-agreement otherwise, the ISE calculates two different types of Honoraria, based on whether the show they attach to is a free ticket show (free or mostly free to the public) or a paid-ticket show, where there is a charge to the public to attend.


On Paid-ticket shows, while arrangements vary based on our venues, the ISE often sets up an agreement with its artist to offer a pre-set percentage of the ticket income.  We call this “Revenue Sharing Honoraria”.  


Revenue Sharing Honoraria:  In a show where the ISE offers an Honoraria based on revenue-sharing, the ISE as a non-profit will retain AT LEAST 50-75% of the total show revenue- possibly more.  (The exact percentage of share available for Artists to share will be made explicit before the work begins.) Then, ISE Artists, including ISE staff who serve the show as Artist, Director or in other explicit, various on-stage or backstage roles standard to the industry, all share the remaining percentage of ticket sales. 


This percentage of the shared revenue applies ONLY to ticket income- not to ISE donation income above and beyond the ticket price, or to any ISE fundraiser special events which may bring in income beyond the ticket price.  These opportunities for Artists to share in ticket income provide incentives for the Artists to assist with marketing and create a win-win for all concerned.  


The exact percentage of share that an individual Artist will have from ticket sales income will be determined by the ISE Artistic Director. These percentages will vary from show to show, and may also vary based on where an artist’s role was small, mid-level, large or Lead as determined by the Artistic Director thru line count.  But the bottom line is that the explicit amount of these percentages are shared with all Artists before the work begins, so that Artists may opt in or out with exact knowledge of the arrangement.


The second type of Honorarium calculation applies to our free shows.  We call this a “Flat Fee” Honoraria.


Flat Fee Honoraria: In the case of a “Flat Fee”, Artists receive a basic flat fee, although the ISE adjusts the flat fee to account for certain types of increased donations which may come in as show income during the run of the show.  Therefore, while our Flat fees average about $300-$600 per role, some fees may be lower and others higher- up to approximately $1200 in some cases.  However, note that not all donations or income which may arrive during the run of the show will be or can be applied to that part of the “pool” of show budget shared with the cast (exceptions range from Annual Campaign dollars, certain grants, and directed donations),  


{Some free shows which require an unusual amount of support from Artists such as extensive load in, may also offer a share of nightly contributions made by audience members through the “Bard Basket” or through Free Will collections taken at the Gate.  If so, these amounts will be provided IN ADDITON to the main Honorarium, as a small “Bonus” of thanks for the extra work.  In these cases, Artists will be informed as to how that split will work at the beginning of each show.  Usually, every single person (including ISE staff) working on or back stage on the show receives the exact same percentage of split based on the exact number of shows each person worked.  The ISE itself as an organization will also receive a significant share of these types of audience donations.  


These “Bard Basket” shares, if applicable, may be paid in cash on the final night of the show, OR may be rolled into the main Honorarium check, depending on a variety of factors.)

The remainder of this section will describe a bit more about the Flat Fee type of Honoraria.  [However, much in this section applies to all types of ISE Honoraria, so all Artists are encouraged to read this entire section, whether you are joining us under a Revenue-sharing Honoraria or under a Flat Fee Honoraria. ]


Flat Fee Honoraria for free shows: ISE flat-fee Honoraria, while based on set percentages or flat fees which the ISE determines for small, mid-sized, and large roles, are set by the ISE Artistic Director.  Higher fees often are predetermined during advance negotiations with a cast member, but sometimes fees not pre-determined in advance because most Honoraria are related to show proceeds.  Leaving the final Honorarium fee undetermined until the end of a show run is a strategy which is typically a benefit to our Artists, because it allows Artists to participate in a show’s success and to reap extra income from successful shows – Artists are paid as large a stipend as possible after show expenses and sums for future reserves are paid, thus sharing in show profits.  This is a win win strategy- both the Artists and the ISE benefit by working together to keep costs low, to generate large audiences and donor bases, and thus in tandem, significant mechanisms are created that conserve public resources and ensue that both public and private funding is used as conservatively and wisely as possible.  


Artists should note several important factors about the calculation of ISE Honoraria:


1.) Absent grant or donor requirements to the contrary, the ISE does NOT expend all income received during the course of one single show on expenses, including Honoraria, related to that particular show.  The ISE operates deliberately in a fiscally conservative manner, always reserving a portion of show proceeds to be used towards future expenses and to build organizational reserves for fundraising “Dry spells”.  Indeed, raising funds to help keep summer Shakespeare FREE is a MAJOR part of why ISE produces our winter ISE INDOORS series of paid ticke4t shows, in the first place!

So, for each ISE season and sometimes for an individual show, the ISE Board of Directors or staff will pre-determine goals and percentages of income for shows which will be held in reserve for future needs or used to support other administrative expenses.  Thus, while Artist Honoraria WILL increase to the degree that donations or ticket income is received and expenses are minimized, Artists should NOT expect to receive a directly proportional share of show income.  


Note that Artists should expect that especially in the first five years of the ISE’s growth, there will be many developmental needs of the ISE agency and Artist Honoraria will likely remain relatively low during this time.  But do watch for our Honoraria to grow as we do! 


2.) Artists should not take any discrepancies between their honoraria and another Artist’s honoraria personally.  The ISE DOES ensure that a pre-set Honoraria base formula is applied evenly towards all Artists and show personnel, based on a simple formula.  The forumula takes into whether or not the Director identifies that role as “Small, Mid-sized, Large or Lead.” – an imperfect but reasonably fair analysis which deliberately involves the lens of the Director’s expertise and personal analysis while attempting to account for a wide variety of factors, from line count to whether or not a role called for special skills or talents such as dance or singing. (“Lead” roles are different from “Large” roles based on those factors in addition to other variables such as Actor name recognition or highly advanced Actor qualifications, expertise, or highly advanced Artistic degrees related to the performance.)


So the base rate for Honoraria is evenly distributed across the entire team based on a general level of artistic expertise in combination with the overall workload for that Actor during a particular show..  


However, it is not uncommon for grants or donors to allow or even require compensation for certain types of roles at higher rates – ISE youth work activities, for example, are often grant related and as such, are often paid at specific payrates which may be higher than our general Honoraria rates.  But, to streamline paperwork (a necessary practice for a small non profit), for the most part Artists will be paid in a single lump sum check.  Therefore, if an Artist engages in some of the extra honoraria-related functions in addition to their primary roles, that Artist will be paid at a different, often higher rate than colleagues who do not provide those additional services.  


3.) Since unasked-for, unexpected, voluntary private donations frequently are generously sent to the ISE offices following a show close from appreciative audience members and benefactors, the 4-8 week timelag which typically occurs between show close and Honoraria payout is often a distinct benefit to Artists.  This timelag allows for post-show contributions to be accounted for in the total show proceeds which directly relate to increasing the size of the Artist Hononraria. 


4.) At his or her discretion, both the Artistic Director or the Exectutive Director may recommend an Artist receive an additional Honorarium bonus based on successful longevity with the ISE or a history of other prior successful artistic work in association with the ISE Artistic Director.  This practice is implemented to specifically encourage the development of a supportive working environment, and helps strengthen and foster ongoing teambuilding among our artists. 



How are ISE Artist Honoraria paid?


Typically, Artist Honoraria are mailed either by our fiscal agent or by the ISE directly to the address provided by the Artist during ISE Sign Out (described below.)  Typically, checks are mailed directly by the ISE fiscal agent, and in those cases, the ISE never handles Artist checks.  However, in some cases, especially if an Artist is working under more than one grant, multiple checks for a given artist may be sent to the ISE offices, which will combine the checks into one envelope that is then sent by the ISE offices to the Artist.  When this process is used, Artists who fall into this category may receive their checks a few extra days later than Artists who get their checks through the direct mail system.


What are the procedures and policies that attach to ISE Honoraria which ISE Artists should be aware of?  


Payment timelines:  Artists should carefully read the information provided above and throughout this section to familiarize themselves with what they can expect regarding the  timeline for receipt of honoraria. 


Artists should be aware that the ISE often works with a fiscal agent to distribute funds, and that the ISE will abide by any routine process the fiscal agent uses.  Commonly, fiscal agents distribute checks only twice a month, and commonly there are various paperwork requirement “gates” which paperwork must flow through which must open and close prior to those distribution dates.  Additionally, the ISE office is staffed primarily by voluntarism, and even where our staff receives fees, they are very part-time staffers even at the highest levels of ISE administration.  Thus, Artists need to constantly be aware that the ISE uses shoestring staffing where dedicated staff members must wear multiple hats and must serve multiple demanding functions. 


This type of demand on staff and volunteers means that the ISE offices require flexibility in turn around time for various types of tasks and especially for paperwork. 


Therefore, in most cases, in the absence of any pre-negotiated agreements, Artists should expect at least a one month lagtime to occur prior to receiving honoraria or most reimbursement checks, although a typical window for honoraria payment following a show is most commonly the 4-10 week window described below.   If you do not wish to allow this turnaround time before receiving your check, and have a TERRIFIC reason why you should not allow the time, you may request an exception.  However, since ISE Honoraria are NOT paychecks and not intended to serve as paychecks, for the most part, our ability to grant exceptions is quite slim.  Thus, Artists who feel they will have a problem waiting from ROUGHLY 4-10 weeks after show close for an Honoraria check should NOT accept opportunities with the ISE.  


Local ISE offices periodically close to foster regional and national ISE activities: Further, due to the need to periodically close the local ISE offices to allow regional development of the ISE program when ISE staff travel out of state to foster visits to and networking with other Shakespeare programs around the country, Artists should be aware that staff abilities to manage Honoraria or other personnel-related processes take place in various “windows” - - -and are NOT a daily service.  


Caveats on grant-related Honoraria: Artists should also be aware that for grant or restricted donor-related Honoraria, the ISE will abide by all restrictions required, which can include certain processes related to timelines.  Although in no case will any ISE Honoraria intentionally be distributed later than 6 months after work occurs without a pre-agreement to that effect occurring between the Artist and the ISE, in certain types of grants for certain types of projects, it may be administratively most efficient to provide one-time, lump-sum honoraria for the project after the project concludes or substantially concludes, and in these cases, Honoraria may be paid either quarterly or bi-annually.  


Given the above restrictions, what timeline can Artists typically expect the ISE will follow in arranging for the distribution of Artist Honoraria: 


While the ISE will always strive to get Honoraria payments out even earlier, ISE Honoraria are typically paid out approximately one to two months following a show’s close (or in one lump sum payment after a grant closes).


Other notes about Honoraria payment timelines: While the ISE will provide an approximate timeline during which the ISE will guarantee that Artists will receive their Honoraria checks, unless a specific advance agreement about paydates is negotiated individually with an artist, the ISE will NOT provide an exact date by which checks are guaranteed to arrive.  This is due to a multiplicity of factors beyond our control which change from show to show, such as a variety of grant deadlines and requirements which change from grant to grant, the small nature of a volunteer run office, the complexity of working with a fiscal agent, and the fact that ISE offices run on a annual hiatus system where during certain seasons, the local office will temporarily close to allow ISE personnel to participate in regional or national networking and program development activities which permit the ISE to grow and develop as a regional and national presence.  


However, the ISE is happy to provide periodic updates to Artists which assist Artists with understanding exactly where a given check for a given show is in the ISE pipeline, so that Artists may have a very good guestimate as to when checks for a given show are likely to arrive.  Artists should be sure to plan accordingly for the various ISE check-arrival windows.  


What timelines or restrictions apply to the submission of receipts for reimbursement by Artists or other show professionals who are not ISE staff?


The ISE can sometimes issue small reimbursement amounts to artists immediately.  Feel free to ask if you have a small reimbursement request.


However, especially for amounts in excess of $40, reimbursements of expenses submitted by Artists or non-ISE staff typically require the following:


  •  pre-approval by ISE staff
  •  submission of receipts to ISE staff, with an explanation as to how the item was used or what purpose it was used for.  These explanations can be neatly, legibly written on the receipts (generally preferred, especially for fewer than 10 receipts) or if it is easier or otherwise needed to make the information legible, can be typed/written on separate paper which is attached to the receipt.
  •  completion and submission of any required forms that either the ISE or its fiscal agents may require for bookkeeping purposes


Once the appropriate paperwork is submitted as described above, reimbursement checks will be issued according to the standard processes used by the ISE or its fiscal agent.  Typically, these checks are issued by the fiscal agent at only two possible points in the fiscal agent’s bookkeeping cycle – at the middle of each month and the end of each month, with all paper work due to the fiscal agent from the ISE at least 4 days prior to those dates.  Artists submitting receipts for reimbursement should then additionally allow another 4 days at the ISE end for receipts to go through ISE check point gates.  Thus, Artists requesting reimbursement for project-related expenses should submit reimbursement to the ISE no later than 8 days prior to the middle or end of the month dates when the fiscal agent issues checks. 


Also, Artists requesting reimbursements should keep in mind that the ISE offices close for Hiatus at predictable points of the year, especially during the months of August and early September.  You will need to keep in mind that when closed for Hiatus, the ISE will be temporarily unable to process your reimbursement requests, so please plan your requests accordingly.  


Is there paperwork that Artists are required to complete in order to receive Bard Basket splits, Honoraria, fees, or reimbursements?


Yes, although this is typically very simple paperwork.  For reimbursements, see the reimbursement section.


For Honoraria:  Per IRS regulations, ALL Cast and Crew members who recieve a payment from the ISE for their work are REQUIRED BY LAW to fill out a w-9 IRS form, and all payments are subject to IRS 1099 reporting.

Additionally, ISE Artists may be asked to “sign out” from a show (or project) on or near the final day of the show or project on ISE forms, usually after final strike duties are completed and costumes or props belonging to the ISE are returned..  Typically, ISE staff will not accept sign outs until the majority of strike duties are completed, so that strike duties are shared evenly and fairly by the entire team and no one “leaves early”.  


Usually, the ISE show sign-out forms require that Artists provide the following information:


  •  Name and Signature
  •  Contact email information (even if you think we already have it)
  •  Contact phone information
  •  Address to where payment should be sent (keeping in mind that payments will likely be sent 6-8 weeks from the sign-out date, so selecting an appropriate mailing address accordingly) and 
  •  Social Security number.   


  •  In the case of any pre-negotiated fees or pre-set Honoraria amounts, ISE forms may also request the Artist confirm on the form the amount expected and agreed upon. 


Are Artist Honoraria or fees paid to Artists by the ISE subject to taxes?  


All ISE-paid Honoraria or fees of course are subject to all federal and state tax requirements, and it is definitely possibly that you may owe some taxes on your Honoraria as you would on any income.  


However, when the ISE is working with a fiscal agent, the ISE makes no judgment about tax applicability whatsoever, and tax related duties are handled by the fiscal agent or under their direction.  


Therefore, when working with a fiscal agent, the ISE will typically simply collect Social Security information from Artists and pass this on to the fiscal agent, who will issue 1099s or any other tax process according to their own internal guidelines.  


Artists should consult with a tax professional for any more information about tax liability for Honoraria or fees received on an ISE project.  The ISE does not intend or seek to provide advice on tax information or questions. 


Who should Artists contact if they feel their Honoraria, Fee or Reimbursement check is delayed beyond the timeframe indicated above, or is lost, or are concerned with the amount of a check?


IMPORTANT: Contact the ISE directly at 274 8989 with any questions or concerns about an ISE check.  Even when the ISE is working with a fiscal agent,  do NOT contact the fiscal agent directly unless specifically directed to do so by either the ISE Executive Director or Artistic Director, and then, only AFTER contacting one of those individuals first.  


The fiscal agent is responsible for multiple different accounts and will not be able to help you, and calls to the fiscal agent from the field will unfairly burden the fiscal agency service and thus only slow the resolution of your problem.  


Instead, if you have any questions or concerns about your check whatsoever, here is the process to follow:


  • Contact the ISE Executive or Artistic Director in the ISE offices at 515 274 8989 or via the email contact provided to you during team meetings.  If your message is urgent, note that even while the ISE offices are closed on hiatus (when we do NOT check email), ISE staff always periodically checks Voice Mail, so leave a detailed voice message for best response.  However, especially when ISE offices are closed for hiatus, always allow at least a 3-4 day window for a response. 



How many different types of jobs does a typical ISE show provide for workers in the creative economy?


A large Mainstage show will often provide approximately 50 or more jobs per show, while a smaller show might provide 5-15 jobs.


What types of jobs does the ISE create?

The ISE is proud to create multidisciplinary jobs that bolster the local creative economy.  We create the following types of positions:


  •  Jobs for Performing Artists: Actors, Dancers, Musicians, 


  • Jobs for Backstage Artists: Textile Artists (Costume design, stitching), Lighting Design, Set Design, Painters (set, etc.), Props creation, etc.


  • Artistic Leadership positions: Directors, Technical Directors, Stage Managers, Choreographers, Musical Directors, and various related assistantships and intern positions.


Information about joining us:

Auditions and Resumes


The ISE obtains cast in a variety of different kinds of ways, including by audition-less preferential casting for those who have successfully worked with us before, as described above.  However, the ISE also accepts inquiries and resumes from people who would like to be considered for work with us, as well as conducts auditions for certain positions.  Find more details about our processes, below.


Submit your resume, headshot or dvd for our files:


  1. We accept submitted information at any time of the year. Send info to or send info by snail mail to:


  1. The Iowa Shakespeare Experience, 669 20th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50314


Inquire about Auditions:


  • Contact to inquire about upcoming opportunities.  Please put the words “seeking Audition information” or “seeking X opportunity” in the title line of emails. Note that white we may hold auditions for other shows throughout the year, casting for summer openings begins no later than February of the preceding spring, so we advise contacting us during November- January for best results.  



Notes for Actors or other personnel interested in traveling to participate in one of our shows:  


Gas Reimbursement. We may be able to offer gas cards or minor reimbursement for those who must travel a distance of 25 miles or greater to attend rehearsals or to be in performances.  Arrangements for this must be negotiated in advance of finalizing casting. 




  • For Actors who live greater than 45 miles away, we may also be able to provide limited housing in the Des Moines area.  To be provided with housing, we would need to draft up a housing agreement in advance of casting for a show.  If we agree on a housing provision, ISE housing is likely to be provided in a room in a typically high end private home or in some cases, in a local college dorm or hotel.  
  • Most housing locations are on a bus or bike route or both.  If you will be relying on public transportation, be sure to discuss this with us in advance.
  • If we provide housing, you will be asked to sign a housing agreement which will require, among other things, an agreement for quiet hours and drug/drunk free behavior.  Usually our housing stipulates that those housed must keep roomssmoke free and without pets, although very occaisional exceptions will be considered. 
  • If we do not offer a housing stipend and you wish to come work with us on your own from an out of town base, we can refer you to excellent dorms, bed and breakfasts, hostel-like facilities, possible roommates, and especially camping  - in some cases where we do not provide housing per se, we may be able to provide a small “Board” wage for food expenditures.  



See also the ISE Internship Page and ISE Internship FAQs



About the ISE working style: Discovery


The ISE Artistic Director practices a collaboration-oriented working style which at such schools as the University of Iowa, is known as “Discovery”.  This may be a different process than some Artists may be used to, and it can be a difficult challenge for those who prefer “black and white” directing or thinking.  However, the ISE believes that engaging in the process of discovery and artistic collaboration can result in particularly high caliber art, although of course at all times, the Artistic Director or Show Director makes the final decisions about artistic choices.  


One of many, many excellent articles and approaches which discuss the nature of a collaborative discovery process is this article from James Hindman found at Developmental Approaches to Theatre. 


Notes on outdoor and/or “found space” theater:


At least one of the ISE Signature Programs takes place outdoors: during our theatre-under-the-stars annual summer Shakesperience Festival.  Other types of ISE Signature programs involve theatre performed in “Found Spaces” – especially historical spaces not originally designed for theater. 


We believe that outdoor theater and “Found Space” can create some of THE most memorable experiences of theatre- for audiences AND artists alike.  And, we are the reigning experts in Metro Des Moines outdoor space theatre and Found Space theatre alike. 


However, for both audiences and artists, the experience of engaging in outdoor or Found Space theatre can be markedly different from engaging in other types of theatre.


The ISE strongly encourages all artists to give themselves permission for outdoor/Found Space theatre to “feel different” - - -and for activities and processes engaged in while involved in non-traditional space theatre to BE different from those typical to the industry indoors. 


  • For example, there will likely be much less opportunity than artists are used to to work with sound and lights during this type of theatre.  
  • And, this type of theatre really optimizes the maxim that “anything can happen”.  
  • Roles in alternative space theatre may be more fluid (cross more “boundaries” or be more collaborative) than roles in traditional theatre- stage managers may overlap their roles more with house managers due to the unique nature of outdoor set up (or the need to tear down quickly if there is a weather event)- and performing artists may be called on to support backstage tasks more than would be typical in indoor theatre.  
  • Non-theatre artists like dancers and musicians may find they need to sculpt their work to the unique demands of the space.  Musicians may be visible and “center stage” at all times, and may need to make behavioral adaptations to being “in” a show rather than merely supporting a show.  Dancers may find surfaces unsuited to the use of Marleys -so dancing for the ISE may require adaptive moves for safety. 
  • Also, if nothing else, outdoor theatre requires that artists acclimate themselves physically to various elemental issues such as working in heat or wind or damp. 
  • Found Space theatre venues routinely include operating under often limiting rules set by a venue entirely unused to theatre conventions.   
  • f you join an ISE outdoor or found-space theatre show as a performing or backstage artist, we will discuss how to prepare for these challenges in greater depth during team meetings.  
  • However, we strongly advise that you prepare yourself for the experience of outdoor or found-space theatre in advance of joining our initiatives.  
  • An exOTHER ISE HR-RELATED POLICIEScellent place to prepare for the unique yet deeply rewarding challenge of outdoor theatre is at the Institute of Outdoor Drama offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  • The 2002 article “Understanding Theatre Space” by Lloyd Llewelleyn-Jones provides a great overview of found space considerations especially as they relate to the type of classical theatre the ISE often produces.  This article can be found at


ISE maintains a simple and easy to follow Social Media Policy:  
NO representative of ISE (be it as an Actor in a show or in any other way associated with ISE such as on its Board or staff) will utilize ANY form of public social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to publically criticze either ISE or its art, its personnell or associates OR the personnel, associates, art or other aspect of any other local theatre or performing arts company or Artist.  
This means that any concern or dispute will be handled privately, in a non-public way designed to be supportive of those who engage in the difficult and challenging world of the arts.  
Whether a questionable or objectionable use of social media takes place during the time when an individual is actively engaged in working on an ISE project OR whether the individual is not currently engaged with an active ISE project:  ISE will be unable to continue to cast or otherwise associate with any cast member or other associate of ISE found to be using social media in such a way as to cause damage to the public reputation of any local performing artist or performing arts organization (including damage to ISE).  This explicitly includes the use of social media or any other avenue of communication in any way as to resemble bullying of artists or artistic personnell. 
  • Should any negativity NOT originating  with an ISE representative be encountered in a public forum, such as negativity towards ISE or one of our Artists, the preferred ISE approach is to quickly correct any errors in fact/perception but, absolutely as soon as possible, to redirect discussions to a more suitable, private forum such as with individual email or preferably, a private phone conversation or private meeting.
Those perceived to be violating this set of civilised rules (or hovering close to violating the spirit of these types of rules and guidelines) will not neccessarily get any warning. While whenever possible, in advance of any potential issue, ISE will do our best to guide and help our associates to understand and truly implement the spirit of our social media policy, still: ISE reserves the right to immediate release ("fire") any associate or cast member should ISE develop concerns that the letter or spirit of this policy has been violated.
Because, the general rule of thumb here is so simple as to be easily summarized with rather famous guidelines that for centuries have served humanity well:  
  • If we can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  
  • Don't air "dirty laundry" in public (ALWAYS keep any disputes or concerns private and internal)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 
  • Recognize that to the degree you respect these policies, ISE will be able to continue to cast you or work with you - and to the degree these policies (or the Spirit behind them) are disrespected, ISE may never be able to cast or work with you again - - and in fact, in some situations, may find it neccessarily to immediately remove you from a show or ISE project.  
ISE is fortunate to regularly gain many enthusiastic supporters who often wish to go the extra mile to assist ISE with the development of promotional materials or promotional opportunities.  We are both grateful and supportive to those who bring their talents to the table in many ways in support of ISE - be it with the creation of handouts, posters (electronic or paper), with the taking and/or production of photographs, and/or with nurturing ISE's strong relationships with the media/press.  
So, if you are a person who would like to assist ISE in these forms of branding and promotion, please do not hestitate to contact us about your interests - -and we will almost certainly enjoy a fruitful relationship with you, including (from time to time) being able to offer you various forms of advertisement and recognition for your services.
However, as is standard Best Practice for any non-profit agency, the ultimate decisions and responsibilities for ISE brand and images rest with ISE - and solely with ISE.  
Moreover, it goes without saying that all original ISE plays or play adaptations are copyrighted to ISE (generally, to Lorenzo Sandoval, ISE Artistic Director and in-house playwright) and that personal copies an actor may retain of an original ISE script may NOT perform that script (or any part thereof not otherwise in the public domain) without explicit written permission from the playwright. 
These general best practice principals play out in many different directions, for example:  
(photographs, posters, fliers, handouts, images)
  1. First, images (photographic or sketches, videos, sound recordings or similar) related in any way to an ISE show (uses ISE costumes, cast, venues, scripts or other show elements) and taken with ISE approval and knowledge are ultimately the property of ISE, unless a specific services contract is pre-negotiated that outlines certain execptions. This is standard industry best practice.   This includes "cast photos" or rehearsal photos, and ISE administration should be provided with copies of photos taken in this capacity' at minimum, those posted to facebook sites or websites.  Photographs, sketches or similar taken without ISE knowledge or only loosely related to the ISE team  (ie taken by an audience member or attendee at an ISE Community Show ) may usually be kept for private use (ie posted to private facebook sites, etc), but if directly taken by an ISE cast member or associate, should nevertheless still be run by ISE first before posting as a matter of professional best practice and common professional courtesy. And/or, ISE should be provided with copies of photos posted to facebook or private websites.  See item 3 below. 
  2. Second, while ISE values mutuality of creation regarding images and the presentation of images related to its shows (and thus will gladly work with designers or artists to execute ideas made all the better for mutual brainstorming and shared back and forth creative dynamic) ISE will retain the ultimate right of decision making as to final format for all images related to its shows.  Again, this is standard industry best practice.
  3. Third, all designs and materials created for use in promoting an ISE show (or for the self-promotion of an individual actor while that actor is IN an ISE show) should be submitted to ISE at the appropriate developmental stage- and certainly for final review before posting these materials to any internet (including private internet facebook pages) or other public viewing place.
  4. Fourth, while ISE owns all images pertaining to our shows, ISE will NOT market (for sale) any images related to any particular person or cast member without first securing permissions from that individual.  This is a voluntary practice which ISE subscribes to as we believe it is fair to Artists and thus, overall, should be a best practice for the Industry.
  5. Fifth, ISE owns all images taken with ISE knowledge at its shows in perpetuity, and reserves in perpetuity the right to make these images available for public consumption in various formats especially related to promotional materials, such as on the ISE website or in ISE promotional materials, etc.  Again; this is standard practice in the industry.  
  6. Sixth, ISE strongly discourages taking images at its shows when ISE has been given no knowledge that those images will be taken (ie surrepetitious use of cameras or videos in audience or at rehearsals) but recognizes that in a changing world of technology, ISE often cannot control such recordings. Accordingly, ISE hereby provides advance fair warning to its actors and artists that ISE cannot control all image-taking technology, and that therefore, an unauthorized (and potentially unpalatable) use of one's image is an inherent risk of consenting to present oneself in the artistic world today (especially the world of theatre.)
  7. Regarding all images (including video or sound recordings) that may be generated by a donor or volunteer or paid professional for support purposes of ISE (ie documentation or promotion of a show), ISE will gladly share copyright or ownership rights if such shared ownership is negotiated in advance, but absent any specific negotiation to the contrary, ISE reserves the right to fully control all such images, including to control the total destruction or total deletion of materials (including all "masters") ISE deems inappropriate or undesirable for any reason.
(Also regarding Donor/Sponsor interactions)
The following basic guidelines apply to all interactions with the press (gujideleines which are to be adapted for contacts with ISE Donors, Sponsors or fans), be these interactions which unfold via in-person discussion, by telephone, by email, or by Social Media:
  1. CASUAL OR SPONTANEOUS UN-SCHEDULED PRESS CONTACT: ISE expects all those who represent it (whether directly or by inference, such as due to a person being cast in a show or working - even just temporarily- on an ISE project) to of course be gracious and welcoming and postiive (enthusiastic, helpful, and honest) in the moment to any such outreach from the press. This means, for example: if you are contacted by a member of the press, in that point of contact, you will of course be polite, welcoming, and helpful. And sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) in the spirit of being helpful, due to the nature of certain types of "hit and run" press contacts (where a press representative is just looking for a fast immediate quote, such as during a post-show interview) you will be expected to provide an appropriate quote or appropriate basic information for the press on contact ( immediately.)  An excellent example of this type of press contact (and of excellent cast responses to immediate press questions) can be found in the ISE Ryan Kolder post-show cast television interview which followed our Midsummer Nights Dream Extravaganza show - you can find this on our "Sample Us" pages under videos.  
  2. However, in those rare situations where this type of casual or spontaneous press contact may take place without our awareness, ISE expects to be IMMEDIATELY notified of ALL such contacts or outreach from the press/mass media - -and for ALL such contacts to be immediately reported to and/or refered directly to an official ISE spokersperson.  Unless another official spokesperson is so identified for a specific project, the two individuals who serve as ISE spokespersons are Robin Heinemann, ISE Executive Director, and Lorenzo Sandoval, ISE Artistic Director. In sum, please directly supply the press with the direct contact information for Robin and Lorenzo.  (It is best to provide contact information for BOTH Robin and Lorenzo.)
  3. FORMAL PRESS CONTACT (INCLUDING SCHEDULING OF CONTACT WITH THE PRESS): ONLY official ISE spokespersons will formally book ANY media appearance or ANY appointment with a media representative (and/or with potential donor or sponsor) concerning ANY element of an ISE show both past, current or future.  
  4. ONLY official ISE spokespersons will formally provide ANY advance (non-immediate) answers to ANY press interviews or inquiries, unless an agreement is otherwise specifically reached with another person to do so.
  5. This means that ISE will retain the sole right and responsibility to respond to the press, to select actors or artists to be involved with press situations using internal criteria as ISE sees fit, and to provide outreach to the press.
  6. ISE actors, artists, or associates are otherwise explicitly prohibited from providing any form of press release (including from negotiating formal press appearances or outreach to the press) or otherwise initiating anything other than the most cursory types of relationship-building interactions with the press. For example, of course it is fine (and expected) to do your best to nourish any personal or individual relationships with press representatives that may unfold during the course of day to day living in the Metro.  However, beyond the building of cordial and appropriate relationships, ANY planned formal appearance or forward-looking promotional requests (or other forms of ongoing press discussion) will not take place at the Actor/Artist level, but instead should be immediately refered to official ISE Spokespersons.
  7. ISE will be happy to work in a mutual way with those of our artists who may have individual strong relationships with specific press representatives, but it must be emphasized that full mutuality is the key here:  ISE will not counteance any form of "lone ranger" outreach or representation to the press.
  8. As always, ISE retains the complete right to determine content of all information provided to the press, and to accept OR decline press appearance opportunities as ISE sees fit.  
  9. The "Flip Side" of ISE's press policies: To protect its Actor's privacy, ISE will NOT release contact information about its Actors or Artists to the press (or to any public agency) without advance knowledge from the Actor/Artist that they would be ammenable to such contact. 
The same guidelines above which apply to the press also apply to any Actor or Associate who is contacted by a current or prospective ISE donor, sponsor, or potential collaborating agency.  
ISE recognizes that it enjoys a combination of (often unique) public awareness along with a level of talent and an enthusiastic fan base along with iconic characters which - -when all four dynamics intertwine - -sometimes foster a tendency for a certain Character or Role to be elevated in public/media awareness.  For example, the role of Romeo/Juliet, Puck, Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Christmas Ghosts, Dracula, or other such iconic roles lend themselves naturally to this type of phenomenon.
Or, sometimes, a particular type of character may be of interest to a particular type of Actor in terms of that Actor's personal interests in elevating or extending that charactor for his/r own career development.
ISE is happy to support this type of media and fan interest, as well as to support our actor's personal potential growth in their desired careers.  ISE will be happy to work out individual arrangements with actors and media concerning this type of phenomenon.
However, in the absence of any specific negotiated agreements otherwise, the following rules of engagement (ALL Best Practice and standard in the Industry) apply to these situations:
For ALL public appearances as an Actor may wish to generate (say, in media, at a community event, or in the creation of personal self-marketing materials):
-Regarding any actor appearance as a "character" in any way related to a specific ISE show (ie: an appearance as "your" character from one of our shows, or an appearance under the name (or a similar name) of that same character from one of our shows, or an appearance as an "archetypal" character (similar type or personality), the following "temporary blackout" timeline will be adhered to:
-For a period of time 3 months in advance of any ISE show in which you expect or wish to be cast, as well as for a period of time 1 month post-show, you will either temporarily cease all such appearances and temporarily withdraw all such self-promotional materials other than those specifically approved of by ISE - OR you will negotiate a specific ADVANCE contract with ISE to the contrary.  See below.
Negotiated contract: In most cases where an Actor is intent on developing a very particular type of self-marketing campaign or career path, for the purposes of assisting with that Actor's personal career growth, ISE is usually willing to specifically negotiate additional or other terms appropriate for the circumstances.  However, again: these terms MUST be explicitly negotiated in advance.  And while ISE always aims for fair win-win mutuality in ALL its contracts, ISE hereby provides advance full notice that as is standard in the Industry and Best Practice, ISE fully retains the right to be the final determinant of the finished agreement.  ISE hereby puts all on notice that in making decisions about its agreements in this area, as a non-profit agency charged with service to the public, ISE will NEVER sublimate agency concerns or best practice in any such way as might damage or compromise ISE's mission to serve, including appearances which may confuse the public about who or what ISE is.
Among any interaction between ISE cast or staff members, or involving audience members or other participants in any ISE project (from rehearsals to more casual "get-togethers" to interpersonal communication to the full fledged show environment) ISE will not tolerate the use or threat of violence, nor the use of abusive language, nor any situation which a reasonable person using reasonable standards of the day and of current progressive culture would likely find to be abusive. This includes forms of abuse which involve or may involve commonly accepted definitions of racist or sexist behavior, harrassment, and bullying.  
Specific remedies will be tied to specific circumstances (and will include a remedy of immediate dismissal as and if ISE officials see fit), but ISE explicitly encourages any actor or other ISE associate who may be experiencing concerns in these areas to immediately an ISE staff member to discuss the concerns.  
GUNS AND WEAPONS:  ISE CAST AND ASSOCIATES: Whether the individual carrying the weapon carries it "legally" or not (ie a "registered" firearm), ISE expressly forbids the presence of guns or other weapons (AND, explicitly of "look alike" or "faux" weapons unless expressly neccesary and formally approved in advance for a show) to be present on the premises or on the person of ANY associate of ISE at ANY ISE event.  
  • This includes "casual" or informal ISE events such as a cast party or meetings held off show premises, but also covers ALL rehearsal and show spaces that ISE uses.  
Moreover, ISE has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for the presence of such weapons or look-alike weapons.  Once a cast member or associate has been informed of this policy, there can be NO (ZERO) "mistakes" or exceptions.  Bring a weapon or a look-alike item to an ISE event, and we don't care if you "just forgot" or "ran out of time" to otherwise handle the weapon/item.  We don't care if you are just about to go up in a lead role in one of our shows in moments-- the minute we become aware of the presence of such a weapon, you will IMMEDIATELY be asked to leave - and you will NOT have an opportunity to return.  
If you should refuse to abide by this policy, we will contact the appropriate authorities.
PERSONAL SAFETY: If you are bringing a weapon due to personal fear for your own physical safety, you must notify us in advance of this situation, and (working with the appropriate authorities whenever possible) we will work out a specific plan to manage both your concerns and ours. 
GUNS AND WEAPONS: ISE AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  The same policies as above also apply to ISE audience members.  If an ISE official becomes aware of the presence of a weapon in an ISE venue or on the person of an ISE audience member, the ISE official will assess the situation (working with a police or public safety professional as much as possible) and will at minimum, request that the weapon be immediately removed from the premises for the duration of the event.  
APPEAL TO OUR AUDIENCE MEMBERS: If only due to the presence of young children in our audiences and/or due to the inherently surreal world of theatre (where temporarily, reality can be all too readily confused with fantasy), we urgently and humbly request our audience members comply in advance with this policy, and even where carrying of a weapon or a weapon look-alike would otherwise be legal, voluntarily decline to bring weapons or look-alike weapons within the circle of any ISE event.