Carolina Renaissance Festival

Saturdays & Sundays, Sept 30 - Nov 19, 2017

16445 Poplar Tent Rd Huntersville, NC, 28078

10:00 AM - 5:30 PM, FREE Parking, Open Rain or Shine, No Pets Please

Open Saturdays & Sundays, October 3rd - November 22nd, 2015

Cast Member Participation Guide

Carolina Renaissance Festival Entertainment Participation Guide

The Festival involves a large number of people, all with unique gifts and experiences to bring to the "village" marketplace.  In order to work together as a team, we have prepared the following information to promote a smooth running of such a large event.
While there are guidelines for all Participants in the Festival Rules and Regulations, these are guidelines that help steer the Entertainment Program.

Overall Goals
  • Our main purpose is to enhance the experience of our guests by positive interaction in keeping with the theme of the Renaissance marketplace.  We refer to Fairhaven (the name of our village) as "a happy village" as a reminder that pleasant interaction leads to positive responses.
    • As we are recreating a 16th century European village, please do not smoke, drink soda from a can or wear sunglasses or watches on stage.  Not all cast members can afford period props and it is understandable if you are eating Festival foods from the containers in which these foods are served to the public.
  • Another important goal is to support Festival marketing; participating in opportunities to promote the event and giving potential guests an idea of the variety of amusements the Festival provides.


  • Auditions are held several weeks prior to the event to allow time to communicate with new cast members regarding rehearsals, etc.  Auditions are formally scheduled and publicized.  However, the Entertainment Department is willing to arrange individual auditions at the Festival office as may be needed.
  • Please be aware that no auditions will be held once rehearsals have begun so all cast members have opportunity for all rehearsals.
  • Casting decisions are made based on the needs of the show.  However, the Entertainment Productions Team is committed to helping each individual find a role that allows you to feel successful in your support of the Festival, your fellow performers and your personal goals.
  • Because auditions provide the opportunity to try to fulfill the casting needs of the event and get a sense of the strengths of an individual, the Entertainment Staff will work to ensure all entertainers have had an opportunity to go through the audition process.
  • It is important we support successful participation for the actor as well as the Festival.  If your group assignment does not work out, let your cast supervisor or the Entertainment Staff know so other assignments can be made to find the best niche for you and the Festival.
  • Veteran performers can change groups or characters for each new season as long as they re-audition.  Auditions provide an opportunity for uninterrupted communication with the Entertainment Department to help you refine your participation and clarify how you and the Festival can support each other better.
  • Some veteran cast members may receive a letter (at the end of the season) asking them to re-audition.  This letter goes to people that may need a little more support which they didn't get during the show.  Auditions provide you an opportunity for uninterrupted communication with the Entertainment Director to help you refine your participation and clarify how you and the Festival can support each other better.
  • Participation Agreements:
    • Each actor cast as an individual character will receive a Participation Agreement.  This agreement must be signed and all pages returned to the Entertainment Office by the date indicated on  the agreement.  Parents of performers under the age of 18 must also sign this agreement, and this signature MUST BE NOTARIZED.
      • Minors are also required to turn in a completed "Emergency Medical Treatment Form" before they can be issued a pass.
    • Each act hired will receive a Participation Agreement, via the group representative.  This agreement must be signed and all pages returned to the Entertainment Office by the date indicated in the agreement.  Parents of performers under the age of 18 must also sign this agreement, and this signature MUST BE NOTARIZED.
      • Act representatives must provide the Entertainment Director with a list of act members that will include first and last names, as well as what group members are under the age of 18, prior to Dress Rehearsal.
      • Act representatives will be sure minors in the act turn in a completed "Emergency Medical Treatment Form" so a pass may be issued.


  • Rehearsals help us prepare as much as possible for the Festival.  There is a great deal of information provided at rehearsals for cast members, along with opportunities for work in performance groups and a chance to get to know your fellows.
  • Every attempt is made to arrange a time and location for rehearsals that will enable the largest possible number of cast members to attend.  As our local cast members have a variety of work/school schedules and obligations, it is difficult to find a time and place convenient for everyone. (Please be aware that the location can dictate the schedule.)  We realize that it can be difficult to attend rehearsals regularly.  However, rehearsals are to your benefit and can make a great difference in your successful participation in (and, therefore, enjoyment of) the Festival.
  • Rehearsals are participatory in nature.  If you attend, be prepared to rehearse, not watch.  Interactive theatre, by its nature, requires action.
  • We try to present as much helpful information as rehearsal time allows.  Still, there is so much information that would be helpful; we make every effort to choose what is most valuable.  Therefore, we do ask that you make us aware of anything that may prevent you from participating in the rehearsals.
  • Dress Rehearsal is part of the preparation process and is mandatory for all cast members.
    • As it is Dress Rehearsal, you must attend in costume.
    • It is at this time you will receive your packet including your participant pass, your complimentary tickets, a Schedule of Events and other items pertinent to your participation.
    • You will also receive and must sign for your copy of the Festival Rules and Regulations in order to receive a pass.
    • All participation agreements MUST BE TURNED IN prior to Dress Rehearsal (traditionally the Sunday before the Festival opens).


  • Costume approval is required for all cast members.  All costumes must be approved on or by Dress Rehearsal Day.  Some costume guidelines are provided in the Festival Rules and Regulations.  In addition,  early rehearsals address costuming issues.
  • A mug is a required part of your costume (for health reasons).
  • Sunscreen is a required part of your costume (for health reason).
  • Headgear and a cloak are a required part of your costume (to assist in creating the atmosphere of the Renaissance as well as for health reasons).
  • Weaponry is NOT REQUIRED for appropriate costuming.  The Festival Rules and Regulations require all blades to be sheathed and peace-tied.  AT NO TIME AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should any weapon by drawn on Festival property, unless permission has been given IN ADVANCE.  Violation of this policy may cause you to be dismissed from the cast.
  • Do not carry anything on a show day that you cannot afford to lose.  Keep anything of value locked in your vehicle or, better yet, at home.


  • Sometimes you will be called upon to assist with promotions and personal appearances.  These promotions (all in costume and character) range from distributing Festival brochures to participating in a taping for television.
  • It is understood that you may have a variety of obligations and scheduling conflicts.  We are grateful if you are able to help.
  • Please remember you represent the Festival at these promotions.  Be on time, courteous, respectful and patient.
  • Some promotions require a lot of "hurry up and wait".  Again, please be patient.  We want our promotional partners to be impressed with our professionalism and look forward to working with us again.

Participant IDs, Camping and Security

  • To access the Festival property, including the backstage area, you will need a Participant ID (or pass).  It is a plastic, credit card-sized photo ID for those who participate regularly during the season.
    • For an individual who only participates a few days during the season, we may issue a temporary paper pass.
  • Passes are distributed on Dress Rehearsal Day in your packet and you are responsible to have yours with you (along with legal identification) whenever you are on the Festival property.
  • You must complete and turn in your Participation Agreement to be eligible for a pass.  Photo IDs are prepared by the Registration Department using a special computer system and are updated each year.
    • If you are part of an act and did not sign a participation agreement, you will be authorized to receive a pass once the act agreement is signed and the act representative has provided the Entertainment Director with your name.
  • There will be opportunities at rehearsals to register and to have photos taken (for permanent passes).
    • Veterans should only go through the Registration process if their physical appearance has changed enough to require a new photo or if they wish to camp.  Further information on passes can be found in the Festival Rules and Regulations.
  • Your pass comes with certain responsibilities.  You are expected to abide by the Festival Rules and Regulations as well as applicable local, state and federal laws.  Failure to do so may result in the loss of your pass.
  • Rudimentary camping facilities are available for Festival Participants only.  Camping requires Festival permission, paperwork and a refundable deposit.  For security reasons, your pass must reflect that you have registered to camp.
  • If you are under the age of 18 and wish to camp, you must either camp with your parents (who also must be participants), or, if your parents do not participate or do not camp, you may camp with an authorized Festival participant over the age of 21.  This requires approval in advance and a completed and notarized Parental Permission for Camping Form.
    • Guardians must be near their wards once the Festival day is done and are responsible for the actions of the ward.  Please take this commitment seriously.
  • Please refer to the Rules and Regulations for further information on camping.
  • Do not bring anything to the festival that you cannot afford to lose.  Please leave valuables at home.
  • Site Access/Safety Services
    • On a Festival day, expect to show your pass to the Safety Services staff monitoring the various accesses to the onstage area.  Please cooperate and have your pass ready as there is a non-recognition policy and they are required to see your pass every time you enter the site.
    • Safety Services personnel are dressed in gold shirts with green pants and caps, carrying a yellow flag with a red cross on a large pole, so they can easily be found in a crowd.  These individuals carry radios and are the first stop in an emergency situation.
    • Emergency situations can arise on a Festival day.  It might be a lost child or parent, a patron collapsing due to heat, a bee sting, or injury.  IN any situation, please remain calm and help keep others calm.  If you cannot see a Safety Services person close at hand, your next choice is to go to a food booth counter and ask for the manager.  Explain the situation to the manager and ask them to call Safety Services.  Please be brief and specific as to the nature of the emergency and the location.

General Show Day Schedule

9:00am  Cast Call (Mandatory)

9:35am  Opening Gate Show begins

10:00am  Cannon fire signifying opening of gates and beginning of show day

10:15am  First stage show begins

12:00pm  Joust for Favor of the Queen

2:30pm  Joust to choose King's Champion

4:15pm  Joust to the Death

5:15pm  Closing Gate Show begins

5:30pm*  Cannon fire signifying closing of Festival

*Approximate time.  Closing is influenced by a number of variable conditions including crowd size, weather, etc.  Closing time is communicated to the Entertainment Production Team via radio and then passed on to the cast.

Cast Call

  • In signing your Participation Agreement, you acknowledge your obligation to attend Cast Call (unless other specific arrangements have been made).
  • Each show day begins with Cast Call, held 1 hour prior to the firing of the cannon, which signals the opening of the show.  This cast meeting is one of the most important parts of the show.  It gives us the opportunity to talk about special events, visitors and promotions expected during the performance day.  It is also a chance to go over future Festival-related activities.  We will take time for vocal warm-ups and synchronize our watches to Official Renaissance Time (ORT).  Following the meeting each group will gather to take attendance and to share further comments and preparations.
  • As this is the only time each day that we have to be together as a whole cast, we will take opportunity for announcements.  Anyone wishing to share information with their Renaissance community can do so during announcements.  We welcome the sharing of news.  Any announcements should be brief and to the point as we have a great deal to go over at Cast Call and still need time to get ready to open the show.

Attendance/Late Arrivals

  • Many participants have active lives with regular commitments for their time before Festival even begins and we are grateful for all the time dedicated to the Festival.  Please make your cast supervisor aware of any Festival dates you cannot attend at the first available opportunity so necessary scheduling adjustments can be made.
  • If you are ill and unable to attend the Festival, please contact the Festival office as soon as possible.  You can leave a message on voicemail or send a message via email letting us know why you are not able to attend and when you expect to join us again.  Please do so regardless of the time of day.  We will make sure your cast supervisor is informed of your absence.  Voice mail and messages are checked prior to Cast Call to ensure we are aware of any absences.  The Festival office is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, and from 7:00am to 7:00pm on Festival days.
  • While Cast Call is very important, it is more important that you arrive safely.  If you drive to Festival every morning, please be sure to allow plenty of time for traffic.  Again, you can call or email the Festival office if you expect to be late so we can let your cast supervisor know you are on your way.

Your Health

  • Consider yourself and actor/athlete on a Festival day to better prepare physically.  The Festival is an outdoor event and proper costume options as well as proper treatment of your body supports your success and keeps you from feeling drained.
  • The time to prepare for the weekends is before Saturday morning.  That means drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep on the days leading up to the weekend.  You cannot "catch up" on Saturday.
  • Remember to pace yourself.  Make sure you eat and drink water to help maintain your energy during the day.
  • Water cooler are provided at all of the stages as well as the Participant Break Area.  (Please be quiet if you access stages for any reason.)  Access to water is important for everyone.  Please let us know if a cooler is empty so it can be refilled.
  • Required costuming also helps you take care of yourself on a Festival Day.  Please remember to adhere to costuming guidelines.
  • We will offer advice during rehearsals for taking care of yourself physically as you perform.  Please do not hesitate to ask for suggestions from the Entertainment Production Team.  Additionally, veteran performers can be a great resource for ideas to maintain health during the Festival.  Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of ideas available...use your common sense to guide you to the ideas that will help you.


Audience Etiquette

  • As a cast member you will have opportunity to see various shows performed at our many stages, as your schedule allows.  Please keep the following in mind when you attend any show remembering that you are seen as an example of appropriate behavior.
  • If you sit in the audience at a stage, PLEASE WATCH THE SHOW.  Much like shows at a movie theatre, this is not an appropriate time or place to visit with friends.  Pay attention as a courtesy to the performers on stage as well as to the audience sitting around you.
  • You are still a character in our village.  Please remain in character any time you are within the fence (onstage).  This includes sitting in the audience at a stage.
  • As a customer service, please try to sit at the back or outside edges of the audience and support the Hawkers/Criers by inviting patrons to come in and sit as well, making room for them if necessary.
  • If you need to go behind a stage for any reason while a performance is in progress, please be quiet and discreet.  Do not distract from the performance on the stage.

Stage Act Etiquette

  • We appreciate your professionalism and know you understand the importance of keeping the show running on time.  We hope that you will see it as a courtesy to our guests as well as to your colleagues at the stages.  We are aware that, occasionally, something can interfere with running on time and we are grateful for your efforts to prevent lateness from becoming a habit.
  • We have provided a Stage Crew to support the Stages, assisting in the drawing of an audience and keeping the stages running on time.  Please support this crew in turn, as their tasks are not easy and a great many of them are very young.  They participate because they love the Festival and the community spirit.
  • Please keep the Hat-Pass and Selling Guidelines in mind.  These are contracted privileges.


  • We are fortunate to have such a large cast of so many dedicated individuals.  We will take the opportunity during Cast Calls and at the end of the festival to acknowledge our many talented and hard-working cast members.

Guest Passes

  • We welcome participants from other Festivals as well as former cast members who are returning for a visit and will provide eligible visitors with a pass so they can join us in entertaining our guests.
  • A pass entitles visitors to the same privileges and responsibilities of anyone full time member of the cast.  These visitors must sign a Volunteer Agreement, sign for the Festival Rules and Regulations and are allowed to camp if they sign an Overnight Stay Release and pay the applicable fees and deposits.
  • Guests who prefer to be treated as patrons should purchase a ticket (which doesn't allow them in backstage areas).  Please do not ask for a pass for friends or family who are simply coming to the Festival to watch you perform.
  • Anyone wishing to visit this Festival as a guest performer must call the Entertainment Office no later than the Thursday prior to the weekend they intend to visit.  This ensures we have time to arrange the pass with the Registration Department and communicate names to Security.
  • Please do not confuse Complimentary Tickets and Guest Passes as they do not come with the same privileges or responsibilities.

Additional Guidelines

  • Not every patron wants to interact, and not everyone laughs at the same jokes.  Don't be discouraged.  If you have questions about ways to refine a "bit", any member of the Production Team will be happy to assist you.
  • It is illegal for you to purchase alcohol at the Festival, regardless of your age. Anyone found drinking or under the influence risks his/her participation in the Festival.
  • Remember, whenever you are inside the fence you are "onstage". You are welcome to take your breaks "onstage" (as long as you remain in character) and the audience really seems to enjoy watching you eat.  However, if you cannot acknowledges passing characters (for example, Their Majesties) because you are eating, then it is best you take your break in the Participant Break Area.
    • Some members of the cast have relationships outside of the Festival.  We hope that you also develop friends within the cast.  This event, however, is about our guests.  Please confine personal conversation to backstage areas during your break or outside of Festival hours (including Cast Call).
    • Conversations onstage should be in character and overheard.  Watch out for the "doughnut".  Often, 2 actors will start a conversation too close together.  Other characters will come up to join the conversation, also getting too close and we end up with a circle of actors (or doughnut) shutting out the audience.  While your backsides are beautiful, please let patrons see your faces and hear your voices.
    • Your friends and family will want to come and see you perform at the Festival.  Since they want to see your perform, you should stay in character and keep to your schedule.  Please treat them with the respect and courtesy you would show any other patron, without public displays of affection or disagreement.
  • "Participant Only" signs indicate the gates you may use to access the backstage area from onstage.  Only individuals carrying a valid participant ID may have access to the backstage area.
  • We make every effort to run on time and, therefore, will synchronize our watches at Cast Call.  Feel free to carry a timepiece that is easily concealed (or use the opportunity to interact with patrons by asking them the time).
  • Any participant under the age of 18 must complete an Emergency Medical Treatment Form (even if the individual is represented by a group and does not sign a participation agreement).
  • We do have a code phrase we use if we are in an uncomfortable situation and don't feel we can exit easily, or if we see someone in a situation where they appear uncomfortable.  "Captain Peabody" is our code phrase.  Use it to let a passing participant know you need assistance, or to find out if someone else needs assistance.  We have communicated this phrase to vendors as well as to other departments.
  • Our event offers something for every age and taste.  A number of the shows involve comedy improvisations with the opportunity for the occasional risque joke.  Although this type of humor tends to go over the heads of young children (and some adults as well) you can look for the rating "LC" (Loose Cannon) on the event schedule for show for which we recommend parental discretion.  As the schedule is subject to change, "LC" shows will be indicated on stage kiosks as well.  Village characters should avoid vulgarity and be conscious of the ever-changing audience around you.
  • We pride ourselves on providing something for everyone, including disabled patrons. Avoid the tendency to shy away from guests who may be disabled.  Remember, they are just as willing to play and deserve the same show as any other guest.
  • Complimentary tickets are given to cast members in packets distributed at Dress Rehearsal.  There are opportunities to earn additional tickets on Bale & Bench Day and at promotions.  If you would like more tickets for friends and family, you can purchase discount tickets in the Festival office.
  • Click to view our hat pass guidelines.


Entertainment Production Team - Entertainment support staff who supervise main performance groups (street, royal court, etc.). These people will be introduced during rehearsals.

Entertainment Staff - The Entertainment Director and Entertainment Assistant

Legal ID - Driver's License, Student ID or State ID card which is legally accepted proof of identity.

On stage - Within the Festival grounds, any area accessed by patrons (yes, even the privies).

On site/Festival grounds/Festival property - The land accessed once you turn off Poplar Tent Road.

Participant - Anyone who is authorized to work at the Festival.  This can include food servers, craft employees, parking personnel, etc.  Though they are not part of the Entertainment Program they are still part of the cast as a whole.

Participation Agreement - The document authorizing your participation and signed by the Entertainment Director as well as the individual performing (or representative, in the case of an act or performance group).

Participant ID or pass - Document recognizing you as an authorized participant of the Festival. This allows you access to the Festival on a show day, including appropriate backstage areas.

Workshops - Another term for rehearsals.




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