Compensation & Professional Growth Opportunities
With a performing cast of over 300 individuals, with a majority returning year after year, the Festival entertainment budget often doesn’t allow for paid compensation for most first-year performers. Returning cast typically receive a stipend to help offset expenses. That stipend can then grow into a booking fee and additional compensation privileges such as hat pass (accepting tips) and merchandise sales. Many cast members that earn a living as professional performers at renaissance festivals and other venues have followed this same path.
To earn a booking fee and/or hat passing privileges you need to have developed a repertoire of performance material (bits) that is successful at capturing the interest and attention of patrons in a positive manner and on a consistent basis. And you are able to use your material to develop and grow a crowd of patrons around you while you perform, as detailed in the audience building section of the Entertainment Handbook.
Many cast members choose to participate not for professional ambition, but as a fulfilling hobby that offers the fun and experience of performing, the enjoyment of creating memories for the patrons, and the social fulfillment of being a part of a wonderful community of individuals with similar interests in the arts, history, and costumed play.
For those with ambitions for more, we are here to help.
It takes a season or two of going through our workshops and practicing your material at the actual Festival to succeed at this. When you reach a point your first or second season where you think you have made progress, ask the Entertainment Director or Assistant to come watch you in action and offer feedback and guidance. We also recommend that you also seek advice from your supervisor and other veteran cast members. Spend time watching what they do. Do not copy, mimic or adopt another performer's successful bits and/or material. Simply watch how they build and manage their audience and adapt the strategies and methods to your character and material.
There really is a learning curve and a process for growing from volunteer performer to earning a paid booking fee and/or hat pass privileges. We can guide you through that. It just takes time, patience and work. So keep communicating your experiences, keep asking questions and keep observing and learning and we will keep working with you to help you achieve your goals.