Austin Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast

Cast Member Rules

The Austin RHPS Cast has gone through many sets of cast rules in the past. Some were only a page long, while others were practically novels including footnotes and other such. At least I don't think we've ever tried to actually use Robert's Rules of Order (sorry, Houston!). Historically, the length of the cast rules have depended primarily on how anal and/or dictatorial the cast director(s) at the time were. For a blast from the past, check out what rules other cast directors have thought were appropriate:

  • Lip Service Rules - From August 1996, with cast director Chris Busby
  • Roctopussy Rules - From shortly after Triumverate was dissolved, around July 1995, with cast director Eric Simpson

The current set of cast rules were written by our cast director Joanna Stephens around April 1998. They were created with plenty of input from other officers and cast members, as well as Joanna's twenty plus years of experience with Rocky Horror (including all the associated bickering, backstabbing, and general bullshit). If you have any comments regarding the rules, please direct them to the current cast director.

Prologue (by Joanna Stephens)

First of all, I do not feel that we need a list of rules a mile long for an activity people join for enjoyment and without pay, and which is often our escape from the rules of everyday "normal" life. However, we do need some basic rules of conduct, for the good of the cast and the show.

Secondly, every previous attempt I have made to revise and update the cast rules was hampered by my feeling the necessity of adding some detailed qualification after each one, to try to prevent people so inclined from using a particular rule in its most literal sense as a big club to pounce on other cast members they don't like and beat them with. (The number of times people have eagerly asked me if so-and-so could be suspended for some accidental transgression has been rather disheartening.) The rules are supposed to be guidelines for civil conduct and a means of saving us grief from the theater and public, not a weapon in any cast feud. So rather than write two million pages when a million will do, I will just state that the cast director may take into account extenuating circumstances if someone breaks a rule.

Basic Rocky Horror Cast Rules

    1. We have eight elected positions detailed below:
      1. Cast Director
        1. Casts the show, except for special shows.
        2. Is the liaison with theater management.
        3. Mediates disagreements cast members cannot settle on their own.
        4. Is basically responsible for the show.
      2. Assistant Cast Director
        1. Contacts people on the week's cast list to confirm they can play.
        2. Has the authority to recast if the original choice for the part is unavailable or cancels, and the cast director is unavailable or has authorized the assistant cast director to do so on their behalf.
        3. Will generally be responsible for the show on nights the cast director is unable to attend, unless the cast director specifies otherwise.
      3. Recruiting and Training Director
        1. Will be the principal contact for interested audience members and newly recruited cast members.
        2. Will monitor and promote involvement of new cast members within the cast. This may include mediating between the cast director or tech directors and new cast members who are not aware of how things work.
        3. Will follow up with and contact cast members who have not been seen at the show recently.
        4. Has authority over who may train for what part. Exceptions can be made for emergencies and special shows.
        5. Refers people wanting to be trained for a new part to the cast member who can best train them.
      4. Treasurer
        1. Keeps the cast funds secure for the cast - NOT in a bank account or their vehicle due to several previous times this has not worked out.
        2. Doles out money or reimburses people for cast expenditures.
        3. Works on ideas for raising more cast funds (like garage sales, cast t-shirts, etc.).
        4. Collects donations from both the cast and audience at the show, or designates someone else to do so.
      5. - 6. Tech Directors
        1. Two people with equal authority over Tech.
        2. Assign tech positions.
        3. Have authority over tech passes and credits for tech.
        4. Oversee technical aspects of the show.
        5. Repair, refurbish, or replace broken props and/or lighting equipment.
        6. Work on obtaining and/or building new props.
      6. - 8. Special Shows Directors
        1. Two people with equal authority who work on special shows. This includes major shows, such as both Austin and National RHPS Anniversaries, Halloween, Road Trips, Cast Swaps, and shows in the Austin area that are outside our regular theater (clubs, colleges, or concurrent limited runs at another theater like Dobie). Also includes other minor shows and theme nights, such as Gender Bender, Unisex Weekend, Rookie Horror, Beach Night, Lingerie Night, and Tim Curry's Birthday/Frank Night.
        2. Are responsible for advertising, flyers, casting, and other aspects of the shows. However, any printed ads, flyers, and programs must be approved by the cast director since they represent our cast and theater.
    2. Elections - Are held twice a year (or to replace individual officers who leave office before their term is up). Terms are for six months. Elections are by written ballot and are counted by two impartial, usually non-voting people. If an election is so acrimonious the results could be questioned, we may print ballots for it. The number of votes received by each person is not to be announced out loud with the results (so as not to embarrass anyone who received none or a small amount). Ballots are destroyed after the election.
    3. Votes of confidence - May be called on an officer who has CONSISTENTLY failed to perform their duty, or performed it badly. It is a serious measure that is not to be done for only personal or trivial reasons. In otherwords, it is not legitimate to call one just because:
      1. You do not like the person.
      2. They did not cast you for something.
      3. They were "mean" to you (unless they browbeat, intimidate, or scream at people until no one wants to approach or work with them).
      4. They do not do things the way you think you would in their position.
      5. They went on vacation.
      6. They had one bad week.
      It is ONLY for cases in which someone is not living up to the responsibilities of their position or has purposely done something to endanger the show.
    4. Cast Meetings - Cast meetings are generally held after the show every other other Saturday. They may sometimes be delayed by a week or so, if we know in advance that many cast members are going to be gone that weekend (like cast road trips and such). Also if necessary, emergency cast meetings may sometimes be called to deal with things that need immediate attention. If you volunteer your home for a cast meeting, you may not exclude a cast member from attending because you do not like them or for other personal reasons. However if someone behaves in a really hideous fashion while there, shows up drunk and obnoxious, violates the host's rules for guests, or does something to endanger anyone or anything while there, then the officers and/or the host(s) have the right to ask you to LEAVE. While at the cast meeting, please try to hold down on excessive drinking. We would all like to make the cast meetings as short as possible, and obnoxious drunks do not help. If there is a party after the meeting, the party will not begin until the meeting is over (by then we will really need it).
    5. Becoming eligible to vote (and run for office) - In order to vote on cast matters, you must:
      1. Be a regular at the show.
      2. Attend three cast meetings (preferably consecutive).
      If you miss one cast meeting for a good reason you do not have to start over, but they cannot be months apart. Nonperforming cast are equally eligible to vote and run for office. If you quit the cast and want to rejoin several months later, then before your voting privileges are reinstated you must:
      1. Attend or perform in three shows.
      2. Attend at least one cast meeting.
      This is so people cannot "come back", vote, and disappear again.
    6. Remaining eligible to vote - If you are no longer able to attend cast meetings, but remain part of the cast and attend the show on a regular basis (so you know what you are voting on), you retain your voting privileges. If you go on a leave of absence, you must attend both the show and a cast meeting at least once in a three-month period to retain your voting privileges.
    1. Joining the cast - In order to become a cast member and attend the show using cast passes you must, if you are under seventeen years of age, have a permission form signed by a parent or guardian. This is because the movie is rated R, as well as the city curfew. We will follow up with a phone call.
    2. Becoming performing cast - To begin performing, under normal circumstances you must:
      1. Have completed four tech credits, two for lighting and two for floor tech. (If you walked out to smoke and missed half the show, the tech director will not credit you for that show.) Besides being a vital part of the show, doing tech also familiarizes you with the blocking before you start playing.
      2. Be trained by the training director or someone approved by them.
      3. Have a recognizable costume for your character or be able to borrow someone else's (please ask first, rather than just assuming until Saturday that they will loan it to you). We do not expect you to have the perfect costume to begin with (since Riff jackets with tails and sequined Columbia jackets are out of some people's reach), but please continue working on it as you do your show. We do have many cast costumes available as well.
      Old cast members who want to rejoin the cast do not have to redo their techs to do so.
    3. Emergency performers - The cast director (or whoever is in charge of the show) has the authority to crash-train someone, throw them in to play without being formally trained, or waive their tech requirements in order to fill an otherwise empty part and have a full cast for the show. This is the exception, not the rule, but it can happen. Usually we try to chunk in people who are longtime regulars and very familiar with the show or have played elsewhere, but sometimes someone who is a neophyte but willing to give it a try will get in. A few people's tech credits have been waived due to personal circumstances (e.g. moving away in two weeks, being pregnant and starting to show, etc.). But again this is the exception, not the rule, and is usually done for longtime regulars who are part of and familiar with the show, to play for one or two shows.
    1. Discrimination - Race and gender are not a factor in what parts anyone may play.
    2. Last minute recasting - If there is an emergency and we lose someone at the last minute, the cast director (or whoever is in charge) may attempt to recast the show. You have the right to refuse to be recast (unless it is for disciplinary reasons), although if it is an emergency we appreciate your willingness to fill a part for the good of the show.
    3. Casting criticisms - The cast does not cast the show. The cast director or special shows does. The cast may not scapegoat any cast member and demand that they not be cast anymore because they "suck in their part", you do not like them, or you do not think they are attractive enough. This applies to both regular and special shows. And no you cannot vote on whether specific people are cast or not, because the cast does not have the authority over casting decisions. If you can do it to someone, then someone else can do it to you.
    4. Personal conflicts - If you refuse to play in the same show with another cast member, then YOU will be the one to be recast and not them. We try to be sensitive in pairing people up, but casting the show around everyone's schedules is difficult enough without adding in who is mad at who this week. Performing is a privilege, and though we appreciate all everyone does for the show as a part of the cast, you are NOT entitled to make threats and demands (as opposed to requests) and/or to give ultimatums. If you threaten to quit the cast if you do not get your way, we may be really sorry to see you go but no one, no matter how good a performer, is so invaluable they are entitled to behave like a terrorist. (P.S. If you donated props and gave, not lent, them to the cast then you cannot quit during a tantrum and decide to take them with you.)
    5. Casting guidelines for regular shows
      1. Rotation of regular performers - People who perform a part on a regular basis rotate in the parts, as best as can be arranged with all the weekly variables of casting the show around everyone's schedules. People who play a specific part only occasionally, or usually as an alternate, may also request to play it (rather than just waiting for the weekend we are short a Janet or whatever). Old cast members may request to come back and perform occasionally as well.
      2. Becoming a regular performer - To be cast more often and achieve regular status (as well as increase your chances of being cast for special shows), please work on your blocking, costume, makeup, and feel for your character. Most of us are not professional actors, and the degree of natural talent among us varies. Some people really want to play, but need to have a few performances behind them to get over stage fright or adapt to performing. Generally speaking, the investment you make in performing deserves to be returned. If however you achieve regular status and then stagnate in your part (i.e. make no attempt to improve your show, costume, and/or makeup or stop taking care with them), you may be cast on a less regular basis (unless, realistically, we have a shortage of people in the part), and it will definitely affect your chances of performing in a special show.
      3. Requests - You may request to play a particular part on a certain night, but please remember A REQUEST DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU WILL BE CAST. If you and someone else both request Janet on Saturday night, and you have played it the last two shows, then they will probably be cast this time. Please do not just assume you will be playing until you have received a callback and been confirmed. You may also request to play, and have certain people play with you, one night for a special occasion - birthday, 100th show, etc. However the final casting will be done by the cast director, and if there is a special show or something else that takes precedence that night, your show may have to be postponed.
    6. Casting guidelines for special shows
      1. Who does the casting - Special shows are cast by the two special shows directors, and the cast director may not step in to overrule casting decisions. Since they bear all the responsibility for the shows, they deserve that much authority. If the two of them have a conflict they absolutely cannot resolve between themselves that is holding up the casting, then they may ask the cast director for input. Old cast shows, once approved by the cast director and special shows directors, may be cast and organized by an old cast member or a current one with ties to that cast "generation". This is because they know the people involved, have seen them perform, and are usually still in touch with them.
      2. Major shows
        1. Who will be cast - The big special shows, such as anniversaries, Halloween, road trips, and college or club shows, are the ones where we may be playing to a large crowd. Playing in them is something people earn by playing regularly and trying to excel in their parts. It tends to be representative of the regular casting for the several previous months. And yes, they may cast someone on both nights if they have two main parts they have played all that time. I repeat, anniversary shows more than any other special shows are not cast just by trying to cram everyone possible in to spare their feelings. Experience and how much a person put into the show over the past several months are big factors. As for the Halloween shows, since there are usually three (and occasionally four if we do an evening show at U.T.), there tends to be more room to fit in people who are good in their part but haven't played as long. Other factors in casting for Halloween include its relative closeness to the RHPS national anniversary weekend, the difficulties involved in casting sometimes when Halloween is a weeknight, and attempting to cast around everyone's Halloween night plans. However we do try to have the best cast possible on Halloween night, relative to who is available, etc.
        2. Who will not be cast - Usually if you just started performing right before a big special show, then you will not be in that one unless there is a shortage of people. But if you are around for the next special show, your chances at it are good. Your turn will come, but if you have been playing for two months then do not take it personally if you do not play anniversary.
        3. Resurrecting old cast - One thing the special shows directors cannot do is decide that the REGULAR person who has played Frank, Columbia, or whatever for the last six months of Saturdays is not "good enough" for a major special show, and bring back an old cast member who has quit and been gone to play instead. The CAST cannot decide this either! Keep in mind though that if you usually play Rocky but played Frank once by request, that does not automatically mean you are next in line.
      3. Minor shows and theme nights - The casting is much more relaxed for minor shows and "theme nights", which are basically the regular show with a running theme. People may make their debut in a part, play a part they do not usually play, etc.
      4. Casting difficulties - As with regular shows, if there are problems and a replacement is needed then the special shows directors can do whatever they have to in order to have a full cast. Likewise if there is a situation where the show is hard to cast (such as, oh, five U.T. shows in one weekend with about three days notice or a show at a club on Tuesday night where the cast must all be eighteen and up), then whatever is necessary will be done to get us in there and have a full cast. This includes training new people, begging old cast members to come back, switching what night someone is playing, and casting someone who may not be the best Brad we have. If you walk up to a special shows director who has just spent about twelve hours on the phone trying to get a cast together, and ask "Why are THEY playing Brad?"...well, do not expect a civil response.
      5. How NOT to be cast for the next special show - No matter how good you are, if you do any of the following then do not be shocked when you are not cast for the next special show:
        1. Throw a tantrum during a special show, and storm out and/or disrupt part of the show.
        2. Cancel at the last second for a major special show, with only a lame excuse as to why you did so.
        3. Behave really hideously on a road trip (especially if it jeopardizes our chances at future shows).
        4. Show up late or not at all on a road trip (barring mechanical breakdown and other such beyond your control).
        You can apologize or plead your case, but it is still the special shows directors' decision.
    1. Cast passes (both performing and tech) - If you get in on a cast pass for the night, then we ask that you:
      1. Donate - Contribute $1.00 to the cast funds, if you are able. This is not mandatory. Some people cannot pay the dollar, but still do a lot of essential things for the cast such as donating time, energy, props, and their weekends. All these things ARE WHAT KEEPS A CAST ALIVE, and they are invaluable. But anything you can contribute monetarily will help us refine the show, costumes, props, etc. and enables us to do things to engage the audience. We will take your pennies!
      2. Clean up - Help clean up the theater (or put away props, etc.) after the show. This IS mandatory. If you know in advance you have to leave immediately or if you become ill during the show, that is one thing. If you keep leaving the second the show ends, you may not get a pass for the next two weeks.
      3. Wear clothing outside - Please arrive at the theater with pants or a skirt on, i.e. something covering the lower half of your body more substantially than a garter belt, fishnets, and underwear.
      4. Use proper hygiene - Please take a shower, put on deodorant, and brush your teeth before coming to the show. Also please wash your clothes and costumes on a regular basis. This is as a courtesy to the people in both the cast and audience who have to be around you.
    2. Performing cast concerns
      1. Anal vs. Camp - Rocky casts traditionally divide into two factions: very anal perfectionists who look down on all improvisation as "camping", and those free souls who "just want to have fun" and overflow their characters' boundaries with wild improvisation. Or do they? There are these two distinct viewpoints, but this argument has gone on for literally decades. Remember, you cannot control someone else's show and make them play the part "right". If the whole show is ruined for you because someone ad-libbed a line, you are not going to enjoy Rocky; and that is not anyone else's fault. If you are doing this "for enjoyment", great, but please do not disrupt the entire show and everyone else's performance constantly. An occasional unexpected, funny thing during the show can be enjoyable for the audience if they feel in on the joke. But Brad and Janet do not need to spend half the show tickling each other, shrieking, and falling down like it is the AbFab Horror Show.
      2. Drugs and alcohol - Do not show up to perform drunk or stoned. If you did anything before the show that does not affect your ability to perform, that is your business. But if you show up so trashed you cannot walk a straight line, do not know what you are doing, and cannot give a decent performance, you will not play and the part will be recast. Additionally, if you are playing Eddie, then we will not give you much leeway and will recast you if we have any doubts. This is the one part in which you could potentially hurt someone if you are not careful.
      3. Not performing - If you are cast and confirmed, but do not bother to show up to play or call to let us know you could not (unless there are real extenuating circumstances, like being in the emergency room or broken down away from a phone), you will be suspended for two weeks. Ditto if you get angry (as opposed to genuinely ill, injured, or so unexpectedly emotionally hurt you cannot function), storm out and refuse to play.
    3. Tech concerns
      1. Performing cast conduct - Tech is a very demanding position. Our equipment frequently gives out, and if you try to fix things in a hurry you can be injured easily. Sometimes tech people, especially new ones, get in the cast's way while trying to perform their duties. But without them no one could see the show, and the cast would have to do all the prop work themselves. Not many people really enjoy tech and very few people, once they reach performing status, want to do it again. So, if you are performing cast, please treat the tech people with respect and civility. If a tech person continually screws up or is not trying, please talk to them and/or the tech director. But if the lights go out, please do not scream "LIGHTS!" from the front row unless you are SURE someone is not back there trying to fix the light in the glow of someone's Bic, fumbling with sweaty hands and hoping not to get shocked. (I'm not talking about Toucha here.) Additionally, breaking character to bellow across the theater at the tech people does not look good to the audience, especially if you are being lit but just do not like how you are lit. They may not notice the wrong color filter, but they will notice THAT and it is off-putting, especially since we are constantly trying to recruit new cast members out of the audience. The tech people are also cast members, not peons who only exist to light your stellar performance. They are under a lot of pressure. Please do not add to it with a lack of civility.
      2. Tech conduct - If you are a tech person, however, you need to pay attention to the movie as well as the performances so you will be aware of when to switch the lighting, etc. If the tech director assigns you a position and you got in on a pass for it then, unless they reassign you, you need to do what they ask you to do. Please respect their authority. If not, you may be denied a tech credit or a pass in the future. Refer to the written guide for tech (which will soon be written if it has not been already) to make things go more smoothly. Also, please try to avoid having LOUD conversations in the back of the theater while lighting that are audible to the audience (especially about the quality of the show, someone's performance, or what a pain in the ass someone is to the tech people).
    4. General concerns
      1. Personal conflicts - It is not the cast director's (or anyone else's) job to be the Rocky Horror Police carrying a big stick to beat people with for not being good children. Outside of junior high, that is not how the real world works. (Okay, some us may be IN junior high, but if so they do not come to Rocky to duplicate that experience.) Everyone does not have to like each other (there is a reason people keep describing Rocky casts as "a big family"). We just ask that out of respect for the show (hopefully a priority we all have in common) you do not allow personal dislikes to become feuds at the theater that disrupt the show, start the rest of the cast fighting, and give the audience (or worse, the management) the impression that we are a bunch of obnoxious, immature assholes. If you throw a tantrum so huge it disrupts the whole show, especially outside the auditorium or in the theater at large, that risks getting us in trouble with management, you will be suspended for two weeks. If you do not know whether someone has a problem with someone else's actions during the show (tickling, coaching them during the show, minor teasing, etc.) then please stay out of it and do not jump all over them, especially during the show.
      2. Interacting with theater management - If management asks you to do anything, please cooperate with them and do not argue. (In the past when one particular Northcross employee went out of her way to be rude to us every night, the cast leaders approached management and they asked her to be civil to us.) The cast director (or person they leave in authority in their absence, if it is an emergency) IS THE ONLY ONE DESIGNATED TO SPEAK TO THE THEATER MANAGEMENT ABOUT CAST CONCERNS. We are not talking about the consumer issues here like the volume of the movie, air conditioning, conditions of the bathroom, etc. - you can mention that stuff to them yourself. But if we have a problem, we need something, etc., then it is the cast director's responsibility alone to discuss it with management.
      3. Drugs and alcohol - ESPECIALLY if you are under seventeen, DO NOT BRING DRUGS OR ALCOHOL to the show (INCLUDING the parking lot!!!). We do not need the problems this can cause. If your parents signed a permission form for you to play in a supervised environment, it will not keep you out of trouble if you are caught outdoors acting "suspicious".
      4. Dealing with cast members - If you intentionally hit or otherwise physically harm another cast member at the theater, you will be suspended for two weeks. If you deliberately do anything to endanger the show or other cast members, you will also be suspended. If another cast member asks you NOT to touch them in a certain way (grabbing, tickling, snapping bras or garters, pushing, biting, etc.) - STOP. Some people have good reason not to want to be touched - please respect that. If anyone repeatedly sexually harasses other cast members, not playful things people do not mind but persistently groping people or sexually intimidating them to the point where it is ruining the show for will be stopped. Remember, this behavior is against the law (especially if the person being harassed is a minor) and if it persists you will be asked to leave the cast and may possibly be banned by management from the theater itself if necessary.
      5. Dealing with audience members - For similar reasons, NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO FORCE AN AUDIENCE MEMBER TO DO ANYTHING AGAINST THEIR WILL! IF they do not want to be sacrificed, leave them alone and move on. If they get up there and change their mind, let them go and be nice about it. If you do anything to someone from the audience against their will, YOU WILL BE SUSPENDED FROM PLAYING AND/OR GETTING IN ON A PASS FOR TWO WEEKS. If you do this a second time, you will be asked to leave the cast indefinitely. This is the most urgent rule of conduct at the show. (No, you will not be suspended if you hit someone with a roll of toilet paper or some unintentional thing like that.)

If you think these rules are too anal, take a look at the earlier versions on the web page ( If you think they are not anal enough, then hop in the wayback machine and set it for 1985 (bye!). At least there aren't footnotes! If you are STILL looking for a way to beat someone over the head with these rules, HONK ON BOBO!!!!