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The Advisor

Getting Started

As your school's Cappies Advisor, you are responsible for making sure your school follows the rules.


You do not need to read the complete Cappies Rules. If you wish to do so, you can find them on the Cappies web site,, on the "Rules & Forms" page. Some key rules are set by the Steering Committee of your Cappies Program. Your Program Director will advise you of those.

Enlisting Your Lead Critic

Your school's Lead Critic should help you, and others at your school, with all aspects of the Cappies. If you participated in Cappies last year, please note that, this year, we are requiring Lead Critics to take on several new responsibilities. We are counting on each school's Lead Critic to do this well. If necessary, you can replace your Lead Critic at any time.


All Critics at your school—including those who may have been Critics last year—must attend training. Your program may have an additional training session for Lead Critics. By the time you get this binder, most (perhaps all) of your Critics will have attended this. 


  • Decide whether you will ask Critics to take part in a writing exercise, like the one suggested in the "Review Writing" section, before their first Cappies Show—and, if so, how this will be done.
  • Discuss how you and your Lead Critic will together oversee Critic attendance and review writing performance over the year.
  • Schedule an initial meeting with Critics, at which you and your Lead Critic can both be present.

Meeting with Critics

When you schedule your meeting of all Critics at your school, please impress on everyone the importance of attending it.


  • Never discuss anything said in the Cappies Room about the Cappies Show with anyone who wasn't there (including you—unless there was a problem with decorum).
  • Never reveal how they scored a show.
  • Meet deadlines.
  • Follow rules on criticisms.
  • Always submit a review for every show they attend.

Alerting the Booster

Your Lead Critic will need to make sure your school's Booster gets the Booster Binder, but you might be able to help. Afterwards, the Lead Critic is asked to speak briefly with the Booster by phone, to alert him or her about the need for Critics to get to and from Cappies Shows safely, to describe what is required for your school's own Cappies Show, and to answer any questions the Booster might have.

Overseeing Your School's Participation

If you are not the only Mentor yourself, you are responsible for making sure the Show Director and Mentors from your school understand what they need to do, and comply with rules that apply with them. Make sure they receive, and read, their materials. 

Please look through the materials for them that are provided here.
Also, please make sure that any new Mentor from your school is trained, as required by the rules—and that every experienced Mentor knows any new rules and procedures. Also, please confirm that each Mentor sets an assignment schedule on a timely basis, knows those assignments as they approach, and requests any change in assignments on a timely basis.
If a Mentor misses more than one assignment, or fails to comply with the rules, the Steering Committee of your Cappies program may request you to replace him or her. (This is very rarely done.)
After your Lead Critic has spoken with the Booster, you might want to check with him or her to ask how he or she might wish to assist with your school's Cappies Show and help in other ways.
Please check with your school's Newspaper Contact, to ask if the school paper is willing to publish a Cappies review of your school's Cappies Show. Most school papers publish at least one Cappies review, and many publish two.
When nominations and awards are announced, and as the Cappies Gala is approaching, your Program Director may ask you for some assistance, on behalf of your school. Please make sure your Show Director is aware that your school can name up to four Commendees.
Your school cannot participate effectively in the Cappies if any part of your database is incomplete or inaccurate. Please work with the Program Director, as requested, to keep your school's Cappies database complete and accurate. If you know of any changes to any critic's (or adult participant's) email address or phone number, please make sure that person updates his or her database, via CIS

Overseeing Your Critics Team

As Advisor, you are responsible for making sure your Critics Team, and all individual Critics (including Critics from your school who are on a "regional team"), meet their responsibilities as required by the rules.

Lead Critic

You have already named your Lead Critic. In addition to helping with training, your Lead Critic should:


One key responsibility of Lead Critics is to help you to make sure that all Critics from your school show good decorum at Cappies Shows. If you receive a report from a Mentor, or (more likely) from your Program Director, that any individual Critic from your school—or your entire team—broke the rules on decorum, you should hold your Lead Critic accountable. As appropriate, you might ask your Lead Critic to help improve things at future Cappies Shows


Critics must be students in grades 9 through 12 who are currently enrolled in your school, and who has not been prohibited by school authorities from participating in extracurricular activities.


If, for any reason, you ever want to reinstate a Critic who has been taken off the roster, email a request to the Program Director.


CIS will automatically sent you all reviews written by Critics from your school. You will not see how Mentors edit them. Please look through those reviews, to make sure every Critic is doing work of acceptable quality. If you want, you can use this as a teaching opportunity—about theater, writing, or both.

In all likelihood, Critics from your school will conduct themselves well, do excellent work, have a great time, and learn a lot.

Helping Keep Everything in Proportion

A key goal of the Cappies is to celebrate theater programs at all participating schools, and to help build a sense of community among theater and journalism students from different schools. You can help with this.


No matter where the awards go, students at your school (and you) will have a wonderful time at the Cappies Gala. 

Using CIS

The Cappies is a web-based organization, with a web site ( and "CIS," the password-accessible Cappies Information Services. Nearly all the email you'll receive from the Cappies will come via CIS 

Always, please read the Cappies emails you receive. If an email asks for a response, or some action by you, please respond, or take that action, as soon as you reasonably can.
Make sure your "spam-guard" does not block out emails from any Cappies address. If you do not know how to do this, please ask your Lead Critic (or another student) to help you.
You will have access to your own CIS page. This will enable you to find up-to-date information about schedules, the performance of your own school's Critics Team, and other items.
Your CIS "username" will be your school's two-letter code, followed by a dash, followed by the first letter of your first name, followed by the first seven letters of your last name. (If your school is South High, initials sh, and your name is Sam Johnston, your username would be: sh-sjohnsto). You will receive a password as soon as your school's on-line application is approved. As the Cappies Advisor, Show Director, and Mentor for your school, your username and password will be the same, for all three.
A new feature will soon be added to CIS enabling each school's Advisors, Show Directors, Mentors, and Lead Critics to email each other—and enabling all of them to email the school's Critics and Booster. This will assist you greatly in communicating directly with each other. You will be advised of this new feature when it is available.
Please read the instructions for CIS Spend some time with your school's Lead Critic to make sure you understand how to log-in, and how to use it. CIS may seem daunting, when you first encounter it, but it's simpler than it looks.

Making Comments or Asking Questions

If you change your email address, or any of your phone numbers, during the year, please use CIS to insert the change in the Cappies database