I would arrive at least 1.5 to 2 hours before competition for long term or spontaneous to get the jitters out of the kids. Young kids will simply not be able to focus until they get to the venue and run a bit of the energy out. You also want to allow for any late situations with other parents. You will want time to warm up for spontaneous, and time to get props together, look for damage and discuss or run through the skit lines. You also want time to get the team to the performance room to see what it looks like. Some kids may care about this very much and some will not: you’ll know who on your team needs this and perhaps this is you!
Check out the performance area. Note which way the team will enter the performance area from the staging. Where is the outlet (if needed)? Are there changes in the room from where the team practiced? Ask them questions about this and make sure they have resolved any concerns.
Arrive at the pre-staging area 20 minutes before the performance time. There is always a team in pre-staging, staging and performing and it is critical the tournament stay on time. Inform the tournament director or problem captain of any concerns so they can work with your team.
Parents can bring props in to the facility and all the way to staging. They can also clean up and are encouraged to do so. They CANNOT put on costumes and make up, etc. There are many volunteers on site during the tournament day and we do go to the bathroom (the things we see). We will politely remind the parent/coach, etc. of outside assistance but we hope not to give a penalty for such, as we want the entire process to be a success for the kids. Makeup applied by a young child may not be perfect but the judges are looking for age appropriate work. Please make sure parents understand this.
Once both the long term and spontaneous are done, enjoy the day. Watch other problems, go to lunch together, or whatever works depending on your performance time. Be sure to stay for the awards! You never know who wins.
More on how scoring works in my next blog.