Theatre Production Guidelines

This is a living document, and will be re-evaluated and updated each semester. Throughout the rehearsal/production process, our collective priorities will be:

  1. You, the student. Your mental and physical health

  2. Your schoolwork/education

  3. The show

General rehearsal schedule: The general times when rehearsals will be held will be announced before auditions are held and will appear in GaelXpress. For example in Fall 2021, rehearsals will be held on M and W from 6:30-10:00 pm, on Tu and Th from 7:00-10:00 pm, and on F from 4:30-8:00 pm with a 60-minute dinner break. (Friday rehearsals may be extended to 8:30 in future semesters.) Rehearsals will be held only during these hours until tech rehearsals begin. Similarly, the tech and performance schedule will be announced before auditions are held. These schedules will be included with the first audition announcement.

Weekly rehearsal schedules: In order to give students more advanced notice of their rehearsal schedule, the director will send out the rehearsal schedule for each week by the start of rehearsal on the Wednesday prior. This will give each student 5 full days of advanced notice in order to schedule work or plan their school work accordingly. This schedule will announce who needs to be at each rehearsal, but the content of that rehearsal may shift. The director may release students from rehearsals for which they were previously scheduled, but may not call additional rehearsals for students without this five day notice. In extraordinary circumstances, (e.g., an unanticipated serious illness or injury) the director and/or Stage Manager may respectfully ask the cast to add rehearsal time, but the cast should feel empowered to decline. (In other words, the director will not count on 100% participation.)

Stage Managers and Directors will hold themselves accountable to begin rehearsal on time and to end rehearsal on time. Each rehearsal will begin with a check-in for all those who are called. Those who express a need for additional transition time or a private space will be allowed it. 

It is our goal to give each student at least one night off from rehearsal each week before daily run-throughs begin. Depending upon the needs of the production, this may not always be possible, but efforts will be made toward that end. (If a cast member feels they are not receiving enough rehearsal time, they should speak to the director.) The stage management team, in collaboration with the director, will construct the rehearsal schedule, and they will make every effort to balance all the needs that they’re aware of, including the goal of giving each member of the team a day off. This should include members of the stage management team, which will allow ASMs the opportunity to run rehearsal one day a week as a training experience. SMs and ASMs should plan in advance for this eventuality by having “practice” rehearsals at which the ASM takes primary responsibility while the SM assists and/or coaches them. The first time an ASM runs a rehearsal on their own, the Production Manager will be present. The Director should always be present at rehearsals, and is considered the faculty member “in charge.”

The director and stage management team will make every effort to treat students’ time in rehearsal efficiently. This means that students should not be called to a full rehearsal when they will only be utilized during the final hour, for example.

We understand that our students are carrying full courseloads and often have a great amount of classwork to get done in the evenings. In an effort to assist students with this work and to set our students up for success, dressing room 4 will be a designated study area when rehearsing in LeFevre Theatre. (When rehearsing in Claeys Courtyard, the Lafayette Room will be the designated study area.) This is not a social area but an area for students to work on homework. Stage management will turn on the ClearCom system so students can hear rehearsal and stage management can call students to the stage, when needed.

Student stage managers are in a difficult-to-navigate position between students and faculty/guest artists. Therefore, in order to provide them the most support, each Stage Manager will receive peer leadership and conflict coaching training from the Office of Community Life. Due to the timing of this training, ASM’s may not receive the same training. Theatre faculty and staff will also take the course on conflict training in order to better facilitate issues that may come up during the rehearsal process.

It is normal and expected for conflicts and differences of opinion to arise during a collaborative creative process. We want to encourage all members of the team, including students, faculty, and staff, to be able to draw on multiple and varied approaches to resolving conflict. With the understanding that all situations are unique and individuals must use their own judgement in determining how to respond to a given situation, we suggest that you consider the following approaches in this order:

  1. Speak directly to the person with whom you are experiencing disagreement, and request clearly what you would like to see happen (or not happen). 

  2. Speak with the Stage Manager or Director of the production and request their guidance or intervention.

  3. Find an ally in the cast, crew, or your friend group and bring them with you for moral support in having any of these conversations.

  4. Speak to the Theatre Program Director (currently Deanna Zibello), Production Manager (currently Beckett Finn), or Performing Arts Department chair (currently Dana Lawton) and request their guidance or intervention.

  5. Faculty and/or the Stage Manager may refer students to the Office of Community Life for mediated dialogue.

  6. As a last resort, we are implementing an anonymous GoogleForm for rehearsal grievances. The results of this form are submitted to the Production Manager who will address them. Please note that the Production Manager is obligated to report incidences of discrimination or harrassment to Human Resources and/or Community Life.

In order to ensure that designers are prepared for tech, they are strongly encouraged to introduce appropriate tech elements into rehearsals prior to tech rehearsals. Lighting and sound designers may begin to write/use cues during rehearsals, allowing themselves and the director to know what these elements look and sound like in advance. 

In another effort to support our students’ wellbeing, we are eliminating the 10/12 tech day from our tech process. This means that the Saturday of tech weekend will no longer be a 12 hour day (10:00am-10:00pm). Additionally, we recognize the need for students to have a day off during the tech process for rest and to keep up to date with their coursework. Our tech schedule moving forward (with possible variations depending on the show and outside conflicts) will be as follows:

  • Thursday AND Friday: 

    • 6:00-10:00 - Cue to Cue (Q2Q)

  • Saturday: 

    • 12:00-5:00 - Add costumes. Finish Q2Q.

    • 7:00-10:00 - Full dress run. 

  • Sunday:  

    • Full company day off (Some designers may use this time to work on notes)

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 

    • 6:00-10:00 - Full Dress Runs

  • Thursday: 

    • Opening Night!

The tech schedule for Fall ‘21 varies slightly from this because of the availability of the Redwood Grove and designers’ scheduling conflicts. (It does include a full company day off on Sunday, October 31.) We will revisit the proposed tech schedule above after having experienced the tech/performance process in Fall ‘21.

After a dress run through:

  • The director will take 15 minutes to meet with the cast for general, abbreviated notes. During this time, the designers and the stage manager will take a break without disturbing the notes session. Stage crew will use this time to conduct their post-show duties. After 15 minutes, the cast and crew will be dismissed. 

  • Actors should sign-up for an individual notes session (10-15 minutes) with the director on the following day.

  • The sign-up sheet for individual notes sessions with the director will be made available 24 hours in advance, so that cast members sign up ahead of time (and not be obligated to do it after rehearsal.)

  • After the cast and crew are dismissed, the director will then meet with the design team and the stage manager for a production meeting. The time allotted for this meeting will be 45 minutes (Monday) or 30 minutes (Tuesday & Wednesday).

  • Designers will email notes to department heads before the end of the night.

  • The production meeting will have a hard stop/out time at 11:00 pm. 

Following the closing of a production, the production team will conduct a post-mortem to discuss and reflect upon the production process and to discuss what worked and what didn’t work. Moving forward, the cast will be invited to join this meeting so that their voices may be heard.