Theater Venue Access:
Theater venues are scheduled with the following priorities in mind: faculty-directed productions and dance concerts; student thesis productions and dance works;  Independent Study projects through the Department; The Robinson Players; established student groups and annual campus-wide events, eg: Sankofa; ad hoc campus events. All events must be cleared by the Managing Director Michael Reidy ( before submitting an EMS request. We reserve the right not to honor event scheduling that has not been cleared with the department.  Theater and Dance performances are scheduled in the late winter for the following year.

Space Booking in Plavin:
Both Plavin Studios are available to all students/clubs/staff/faculty on a first come first serve basis, with academic needs placed in a higher priority status. All activities (rehearsals, events, classes, performances, etc.) must be cleared by the Theater and Dance Academic Administrative Assistant Liz Petley ( and/or Assistant Professor of Dance, Brian J Evans, before adding your desired submission. This is the link ( to view the current studio calendar and make a submission. 


Safety in the Shop
Please see the SAFETY section of the Handbook for a comprehensive list of safety procedures and practices for our shop and stage spaces.  Students may need to participate in specific safety training for potentially dangerous equipment, such as saws, the Genie lift, electronic equipment (sound and light boards), etc.  You must have approval from the Technical Director Justin Moriarty ( to use the Scene Shop, and before using any power equipment.

Scene Shop
The scenic fabrication shop is located in Schaeffer Theatre first floor, below the stage. It is exclusively a wood fabrication  shop, no welding is done in this shop. This space is primarily used for building scenery for department productions. The shop is staffed with student workers who are trained on the proper and safe use of the tools by the Technical Director, or taken THEA 132.  Details on Student Production Workers can be found here. The Robinson Players may use the shop for scenic construction in close coordination with the Technical Director, who must approve the personnel working in the shop, and who must approve all construction drawings prior to the start of the build. Limited selection of simple hand tools are available for a short-duration loan to students upon approval of the Technical Director.


The Department of Theater and Dance maintains a stock of furniture and properties (props), situated in many different spaces around campus,  that can be borrowed for use in department productions, classwork, and by student groups on campus.

Any items to be borrowed from our stock must be arranged through the appropriate parties cited below.  

Prop Borrowing Policy:
Any student wishing access to our stock must contact the Technical Director for permission and access arrangements. Students borrowing prop and furniture items are responsible for both their removal and timely, safe return to the appropriate places where they came from. Failure to maintain well-organized and functional storage spaces, as well as the destruction or damage of borrowed items may result in the loss of borrowing privileges in future.

We have sign-out sheets to be completed for all items borrowed from our furniture and prop stock, available through the Technical Director–Justin Moriarty. Students must provide the following information for borrowing furniture and prop items:

  • A comprehensive list of all items borrowed
  • Accurate contact information for the borrower (email address)
  • Dates of the loan period, including a final deadline for the return of borrowed items

Where we Store Props:
We have some space challenges with regard to prop and furniture storage.  As such, we need to house items in many different locations.  Below you will find information, as well as a chart designed to help you figure out where items might be, as well as additional helpful information about what can be borrowed, and how to get things. 

  • The Furniture Room in the Schaeffer Scene Shop:
    • This room houses most of our furniture items (and a few props) that are available to be used by students for scene and production work.  Access to this room is granted by the Technical Director (Justin Moriarty).
  • The Chair Room in the Schaeffer Scene Shop:
    • This room contains most of our non-upholstered chairs and stools.  It also doubles as the tech booth for the Martin Andrucki Black Box, so access may be limited by techs and performances in this space.  Access to this room is granted by the Technical Director (Justin Moriarty).
  • Schaeffer Prop Storage:
    • Most of our small “hand props” are located above Schaeffer Theater stage right.  This space is only accessible by a straight ladder, and props are raised and lowered by means of a bucket and pulley system.  Because of this, props are not able to be retrieved during class and/or rehearsal times (unless you’ve secured prior permission).  It is highly recommended that pulling props from this space be done by at least two people together, for safety reasons (as well as efficiency in loading and unloading the bucket). Access to this room is granted by the Technical Director (Justin Moriarty).
  • Vale St. Green House:
    • This house is where we store a miscellaneous group of furniture items, including antique and vintage furniture which cannot be used without special permission.  The house also holds various other items, such as beds, rugs, and all soft goods (pillows, blankets, tablecloths, curtains, etc.)  Access to Vale St is through the Technical Director (Justin Moriarty), and transportation will need to be arranged separately to bring items back from Vale St.
  • The Costume Shop:
    • The Costume Shop houses a small number of prop items that fall more easily under the category of “costumes”.  These tend to be items that a person normally carries or wears (such as a purse or glasses), or items that most often live in pockets, such as pipes, cigarettes, compacts, etc.  Please feel free to reach out to the Costume Shop Supervisor (Carol Farrell) to borrow and return any of these items.  Items borrowed from the Costume Shop must also be signed out.

Striking/Returning Furniture and Props:
Prop items used for class projects or theater productions need to be returned to their exact original locations as part of the strike process.  

Arrangements should be made before strikes to ensure proper access to spaces, a clear understanding of where items are to be returned, and an appointment to ensure all loaned items were returned in good condition. The people to contact for this part of strike are listed above.

Below you will find a chart that shows many common prop/furniture items, and where they can be found:

CategoryFurniture Storage
in Scene Shop
Chair Room in Scene ShopVale St
Green House
Prop Storage
Costume Shop/
Sofas/Upholstered ChairsXnicer/older
Lamps/Light FixturesX
Beds and mattressesXIn garage
Curtains, Tablecloths, etc.upstairs
Carpeting /RugsX
Dishes, GlasswareX
Bottles, “Food” propsX
Electronics, PhonesX
Foliage, GreeneryX
Paintings, Home DecorX
Toys, GamesX
Purses, WalletsX
Cigarettes, CigarsX
Smoking ParaphernaliaXX
*Weapons, HandcuffsX
*We keep a few “weapons” under lock and key.  Please see the General Manager for access to these
**Some “antique” or fragile paper prop items are kept in Chris Mc Dowell’s office.  Feel free to reach out to her ( for further details

Firearms Policy:
The Department prohibits the use of all blank firing weapons in rehearsals, performances, directing scenes, thesis projects, classroom work, etc., without express clearance from the Managing Director (Michael Reidy).  Weapons without firing capabilities are acceptable, such as cap guns, toy guns, cast or fabricated guns, and deactivated firearms with manufacturer blocked barrels.

All firearms must be presented to the Managing Director for approval before use in rehearsals, performances, directing scenes, thesis projects, classroom work, etc.  The Managing Director is responsible for storing and ordering all prop weaponry, to ensure it adheres to proper safety protocols and standards.  

Prop weapons are not to be removed from Schaeffer or Pettigrew performance spaces.  

When not in use, any prop firearm must be locked in a cabinet or lockbox.


Measurements and Fittings:

The actor or dancer’s first visit to the costume shop normally will be to have their measurements taken. Measurements are important for sizing accuracy–to either find existing garments, or build new costumes. Measurements are kept on file to minimize the need to repeat this process.

The measuring process for costumes requires accuracy. This involves physical contact with the measuring tape and minimal, but necessary touch from the measurer. Performers are requested to wear (or change into) clothing that isn’t excessively bulky (no skirts please), for the sake of obtaining accurate measurements.

After measurements have been obtained, subsequent visits to the costume shop will be to custom fit each costume to the performer.  Adequate time will be arranged to accommodate the number of costumes to be fitted.  This process will likely take repeat visits, especially for custom-built items or characters with multiple costumes.

What to Expect at a Fitting:
Costume fittings are exciting opportunities for costume designers, the costume shop supervisor, and actors to help craft the visual aspect of a theatrical/dance character.  Fittings are meant to be cooperative events that help support actors, and give them some vital tools to perform their tasks onstage.  Fittings should never be events where performers feel physically uncomfortable, or judged.  Fittings are usually attended by several people–the performer, the costume designer, the costume shop supervisor, and the assistant costume designer (if applicable).  

In order to help those newer to the process feel more comfortable, below is a list of common practices used in costume fittings.

Fittings may involve:

  • Arrival by performers a few minutes before the scheduled fitting, to allow for time to change.
  • Removal of street clothes down to undergarments (actors are responsible for wearing opaque, full-coverage undergarments to all fittings), done in a private changing space (not in a public space).
  • The fitting of garments, shoes, wigs, etc. on performers, which may involve adjusting the fit of garments with safety pins or other means to make them work better on the body
  • Physical touch to adjust fit to designer specification
  • Conversation with performers regarding their character(s), specific appearances, actions or accommodations needed for the character(s)–for instance, needed pockets, special movement requirements, quick change needs, etc.  
  • Comments made about one’s costume or the way it fits. These are purely artistic and not directed toward any individual in any way
  • Occasionally, the best clothing option for part of a costume may already belong to the actor.  We request the option to discuss the loan of individual clothing items owned by actors.  These items are NEVER modified, distressed or changed in any way without express permission of the actor, and we carefully track these items to be sure they are returned to the lender quickly.  If any item should be lost or damaged it will be replaced with exact or similar items to the lender’s satisfaction.
  • Sometimes special fittings or meetings are conducted to address specific needs such as hairstyles, specialized makeup, and quick change rehearsals.

Touch Policy:
A unique and potentially challenging part of the jobs of costume designers, costume shop supervisors, and wardrobe run crew is the need to physically interact with, and touch actors in the context of costume fittings, quick change rehearsals, quick changes, and other necessary occasions.  In order to promote respectful practices regarding this need, the Department of Theater and Dance has crafted the following policies to ensure respectful treatment of performers/students, and proper interactions in the costume shop, dressing rooms and in performance spaces:

All costume-related individuals (costume designer(s), costume shop supervisor, wardrobe run crew) who physically interact with performers/students pledge to always:

  • In the Costume Shop/Dressing Rooms:
    • Provide individuals complete privacy in changing into and out of clothing for fittings
    • Ask permission to have individuals remove any items of clothing in a public space that might reveal their skin
    • Ask permission to touch individual persons in the necessary function of conducting fittings
    • Offer the person being touched a preference for who does so when there are several people involved in a fitting or costume/quick change
    • Ask permission to touch individual’s hair and/or faces in the same context
    • Knock and ask permission to enter our changing area used in fittings, and dressing rooms
    • Respect the word  “Button” to indicate a need to immediately pause or stop the fitting
    • Provide appropriate undergarments to anyone who needs to disrobe or change items of costume that leave them physically exposed.
    • Engage in respectful conversation (in conjunction with directors) with anyone who may be asked to physically reveal any parts of their body as a necessary part of a performance or coursework (for example: any form of disrobing onstage, or fittings etc. in Thea 236), in order to address levels of people’s comfort and appropriate exposure
    • Work within the parameters of comfort dictated by those individuals—in conjunction with other necessary parties such as directors, choreographers, and professors
    • Never require performers to make “permanent” changes to their hair (i.e. insisting on adopting hairstyles or haircuts not agreed to by performers) or other parts of their person
    • Pay for all haircuts or other “permanent” changes to performers’ appearances outside of their normal personal grooming/appearance practices and preferences, as well as any requested restoration of these changes (for example, dyeing hair back to a previous color) 
  • During Techs/Performances:
    • Knock and ask permission to enter dressing rooms, unless otherwise agreed upon by all parties involved
    • Provide appropriate undergarments to actors who need to disrobe or change items of costume that leave them physically exposed, to mitigate their exposure
    • Provide quick change booths or other spaces of privacy backstage when costume changes must happen outside the dressing rooms
    • Ask permission to touch actor’s persons in the necessary function of conducting costume changes
    • Ask permission to touch actor’s hair and/or faces in the same context

Makeup and Hair Policies:
The costume shop keeps a supply of hair products, makeup, and makeup-related items which we use in productions. Because shared makeup has the potential to be unhygienic, we ask for assistance with the following makeup policies:

We do not necessarily assume that all performers will have any and all makeup needed for productions, but where makeup needs can be considered common or normal (what one might wear everyday, or on a date, for instance), we ask that actors bring their own makeup to the first dress rehearsal , so we can determine if actors already have items that can be used in a production.  Asking actors to provide their own makeup ensures that products do not cause allergies, and are appropriate for the individuals using them (our chances of matching your skin tone for foundation can’t be guaranteed!).

If we require a performer to wear a certain shade/type of makeup, we will provide it.  If a performer does not have any makeup items needed, we are happy to discuss how to provide them.

We provide makeup removal items, such as baby-wipes, cotton balls, etc.  

Like makeup, we often need specialized products for hair styling.  We assume that these items are not already owned by performers, so we provide products, such as hair pins, bobby pins, hair ties, hairspray, styling gel, combs, brushes etc.  Any reusable items are cleaned and sanitized between productions.  

No actor will be required to cut or to change the color of their hair unless they agree to do so with the costume designer.. If they agree, the department will pay the expense to cut or color the hair and for its upkeep during the run of the show, as well as for the restoration to the original color at the close of the run.

Dressing Room/Backstage Etiquette:
Dressing Rooms and backstage areas are commonly shared spaces where both actors and crews need to work together in tandem.  Respect for privacy, the designers’ aesthetic choices, costume items, cleanliness, organization, and the shared nature of these spaces make the following practices especially useful:

1. Actors and crew need to sign in at the call board upon arrival.

2. No smoking in any campus building; no smoking anywhere, anytime in costume.

3. Costumes may not be worn outside the theater building.

4. Costume Crew, Designers and non-performers should always knock and wait for permission before entering the dressing rooms, unless otherwise agreed upon by all parties involved.

4. Do not eat or drink anything but water while in costume, except for food and drink used as part of performances. This includes tech rehearsals and performances.

5. Leave personal  jewelry and valuables at home. We cannot be responsible for valuables in the dressing rooms.

6. The dressing rooms are shared spaces; please respect others by storing your personal belongings neatly, being mindful of personal hygiene, and avoiding strong perfumes.

7. Performers should refrain from playing loud music, or other distracting activities in the dressing rooms, unless all parties wish to crank up the tunes.

8. No visitors are permitted backstage or in the dressing rooms beyond the half-hour call.

9. Upon arrival, check your costume checklist, make sure every costume item is present and in good condition, and necessary items are preset where you will need them for the performance (presets and striking of costume items during shows will be discussed for each production, as requirements for this practice are flexible).

10. Immediately after a performance, remove and hang up your costumes before going to greet guests.

11.  Report any damage to your costumes to the wardrobe person. Actors are asked to list any problems with costumes on a costume problem sheet on the dressing room door as soon as possible, to allow time for repairs to happen.

12.  Personal items left behind in the dressing rooms will be transferred to the costume shop for 30 days, then donated.

13.  Be sure you know where all costume props are supposed to be kept–whether the dressing room or a prop table backstage.  Be sure to check all costume props  pre-show.

14.  Report any missing or damaged props to the Stage Manager before leaving.


For Performers:
After a final performance, performers are asked to help us with strike by removing all their costume items from the dressing rooms and bringing them back to the costume shop.  Different areas of the shop will be labeled by type (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.), and actors are asked to sort their items accordingly.  

Performers should please remove any loaned personal costume items and makeup from the dressing rooms at this time as well.

For Wardrobe Crew:
After a final performance, Wardrobe Crew members are asked to help us with strike by removing any and all clothing items left backstage during the performance, and bringing them to the costume shop.

Crew members are also asked to return any and all hair, makeup and other related products to the costume shop, in preparation for cleaning and disinfecting, and return to the makeup closet.    

Please see the Strike Policy for Actors above as well, to further clarify tasks during strike.


The principal purpose of the Bates College Costume Stock is to aid in the productions of the Department of Theater and Dance, and class-related performances. The loan  of costume items to approved Bates student groups and other organizations or individuals outside of the College must be arranged around the needs and schedule of the Department of Theater and Dance productions and classes.

All loans, and access to our costume stock, must be coordinated through the Costume Shop Supervisor Carol Farrell, at (207)786-6190, and

A Costume Loan Form will be filled out in duplicate and signed by the Borrower and the Costume Shop Supervisor. The form lists each item being borrowed, its replacement value, and the date the item(s) will be returned. By signing, the Borrower accepts the loan terms, and responsibility for the timely return of the costumes. Certain items within the costume stock are unavailable for loans.  Availability of items shall be determined by the Costume Shop Supervisor.

All garments must be returned cleaned. Any question as to whether a garment requires dry cleaning or can be laundered should be addressed to the Costume Shop Supervisor.

No item is to be cut, dyed, painted, glued, or otherwise altered without the permission of the Costume Shop Supervisor. All items must be returned in the condition that they were borrowed.  Trim and accessories should be replaced.

Any lost or damaged items must be replaced or the borrower will be billed for the replacement value.  The Costume Shop Supervisor determines this value.

The Bates College Department of Theater and Dance does not operate as a costume rental house. Organizations requesting access to the Costume Stock must be in a reciprocal relationship with the Bates College Department of Theater and Dance.  They must retain a usable stock of costumes and/or items, which will be available for use by the Bates College Department of Theater and Dance.   Also, they must show that the organization will have a permanent individual who will maintain the items during the loan period and will be responsible for their return.  Please feel free to reach out to the Costume Shop Supervisor–Carol Farrell, at (207)786-6190, and–if interested in establishing a reciprocal arrangement.