THE AUDITION PROCESS

Welcome!  The Department of Theater and Dance welcomes all members of the Bates Community – students, faculty and staff, as well as our neighbors in the wider community – to audition for any creative project in our season. No matter your level of experience. 

We believe that the audition experience, in and of itself, is extremely rewarding and applaud anyone who comes in and tries it out.  Whether you have done a Broadway touring show or this is your first time auditioning, we want to meet you.  We view auditions as an opportunity for you to interact with the Bates Community, explore this art form, and to engage in the process of theater making with our Department in a safe and welcoming environment.

Some questions you may have:

When do auditions for Bates productions take place?
Usually within the first week at the start of each semester.  Prior to that audition posters will be displayed across campus with information that you can access via QR code.

Who can audition?
You can!

How do I sign-up?
No prior sign up is required.  We do encourage that if you have any questions beforehand, to reach out to the director or Department Chair.  

What should I prepare for the auditions?
We want you to be comfortable and preparation is often the key to a fun and more enjoyable audition experience.  Prior to the audition we will offer you access to the play, a casting breakdown and some background materials that we encourage you to look at by scanning the QR code on the poster or emailing the director/advisor.  Nothing memorized is required.  

What should I expect at the audition?
When you enter, everyone from the Department/auditioning team will introduce themselves.  The director will then share what they are looking for and usually lead a warmup.  You will then receive a side (a 1-2 page excerpt from the play) from the play and be paired with a partner.  You’ll have time to go off and work on it together before being called in.  Once in, you’ll try it out a couple of times with the director usually offering an adjustment that they would like you to explore.  

We encourage you to be bold in making choices!  We are not looking for anything that is “right.”  We want to witness your take on this story.   We want you to connect with each other, to take in any clues from the text, to follow your impulses and affect your scene partner.  We also welcome and encourage any and all questions!  

We are mindful of your time, and will conduct the audition efficiently.  At times, we ask for you to stay and read with someone else.  At some point you will be dismissed and next steps will be explained regarding callbacks, timelines and other pertinent information.

What should I expect after the audition?
The director will email you either way regarding if you’ve been cast or not.  There are a lot of variables in the casting process and respect that this is not easy.  If you should not be cast, please know that we are always interested in students who would like to work on another aspect of the production, and we encourage you to keep auditioning.  

Where can I learn more?
Please visit us on Instagram (@bates.theater.dance) or on Facebook Bates College Theater and Dance for the latest on auditions and all sorts of wonderful theater and dance events.

Upcoming Auditions: (Rotating)
Jan
17
2023

Audition Notice: Much Ado About Nothing

Auditions for the Winter production of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare will take place on Tuesday, January 17th and Wednesday, January 18th time: TBD….

Jan
18
2023

Audition Notice: Much Ado About Nothing

Auditions for the Winter production of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare will take place on Tuesday, January 17th and Wednesday, January 18th time: TBD….

Questions?
Please email Liz Petley Coyer, Academic Administrative Assistant and Special Events Manager at epetley@bates.edu. 

Bates Theater Audition, Casting and Production Policy
Bates Theater & Dance Department is committed to offering a safe and inclusive audition experience for all and encourages participation by performers of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, as well as performers with disabilities. We will always identify roles that present opportunities for non-traditional or diverse and inclusive casting in our notices.  

Theater majors will be given priority consideration for all available roles and design-related/technical positions.  Having said that, we also firmly believe in welcoming all students who are committed to joyful collaboration and the process of making imaginative and impactful theater. 

Casting: 
Following the auditions the director will email the all participants and notify them whether they’ve been cast or not and thank them for their time and effort.  Those cast are asked to inform the director whether they accept or turn down their roles as soon as possible.  Those not cast are encouraged to reach out if they would like to be involved in some capacity.  The first rehearsal is generally a weekday or two later, where ensemble-building begins and usually the play will be read together by the entire cast. There are presentations by the set and costume designer, any dramaturgs attached to the project, and sometimes others involved with the show. 

THE REHEARSAL PROCESS

Community Agreements:
The Department believes that community agreements promote an inclusive, welcoming and respectful environment that honors the theater-making process and every ensemble member.  They are created by all involved in the production and are specific to that group.  Being fluid and ever changing, they will be revisited every three weeks throughout the rehearsal period.  Some  examples from former productions have been to agree: 

  • To have a responsibility to my fellow ensemble members to work to the best of my ability.
  • That rehearsals will be a place of creativity, not negativity.
  • To be kind to my castmates and crew and production team. 
  • To have an inclusive attitude and use inclusive language towards my castmates, crew, and production team.
  • That the rehearsal space will be a collaborative effort between cast, crew, production team, and dramaturg. 
  • To remember that everyone is here for a reason: to have fun and learn!!”

In addition, the Department has created the following guidelines to ensure a positive, professional and enriching educational theater experience:  

  1. All rehearsals will adhere to our department’s mission and anti-racist ethos.  
  2. Take all necessary steps to take care of yourself and stay healthy.
  3. Show up on time with a positive attitude, and be prepared to contribute to the rehearsal process.
  4. During notes, listen attentively, keep your focus on those speaking, and don’t conduct side business or conversations.
  5. During rehearsals the house should be quiet except for the director, actors on stage, and necessary backstage personnel.  Conversations not pertaining to the scene at hand should be taken out of the theater space.
  6. Acknowledge the educational nature of our production process, and respect that multiple perspectives, experiences, contributions, questions and suggestions are valid.
  7. Notes should ONLY come from the Director, Assistant Director, Designers, Vocal Director  or Stage Manager.
    1. Suggestions are welcome, with permission granted first.
  8. Be patient when listening to others speak and do not interrupt them. 
  9. Refrain from offering unsolicited opinions or commentary.
  10.  Actors will keep track of their props and will not handle others without permission. 
  11.  Rehearsals will start on time.
  12.  Rehearsals will end on time.
  13. If anyone anticipates being late or missing a rehearsal, it is their responsibility to contact (in order) Stage Manager, Assistant Director, and Director.
  14. A standard for breaks will be set up and respected with the exception of run-thrus and tech.
  15.  Please speak in “I” statements when responding to notes or working on ideas.

The Rehearsal Period:
A play will normally have 7-8 weeks of rehearsal, with 5 rehearsals a week of 3 hours each for a total of 15 hours a week. Immersing in the creative process, each member of the creative team will contribute according to their role in a timely manner.  Regular communications about scheduling, rehearsal calls, and other vital information for all parties will come through the Stage Manager.  While rehearsal schedules are set before the start of a production, occasionally last-minute changes are necessary so all are reminded to check their email daily.  Rehearsals will not take place on reading days, during finals or on vacations. 

Rehearsals are most often 4pm to 7pm or 7pm to 10pm, Mon thru Fri. Saturday or Sunday rehearsals are sometimes necessary or desired. A typical rehearsal will begin with an ensemble check-in then onto a vocal/physical warm-up and exercises for actors while members of the production team meet to discuss that day’s goals and set up the space. Rehearsal times on any given day may be for part or all of the scheduled time block, depending on which portion of the project is being worked on at the time. Every effort will be made to specify when an actor is called to maximize efficiency. 

The Tech Process:
7-10 days before opening, the technical aspects of the show begin to be added. The weekend before opening we have a special rehearsal known as a Cue to Cue (or Q2Q). This is when all the lighting, sound and moving scenic elements are coordinated, documented and practiced by the Stage Manager and the Run Crew. At this point rehearsals become longer. Q2Qs are usually 5-8 hours for both Saturday and Sunday. Because of the increase in rehearsal times on this weekend before the production, food will be provided for the cast and crew. The last three rehearsals are dress rehearsals, with added costume and makeup elements, and where the show is run without stopping. Following each dress rehearsal, there is a group meeting of all the actors and staff to go over the notes from that run. 

The Performance Period:
Our department usually adheres to the following performance schedule:

  • Wednesday (day before opening): A final dress rehearsal with invited audience usually starting at 7:30pm
  • Thursday: opening night 7:30 performance
  • Friday: 7:30 performance
  • Saturday: 7:30 performance
  • Sunday: 2 pm matinee performance
  • Monday: 7:30 final performance                                                             

During the run of productions, there are some additional events that will require the attendance of cast and crew members.  These may include a post-show talk-back conversation with our audience (there is often one of these scheduled per production, depending on the director), a photo shoot to visually document the production (see more info on these below), and a KCACTF response session (again, see info below).

PRODUCTION SUPPORT INFORMATION

Production Timetables:

  • Faculty-Directed Productions:
    Faculty directed plays produced by the department have a 6-8 month planning/design period ahead of performance. Faculty directed plays will have production support from existing faculty and/or staff in areas of scenic, lighting and costume design, or from guest designers as agreed upon by the department. Sound design is frequently done by a student, but may be a guest artist depending on the show’s needs. Shows with extensive video or projection demands may also require guest artist contributions along with input from the scenic designer. Budgets for these shows are determined on an annual basis.
  • Dance Concert Productions:
    The Marcy Plavin Dance Concert has a 2-3 month planning/design period unless otherwise specified by the Dance program. Dance concerts are assumed to take place in Schaeffer Theatre. Shows conceived for alternate venues or are site-specific will require approval by the Managing Director and/or the Technical Director and will require additional planning time (and often budgetary resources). Design support rests primarily with costume and lighting design by department staff members. If scenery is being considered, then additional planning time may be required. Budgets are determined on an annual basis.
  • Student Directing & Design Thesis Projects:
    Student thesis plays produced by the department have a 4-6 month planning/design period ahead of performance. Student directed theses may have faculty design support, or may have student design support depending on arrangements made with the Department. Student design thesis projects support faculty-directed productions. Budgets for these shows are limited. 
  • Student Choreography Thesis Projects:
    Dance Thesis performances have a 2-3 month planning/design period. Dance theses are assumed to take place in Schaeffer Theatre. Shows conceived for alternate venues or are site- specific will require approval by the Managing Director and/or the Technical Director and will require additional planning time. Design support rests primarily with costume and lighting design. If scenery is being considered, then additional planning time may be required. Budgets are determined on an annual basis.
  • Independent Study (360) Projects:
    Independent Study projects usually have a 2-3 month planning/design period, however these project’s proposals are on the same deadline schedule as the rest of the season selection calendar, and will need to be submitted by the annual February 1st deadline. Independent studies are scheduled in the Martin Andrucki Black Box Theater as approved by the Managing Director. Production support is extremely limited and must be approved by the Technical Director or Managing Director.
  • Robinson Players/Student Club Productions:
    The Robinson Players produce plays in discussion with their faculty advisor, and as scheduled with the Managing Director. Since departmental scheduling is challenging and tightly-packed, arranging space availability with the Managing Director as soon as possible before or at the start of any academic year is crucial. The Managing Director must sign off on the play’s licensing agreements. All plans for scenery construction and installation must be approved by the Technical Director in advance. All lighting plans must be approved by the Managing Director (or resident lighting designer) in advance.

Safety Protocols and Support:
Please see the dedicated SAFETY section of the Handbook for a wealth of safety-related information.

FRONT OF HOUSE GUIDELINES

Front of House (FoH) encompasses all aspects of the audience experience before, during, and after performances, including the comfort and safety of each audience member. The FoH team is headed by the House Manager, who works closely with the Ushers. 

Before the Show Arrivals:
The FOH manager should arrive 60 minutes before the show begins
Ushers should arrive 45 minutes before the show begins and check in with FOH

Dress Code:
All Front of House staff should be dressed professionally, and in a way that makes them recognizable to audience members.  We request that ushers wear white shirts, and black pants or jeans.  In addition, the department will provide ushers/FOH with vests to be worn while performing their duties.

Preshow Duties for FoH Staff:

  • Safety
    • As a first action, all FoH staff should familiarize themselves with the EVENT SAFETY PROTOCOLS  and the CAMPUS EMERGENCY INFORMATION for Bates events.
    • Fire extinguishers, aisles, stairwells, and approved exit doors should be checked by the House Manager prior to each performance. A printed checklist should be used and kept on file in the Box Office. 
    • Additional Safety Guidelines and Information can be found on the House Management Safety Page.

Preshow Duties for House Manager (HM):

  • Collect Audience Information
    • Get number of reserved tickets
    • Inquire if there are any audience members with special needs (for instance, we have designated seating spaces in Schaeffer for patrons in wheelchairs, and modifications for those in wheelchairs can be addressed in Gannett by moving chairs)
    • Make sure programs are ready
  • Confer with Stage Management (SM)
    • Get any pertinent information or updates regarding the show, such as delays
    • Coordinate when each will check in on the other.
  • Confer with Ushers
    • Update ushers with any relevant information
    • Hand out programs to ushers or find a place to set them up
    • Assign usher to their positions
    • Brief Ushers on any relevant health policy status currently in place at Bates (eg. Covid)
    • Assign an usher to  check status of community audience members
    • If necessary, assign ushers to prepare more programs 
  • 30 Minutes Pre-Show–House Manager and Ushers
    • Ask Stage Manager if it is OK to open the house (HM)
    • Open doors for Audience (Ushers)
    • Greet audience members, direct them to their seats as needed (Ushers)
    • Review Curtain Speech for any needed changes (HM)
  • 5 Minutes Pre-Show
    • Check with the Box Office to see if audience members are still arriving (HM)
    • Let Stage Manager know if the show will be held for 5 minutes or longer (HM)
    • Check number of empty seats if any (Ushers)
    • Begin to allow waitlisted audience members into the theater (HM)
  • Just Before Show Starts
    • Check number of empty seats (Ushers)
    • Alert Stage Manager that the show can begin (HM)
    • Close doors (Ushers)
    • Deliver Curtain Speech to Audience (HM)
  • During and Post-Show Duties for ALL:
    • Provide any necessary assistance to audience members who may need help
    • For Schaeffer Theatre, ensure the occupancy capacity of 300 patrons  has not been exceeded. 
    • Continue to monitor all exits, corridors and stairwells to be sure they are remaining clear and unobstructed
    • Asking anyone blocking an aisle or door to move
    • Check the theatre space for any programs, litter or personal items left behind
    • Personal items should be placed in the Box Office, and the AAA should be notified, so an announcement can be made to the campus community
    • Ushers should be seated in the rear of the theatre during performances

Generic Curtain Speech–made by the House Manager:
Welcome everyone to the Bates Department of Theater and Dance’s production of (NAME OF SHOW). My name is (YOUR NAME) and I am (STATUS, GRADUATION DATE). We ask you to, at this moment, please silence or turn off your cell phones or any other devices that might make a noise during the performance.  Also, no flash photography is allowed during the performance. 

There will be (one ten-minute, no, etc.) intermission.

Emergency exits for this theater are located:

  • For Schaeffer: Through the doors from which you entered at the back of the theater, and at each side of the stage in front of you (please indicate).
  • For Gannett: Through the door from which you entered, or through the labeled door in the corner of the theater (for each show this will need to be adjusted, since seating is flexible and orientations for audience will change)(please indicate)
  • For Andrucki/Black Box: Through the door from which you entered, or through the labeled door in the corner of the theater (for each show this will need to be adjusted, since seating is flexible and orientations for audience will change)(please indicate)

In the event of a fire alarm, please proceed calmly to your nearest exit, leave the building and move away from the building. Please note the location of the nearest exit to you. Be aware that the way you entered the building may not be the closest way out. Sitting or standing in the aisles and doorways is not permitted. Smoking is not allowed inside any Bates College building. Please turn off or silence all cell phones. Thank you and enjoy the show.

Additional Wording
Here is where curtain speeches can be individually tailored for content such as COVID or other health concerns, the use of strobe lights (which can trigger seizures), smoking onstage, adult language or themes, smoke or haze effects, gunshots or loud noises, special thanks or any other content audience would need to know about in advance. 

Example: Please be aware that this performance contains (INSERT CONTENT HERE). 

Covid example: Before we begin we would like to let you know that our performers tonight will NOT be wearing masks during the show.  All performers  are tested directly before each performance and they will be observing mask protocols while they are off stage. (content will necessarily change depending on current Bates policies)

Example: We would like to thank (INSERT ANYONE WHO DESERVES SPECIAL THANKS).  

Thank you and please, enjoy the show!

Who Ushers?
Robinson Players members supply the pool of  ushers for performances.  This service is offered in recognition of support and materials offered by the Department of Theater and Dance for Rob Players productions. 

In addition to the Front of House Manager:

  • Each Schaeffer performance should be staffed with four ushers
  • Each Gannett performance should be staffed with two ushers
  • Each Martin Andrucki Black Box performance should be staffed with one usher

PRODUCTION/POST-SHOW ACTIVITIES

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, organization, the vital work of our run crews and the shared nature of these spaces make the following practices especially useful:

Show Protocols

  1. Actors and crew need to sign in at the call board upon arrival. Afterwards proceed into the theater for a company check in.
  2. No smoking in any campus building; no smoking anywhere, anytime in costume.
  3. No visitors are permitted in the theater, backstage or in the dressing rooms before any performance.
  4. Report any missing or damaged props to the Stage Manager before leaving.
  5. All actors and crew members should refrain from speaking unnecessarily when backstage– especially in Gannett and Andrucki Theaters, where the audience can easily hear all backstage activity.  If actors and crew are using computers or phones backstage, they should be aware of the actions of those around them, and stay out of the way of crew members and fellow actors.

Costume & Dressing Room Etiquette

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Leave personal jewelry and valuables at home. We cannot be responsible for valuables in the dressing rooms.
  5. The dressing rooms are shared spaces; please respect others by storing your personal belongings neatly, being mindful of personal hygiene, and avoiding strong perfumes.
  6. Performers should refrain from playing loud music, or other distracting activities in the dressing rooms, unless all parties wish to crank up the tunes.
  7. Costumes may not be worn outside the theater building.
  8. Immediately after a performance, remove and hang up your costumes before going to greet guests.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Photo Shoots:
Photo shoots are undertaken so that our department, and everyone involved in the shows, can have access to images for their portfolios, websites, and other professional development needs.

Some things to know about photo shoots:

  • Do we have one or two photo shoots?
    Traditionally, our Tuesday or Wednesday dress rehearsals are attended by someone in the Bates College Communications Office.  These photos are used for college-wide content, and are not targeted towards the department’s specific needs.  These photo opportunities are usually the only photo documentation made of Dance Concert pieces.  The scheduled photo shoots discussed below, are more tailored to our internal record-keeping and documentation for theater productions, and are designed to address specific visual content and Department needs.  
  • Scheduling:
    Since the photo shoot–usually between 1 and 1.5 hours–after a performance, is attended by most everyone involved in the production, advance notice is crucial.  Photo shoots should be a part of the production calendar from the outset, or at least several weeks before techs begin, to allow all parties to be prepared.  Also, since the Managing Director hires student photographers for photo shoots, they need to be engaged in advance.
  • Making a Shot List:
    Several days before the scheduled photo shoot, the director, and any other parties who need specific images for their records (usually the show’s designers) will write a list of moments in the play they would like to be photographed.  The more specific the list, the more helpful.  Then these lists should be shared–to notice overlap, to avoid an unnecessarily long list of images, and to streamline the organization of the process.  One individual–usually the costume designer–will then place the shot list in an order which allows for the most efficient timing for actors to change costumes (if necessary) and reset prop and scenic items.  This usually works well by moving backwards through the show, so that the process ends with the set restored to its “top of show” state.   The lighting designer can then provide needed light cue numbers for the stage manager/light board operator.

    A photo shoot should ideally last no more than 60 minutes, so the number of shots should be planned accordingly.  Realistically, about 12-18 looks is a manageable number.  Keep in mind that extensive costume and scene changes will slow the process a great deal.

    After this, the shot list is copied and printed out to be shared with actors, wardrobe crew, SM’s, ASM’s, any needed deck/props crew members, the director, and the photographer.  Everyone will then be able to know when they are to change costumes, reset the stage for certain looks, etc.
  • Who attends photo shoots?
    The entire cast, director, SM, ASM, props run crew, light board op, wardrobe, designers and hired photographer attend photo shoots.  If the shoot is particularly simple, some crew members may be released. 
  • Who “runs” photo shoots?
    Traditionally, this job is done by the Stage Manager, but the director or a designer may be a better option, depending on the complexity of the shoot.  This should be decided at a production meeting, or early in the tech process.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and photo credits:
    Depending on who takes the photos, you may need to provide credit to the photographer if you share the images.  The format for doing this is to cite the name of the photographer/Bates College, or name of the photographer for Bates College.  Please speak to our AAA, Liz Petley (epetley@bates.edu), regarding names and specific wording for this information.  The Department of Theater and Dance holds a photo archive on Google Drive.  You can reach out to Liz Petley to get permission to access particular files and download images.  

Video Recordings of Productions:
Each show is captured on video for archival and portfolio purposes. We are expressly forbidden from broadcasting or sharing these videos for any purposes other than the discrete promotion of the collaborators for future work. These videos are not to be posted on any social media or file share platform without coordination with the Managing Director, and must be password protected.  

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Respondents:
Bates Theater regularly invites area professional and academic respondents to attend a performance and offer a post-show discussion of the work. This is a great opportunity for all involved to hear constructive feedback on their production work, and we encourage everyone to attend.  It generally takes an hour after the performance to conduct.  All actors, directors, assistant directors, SM’s, and designers are expected to be there for feedback.  Actors should quickly get out of costume and crew should reset for the top of the next show before the response, and come back into the theater space asap. 

Strike:
Immediately following the final performance, the student production staff lead by the Technical Director begins to remove scenery, lighting and other production specific equipment to bring the venue back to a neutral space. 

Costume Strike Policy: 

  • 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.

    Currently, performers are not required to attend the set strike, though they are more than welcome to join the production staff for this event.
  • 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.

Post Show Reflections:
Once the show is complete there is an anonymous digital survey sent to all members of the cast and production crew to fill out and return. This is valuable information for the department to gauge its effectiveness, make future improvements, and to better serve student learning. 

A guided in-person post-show reflection is conducted for the creative team to wrap up the project.  This meeting is traditionally held in the same slot as the show’s production meetings, and in the first slot after the show is fully finished.  Questions and information on the structure of this post-show reflection will be distributed ahead of time, to allow for preparation.

PRODUCTION MEETINGS

Mutual Conduct Agreement for Meetings:
It is our practice to have all attendees review and assent to the following Mutual Conduct Agreement developed to provide a safe and respectful meeting environment for students, staff and faculty of the Bates College Department of Theater and Dance .

  1. All meetings will adhere to our department’s mission and anti-racist ethos.
  2. Take care of yourself: show up on time with a positive attitude, and be prepared to contribute   to the meeting.
  3. Listen attentively, keep your focus on those speaking, and don’t conduct side business or conversations.
  4. Acknowledge the educational nature of our production process, and respect that multiple perspectives, experiences, contributions, questions and suggestions are valid.
  5. Be patient when listening to others speak and do not interrupt them.
  6. Refrain from offering unsolicited opinions or commentary.
  7. Respect the groups’ time and keep comments brief and to the point.
  8. Respect the agenda, but recognize a need for flexibility.
  9. Please speak in “I” statements.

Production Meeting Guidelines:
The Managing Director (Michael Reidy) will find a weekly time when (hopefully) everyone on the production team can meet. At minimum the director, technical director, all of the designers (scenic, costume, lighting, props), costume shop supervisor, and the vocal coach should be included; depending on the production, choreographer, dramaturg, sound designer, video designer, publicity designer, and/or others will need to attend.

As head of the production team, one of the stage manager’s most important responsibilities is to organize and lead weekly production meetings during the pre-production/rehearsal phase, and daily meetings following tech and dress rehearsals. Focused leadership and detailed note taking at these meetings is critical for keeping the process on track and everyone on the same page.

Before each meeting, everyone involved should read the prior week’s rehearsal reports and take note of any issues that need discussion. For example, if the director says in rehearsal that it’s important for the baby in the play to sound as if it’s really crying, this might require a collaboration between the sound and the props department- the SM should be prepared to facilitate that conversation. An agenda should be sent by the SM to everyone on the production team before each weekly meeting, detailing what topics they should expect to cover.

Attendees should review and assent to the Mutual Conduct Agreement (see immediately below), which has been developed to provide a respectful and productive environment for meetings within our department.

Production meetings can be divided into three sections:

  1. All-Staff Issues (5 minutes)
    The SM begins each meeting by addressing any issues that affect the group as a whole. This could be an announcement of any changes to staff or budget, or just a reminder of how much time is left before important upcoming events.
  2. Departmental Progress Reports (30-40 minutes)
    The SM asks for each department to give a brief progress report. This shouldn’t be a chronicle of everything they’ve done in the past week, but a general overview of their activities with emphasis on those that affect multiple departments. For example, if the publicity materials require an actor to be photographed in costume, the costume designer should know when the photo shoot is going to be so they can finish that costume first. The order of departmental reports is flexible, but should always begin with the director. As leader of the meeting, it’s the SM’s  job to announce which department is up next and keep the conversation focused. If there are issues that require longer one-on-one conversations between departments, encourage breakout meetings.

    Although designers will be giving progress reports at these meetings, the production meetings are not synonymous with design meetings. Discussions involving presentation of design concepts and decision making should take place in separate design meetings.

    The following is a recommended order for the progress reports. Other meeting attendees would follow the same general talking points:

    A. Rehearsal
    Director: Update Production Team on rehearsal process.

    Stage Manager : Update Production Team on rehearsal process not covered by the director and direct any unresolved questions (including those in rehearsal reports) to department heads.

    B. Scenery/Props
    Set Design : Design update: show any new research or renderings, note positive progress and any setbacks that could require additional resources or meetings. Make sure to consider whether new scenic elements conflict with lighting, sound or projection. Address any unresolved notes related to scenery.

    Technical Director: Build updates: Note positive progress and setbacks that could require additional resources. If prepping for load-in, make sure you have the necessary labor and that load-in activities don’t conflict with other departments. Address any unresolved notes related to scenic construction.

    Props: Design/build update: show any new research, photos or renderings; note any setbacks that could require additional resources. Consider whether actors will need practice handling any of the props that you intend to use. Provide updates on pulled props/rehearsal report requests. Address any unresolved notes related to props.

    C. Costumes
    Costume Design : Design update: show any new research, photos or renderings; note any setbacks that could require additional resources. Consider whether actors will need practice moving in any pieces (skirts, shoes) that you intend to use, and other rehearsal report requests. Address progress with actors in fittings. Address any unresolved notes related to costumes.

    Costume Shop Supervisor/Hair/Makeup: build update: Update on status of rehearsal clothing items, fittings, wardrobe staffing questions, etc. and other rehearsal report requests.

    D. Lighting
    Lighting Designer: Design update: provide any necessary information. Make sure to consider whether any lighting elements are likely to conflict with sets, sound or projection. Note any practicals and consider what kinds of joint efforts might be necessary to realize them. If prepping for load-in, make sure you have the necessary labor and that load-in activities don’t conflict with other departments. Address any unresolved notes related to lighting.

    E. Sound
    Sound Designer: Design update: play new cues/sound work (where applicable), and note any setbacks that could require additional resources. Consider the logistics of any recording you plan to do, and make sure you have access to actors if you need them. If prepping for load-in, make sure you have the necessary labor and that load-in activities don’t conflict with other departments’ plans. Address any unresolved notes related to sound.

    F. Projections 
    Projection Designer: Design update: show any new research or clips and note any setbacks that could require additional resources. Consider the logistics of any recording/projecting you plan to do, and make sure you have access to actors if you need them. If prepping for load-in, make sure you have the necessary labor and that load-in activities don’t conflict with other departments’ plans. Address any unresolved notes related to projections.

    G. Publicity/Poster
    Share update on poster, publicity and program content as needed.

    H. Safety
    Discussion of  all new and ongoing safety-related concerns in ALL departments

    I. Miscellaneous Departments as needed: Choreography, Dramaturgy, Vocal Work, etc.
  3. Scheduling (5 minutes)
    Following the departmental notes, the SM reminds everyone when the next meeting will be. Discuss any additions or changes to the upcoming tech schedule.

    The SM will keep concise but detailed notes. It’s OK to take notes in shorthand, but translate them into full sentences before you send them, and make sure you include enough detail that a person not at the meeting would know what you’re talking about (you can’t always be sure about who’s going to ultimately be doing the work or when). For example, a note that says “Props- Martinelli’s darker” might make sense in the moment, but could be open to interpretation later. Assuming everybody knows what Martinelli’s is (which is a maybe), should the liquid be darker, or just the label? Or maybe the bottle itself needs to be opaque so the audience can’t see the liquid at all.

    SM’s send meeting notes on the same day of the meeting so that everyone has as much time as possible to react to them. The expectation is that each department is there to take their own notes, but you may have to relay information if any team members are absent.

Rehearsal/Tech Notes: 
Once we move into tech,  weekly meetings will be replaced by tech notes following each rehearsal. Make sure that these meetings are scheduled to begin no later than 11:30 pm. All post-tech meetings and activities must end by midnight.

You should follow the same format listed above for tech notes, but expect to spend less time on each department. The purpose of tech notes is for the director to give notes to the individual departments, and for the departments to solve any conflicts that have become apparent during rehearsal.

You typically won’t have to send notes following late-night meetings, since the expectation is that each department is there to take their own, but you may have to relay information if any team members are absent.

PURCHASING AND FINANCIAL REIMBURSEMENTS

The Accounting Department at the College has issued Theater and Dance a corporate credit card, with which we can make department-related purchases.  The card should not be used for companies with which we already have business accounts.

The only people in the department authorized to use the card are Chris Mc Dowell and Liz Petley.  If you wish to make a purchase using the card, you will need to follow these few steps: 

  • Internet Purchases: Please attach links to items you wish to be purchased.  Be as specific as possible, please, and include info on their purpose or project. 
  • Chris Mc Dowell is currently responsible for logging/processing all credit card purchases (Michael Reidy—as Managing Director—is the approver of all purchases).  She needs digital copies of all receipts from purchases made using the JP Morgan credit card.  These receipts need to be in PDF form, and must contain the date, final purchase amount, and source of the purchase.
  • If the credit card is used for meal purchases, a list of everyone who attended the meal must be included.
  • Anyone who has spent their own personal money on Department business is entitled to reimbursement. Normally these expenditures will have been discussed with the Managing Director, any Designers with whom they might be working,  or the Department Chair in advance. The purchaser must save all receipts, and turn them into our AAA (in Pettigrew 208) who will then submit a Payment Request Form. Reimbursements will then be mailed to the purchaser.