Theatre Handbook

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Academic Advising

All Theatre majors in the Department of Theatre are assigned a faculty member who serves as their academic advisor based on the student’s area of interest. Students must meet with their advisor each semester before registration. Students are responsible for information in the UMD Catalog and academic requirements for the degree program in which the student is enrolled. Faculty advisors assist the students as they make regular progress toward completing their degrees. Students have the option of changing academic advisors at any time. 

Attendance/Excused Absences: Since all theatre and dance courses require collective/collaborative work, attendance is mandatory. If a student is unable to attend class because of illness or emergency, the student is to notify the instructor before the class meets. Failure to comply with attendance policies may jeopardize the student’s standing in the course and in their degree program. Students are expected to understand and follow attendance policies as specified in individual course syllabi.

Degree Program/General Requirements

General requirements may differ from one catalog issue to the next. The requirements for matriculation and graduation, however, are ruled by the catalog under which the student first enrolls, unless the student chooses to change to a more recent catalog. 

Academic Progress Audit System (APAS): Students use U of MM’s APAS system to track academic progress. Students work with their advisors to review information provided by APAS. Amendments to the audit report can only be made through the faculty advisor and/or Department Head.

Liberal Education Program: Completion of this program or transfer equivalent is required at UMD. However, certain courses may satisfy more than one requirement, reducing the total number of required credits.

Academic Standing and Graduation Requirements

Successful completion (a grade of D or above) of all requirements for a B.A. degree or B.F.A. degree with one of seven emphases (acting, musical theatre, scenic design, costume design, lighting design, technical theatre, stage management, or composite) is required.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0  in the major course work is required for B.A. and B.F.A. degree programs.  A minimum overall 2.0 GPA in University and departmental courses is required to graduate. 

30-60-90 Credit Roadmap: Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits, as indicated by departmental major requirements, to receive their degree.  A minimum of 30 resident credits completed in the college is required.  Elective credits may be taken from the offerings of any academic unit at UMD. 

Transfer Credits: All transfer credits must carry grades of C or above.

Course Substitutions: When it is impossible to enroll in a particular theatre course required for graduation, the student, in consultation with their advisor, may propose substituting another similar course. In unusual circumstances, students may file a written petition to Department faculty through their faculty advisor. 

Course Waiver Petitions: In the event a student feels a similar course has already been taken elsewhere, a student may submit a petition for a waiver to the Department through their academic advisor, which includes a copy of a transcript showing a grade of C or above for the course, catalog copy showing the nature of the course, and a syllabus showing the structure and content of the course.

Degrees with Distinction: In addition to University and collegiate honors, graduates with a GPA. of 3.2 or higher are eligible to receive Theatre’s Degree of Distinction. Faculty and staff nominate eligible graduating Seniors based on academic achievement, artistic contributions, and service to the Department.  Degrees of Distinction are awarded if a nominated student receives 50% or more of participating faculty and staff.

Undergraduate Graduation Checklist

Undergraduate Graduation Checklist

Internships: Students may receive academic credit for internship experience with professional theatre companies. Students are encouraged to discuss the possibility of off-campus internship experiences with their academic advisor. Once a site has been selected and a host institution has agreed to accept the student, permission to enroll in TH 5997 Internship in Professional Theatre will be granted by the Department Head. Typically, 40 hours of work with the theatre company equals one academic credit.  Internships are graded S-N.  Upon completing the internship, the student must present a self-assessment to the advising faculty.  An assessment letter from the internship supervisor will be requested.

Late Registration: UMD's registration process has been designed to allow Seniors and Juniors to register early so they will receive enrollment priority in courses required for graduation. Enroll caps are followed to maintain the quality of instruction for all students. No instructor will be obliged to provide permission to enroll students who have not registered during their assigned time. If a student chooses to enroll in a theatre course after their scheduled registration time, chances of enrollment may be diminished. Any student who chooses to register late may lose the right to enroll in required courses that are filled. 

After the beginning of the term, students must submit a Class Additions & Adjustments form to enroll in a course. 

Non-Registration: Students who do not register for a course may not attend.  In the case of practica, if a student fulfills the requirement for a given practicum but is registered for a different practicum course, a drop/add registration must be submitted to receive credit. 

Participation: All Theatre B.F.A. majors are required to participate in some aspect of a UMD Theatre production every semester by enrolling in a practicum course. If the student is enrolled, but not in residency (that is, if the student is away on an internship, study abroad, or independent study), or if the student is not enrolled in twelve or more credits, participation in a UMD Theatre production is not required.

Production Practicum

Practicum courses are organized into four groups. Specific practicum course requirements differ by degree program. Full descriptions and links to Theatre Practicum courses are available at UMD Theatre Design/Production and Stage Management Resources. 

1000-level Practicum courses (TH 1199, TH 1399, TH 1499, TH 1599, TH 1699) do not require any prior experience.

2000-level Practicum course (TH 2399) requires prior experience and has an expectation of 45 hours of work or less required for the crew position.

3000-level Practicum courses (TH 3199, TH 3399, TH 3699) require prior experience and have an expectation of 45 or more work hours required for the position.

4000-level Practicum course (TH 4399) is considered a capstone course in which the student serves on the production team for a specific UMD Theatre production.  With prior arrangements with their faculty advisor, a student may enroll in this course for their participation on a Stage 2 production team.

Theatre B.A. and B.F.A. Degree Programs

Students may pursue one of two degree programs for a major in Theatre: The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or  the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

Both degree programs have advantages, preparing students along different avenues for careers in theatre. The B.A. degree program is designed for those students who wish to customize their plan of study for a broad-based liberal arts foundation in preparation for further graduate studies (M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D.), and/or for careers in dramaturgy, dramatic theory, theatre history, directing, performance, or like fields.

The B.F.A. degree program is designed for those students who wish to focus more narrowly and intensively in a particular theatre performance or theatre production emphasis as preparation to enter the professional theatre as an actor, designer, technician, stage manager or other similar profession.

The BA major is open to all who are formally accepted at UMD.  In addition to being accepted by the University, acceptance into the BFA program requires passing an audition or interview with the faculty. Students may audition/interview for the BFA program a maximum of two times, though not in the same calendar year.

Core Curriculum: All Theatre majors are required to complete a core of theatre courses which provides a solid foundation of theatre study enabling students to develop a full theatrical vocabulary, a repertoire of theatre skills, general knowledge and hands-on comprehensive training.

Program Learning Outcomes

Core 

  • Students effectively demonstrate techniques of creative discovery and creative work.
  • Students construct, integrate, and apply appropriate knowledge of theatre theory, history and practice to purposefully and intentionally improve their work.
  • Students develop and apply critical thinking skills in various modes of theatrical work.
  • Students identify means by which their art can be of service to the greater community.
  • Students will communicate effectively in writing appropriate to work in the arts.


Bachelor of Arts 

  • Students will determine the application of their degree to their future endeavors.


Bachelor of Fine Arts Performance

  • Students will master performance techniques to a level of professionalism.
  • Students demonstrate competence to enter a professional theatre field as a performer.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Design & Production

  • Students will master design and production techniques to a level of professionalism.
  • Students demonstrate competence to enter a professional theatre field as a practitioner.

Composite Emphasis

The B.F.A. Composite Emphasis is a customized emphasis for students who wish to specialize in unique areas of theatre supported by courses both within and outside the Department of Theatre. The Composite Emphasis requires a proposal of academic course content to the faculty. In consultation with a faculty advisor, students prepare a detailed, written proposal complete with a course plan that supports the Composite field of study.

Since no two composite programs are alike, providing a comprehensive sequence for Composite students is not possible. When developing a proposal, the student should work closely with the principal advisor to develop a strategic plan for course completion. 

Elective Courses: Courses that support a theatre emphasis available within the parameters of acting, musical theatre or design and production, approved by the Composite advisor and the theatre faculty. 

Supporting Courses: Courses taken outside the Department that clearly support the student’s declared Composite Emphasis and approved by the Composite advisor and theatre faculty.

Suggested Composite Course Sequence

Retention in the B.F.A. Program

All B.F.A. students must remain in good academic standing and abide by the rules and policies of the University as established by the Student Conduct Code.  Progress towards degree requirements, as well as appropriate attitude and skill development, are assessed by Department faculty throughout course sequences and productions, through Spring Semester Juries for Design and Production students, and through required auditions for UMD Theatre productions for Acting and Musical Theatre majors. The Department's process for intervention, status review, and discontinuation from the Theatre BFA Program can be viewed here

Requesting Accommodations

Department faculty and staff understand there may be times when circumstances create additional challenges for a student’s learning. Support is available from the campus Disability Resources office.  Theatre faculty are committed to working with Disability Resources to determine options for reasonable accommodations.  Faculty cannot require a student to engage with Disability Resources.  However, if a student elects not to work with Disability Resources, faculty are not obligated to provide any accommodations, and the student will be expected to meet expectations as stated in course syllabuses and other relevant guidelines.

Returning Student Scholarships

Returning Theatre majors are encouraged each year to apply for Returning Student Scholarships.  Students are notified via email of application procedures and criteria. The Department also offers annual scholarships awarded by faculty nomination only, for which all Theatre majors are eligible.

Minor Degree Programs Offered by the Department of Theatre

The Department of Theatre offers three Minor Degree Programs and a Certificate Program in Design and Production.  Further details are available at the following websites.

Theatre Minor

Dance Minor

Film Studies Minor

Design and Production Certificate

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

All undergraduates are eligible to apply for research grants through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). In the past, Theatre students have applied for grants to help fund research that includes creating plays or musicals, performance research, technical theatre projects, and other related topics.

Recruitment

Theatre faculty and staff are involved with several outreach activities to recruit diverse and talented students who would thrive in our programs. Events include attending or hosting Thespian festivals, visiting high schools in the region, conducting online interviews, and touring the Marshall Performing Arts Center.  

Bachelor of Fine Arts auditions/interviews for prospective students are held in person and online. Through Acceptd, the Department schedules two Saturdays during the Spring Semester for prospective students to sign up for auditions that include workshops in acting and dance, interviews, and tours.  

Lodging, meals, and transportation are provided by the Department for faculty who travel for recruitment events.

All-Department Meetings

At the beginning of each semester, faculty, staff and students gather to make announcements for up-coming opportunities in the Department.  Faculty, staff and student leaders are introduced and given the opportunity to bring to the attention of all attendees specific information regarding upcoming events.

Following the All-Department Meeting, breakout meetings for Theatre BA students, BFA Performance Majors, and Design and Production Majors are held to address specific topics and concerns unique to each group.

Department Meetings

The Department of Theatre faculty and staff typically meet every other week throughout the semester.  Agenda items to be discussed are to be forwarded to the Principal Administrator at least three days in advance. 

Two representatives are selected by theatre students to attend Department Meetings.

During weeks when a Department meeting is not scheduled, Performance faculty and/or Design and Production faculty/staff may meet to discuss issues more specific to their programs.

Occasionally, the Department Head will determine a smaller, more specific group of faculty and/or staff to meet just before or during regularly scheduled Department meetings.

Student Meetings

Elected student representatives are asked to organize and conduct meetings with students on a regular basis.  Representatives are asked to report information discussed during Department Meetings and bring student concerns back to the faculty.  Student representatives may invite faculty to student meetings if they feel it would benefit the student body.

Search Committees

When charged by the Dean, Search Committees are established by the Department Head.  In most cases, search committee members include both performance faculty and design and production faculty, staff and a student representative.

Curriculum Committee

Theatre’s standing Curriculum Committee consists of all tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Theatre Banquet

Student representatives are responsible for organizing the annual student banquet, including securing MCs for the event.  The Department Head will work with student representatives to secure an off-campus space for the event.  Students will pay a nominal fee for the banquet meal, which will be collected in the Theatre Office. 

Among other awards and recognitions, scholarships for the following year are often announced, and graduating Seniors are recognized.

Season Selection Process

UMD Theatre produces five shows per year, including a dance concert and at least one musical.  Typically, four productions are produced on the main stage each year and one show is produced in the Dudley Experimental Theatre annually.  

Season selection process begins each fall for the following year with the goal of having a complete season determined by the end of Fall Semester.  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit titles for consideration.  All production demands are taken in consideration for the season, including royalties, casting options, orchestra requirements, scenic, costume, lighting, and special effect requirements. 

Auditions are typically held during the semester prior to when rehearsals begin.  At least one Fall Semester production is usually cast during Spring Semester of the year prior.  B.F.A. performance majors are required to audition for all productions and accept roles as offered.  All UMD students, however, regardless of major, are welcomed to audition.

Design and production assignments are made by design and production faculty soon after the season has been determined.  All B.F.A. majors must be involved in at least one UMD Theatre production each semester, as either a cast, crew or production team member.  All UMD students, regardless of major, are encouraged to participate as backstage crew.

Audition Policy

The Department of Theatre encourages all UMD students to audition for UMD Theatre productions.  Additionally, Theatre B.F.A. Performance students must audition for all UMD Theatre productions and accept the roles offered.  Additional details regarding audition policies, including casting exceptions and off-campus auditions, can be found here

The UMD Theatre Dance Program produces one concert yearly using one of two models. The DanceWorks model features primarily student choreography, with a few faculty and/or the occasional guest artist piece.  All are welcome to apply to choreograph and/or audition as dancers.  B.F.A. Musical Theatre students are required to audition but are offered some flexibility in casting. 

The Mainstage Dance model features faculty and guest artist choreography, with a few student pieces curated by audition. All students are welcome to audition as dancers. B.F.A. performance students (Acting and Musical Theatre) are required to audition and to accept roles as cast.

Rehearsal and Performance Policy

To respect the time of all students involved in UMD Theatre productions, policies have been determined regarding rehearsal times, tech week, and performances.  For more details, go here

Production Deputy responsibilities are detailed here.

 

Air Quality Guidelines

  • Attentive monitoring of local AQI and associated air quality alerts, especially during times of extreme environmental conditions, will be followed.
  • Outdoor rehearsals/performances will be curtailed in accordance with AQI guidance. Exposure should be managed more conservatively for students, faculty and staff with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiac conditions, which may exacerbate the complications of these conditions and lead to an acute medical emergency.
  • At an AQI of 100 or higher, sensitive individuals should be removed from outdoor rehearsal/performance venues and should be closely monitored for respiratory difficulty.
  • At AQIs of over 150, outdoor activities should be shortened, and exertion should be minimized by decreasing the intensity of activity. Sensitive individuals should be moved indoors.
  • At AQIs of 200 or above, serious consideration should be given to rescheduling the activity or moving it indoors. Prolonged exposure and heavy exertion should be avoided.
  • At AQIs of 300 or above, outdoor activities should be moved indoors or canceled if indoor activity is not an option.
  • University emergency action plans should guide the emergency care response in all circumstances.

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Each year, one UMD Theatre production is designated as a Participating Production in the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which, if chosen, allows the production to tour and perform at the Region 5 festival.  One or more productions are entered as Associate Productions, allowing selected cast members to participate in the Irene Ryan acting competition.  All participating and associate productions are provided with one or more respondents who watch the performance and provide feedback for the cast, crew, and production team.

Designers of any production, realized or theoretical, during the past year may enter the KCACTF design competition. The annual festival offers additional opportunities for playwrights, stage managers, dramaturgs, and other theatre participants.

Names of students and faculty who have been previously acknowledged at the regional or national festival can be found here

American College Dance Association

The Department of Theatre is a member of the American College Dance Association (ACDA), North Central Region. Every year, students and faculty from the Department travel to a regional conference, a four-day intensive experience that immerses them in a wide range of dance classes, performances, and special events. Conference registration happens in the fall, while the event itself happens in the spring. UMD Theatre often brings dance pieces to both the Adjudicated and Informal concerts.

Complimentary Tickets

All UMD students are eligible to receive free rush tickets for UMD Theatre productions 15 minutes before curtain based on ticket availability.  A current UMD Student ID is required. 

Theatre majors may come to the Box Office any time before 6:00 PM the evening of the performance to receive a complimentary ticket.  After 6:00 PM, Theatre students will be asked to join the rush ticket line.

Production Meetings

The faculty technical director organizes and facilitates Weekly Production Meetings for all UMD Theatre productions. Production teams consist of individuals with creative responsibilities for the production. All members of the production team are expected to attend production meetings as requested. Individual conferences between production team members are encouraged throughout the production process.

Individual production team and crew responsibilities are defined at the following websites:

TH 1699 Running Crew Practicum 
TH 2399 Production Practicum II 
TH 3399 Production Practicum III 
TH 3699 Production Management 
TH 4399 Theatre: Special Projects 

Stage 2

Stage 2 is an independent student theatre company that qualifies as an official University Student Activity group. To support Stage 2 productions, UMD Theatre agrees to provide rehearsal and performance space and technical equipment in kind. Theatre faculty also serve as faculty advisors.

USITT

UMD Theatre supports a student chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).  The group's mission is to promote and advance knowledge and skills in all aspects of design, technical theatre, and stage management.  The Student Chapter Executive Committee includes a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and an at-large representative.

Attitudes

Attitudes is a student-run dance organization that sponsors concerts, master classes, and workshops for all interested students regardless of prior dance experience.

Marshall Performing Arts Center Scheduling

The Marshall Performing Arts Center main stage is controlled by the Dean’s Office.  The MPAC calendar is updated by the Technical Coordinator. The Department of Theatre is given scheduling priority each year. Once Theatre scheduling is completed, the Department of Music schedules the space for seven days over a two-week period each semester for a nominal fee. Otherwise, the main stage facility may be rented by on-campus and off-campus groups by contacting MPAC’s Technical Coordinator. Care is taken to avoid back-to-back performance conflicts between the main stage and Dudley Experimental Theatre due to sound isolation issues between the two spaces.

The Dudley Experimental Theatre is controlled exclusively by the Department of Theatre and is not available for rental during the academic calendar year.

Classroom Reservations

 

MPAC Studio Rehearsal Sign Out Policy

 

Space is available on a “first come, first served” basis after current classes and rehearsals for department productions have been scheduled. Calendars are posted on a weekly basis, usually on Monday morning for the current week. Reservations can be made by signing up for slots up to 90 minutes in length (see #4 below for exceptions), with a maximum of three slots per week. As rehearsal space is extremely limited, please only sign up for what you need and be conscientious about crossing out your name if a rehearsal is cancelled.  It is important that the department keep an accurate record of actual space usage to determine how well space is utilized.

Priority for rehearsal spaces goes to authorized University, Departmental, or Faculty/Guest use.  There may be times you will be asked to make other arrangements for your rehearsals.

Spaces available for rehearsal are:
MPAC 155
MPAC 21
MPAC 1 (most limited availability)

Studio Rules

  1. Outside of scheduled classes and production rehearsals for UMD Theatre and Stage 2, the studio spaces are to be prioritized for use for rehearsals for Theatre and Dance class assignments or projects.
     
  2. Members of UMD Student Organizations who would like to schedule recurring rehearsals in an MPAC studio space are requested to email Rebecca Katz Harwood at [email protected] to discuss possible arrangements.
     
  3. For reasons of security and liability, only current UMD students, faculty, and/or guest artists may sign out and use the Studio spaces.
     
  4. During periods of higher demand (i.e. just prior to mid-terms and finals), the time limit may be reduced to 60 minutes at the discretion of the faculty.  In addition, if needed, a tighter upper limit may be placed on the number of hours per week any one student or group may reserve.  Signs will be posted if either or both of these conditions are put into effect.
     
  5. Students are responsible for providing their own speakers for music playback. 
     
  6. Students who have not arrived within ten minutes of their scheduled start time may lose their reserved slot if there are others waiting for access to the space.
     
  7. After you are finished rehearsing, please return rehearsal furniture to the side, turn out the lights and close the door. 
     
  8. MPAC Official Hours vary throughout the school year, especially during breaks.  Please plan ahead and check the building hours.
     
  9. If the studio is locked – seek out theatre faculty member or maintenance personnel.  They have the option to open the studio door or not.  Please respect their decision as other factors may be under consideration.
     
  10. Any violation of the above rules will meet with the suspension of studio rehearsal privileges.

Marshall Center Lobby

The Marshall Center lobby is considered a public space during regular business hours and is not to be used as a lounge or rehearsal space.  Students are encouraged to use the upper lobby as a quiet study space.

Security

The Marshall Performing Art Center officially closes at 12:00 midnight Monday through Friday and is closed Saturdays and Sundays.  Weekend activities may arrange to have the building unlocked through the Box Office manager.

Students who wish to have access to particular classrooms after hours must make arrangements with faculty or staff to have the room unlocked.  Classrooms are to be locked after hours when no longer in use.

Departmental Keys

Keys for the Marshall Performing Arts Center are divided into three categories:

Performing Arts Office (PAO)
All faculty and staff receive a key to their office space, which will also open the main office door, MPAC 141.  If not, a separate MPAC 141 key will be provided.  Theatre administrators are issued a PAO key, which allows access to all Theatre offices.

Performing Arts Technical (PAT)
Students with specific responsibilities, including stage managers, are issued a PAT key, which allows access to all rooms required for UMD Theatre production.  Students are not allowed to access the MPAC 141 office suite without faculty or staff present.

Performing Arts Master (PAM)
All faculty and staff are issued a PAM key to access pertinent spaces in the Marshall Center.

Electronic fobs issued to all faculty can be programmed to access outside doors, MPAC 49 and MPAC 45.

 

 

 

Photocopying Protocols

The Department photocopier in MPAC 141A is intended for small printing jobs only.  Jobs larger than 50 pages are to be printed at the UMD Print Shop.

Green Room

All Theatre majors, and any other student who requests one, are issued a mailbox located in the Green Room.

Bulletin Boards

The Department of Theatre provides four bulletin boards for information to be posted.

Outside Theatre Office:  Posting of all academic notices and general information.  All postings are to be approved by the Principal Administrator.

Experimental Theatre:  To be used by dramaturgy for UMD Theatre and Stage 2 productions.

Bulletin Board across from Green Room:  Main season production callboard maintained by stage managers and directors.  General information callboard for student representatives, Stage 2 and USITT officers.

Bulletin Board outside the Costume Shop:  Information regarding student health resources.

Lockers

Lockers located on the lower level of the Marshall Center are available for rent through the cashier’s office in the Darland Administration Building.

John and Mary Gonska Cultural Residencies

The Department of Theatre receives funding annually from the John and Mary Gonska Cultural Fund to support artist residencies in directing, acting, dance, design and other related performing arts fields.  Proposals for residencies are submitted in the year prior to the residency.  Theatre faculty and staff review and prioritize proposals.  If any funds remain, small projects called “Sudden Opportunity Grants” are considered on a case-by-case basis.

UMD Theatre Production Budget

UMD Theatre uses two sources of funding to cover production costs.  Student Service Fees are requested annually to cover the price of free admission for all UMD students.  Box Office receipts typically cover 50% of production expenses.  The Department Head determines preliminary budget lines for all departments prior to the beginning of the academic year.  Budget spreadsheets are shared with all faculty and staff in advance.

Collegiate Fees

The Department of Theatre receives a fixed amount of Collegiate Fees each semester.  Faculty and staff submit items to be purchased with Collegiate Fees to be reviewed by the faculty and staff.  Proposals are then prioritized and items falling outside the Collegiate Fee budget are deferred.  All items must be purchased by the end of the semester in which funding is received.

Employment Opportunities

The Department of Theatre tries to employ all Theatre majors who qualify for College work-study.  Jobs are available in the Scene Shop, Costume Shop, Box Office, and the Marshall Center.  Students who do not qualify for College work-study may occasionally be employed under Miscellaneous Employment.

Off-Campus Storage

The CAHSS Dean’s Office provides off-campus storage for Theatre scenery and properties.  The space is shared with other community performing arts organizations.  Participating organizations agree to allow others to use scenic pieces and stage properties without rental fees through verbal or written agreements.

Department Van

The Department of Theatre owns and maintains a cargo van that may be used for any Departmental travel needs.  Van expenses are covered by Department SE&E funds.  Arrangements to use the van are to be made through Theatre’s Scene Shop Supervisor.

Marshall Center Floor Plans

Floor plans for the three levels of the Marshall Performing Arts Center can be viewed here.