Theatre Policies & Procedures

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Academic Advising

All Theatre majors in the Department of Theatre are assigned faculty who serve as their academic advisor based on the student’s area of interest. Students must meet with their advisor each semester prior to 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 student as they make regular progress towards completion of their degree. 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 track academic progress by using U of M’s APAS system. Students work with their advisor to review information provided by APAS. Amendments to the APAS report can only be made through the academic advisor, Department Head, or Office of Student Affairs using the Exception to Degree Requirements form.

Liberal Education: Completion of 39 credits in liberal education courses is required at UMD. Certain courses, however, may satisfy more than one requirement, thereby reducing the total number of required credits.

Additional Fine Arts Course Requirement

All Theatre Majors are required to take three credits in either Art and Design or Music.  Students may take any 1xxx or 2xxx course. One or two credit courses (i.e. music ensembles or private lessons) may be repeated for a total of three credits. Students may enroll in Art and Design or Music courses that meet both the Liberal Education Fine Arts requirement and this requirement.

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 of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 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 another similar course be substituted using the Exception to Degree Requirements form. 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.

Departmental Honors: 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 completion of 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. In order to maintain the quality of instruction for all students, enrollment caps are followed. 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 in order 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 can be found at <https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/practicumindex.html

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 45-95 hours of work required for the position.
4000-level Practicum course (TH 4399) is considered a capstone course in which the student serves on a 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.

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.

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 at <https://docs.google.com/document/d/10zRmVbhvPkE9OfBgLppVJXe6kTLxc3uc6FSah0RbWXc/edit#heading=h.7cbwtfp1em3v>

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

Each year, returning Theatre majors are encouraged 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 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 included creating plays or musicals, performance research, technical theatre projects and other related topics.

Recruitment

Theatre faculty and staff are involved with a number of outreach activities in an effort to recruit diverse and talented students that would thrive in our programs.  Events include attending or hosting Thespian festivals, visiting high schools in the region, online interviews and conducting tours of 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 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 announced and graduating Seniors are recognized

Season Selection Process

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

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 are required to audition for all UMD Theatre productions and accept roles offered.  Addition details regarding audition policies, including casting exceptions and off-campus auditions can be found at <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YgM7eIBG6s3eGt28HHnrh7ACBkFSanCb/view?ts=60c253c5

The UMD Theatre Dance Program produces one concert a year, 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 choreography and/or to 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

In an effort 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 to <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ck25FNnaIAVRVfXB7QjA9Wp779vkXgVgiHErcsO_By8/edit>

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 cast, crew and the production team.

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

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 have the opportunity to travel to a regional conference, a four day intensive opportunity to be immersed 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

Weekly Production Meetings for all UMD Theatre productions are organized and facilitated by the faculty technical director.  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 <https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/th1699information.html>
TH 2399 Production Practicum II <
https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/th2399information.html>
TH 3399 Production Practicum III <
https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/th3399information.html>
TH 3699 Production Management <
https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/th3699information.html>
TH 4399 Theatre: Special Projects <
https://www.d.umn.edu/~mharvey/th4399information.html>

Stage 2

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

USITT

UMD Theatre supports a student chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).  The mission of the group 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 in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  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

Classrooms in the Marshall Center may be reserved by students for various student activities.  Monday of each week, classroom schedules for the week are posted on the classroom door.  Students may sign-up for a maximum three hour block per day.  On rare occasions, student groups may be asked to vacate a room for authorized Departmental use.

Classes and other pre-scheduled events can be included on the calendar before posting.  To have an event pre-scheduled before the sign-up sheet is posted, contact the Principal Administrator in the Theatre Office

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

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 and Executive Administrator determine 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 makes every effort to employ all Theatre majors who qualify for College WorkStudy.  Jobs are available in the Scene Shop, Costume Shop, Box Office and the Marshall Center.  Students who do not qualify for College WorkStudy 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 Collegiate Fees.  Arrangements to use the van are to be made through Theatre’s Assistant Technical Director.

Marshall Center Floor Plans

Floor plans for the three levels of the Marshall Performing Arts Center can be viewed at <https://www.d.umn.edu/maps/MPAC/>