Senior Project in Directing (THEA 45500)

Senior Directing Projects are open to all senior theatre arts majors. These productions are intended to provide the student director with the opportunity for practical application of skills, theories and experience acquired in the course of his/her theatre training. Persons who wish to be considered for a directing project must have received a B or better in Directing I. Completion of Directing II is preferred, however students may enroll in SDP and Directing II concurrently.

Students who meet the above criteria should submit a proposal to the chair of the Department of Theatre Arts before mid-term of the spring semester preceding the year in which the project may take place. Proposals due the first Monday after Spring Break, by 5pm . No late applications will be accepted. The chair will initiate the approval process through consultation with appropriate members of the faculty and staff as well as the curriculum committee.

Performance Material
One-act plays are highly recommended for these projects, although cuttings or acts from longer plays will be considered. Short musicals or revues are also acceptable. WORK MAY NOT EXCEED EIGHTY MINUTES OF PLAYING TIME. It is highly desirable that the director selects a small-cast project with a suitable age range.

The two-page proposal must include the following information and materials:

  1. A list of three potential titles, along with a short statement about how the student plans to approach the play given the guidelines for the productions in Studio II/ the Earl McCarrol Studio Theatre (https://www.ithaca.edu/hs/depts/theatre/handbook/shops/studiotheatreproc/)

  2. A digital copy of each script (on a thumb drive or email as PDF). 
  3. A casting breakdown for each play.
  4. Royalty costs for each play.
  5. Names and signatures of student collaborators (musical proposals must include student music director and, if needed, choreographers who have committed to the project).

Director’s Responsibilities

  1. Register for credit under THEA 45500, Senior Project in Directing.
  2. Contact the coordinator of theatre operations to secure permission for performance and royalty information, which should be documented by written correspondence with the publisher, writer, or agent. The department will pay royalties for approved projects.
  3. Student directors will cast their productions by participating in the departmental season casting meetings. Faculty directed productions will have priority in casting.
  4. Cast the production by participating in the departmental season casting meetings. Faculty-directed productions will receive priority in casting.
  5. Observe the rehearsal and performance schedule as stated on the department production calendar and as developed in ongoing production meetings.
  6. maintain emphasis upon the rehearsal and staging process with the actors and the text, rather than the technical/design aspects of the production.
  7. Return rehearsal/performance spaces to their pre-rehearsal condition. The McCarroll Studio Theatre serves as a classroom, and it must be returned to that condition after all rehearsals and performances.

Senior Directing Projects take place under rigorously controlled conditions in order to provide equitable production circumstances for all approved projects. Approved projects will:

  1. Be scheduled for weekly production meetings led by an appropriate faculty or staff member.
  2. Be scheduled for open auditions
  3. Be scheduled into an appropriate rehearsal and performance space.
  4. Have royalty expenses paid by the department out of each production’s budget.
  5. Be provided with simple one-page programs.
  6. Be provided with appropriate publicity, ticketing and front-of-house staff by the department.
  7. Be allowed the use of working props from stock to the degree possible.
  8. Be performed in what is generally understood to be rehearsal clothing, or costumes acquired through the project’s budget.
  9. Be provided with appropriate technical support, which varies according to the needs of a specific production, but will remain minimal in scope. 
  10. Be assigned stage managers as available.
  11. Be assigned designers and/or technicians as available.
  12. Be graded by the faculty mentor; the grade focuses on the director's preparation, rehearsal and staging process and their application of directing tools with the actors and the text.

Directors May Not Do Any of the Following Without Permission of the Faculty Mentor and [faculty]

  1. Cast without open auditions. [Director of Artistic Programming]
  2. Submit unauthorized publicity materials to any source. [Manager of Audience Development and Special Projects]
  3. Build or cause to be built, paint or cause to be painted, any set or set pieces. [Technical Director]
  4. Build or cause to be built any costumes. [Costume Shop Manager]
  5. Rehearse outside of scheduled established periods. [Director of Artistic Programming and Director of Production]
  6. Use lighting equipment without approval. [Lighting and Sound Shop Supervisor]
  7. Use sound equipment or seek assistance from a student sound technician or designer. [Lighting and Sound Shop Supervisor and Sound Designer]
  8. Attach students to specific production duties. [Chair, Director of Artistic Programming and Director of Production]

Project Termination
The chair, in consultation with the faculty mentor may, with just cause, terminate any directing project without notice. Among other reasons just cause may occur if the project:

  1. Violates any production guideline;
  2. Fails to meet the normal obligations assumed by a director;
  3. Is conducted in such a way as to reflect poorly on the department;
  4. Conflicts with production needs for the mainstage season;
  5. Exceeds time limits for rehearsals and performance; or
  6. Proves detrimental to the classwork of anyone involved on the production.

No later than one week following closing of the production, the student director will meet with the faculty mentor for a self-evaluation. At this meeting, the student will submit the following materials to the faculty mentor:

  1. Director's book.
  2. Final ground plan, prop list and costume plot.
  3. Photographs, while not required, would be appreciated.

The student director shall, in conjunction with any assigned design and technical staff, return all props, furniture, costumes, or other equipment used in accordance with these guidelines. The space, including lighting equipment, rehearsal furniture and seating, should be returned to its proper setting. This shall be accomplished within 48 hours after the close of the production.

By following these guidelines we can assure that all students approved for projects will be working within the same context and that undue demands will not be placed upon our production capacity.