Guidelines and Policies
Request to Participate In an Outside (Non-Departmental) Production, Extra-Curricular, or Professional Activity
This process is intended to assist students in weighing an extra-curricular opportunity to participate in non-departmental productions, including Park films and independent projects, with their required curricular responsibilities. Students will gather input from several faculty and other colleagues as part of this process. If the outside activity is taking more than a few hours of time commitment, it might have an adverse impact on curricular work. This process should be completed PRIOR to accepting the outside commitment.
This process is to support all Theatre Production & Design and Theatre Arts Administration majors, throughout their time as a student, and for first- and second-year Theatre Studies and Performance majors (Acting or Musical Theatre), to help evaluate what they take on in a given semester. Junior and senior Performance and Theatre Studies majors only need to complete this process if the outside project conflicts or overlaps with crew assignments, Rehearsal & Performance commitments, and/or academic responsibilities (classes, exams, or other scheduled activities).
- Director (if cast in a dept. production)
- Scene Study Teacher (if applicable)
- Voice & Movement or Voice & Speech Teacher (if applicable)
- Movement Teacher (if applicable)
- Voice Teacher (if applicable)
- Crew Chief (if enrolled in THEA 10200 Technical Theatre Practicum - aka crew)
- Academic Advisor
TPD, SM, TAM or BATS
- Production (THEA 10100, 20100, 30100 or 40100) or Practicum Mentor (if applicable)
- Academic Advisor
Auditions for productions occur twice a year at the start of the semester, usually beginning on the Sunday prior to the first day of classes. General auditions are typically held from 12:00 noon to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, with dance calls and callbacks continuing 6:00 to 11:00 pm during the remaining evenings of the week. All casting for faculty- and guest-directed shows, senior directing projects, and directing ensembles during a given semester will, whenever possible, be done at one time. Casting is usually posted on the first Friday of classes.
Auditions for productions are open to all students at Ithaca College. Students in the B.F.A. performance degrees (acting and musical theatre) are required to audition every semester that they are on the home campus. In the fall of their first year, performance students may opt out of callbacks and casting, but must still complete the general audition. At the fall semester auditions, a block of slots is set aside for the freshmen/transfer performance majors, so that performance faculty may see the work of the entire new, incoming class.
The specific dates for auditions and callbacks each semester are listed on the Production Calendar.
All information regarding auditions, including sign-ups for each semester is published on a Microsoft Teams page, available only to current Ithaca College students. This site is updated a few weeks before auditions take place each semester. The Teams page contains audition requirements, scripts, callback sides, and other materials. Students must upload a .pdf of their headshot/résumé and complete the audition forms by the deadline in order to be scheduled for the auditions.
Auditions are held in a professional manner which includes appropriate clothing, thorough preparation of the appropriate materials, and reporting to the stage manager at the appointed time.
All Ithaca College students are eligible for casting in Ithaca College Theatre productions. The Center for Theatre and Dance is committed to diverse, inclusive casting for every role, while honoring a playwright’s expressed intentions and adherence to licensing agreements.
The Center for Theatre and Dance adheres to a policy of open casting; that is, directors cast the students with the talents and qualities appropriate for a given role regardless of that student’s major, year in school, age, ethnicity, or gender. Pedagogical goals are considered in an attempt to provide each B.F.A. acting and musical theatre student with stage experience before graduation, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case for every student. There is no correlation between class (freshman, senior, etc.) and casting experience.
Occasionally, a guest artist may be engaged for a role in a play that might not be chosen otherwise and which will provide other challenging roles for students. The use of guest artists gives students the experience of working with gifted professionals.
All B.F.A. performance majors (acting and musical theatre) are required to audition for all departmental productions, directing projects, and ensembles each semester, with the exception of the opera or when they are studying abroad B.F.A. performance students failing to audition will be placed on probation. Students must perform as cast. All first semester acting and musical theatre majors must participate in monologue, vocal, and dance auditions, but may opt out of callbacks or casting, which should be indicated on the audition form in the fall semester.
In any other semester of their training, an individual student in the B.F.A. performance degrees may request an exemption from callbacks and casting in order to focus on academics, or due to other circumstances such as injury or doctor's recommendation regarding vocal rest. This request, in the form of a detailed rationale, should be submitted electronically to the area coordinator, department chair, stage management supervisor, and director of artistic programming no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of classes. The student should proceed with all audition requirements for the semester (unless the exemption is due to a medical condition). The performance area faculty will review the request and the student shall be informed of the approval of their request prior to the beginning of that semester's auditions.
PLEASE NOTE: Exemptions from callbacks and casting are only granted in rare instances, and usually because a performance student is struggling academically, for health reasons, or to pursue another professional performance opportunity. This process is not an “opt-out,” and should not be used as an early exit from the training process. Production opportunities and experiences are an important part of the training over four years.
An exemption request must clearly state the rationale i.e., to focus on academics/studio courses, health reasons, or to be available for another performance opportunity, etc. If a student is requesting for an exemption from casting entirely (i.e., not wanting to be cast in a show) and it is approved, it means that NO permission to participate will be granted for other productions (of any kind) during the semester of the exemption.
Applying for an exemption does not imply that it will be approved.
Having a professional commitment or extenuating circumstance that conflicts with the required auditions or the start of classes falls under the
If you have questions, please contact the Area Coordinator for your degree program.”
Directors will avoid casting a student in two productions in the same semester—particularly when rehearsal and performance overlap. Should such casting be necessary, the student shall not be required to work more than a total of four hours per day on either or both productions. On days with two performances, students may rehearse no more than two hours before the first performance, and rehearsal must end no later than two hours before performance.
Acting and Technical Assignments
Whenever possible, a student actor shall not be assigned a crew responsibility on the production for which s/he is rehearsing. Some overlapping may necessarily occur; in such cases, rehearsal and performance should be considered the priority over crew time.
Faculty and student directed productions are rehearsed on weekdays (Monday – Friday) between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. No more than six out of seven consecutive days may be used for rehearsals except during technical weeks and no production may rehearse more than nineteen hours per week. (Technical week excepted. Starting on the Monday of tech week rehearsals may be from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.) Except in extraordinary cases, non-musicals will rehearse for four to six weeks; musicals and dance concerts will rehearse for six to eight weeks. All rehearsals must be scheduled in coordination with the coordinator of theatre operations.
As is true in the professional theatre, if the director believes that a cast member’s participation in a production is unsatisfactory, it is his/her prerogative to replace the person. A professional attitude and commitment to productions are expected at all times.
All rehearsal areas must be cleaned up and readied for their next use following each rehearsal. All directors, cast members, and stage managers will be held responsible for maintenance of space used.
Students must be given sufficient notice for crew and rehearsal calls. Calls or changes in calls should be posted on the cast and crew callboards at least 24 hours in advance.
For the safety of everyone involved in productions, and to minimize distraction during technical rehearsals and performances, the Center for Theatre and Dance current policy on personal technology is as follows:
- Cell phones need to be disabled backstage (in airplane mode or turned off, not just silenced) at all times during tech and performance.
- The appropriate use of laptops, tablets, and other technology for designers and technicians in the house during tech will be addressed by individual mentors (we know sometimes it’s show-related…but in some cases it is not).
- Crew chiefs and stage management are empowered to monitor use of technology (laptops, phones, tablets, etc.).
- Starting with first run-through of show in the space, all personal technology must be turned off during the run/performance.
STAY FOCUSED ON THE SHOW. STAY ENGAGED!
GUIDELINES AND ETIQUETTE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE REGARDING PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOS, AND PRODUCTIONS
The guidelines below are intended to help us maintain an online social media presence that is professional and appropriate for our work in production and in all aspects of our educational endeavors. They are intended to make us mindful of the positive (or potentially negative) impact a photograph or post can have on others. We understand that selfies and group photos are part of our lives, but we need to be respectful of the unfinished nature of the tech/design/rehearsal process and ensure that our promotional efforts reflect the work in the best possible light. Taking a photograph to record a memory is one thing, but when posted, it takes on a life of its own over which we often have no control. Since the lines get blurry between our personal and professional lives on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, it’s important to observe these guidelines out of respect for the artistic process:
- During the rehearsal/design/build phases of productions, photographs and video recordings are often used as part of the creative process: to take pictures at fittings, to record fight or dance choreography in progress, for staging, props, and for promotional purposes. These photos and videos are an important part of the creative process, but should not be viewed by individuals who are not part of the production, or posted on individual Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other websites unless they are part of the promotional efforts coordinated through the Theatre Arts Management (TAMs) during designated times. Specific times will be set aside for the taking of photographs and recording of promotional materials, in order to coordinate Theatre Arts Management (TAM) efforts to maintain an appropriate online presence and generate buzz for the productions.
- Prior to opening, only approved promotional materials are to be posted on the internet as efforts to promote the shows. Do not post or share photos, videos, or other recordings that feature performance, tech, or design elements prior to opening as they may misrepresent the work as finished products, when there is still work to be done and changes to be made.
- Dressing rooms are private spaces, and backstage use of personal technology is distracting and detrimental to the safety of others. Be considerate of your colleagues and refrain from taking (and posting) photographs in dressing rooms, or backstage during rehearsals or performances, when artists, technicians, and designers should be focused on their work.
- During tech rehearsals and performances (in all areas backstage), the department follows the Technology Policy, which is copied below from our online Department Handbook. Other statements from our unions are also listed below for your consideration.
- If posts occur that are not in line with these guidelines, please communicate your concerns to the Production Associate(s).
EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES AND CONTRACT LANGUAGE FROM OUR PROFESSIONAL UNIONS:
From United Scenic Artists (Local 829):
“No theatre or third party shall broadcast, distribute, or otherwise disseminate by any means whatsoever any visual image or sound of a rehearsal, performance or any other part of a production where any part of the scenery, costumes, lighting or sound can be seen or heard…” unless part of a “captured material” process, such as we describe above.
“The intent is to show the Designer’s work in the best possible light. The theatre will consult with the Designer prior to capture of costume fittings.”
From Actors Equity Association:
“With the advent of the Internet and new digital media, Actors' performances have become even more vulnerable to exploitation. Equity continues to monitor new technology to develop new strategies that protect Actors' images and artistry, while providing theatre producers the ability to effectively market and promote their shows to continue employment for Equity members.”
Upon request of the director, rehearsal costumes will be made available for major productions. Be aware that stock is limited. Rehearsal clothing is a tool of your profession; it is wise to acquire your own in order to insure availability and fit.
Costumes for directing projects and classroom scenes will be handled on an individual basis at the discretion of the costume shop manager. Anyone signing out costumes is personally responsible for their return or replacement.
Fittings are requested by the costume shop and scheduled through the stage manager. Should any scheduling problems occur, the actor should contact the costume shop (274-3340) so that accommodations can be made.
Actors must arrive at their fittings on time, with appropriate underwear, and in a state of physical cleanliness. Actors with shoulder-length hair or longer should come prepared to arrange it up from their necks.
There is no eating, drinking, or smoking permitted in costume. Warmups should be conducted in appropriate clothing before the costume is put on. If the actor has an extended period of time between entrances, they might be well advised to remove the costume for this period.
The actor is, of course, expected to hang their costume(s) up neatly in the dressing room closets. There is ample space for shoes, accessories, and makeup kits to be locked away each evening. They are also responsible for keeping the dressing room neat, clean, and free of clutter. Specifically, each actor will pick up after themself each night.
Stage Make Up
All performers are required to provide their own makeup. It is necessary to consult the costume designer prior to first dress rehearsal so that all necessary items can be acquired.
The purposes of production photo calls are:
- to provide a photographic archival record of the significant directorial, design and choreographic features of every Ithaca College Theatre production,
- to provide photographic documentation of the artistic achievements of directors, designers and choreographers for their professional portfolios, and
- to provide photography for the purposes of marketing the department and its production season.
The photo call is supervised by the director of each production and managed by the theatre arts management coordinator or manager of audience development and special projects, who arranges for the photographer. The call is limited to two hours or twenty-five setups, whichever comes first. The call begins from the time the house is cleared of audience and the photographer has set up his or her equipment. The director, choreographer, stage manager, or relevant designer is responsible for notifying the photographer when each shot is ready to be taken. The professional photographer shall be the first person to shoot a particular setup. If a shot is intended as a portfolio shot rather than as an archival shot, the professional photographer should be clearly informed. For archival shots, the photographer is free to request adjustment of light levels to ensure adequate illumination for the photo.
Apart from the hired professional photographer, the following production staff are permitted to take pictures: director, choreographer, musical director, scene designer, costume designer, technical director, costume shop manager, properties master, scenic artist, master carpenter, lighting designer, sound designer, master electrician. The aforementioned personnel may designate an assistant to take photos for them. Flash photography is prohibited.
A production meeting specifically to determine the list of shots to be taken at photo call shall be scheduled close to opening night. The photo call production meeting shall include, but shall not be limited to, the director, the designers, the choreographer and the stage manager. It is the responsibility of this group to ensure that the photo list adequately captures the outstanding characteristics of the production for the three purposes of photo call noted above. Photo setups are to be designated as “close up” (photographer shoots from onstage) or “wide” (photographer shoots from the house). The stage manager will forward the list to the theatre arts management coordinator or manager of audience development and special projects and will post the list for the actors and crew.
The director of production will provide the ticket office with a list of all persons on the artistic/production team who may need complimentary tickets for the preview performance.
During the rehearsal the evening before preview, the stage manager will poll the artistic/production team and create a list of all those who confirm that he/she will be attending preview. This list will be included in the rehearsal report, where the ticket office manager will retrieve it.
The ticket office will release any excess tickets previously held for the artistic/production team at some point during the day of preview.
Complimentary tickets held for the persons on the rehearsal report will be held and may be picked up at any time on the day of preview, during the hours the ticket office is open and until 7:30 p.m. before the preview performance.
Any tickets not picked up by 7:30 p.m. will be released to the public for sale.
These guidelines are courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Education Department.
There is a code of conduct by which any actor worth his or her Equity union membership should abide.* Most of these you know—they’re just common sense. So when you are lucky enough to work, follow these simple rules:
You’ve heard about it your whole life and being a professional means there are no excuses or lateness to a rehearsal or performance. There are moments when a real crisis may disrupt you from your appointed arrival time, so plan for those moments by arriving well before the designated time. Those extra minutes will allow more time for warm-up, build an ensemble, or get you in the right frame of mind. If lateness is truly unavoidable, you must call your stage manager (funny, they’re never late) and let him or her know your expected arrival time.
Read What You Sign
Even though Equity’s major benefits are our negotiated contracts, business representatives, and member services, read everything you are asked to sign, even from Equity.
For many, this is the most exciting time of being in a show. Take time to explore your character (why do you cross on that line?), fine-tune stage business or justify your choreography. Even if you can’t wait to get in front of an audience, let those actors who love it, relish it.
Turn them off when entering a rehearsal or performance space. There are appropriate times to use them, so hang up!
Getting Them: Always be gracious, even if you disagree. Say “Thank you” after the director gives you the note, or “May we speak about this later?” if you don’t understand or disagree. The note session is not therapy for your character, but rather a session of quick fixes for many elements of the show. Find time for you and the director to solve issues that affect you or your character only.
Giving Them: NEVER, (did you read that?) never give another actor notes and never allow yourself to receive notes from another actor. A response could be, “Thanks for your help, but I think it’s best we do this kind of thing through the stage manager or director.” There is no room for flexibility here. Wouldn’t you resent it?
Costume fittings are tricky. Let the designer know your concerns but avoid doing his or her job. Too much unwanted advice to a designer, and you could end up in a tube top or out of a job.
You know its wrong. We heard you say it.
As you learned in the last rule, sometimes keeping your mouth shut is a good thing. We will expand on that theme—keep the noise down when you are backstage. Avoid all talking and/or whispering; some theatres actually DO have good acoustics. Keep your voice and laughter down even when in the dressing room. Like the song says, “Hush, hush. Keep it down now. Voices carry.”
You know what we’re going to say, right? That is the only time the designers get to fine tune their work with you there. So, pay attention. Don’t disrupt their rehearsal and stay close to the stage, because they’re always going to go back a few scenes when they resume.
Just because we play dramatic characters onstage does not mean we must portray them off. When you are in a show, the theatre becomes a tiny universe. Remember, it is temporary, and there is a real world outside those theatre doors. Don’t be a stereotypical diva or demanding actor. If love should bloom while in a show, great! Keep it outside! If you have a personal struggle, sorry, but keep it outside. You were hired for your performance abilities; perform.
This is a misnomer. The stage manager may set any reasonable arrival time for any actor in any show. You should welcome your time in the theatre. So get there early; there are many things to do.
There are two major rules here—never play with a prop and always check your props before each show (luckily you got there before “half-hour”). Those two rules seem instantly understandable but are rarely followed. Follow them. The first night you discover the climactic letter in your pocket missing before your entrance, you’ll understand.
There are sick days built into many contracts; use them when you NEED to.
Ad Libs and Changes to the Script
As the performance wears on, you may feel that you understand the character better than the playwright. You don’t, so quit making up lines.
Congratulations! Have fun at the party but remember, you have a show tomorrow night.
Marking a Performance
The lone audience member today paid the same ticket price as the full house that loved your performance last night. You have a responsibility to all involved to perform the show as rehearsed and to do your best. If that doesn’t sway you, that lone audience may be someone important in the business. Now, you’re listening.
Maintaining a Performance
You can look at a long run either as a chore or the world’s best acting class. You get to ply your craft and test your choices in front of an audience (“Why did I get that laugh last night and not tonight?”). Quit complaining and stay fresh. There are worse things than having a job.
Our final category is perhaps the most obvious and the most abused. We appeal only to the basest of reasons for having respect (Remember, nothing spreads faster than your reputation):
- For Staff - They can hire you again
- For Crew - They can hurt you
- For Directors - They can make your life miserable
- For Designers - They can make you look stupid
- For Actors’ Equity - They can upstage you
- For Yourself - That means value your contribution to the show by following the above guidelines and taking care of yourself when rehearsing and performing. Keep healthy throughout the run.
You were chosen over many other actors for this role, so respect yourself and live up to everyone’s belief in you.