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Draft: Manual for Directors and Guide to Chicago Theatre Standards

Note: this is the initial draft of a new effort to compile a manual for directors and a guide to the Chicago Theatre Standards for our department. This is a work in process but has been introduced to our students in 2022-23. We apologize for the unpolished format of this working document.


Introduction to Director/Assistant Director Manual

The purpose of this manual is to introduce standard protocols and procedures involving theatre productions within the Department of Theatre and Film Studies. For those of you serving as guest directors, we hope this document will help you navigate your time working within our department. Being an educational institution with MFA and Phd graduate programs (often with union members in our student ranks), our productions ride the fine line of operating under standard Equity guidelines and procedures, and serving as a creative laboratory for students and faculty. This manual will give an overview of the rules and regulations regarding use of the Fine Arts Building and its equipment, a look at a standard production calendar from Audition to Strike and your responsibilities as a director to cast, designers, crew, faculty and staff.

The final section of the manual is an appendix with explanation of protocols we have adopted from the Chicago Theatre Standards regarding health and safety, use of intimacy and/or violence, and maintaining a respectful creative and brave space.  All directors are expected to abide by these standards and introduce them at the first rehearsal.

The Department makes every effort to balance curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities. For the sake of the student’s well-being and academic career, we seek a healthy work/life balance between production work, academic responsibilities, and outside employment.

Why this show?

In the prior academic year, the  Production Committee, chaired by the Director of Theatre, recommends the University Theatre season. The Season Selection Committee, working as a sub-committee, receives proposals from faculty, students and the public, canvasses the directors and designers likely to be involved in the upcoming season, and proposes titles for each slot in the season.  The Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee reviews the scripts; as do students and faculty. The Production Committee then make a recommendation to the faculty for their approval. The Department Head has final approval.



Types of Productions

The Department maintains a heavy and varied schedule of dramatic productions on stage and screen. Most theatre directors will be working in one of these venues:

1.   Mainstage productions of University Theatre subscription series

These productions are presented in the Fine Arts Theatre and the Cellar Theatre.  Some outside venues such as the Seney-Stovall Chapel, or other local appropriate venue may be rented as part of a subscription series. These productions are fully supported by the Department. Generally, faculty members, professional guest artists, or graduate students direct these productions. The shops of the Department support mainstage subscription season productions as their first priority. The box office management and publicity organization sustain these productions.


2.   Studio season productions of the University Theatre subscription series

These productions are presented in the Cellar Theatre or an appropriate venue outside the Fine Arts Building, and are also presented to the public as part of a subscription series. These productions are limited in scope, focusing on Actor performance.  Design support includes lighting design on a rep plot and limited equipment use in the theatre space. These productions provide excellent opportunities for undergraduate students to gain design experience. Generally, faculty members direct these productions often combining them with research projects.  The box office management and publicity organization sustain these productions.



Auditions, Tryouts and Rehearsals


Auditions for all season productions are held at the start of Fall semester and at the end of Fall semester. Specific audition times and procedures may be found on the callboard or on the departmental website.


Additional policies concerning auditions and rehearsal schedules will be set by the faculty member supervising the project in accordance with the general guidelines. Auditions announcements will be approved by the Director of Theatre and the Production Coordinator, then posted by the Director of Theatre.


Auditions for University Theatre productions are open only to UGA students. However, the Department will occasionally cast members of the faculty or visiting artists in productions to give the students the experience of working with a seasoned professional. Special cases may require casting from outside the student body, such as roles calling for very young or old characters. Such casting decisions must be made and announced prior to open auditions. The Production Committee must approve any exceptions.


Prior to auditions the director will need to submit a character breakdown, audition requirements, callback scenes, rehearsal schedule, and any special casting requirements to the Director of Theatre and the PR director.


Though every director may hold their auditions as they see fit, it is expected that they will follow the standards set forth later in this document regarding safety, diversity, inclusion, and respect.


Prior to auditions, you will communicate with PR Director in main office your thoughts or concept, regarding the production.  These will be used in media and PR related to the upcoming show.  You are welcome to discuss ideas for posters, advertising, and special events with PR Director.


Auditions are usually held two evening weekdays with the following weekend being used for callback sessions of all productions.


At the completion of all callbacks, all directors of productions casting that semester, the Director of Theatre, and the Head of Performance shall meet in a collaborative casting session.  It is asked that all directors enter that meeting with multiple choices of actors for each roles. There will be trade-offs and negotiation.  Student’s past work in class and production is also considered.           Also each student will have provided information regarding their availability/interest for each production which will affect casting.  Understudies for every role must be cast. 


Following casting, a definitive rehearsal schedule will be submitted to PR Director, Director of Theatre, Production Coordinator, SM, Head of Facilities.   A hard copy will be posted on the callboard in the hallway outside the Arena.




 The physical callboard may seem analog old school, but it plays a very important role in providing a reliable source point for information regarding production.   On it will be posted any information regarding production schedules, casting, costume fittings, actor check-in, policies, and director notes.   It should be stressed to the cast to check in there each evening prior to rehearsal.


Although the SM and Director may certainly make this information available online or through email, the callboard is necessary for others in the department to understand the production’s progress.


Rehearsal Schedule Guidelines

Rehearsals are an important part of the education and training of theatre artists. As a general policy, they should be open to members of the faculty and student body. Closing rehearsals cuts off the educational possibilities and the chance for collegial interaction. Nevertheless, there are occasions that necessitate privacy among the members of a cast as in the use of improvisation, intimacy, various forms of ensemble work, and during line rehearsals. These occasions need to be respected. Once the process of technical and dress rehearsals begins, departmental members should be free to attend rehearsals. It is strongly advised that visitors contact the Stage Manager as a courtesy prior to planning to attend rehearsal.  Directors may also exercise the right to extend an invitation to a group as a test audience before opening.


The rehearsal schedule, up to the time of technical and dress rehearsals, is the responsibility of the director. This schedule should include all formal rehearsals, workshops, advance tutorials or sessions. It should be submitted to the Production Coordinator, Director of Theatre, Technical Director, Costume Shop Supervisor, and one copy posted on the callboard. Directors must reserve rehearsal spaces. The Technical Director will develop a master rehearsal schedule for cast, designers and crew, and make it available to the full production staff.


It is the director and stage manager’s responsibility to manage actor’s time well in scheduling rehearsals. Please do not call actors to rehearsal if you are not going to use them.  Be aware of rehearsal time and structure.


The general periods allowed for rehearsal are as follows:

   5 weeks for straight plays with modest cast size—not to exceed 130 hours.

   6 weeks for plays with large casts, heightened or period language or styles, or exceptionally complex media interaction—-not to exceed 150 hours.

   7 weeks for musicals—not to exceed 175 hours

During the normal five-week rehearsal period, rehearsals are to occur no more than six days per week. Prior to technical rehearsals, one complete weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) must be free from rehearsal to allow students personal time and class preparation time.  Rehearsals last no longer than four hours per day on weekdays and six hours (out of seven, one hour for meal break) per day on the weekend. Therefore, some students could be rehearsing 25 hours a week on a production.   It is expected they fully understand that commitment.


Mandatory breaks for actors, crew, stage managers, etc. are to occur after 55 minutes of rehearsal (5 minute break), or after 80 minutes of rehearsal (10 minute break). 

No rehearsals, meetings or production activity are to occur during official UGA holidays (MLK day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, etc (see[1] ). Directors have the option of calling one six hour rehearsal (out of seven, with a one hour break) either the Saturday or Sunday before a Monday holiday.


Technical rehearsals: The week-long technical rehearsal period should involve students no longer than five hours (out of six, 1/2 hour for meal break) per day except on one weekend day when students may engage in technical work, makeup, dress parades, technical adjustments up to eight hours, with a two-hour break[2] , out of ten.


Every effort must be made to begin rehearsals no earlier than one hour after any cast member’s last class. Prior to technical rehearsals, all rehearsal activity, including notes, must conclude by 11:00 p.m. Exceptions may be approved under extraordinary circumstances by the Executive Producer, and cast and crew members must be notified no later than 48 hours in advance.


During the technical rehearsal period, every effort should be made to end rehearsals by 11:00 p.m. A one one-hour break should be scheduled after every four hours.

Participants should mutually support all efforts to secure safe transportation and utilize UGA safety programs getting to and from cars.


General Production Meetings and Communication


The following planning meetings and design approval meetings are meant as formal marks in the production process. Designers and directors should meet as early and as often as possible to formulate concept and approach. Anyone with concerns regarding the designs is welcome to attend and participate. All concerned should be assured that every aspect of the design proposal(s) by the student designer or director has been completed with the approval of the major professor. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all student designers to meet with their major professors before meeting with the production team. Any failure of the student director or designer to meet demands of production is the responsibility of the major professor.


Please check the master calendar on the departmental website for specific meeting dates during the school year.


Note: Not all productions will require every deadline listed here. The technical schedule varies slightly for productions with guest artists or when necessary due to scheduled football game days or other university activities.  It is strongly suggested that studio productions seek to operate under a  similar calendar.


Initial Design Meeting. This meeting is to be scheduled at least 11 class-weeks before opening. The director presides. In attendance: the director of theatre, production coordinator, technical director, costume shop supervisor, dramaturg, set, costume, lighting, prop and sound designers, major professors of the designers and director, choreographer and musical director. The agenda will encompass: (a) General introductions, (b) Discussion of production dates and deadlines, with all dates being announced, (c) Announcement and discussion of budget amounts, and (d) Introduction/discussion of production concept, style and special problems


Technical Director/Costume Shop Supervisor Evaluations. A period of        approximately 5 days will be allowed for the costume shop supervisor and the technical director to estimate costs for productions.


Weekly Production Meetings. Once a week after rehearsals have begun, the production team will attend a meeting (approximately 45 minutes) to discuss any problems, questions, concerns. The scheduling of these meetings should be established at the time of final design approval. In attendance: technical director, costume shop supervisor, designers, director and the stage manager. Meeting presided by the stage manager.


Preliminary Design Meeting. This meeting is to be scheduled at least 8 class-weeks before opening. The director presides, and attendees should be the same as the previous planning meeting. The agenda should encompass: (a) the presentation and discussion of design work in progress, and (b) rough sketches, plans and research presented by the designers.


Light Plot and Paperwork Due. The lighting designer should provide the plot and all necessary paperwork approximately 2 1/2 weeks before opening night. Due date to be set by the production coordinator.


Final Design Meeting This meeting is to be scheduled at least 6 class-weeks before opening. The director presides, and attendees should be the same as the previous planning meetings. The agenda should encompass: (a) approval of proposed designs by the director; (b) submission of scene design plans and elevations to the technical director for cost estimates; and (c) submission of swatched renderings and costume pieces list to the costume shop supervisor.



First Rehearsal The first rehearsal is used for signing of production contracts, design presentations, and a read thru with designers present.  The director will verbally review University Theatre Production Protocols, and will be given the adopted Chicago Theatre Standards guidelines that must be read at first rehearsal.  In addition , students will be given production contract to sign.  Deputy must be elected from ranks of stage managers and actors.


Presentation of Designs to Cast and Crew. Before the end of the first week of rehearsals, designers should present their work and introduce themselves to the cast and crew. This will occur in the form of a presentation to the cast at the beginning of a regularly scheduled rehearsal. In attendance: director, stage manager, all designers, and the cast.


Prop Meeting. During the first week of rehearsal, the scene designer, propmaster, director, and stage manager should discuss, compare and compile property lists. In attendance: propmaster, scene designer, costume designer, technical director, costume shop supervisor and stage manager.


PR Photo Call   In the initial weeks of rehearsal the Head of PR and the Director shall schedule a photo or video shoot for PR photos.  Actors should be consulted regarding class and work schedules. Props and Costumes should be included in this planning.


Designer Run-through. A run-through is required seven to ten days before dry tech. The date should be set during the weekly production meetings as the designers are required to attend this rehearsal. In attendance: director, stage manager, all designers.


Crew Watch. At the rehearsal before dry tech, the shift rehearsal or the media rehearsal, the running crew is introduced to the cast and production team. A full run-through is performed for the running crew. In attendance: running crew, technical director, costume shop supervisor, plus others required at nightly rehearsals.


Shift Rehearsal. (As needed). For productions with a number of complicated shifts such as a large musical, a shift rehearsal will occur before first tech. After that point, the running crew is required to be at rehearsal. In attendance: director, stage manager, running crew and technical director.


Media Rehearsal. (As needed) For productions with complex media requirements, a media rehearsal will occur before first tech. This rehearsal may or may not require the presence of the running crew, depending on the needs of the show. Running crew needed before the crew watch date should be contacted prior to making the schedule change since that will not be on their contract. In attendance: director, stage manager, technical director, lighting designer, sound designer, media designer, (as required) running crew.


Cue-to-cue (paper tech). For elaborate or complicated productions, a paper tech or cue conference may be called by the technical director in consultation with the director, stage manager, and designers.


Dry Technical Rehearsal (as needed) (no cast) On the day prior to the first technical rehearsal, all technical elements are rehearsed without the actors. Timing of all cues, sound and light levels, shifts in scenery should be worked. In order for this rehearsal to be productive, designers are required to meet with the stage manager to get the placement of all cues into the production prompt book. In attendance: director, stage manager, technical director, scene designer, lighting designer, sound designer, media designer, running crew


Understudy Rehearsal and Performance  The SM with assistance from AD will be responsible for training understudies in their roles.  It will be determined early in the rehearsal process whether an understudy performance will be scheduled. 


Makeup Workshop. The weekend before opening, usually during the day of dry tech, the Costume/Makeup Supervisor will schedule a Makeup Workshop. All actors involved in the production must attend to learn the makeup techniques required for the production. Also attending is the makeup designer and usually the costume designer. Student actors (regardless of major or class standing) cast in University Theatre subscription season productions are expected to supply their own makeup for rehearsals and performances. Makeup kits can be ordered through commercial vendors (, for example) and sent in advance of makeup workshops and dress rehearsals. Casts will be notified through the costume shop soon after casting as to various options for purchasing make-up. All students in the MFA Acting program are required to supply their own makeup kit upon arrival into the program.


Technical Rehearsals. All of the technical elements are introduced to the cast. Either a cue-to-cue or a run-through of the production occurs at this time, determined by the stage manager, technical director, designers and director. Actors are required to wear dark or neutral colors unless otherwise directed to do so by the lighting designer. There will be a meeting of all production staff immediately following the day's rehearsal to discuss problems, solutions, and the plan for the next day's rehearsal. Perishable props will not be in use until this rehearsal. In attendance: the entire production group excluding costume personnel.


8 out of 10   At least one weekend day prior to opening is permitted to have actors for 8 out of 10 rehearsal with a two hour dinner break.[3] 


First Dress Rehearsal. Three days before opening costumes and hairstyle/wigs are integrated into the production, ( but no makeup). As actors are getting out of costume after rehearsal, there will be a meeting of all production staff to discuss problems, solutions, and the plan for the next day's rehearsal. This pattern will continue through final dress. In attendance: entire production group including major professors of student actors and designers.


Second Dress Rehearsal. Two days before opening, makeup is integrated into the production. This is the last chance to stop the run-through to work any technical problems. In attendance: same as above.


Final Dress Rehearsal. The day before opening the productions run under performance conditions. In attendance: same as above with the addition of the House Manager.

Opening. The production opens.

Photo Call   Most production archival shots are taken during final dress.  But some productions may require an additional photo call time.   These will be determined by PR, Director, and SM.

Pick-up Rehearsal (as needed) The day before the run resumes after a long break if a run has extended time between performances, such as Thanksgiving break, the stage manager and director may schedule a pick-up rehearsal. No running crew or costumes are called. This is strictly an acting rehearsal.

Strike. Immediately following the final matinee performance, the entire company will strike all technical aspects including costumes, scenery, lights, sound, media and properties. Strike is the responsibility of every member of the production. The technical director and the costume shop manager will supervise. All work will cease before 10 pm.


Standards and Conduct Expected of Students

University Theatre productions function as laboratories in which theatre and film students, alongside non-majors, are given the opportunity to learn and hone rehearsal and performance techniques and to apply methodologies from studio classes. In addition, students should develop the qualities of self-discipline, interpersonal communication, responsibility, maturity, teamwork, selflessness and dedication to a larger common goal, skills that will enable them to excel in any field, from the arts to business or public service. The Department of Theatre & Film Studies expects the students who audition for University Theatre productions to respect the protocols listed below. It is recommended that all student producing organizations, classroom projects, workshop productions, etc. adhere to the below standards.

1.              Commitment to Contract. Students are not required to accept a role they are cast in.  It is hoped that by auditioning for the season, actors are willing to enter into a contract to accept any part in which they are cast. Honoring such a commitment, regardless of the size of a role, builds an actor’s integrity and reputation among directors, faculty and peers. All students cast in show will sign a contract (see sample below) But should an actor choose to leave a production, their choice will be respected.


2.              Punctuality. Students are expected to be in the rehearsal space, dressed and ready to work, at the time when the rehearsal is scheduled to begin. It is suggested that actors arrive 15 minutes before rehearsal to be ready to begin at the designated rehearsal start time. Chronic lateness impedes the rehearsal process and shows disrespect for the work and is a breach of contract.


3.              Attendance. Actors are expected to attend all rehearsals as called. At the auditions, and again on the first day of rehearsal, you will be asked to list any conflicts you have during the production period. Any additional conflicts that arise after that time may cause serious disruption of rehearsal and performances and may result in your being replaced. Any unexcused absence can result in the actor’s replacement and affect your ability to be cast in future productions. If an actor finds it difficult or undesirable to comply with the schedules and policies set forth in the handbook they should reconsider auditioning for productions. Additional disciplinary action may be taken if a student misses a class, then attends rehearsal or performance in that evening’s show, particularly during dress/tech week.


4.      Focus and Attention. The actor agrees to perform his/her services

as reasonably directed by the Director and sustained by the Stage

Manager. The actor will remain focused, quiet, and attentive while

others are working and show respect for all members of the

production team (Assistant Director, Choreographer, Costume

Designer, Set Designer, Light Designer, etc.). Socializing, joking,

chatting, etc. with others while any member of the production team is

working or speaking is disrespectful and often disruptive. It disturbs

the focus of a rehearsal and should be avoided at all times.


5.              Preparation. Performers are expected to write down direction, blocking, choreography, music direction and notes when receiving them. They should know all these elements and execute them well by the next rehearsal. Observe all script, music and choreography deadlines. The harder a performer works, the more likely that performer is to get cast again and earn a solid reputation.


6.              Ensemble. Group effort and cohesiveness is an essential component of making theatre. Students should support every member of an ensemble and staff and the overall project itself. Bad-mouthing others, the staff or the production creates nothing but widespread negativity, stifling creativity and trust. The theatre should be a safe environment and has no place for gossip, insensitivity and meanness. The process is highly enjoyable when everyone involved functions as a team.


7. Drugs and Alcohol. The use of drugs and/or alcohol is strictly forbidden on campus as part of UGA policy. Students who appear at rehearsal or performance under the influence of either drugs or alcohol are in major violation of both UGA and Departmental polices and will be immediately removed from production, regardless of the size of role and regardless of the point in the production process.


8. Unsolicited Input. The performer’s responsibility is to create a characterization and execute directions of the production staff. Students should not direct other performers nor give notes unless specifically delegated to do so by a member of the production staff. Giving notes or direction to fellow actors is counter-productive, extremely unprofessional, breeds resentment and ill will, wastes time and in some cases can create safety problems. Disagreements between cast members should be brought to the attention of the appropriate staff member.  (See Conflict Response Path Protocols below) Avoid displaying superior attitudes or challenging your director, choreographer, stage manager or any other member of the production staff.


9..            Respect the Space and Equipment. The actor agrees to conform to the language of the script to the best of his/her ability, to properly care for costumes, makeup, props, and to respect the physical property of the production, the theatre, and the department, and to abide by all rules and regulations of the UGA Theatre and Film Studies Department and the University of Georgia. The only edible/potable substance allowed in the rehearsal room or theatre is bottled water.


10.          Penalties  Students who exhibit unprofessional behavior and who violate the above agreement and any other policies put forth by a particular director may face disciplinary actions,  including being dismissed from the cast.


Photographing the Production Process and Live Performances


The policies outlined in this section pertain to the use of cameras on personal devices to photograph within areas of the costume shop, dressing room, backstage areas, and live performances, and have been developed to safe guard the privacy of those that trust us within an intimate environment. All students (graduate or undergraduate) must abide by these restrictions


Photography without permission of faculty is strictly forbidden in the following areas:


•     Fitting rooms

•     Dressing rooms

•     Bathrooms

•     Backstage

•     On stage (during performances or rehearsals, except photo calls)

Photography for portfolio purposes is permissible but only for the limited use of your portfolio. Before the photo is printed or published (on the web or otherwise) you must:


•     Receive permission to take the photos from the designer (faculty or student)

•     Discuss how it is to be used with the designer

•     Wait until after the performance has opened before publishing

•     In-process shots must be noted as such

Never should a photo be taken and posted onto a social media network such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. without prior permission of all of those involved in the photo.  Some students have FERPA restrictions that prohibit using their image in public. 


Never should a photo be taken and texted or emailed without prior permission of all of those involved in the photo.


Never should a photo be tagged with or used in the context of representing itself as officially from the Department of Theatre and Film Studies or the University of Georgia.


Video Taping of Copyrighted Material


Under URTA regulations, we are permitted to video productions for archival purposes.  The camera must be set in a static shot and cannot be made available to public.  The camera must be operated by an authorized representative of the department.



Building Regulations


Faculty and students are requested to cooperate in keeping the buildings and rooms of the Department in presentable and safe condition by refraining from smoking, drinking, or eating in classrooms, studios, dressing rooms, sound and light booths, on stage, backstage or in any part of the theatre. Actors must not eat or drink when in costume unless they do so as part of a play’s action. It is against the rules of the University to permit smoking in classrooms and against the fire regulations of the State of Georgia to permit smoking in theatres. Under exceptional circumstances when smoking is an integral part of a play’s performance, permission to do so may be granted by the Director of Theatre or the Department Head. The campus of the University of Georgia is tobacco free.


Additional building regulations:

         Leave rehearsals and classrooms as you found them (desks in same arrangement, etc.).

         Do not leave props or personal property in classrooms or other public spaces.

         Never prop open the exterior doors of the building.

         All classrooms should be left secured after use: the last one to use a room in the evening are required to lock it

        Do not sleep in lounges or classrooms at any time. Anyone found sleeping in lounge areas during daytime will be asked to leave. Anyone found sleeping in a classroom or lounge area overnight will be reported to campus police


 Equipment and Supplies


The Department possesses film, video, sound, and projection equipment. In addition, the Department maintains several specialized sewing and stitching machines; light equipment;wood-working, metal-working, and plastic forming machines and devices. The equipment is available for student use but only under faculty or authorized graduate assistant supervision in laboratory conditions.


The Computer labs are equipped with state-of-the-art computer hardware and software. They include all that is necessary for the creation of animation and digital media work. Also available are equipment for motion capture and for green screen filming. All of this constitutes a highly valued and valuable part of the Department’s holdings.


The Department has a collection of modular rehearsal boxes (acting blocks) and platforms for use in classes, University Theatre rehearsals, studio productions, and authorized student productions. These boxes are housed in specific classrooms, and a limited number are allocated for use outside the assigned classes with permission. To reserve rehearsal boxes, contact the department’s Facility Manager. Rehearsal boxes and platforms must never be removed from their regular classrooms without authorization.


The Department maintains some stock of completed scenery and costumes, as well as materials out of which to create costumes, scenery, films and sound. These materials and stock are only available to students under faculty or authorized graduate assistant supervision.


It is very rare for properties, scenery, costumes, equipment, or tools to be lent to other departments, outside organizations, or projects taking place outside departmental buildings.


Never borrow properties, costumes, scenery, light instruments, cameras, recorders, etc. without permission.



Office and Shop Hours


The Central Office (Room 203) is generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Box office and ticket information is available at


Hours for the various shops and service areas, such as the computer labs and audio-visual equipment room, are posted on the shop door or in the relevant lab.



"To arrange for comp ticket, guest directors should contact our Publicity Coordinator. Ticket sales for all UGA Theatre productions are handled by the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and require thorough documentation stating the identity and justification for the complimentary ticket for financial record keeping. A director's invited guest(s) would ideally be an industry professional, alumni, prospective student, or another UGA-affiliated individual. "


Faculty and staff of the department are allowed two complimentary tickets to each UGA Theatre[4]  production, graduate students are allowed one complimentary ticket for his or her own use.  A student who ushers for a single night receives a complimentary ticket for his or her own use. Directors may request Professional Comps that are approved based on availability.

 [5] [6] [7] 


Who’s Who–Production Positions

The production program is supported by persons in the following positions:

The Department Head/Producer. Responsible for budget, general support organization, calendars, the selecting and naming of directors, producers, designers, and other contributing artists. In this Department, the Executive Producer is the Department Head, who works closely with the Director of Theatre and the Technical Director.


The Director of Theatre. The Director of Theatre oversees the Department’s production program, chairs the Production Committee, coordinates the productions through appointment of production staffs for each production and calling meetings of these staffs and establishes and controls the budgets for the productions with the Department Head.


Production Coordinator. Responsible for consulting with the Executive Director and Director of Theatre regarding seasonal planning, budgets, and master schedules. Additional duties include supervision and coordination of design meetings, technical schedules, and the department's calendar for season productions.


The Technical Director. The Technical Director is responsible for recommending purchase and the maintenance of all physical facilities and equipment used by the Department in its production program. The Technical Director also coordinates the production staffs for each University Theatre production.


The Director. Each production is normally developed under the artistic leadership of a director, responsible for setting a production concept, casting the production, laying out a rehearsal schedule, conferring with designers and the Technical Director, conducting rehearsals or supervising the taping or filming of a production.


The Designers/Art Director. There are several designers and/or art directors for each stage, screen, or video production. Chief among these are the scene designer, the costume designer, the lighting designer, the makeup designer, the sound designer, the director of cinematography or camera work.


The Technical Director, Facility Manager, Media Lab Supervisor and Costume/Makeup Supervisor. There are four major support shops that sustain dramatic production. One of these is the scenic studio, which includes the scene shop and prop shops. The Technical Director is responsible for the efficient coordination of the staff working on each production and for all budgets in these areas. The second shop is Facilities. The Facility Manager is responsible for the maintenance of all theatre and rehearsal rooms, as well as the lighting, sound, and production equipment in the Department. The third shop is the Media Studio which includes film, sound, and video. The Media Lab Supervisor assumes primary responsibility in this area. The fourth major shop is the Costume Shop which includes not only costumes, but also makeup, hand properties and accessories. The Costume/Makeup Supervisor is responsible for all support and for all budget in these areas. The Executive Producer in consultation with these supervisors will establish production budgets that will then be maintained by the supervisors.


The Writer. In some department productions, the writer is a major contributor. The presence of the writer can be invaluable and every effort should to made to take advantage of the insights and advice that person can provide. Their exact contribution is a decision of the director and Executive Producer.


The Choreographer. Several productions, particularly musicals and operas, call for a choreographer whose contribution is dance and related movement.


The Deputy, this position comes from the ranks of the actors/performers and is elected by those  individuals at the first rehearsal.  The Deputy is to serve as a liaison between the cast and production in  regards to working conditions.  The Deputy plays an important role in the Conflict Resolution Path described later in this directory.


Movement/Dance/Combat Coach and Captain, each production will have a person in this position.  The performance faculty specializing in movement/combat will serve as point person in determining with the director the movement needs of the production.


Intimacy Coach and Captain, each production will have an intimacy coach responsible for setting a clear process in establishing trust and collaboration in scenes involving violence, intimacy, nudity.


The Vocal Coach, Musical Director and Acting Coach. On appropriate productions, the Department will have a vocal coach and/or a musical director. Some productions may also make use of an acting coach.


The Stage Manager. Departmental productions generally call for a stage manager who is usually a student. The manager acts as a communication link between the director and the other artists and technicians. They act as company manager for the actors and aids the director in conducting rehearsals. Once the production moves on stage or in front of cameras, the stage manager’s responsibilities include opening and locking the theatre or studio, delivering calls to the actors for makeup and costume, setting the stage each night, calling the cues, calling entrance cues, arranging equipment and preparing and distributing daily rehearsal reports. The stage manager is responsible to the director.


Assistant Stage Manager. A production may have an assistant director, whose duties will be determined by the stage manager in consultation with the director and technical director.


Assistant Director. A production may have an assistant director, whose duties will be determined by the director. If the production is a film, the assistant director operates much like a stage manager and may sometimes act as director of the second camera crew.


Dramaturg. A dramaturg may be assigned for a production. The dramaturg’s duties will be assigned by the director, but generally include research pertinent to the production and work with script analysis and interpretation.


The Performers. Actors, dancers, singers, along with specialized performers such as acrobats, are the heart of the production and the reason the audience attends. Ordinarily, performers at the University of Georgia are drawn from theatre majors and university students. Some productions may be limited to graduate students, to undergraduate students, or (very rarely) to faculty or guest artists. Professors in the performance area are expected to perform from time to time as a form of teaching.


Artist/Technicians. Various artist-technicians are employed in different productions. These include video and film camera operators, sound technicians, film and sound editors, lighting technicians, makeup artists, costumers, property artists, projectionists, flymen and riggers, follow spot operators, scene painters, carpenters, grips, and gaffers.

The House Manager. The house manager coordinates front-of-house activities, supervising ushers, opening the house, and assisting patrons with questions, problems, and special needs.


Publicity Coordinator. The Publicity Coordinator, working closely with the Executive Producer (Department Head) and graduate assistants assigned to publicity, overseas all activities that promote the department’s productions, including the creation and distribution of posters, postcards and fliers, press releases, print and online advertising, publicity and archival production photographs, and the preparation of programs and lobby displays.




Fire and Other Safety Regulations


Theatres, TV Studios, and film locations are often dangerous places. The fire and safety regulations governing theatres are quite strict. Supervisors of various shops will have sets of safety rules which everyone is expected to follow. Everyone needs to know where fire extinguishers are in the Fine Arts Building and where fire alarm boxes are located. If the fire alarm sounds, everyone must vacate the building.


Falls, cuts, burns, injured legs and arms are all possible when working with power equipment or performing on stage or in front of cameras. Students are required to carry student medical insurance at UGA..  When a student is injured, and no faculty member is present, the student should be taken to the University Health Service or the emergency room at St. Mary’s or Athens Regional Hospital. St. Mary’s is located on Baxter Street; Athens Regional is just off Prince Avenue.


Everyone should take care to protect his or her body. In our business people sell services; we are the product. If we damage our bodies or allow ourselves to get into poor physical condition, we reduce our value to our art and its consumers. When working with power equipment, or ladders, or in other dangerous activities, departmental policy requires that two persons always be present. No one should be using tools unless they know how to use them.


Actors should do the proper warm-ups and wear the right protective clothing. No one should engage in stage falls, violence or fencing if they don’t know how. We want no one to be taking unnecessary chances.


Injuries that occur on the assigned job to those employed as student workers, staff, or faculty are usually covered in terms of hospital costs by workman’s compensation. Follow-up treatment or non-emergency treatment for those on Workman’s Compensation is limited to certain physicians. An accident report must be issued in such cases before coverage may be claimed. The accident report must be initiated by the supervisor of the shop or production organization in which the person is employed. For those not on payroll, student health insurance is advised. The Department will not allow persons not employed or registered in an appropriate class to work in shops which use power equipment.

First aid kits are located in each of the theatres and studio classrooms.



The department’s Emergency Response Guide contains more detailed information about how to handle various kinds of emergency situations in the Fine Arts Building.  It can be accessed at[8] 

The guide includes emergency contact information; the location of the department’s external defibrillator, first aid kits, eye wash station, and fire extinguishers; instructions for assisting special-needs individuals in emergencies; and instructions for fire, emergency evacuation, medical emergency, active shooter, bomb threats and tornados. The SM of each production should acquaint the cast and crew with the emergency stations and procedures.



We follow Covid protocols as outlined by SAG/AFTRA and Actor’s Equity, the professional unions for film and theatre.   Due to the nature of the pandemic, these rules change often.  It is advised to check their websites for up to date regulations.

Each SM and Director will notify casts of the current testing and masking protocols.









We strongly urge all faculty, students, crew, staff, guest artists to be familiar with the following resources.  This document draws from them a lot, often quoting directly.


The Chicago Theatre Standards[11] 


Drama League Defense Fund Toolkit[12] 


While the process of creating live theatre is overall a satisfying experience, every production has the potential to encounter misunderstandings, divisions, conflicts, and confusion around a production’s intent or interpretation.


We offer the following suggestions for directors to incorporate into their process with company.


What can you start implementing on the first day of rehearsal?

In many productions, the full company assembles on the first day of rehearsal for a read-through of the entire work and a discussion. This rehearsal is the ideal time to invite participants to share their thoughts and to lay out potential concerns over the challenges of staging certain aspects of the material. It is also a key opportunity for the director to lay out their artistic vision for the production, and to, potentially, address challenges related to the content of the work. These challenges will not all be solved on the first day of rehearsals, of course, but this strategy provides a useful opportunity for identifying issues, beginning a conversation, and considering how the rehearsal process might be adapted, with enough time allotted, to ensure that these challenges are productively addressed.  In addition, it is suggested that each production should create an evolving “Community Agreement” list that each artist in the rehearsal process agrees to, commits to, and contributes to.  Also, it is strongly suggested that mandatory community Talk Backs or Panels be scheduled to occur with each production involving members of the cast, and design team, and the director.


This first meeting  is an excellent time to announce to the cast and designers that the Chicago

Standards are being applied to the production (see sample speech below)

The following “first day script” is adapted from the First Rehearsal Script created by Lifeline Theatre In Chicago; one of the contributors to the Chicago Theatre Standards.  The following is not prescriptive or definitive, but is offered as a sample to be used or adapted.

Department Head/Director: 

University of Georgia Theatre has adopted The Chicago Theatre Standards, available online  at[13] 

The aim of these theatre standards is to adopt procedures to prevent and respond to unsafe and/or abusive events, environments or individuals. If there is a fight scene in the show, there will also be a qualified choreographer. If there are scenes that require physical intimacy in the show, parameters will be agreed upon and safeguards will be put in place to maintain them.

An important component of the UGA Theatre Standards is the Concern Resolution Path. This is a four-­‐tiered list of people who you can contact if you feel uncomfortable or have any concerns throughout this production process.

At the first rehearsal you will receive a printed copy of the Concern Resolution Path with contact information for everyone on the path. This document will also be posted in the rehearsal and dressing rooms for your reference.

I’d like to ask everyone on the path to introduce themselves. (Go around room and check in)

The UGA Theatre Standards contains a number of pledges that we, the producing theater, make to you. Among these is a welcoming environment free of harassment and discrimination.

Since a positive environment is a team effort, we’d like to take this opportunity to read the definitions of harassment aloud to make sure we have a shared understanding.

NAME (show director) if you could begin, and then everyone else just jump in for a section when you like, no particular order, changing speakers with color changes.

Company members read aloud:

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

1.                 Inappropriate or insulting remarks, gestures, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's racial or ethnic background, color, place of birth, citizenship, ancestry, creed, or disability,

2.                 Unwanted questions or comments about an Artist’s private life,

3.                 Posting or display of materials, articles, or graffiti, etc. which may cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment on prohibited grounds.

4.                 Sexual Harassment:

a.                 One or a series of comments or conduct of a gender-­‐related or sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile or inappropriate. Artists have the right to be free from:

i.                   Sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement,

ii.                 Reprisal or threat of reprisal for the rejection of a sexual solicitation or advance where the reprisal is made by a person in a position to grant, confer, or deny a benefit or advancement.

b.                 Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:

i.                   Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about a person's body, attire, gender, or sexual orientation,

ii.                 Unwanted touching or any unwanted or inappropriate physical contact such as touching, kissing, patting, hugging or pinching,

iii.                Unwelcome enquiries or comments about a person's sex life or sexual preference,

iv.                Leering, whistling, or other suggestive or insulting sounds,

v.                 Inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics or activities,

vi.                Posting or display of materials, articles, or graffiti, etc. which is sexually oriented,

vii.              Requests or demands for sexual favors which include, or strongly imply, promises of rewards for complying (e.g., job advancement opportunities, and/or threats of punishment for refusal (e.g., denial of job advancement or opportunities).

All or part of the above grounds may create a negative environment for individuals or groups. This may have the effect of "poisoning" the work environment.

It should be noted that a person does not have to be a direct target to be adversely affected by a negative environment. It includes conduct or comment that creates and maintains an offensive, hostile, or intimidating climate.

Director/Dept Head: Thank you. Negative comments or actions often occur accidentally – but even when that is the case -­‐-­‐ if we don’t address them in the moment it can start a slide into a less professional room. Here is One way to handle negative comments or actions in real time that we will begin utilizing in rehearsals and classrooms.                                     

We’d like to recommend a system of “Ouch” and “Oops.”

For instance:


Speaker A is trying too hard to be funny and makes a thoughtless remark. Speaker B says “Ouch!” This cues Speaker A to realize that the funny remark was potentially hurtful. Speaker A says “Oops” to indicate recognition and regret. Then there’s a Pause.

It’s up to the Ouch-­‐caller whether this moment requires some conversation. So maybe there’s a conversation– or maybe the Ouch caller says “Cool, let’s move on.” But the decision to move on must come from the Ouch-­‐ caller.

Please note that anyone in the room can call “Ouch.” It does not have to come from the person who is the focus of the potentially hurtful remark.

Any questions or discussion on any of this?


Thank you. May I ask that we pledge to each other that we will work together to promote an environment where it feels safe to speak up -­‐-­‐ and that we will welcome any reminder to maintain a positive and respectful room.

If you so pledge, please say “I do.”

Thank you. If an experience ever feels larger than an Ouch-­Oops moment, please know that concerns about harassment, safety, content, or a negative environment may be reported through several channels.


Concern Resolution Path[14] 

The purpose of the CRP is to create a safe and comfortable environment for all members of our production team. We take concerns seriously and seek to address issues in a sensitive and timely manner.

Please note that if a situation arises that you feel is in direct conflict with UGA’s Anti-Discrimination and Harrassment Policy,[15]  you are required to report it to EOO. 

   But, in lieu of that, you would seek help or raise concerns with the following;

   Level One

If you feel comfortable doing so, we encourage you to first directly address your concern with the individual(s) involved. This helps to foster an honest and open community and is often the fastest path to a resolution.


Level Two

If you are not comfortable directly addressing the individual(s) involved, or if no resolution can be agreed upon, your next points of contact can be any of the following:

The Stage Manager

The Director

The Deputy (After the first week of rehearsal, the cast elects a member who agrees to be a conduit to bring cast questions or concerns to the stage manager or to the organization)

Diversity Committee Liaison, (If you are dealing with issues of diversity and inclusion)


For members of the Design and Production Team, contact your Major Professor or Technical Director.


Level Three

If an issue has not been resolved through Levels One and Two, or if you are an individual named in Level Two who needs assistance to resolve the issue, your next points of contact can be any of the following people. The contacts at this level may consult with each other and review any legal or other implications of any decision.


The Department Undergrad Advisor

The Graduate Coordinator

The Undergraduate Coordinator[16] 


Level Four

    Finally, if needed, contact the Head of the Department[17] .





Below is a sample contract for all involved with the production to sign.


This sample agreement is written for a performer. Additions and omissions should be made to adapt the agreement for directors, designers, and other participants.


The following agreement is made between                              (“Theatre”) and                                 (“Actor”) on this                 (date). The Theatre hereby engages the Actor in its production of                                                                        (“Production”) in the role of________ .


1.   Production Dates. The Production Dates are as follows:




Opening Date:


Closing Date:


2.   Compensation. There is no compensation for this performance.


_______ shall receive a total fee as outlined in separate contract/rider.


This agreement shall not constitute ______as an employee of the Theatre, and it is understood that the _____ shall perform his/her duties as an independent contractor.


3.   Rehearsal and Performance Schedule. Subject to Section 4 of this Agreement, ______ agrees to report to and attend punctually all rehearsals, tech, calls, and performances as stipulated by the Theatre, the director, or the stage manager. They agree to be available for all performances. Any factors that may impact the Actor’s availability must be immediately communicated to the stage manager. The failure by the Actor to attend such rehearsals, tech, or performances or the late arrival by the Actor to such rehearsals, tech, or performances may result in termination of the Actor and removal from the Production at the discretion of the Theatre, without notice or compensation.




4.   Conflicts

Any potential conflicts with the performance schedule shall be disclosed to the Theatre prior to the execution of this contract. All absences due to conflicts must receive prior approval by the director and stage manager. Approvals for an Actor’s absence due to conflicts will not be granted for tech, previews, or opening night or any performance during the first weekend (“Opening Weekend”)..


5.   Responsibilities. The Actor agrees to meet all guidelines generally accepted for professional behavior, including, but not limited to, punctuality with regard to all rehearsal and performance calls and adherence to the director and producing body’s intents. The Actor agrees to perform such roles and duties as are listed on the face of this contract as well as other duties that may be assigned at a later date. The Actor further agrees to abide by all rules, regulations, and policies as set forth by the Theatre, such policies to be discussed and distributed at the first rehearsal, deemed to be incorporated into this agreement. The Actor’s failure to comply with the responsibilities herein stated may result in termination of the Actor and removal from the Production at the discretion of the Theatre, without notice or compensation.


6.   Property. The Theatre and its representatives are not responsible for the Actor’s personal property during meetings, rehearsals, tech, or the run of the production. The Actor hereby waives all claims for recovery from the Theatre for any such loss or damage (whether or not such loss or damage is caused by negligence of the Theatre).


7.   Complimentary Tickets. Each cast member receives one comp ticket that must be reserved through the front office.


8.   Severability. The provisions of this contract shall be separable, and the invalidity of any provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions.


9.   Entire Agreement. The parties agree that this instrument represents the entire agreement between them and that the terms of this agreement may not be altered unless such alteration is accomplished in writing and is signed by both parties.


Agreed and Accepted as of the date first written above, by:


Name:                                                                                     Name:

For the Theatre                                                                                  Contractor




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