University Theater’s Mission Statement
University Theater provides students with the opportunity to have artistic control of every production aspect of shows presented under the UT banner. University Theater enables members of the University community to explore and practice the many aspects of theater.
UT has four main goals that guide its decision making.
- Opportunity: To provide opportunities for members of the University of Chicago community to present and to experience theater.
- Education: To improve the work we do and to learn from successes and mistakes. Peer mentorship and collaboration with TAPS as a co-curricular program are both means through which we strive to learn and teach. Students need not be a TAPS major to participate in UT, or vice versa.
- Artistic Excellence: To support the artistic achievements in student work.
- Community: To foster a welcoming community—acting as a hub for discourse about theater, facilitating and encouraging connections between student artists, encouraging discussion of future projects, and promoting best practices within and outside of productions.
General Membership Guidelines
Though membership of UT consists almost entirely of students, the organization is open to all members of the University: students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Membership shall be open to all interested UChicago Students, regardless of divisional or departmental affiliations, and must comply with the University of Chicago non-discrimination statement.
To be eligible to be a voting member of UT (i.e., to vote on members of Committee) members must have either
- at least 1 credit in the past 4 quarters - credits include participation in any mainstage play or workshop, and a credit is counted if it is in process the quarter that a vote is taken (that is, a first-time member of any show is eligible to vote the quarter that they participate and all quarters following).
- Regularly attended one or more production cohorts for a full year
University Theatre will abide by the University of Chicago’s Anti-Hazing Policy.
University Theater is governed by the UT Student Committee and advised and supported by TAPS Production Staff (Pro-Staff). Additionally, Off-Off Campus and the Dean’s Men report to UT committee in the form of a liaison; each organization has its own set of governing guidelines. UT Student Committee also will appoint a liaison to Theater, another of its subsidiaries. The by-laws for each of UT’s bodies (UT, Dean’s Men, Off-Off Campus, and Theater) follow.
I. The University Theater Committee
A. Duties and Responsibilities
- As the governing body of University Theater, the UT Committee represents the UT community’s interests to the TAPS Production Staff and to the University at large. The students on Committee maintain artistic control of University Theater, scheduling its productions and encouraging the creative development of the community.
- Individual Committee members should be committed to the overall improvement of the organization and its ability to provide opportunities to those who participate in theater at the University of Chicago. Although elected members often play important roles in other aspects of UT and its productions, they must remain committed first and foremost to fulfilling their duties as Committee members. These duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Representing the UT community;
- Publicly supporting both the Committee’s decisions and the theater projects of every member of the UT community;
- Allowing ample time for regular weekly Committee meetings (5pm every Monday), quarterly proposal meetings, and other special meetings called as necessary;
- Voting on seasons University Theater will produce and determining the scheduling of Dean’s Men and University Theater shows (UT Committee neither passes nor schedules shows for Off-Off Campus);
- Offering suggestions to Pro-staff concerning policy and day-to-day operation;
- Electing its officers;
- Preparing Programming Coordinating Council (PCC) budget requests;
- make every human effort to assist with general maintenance and clean-up of UT facilities, attending quarterly Project Days, etc.;
- Maintaining a positive public persona, including talking to prospective and incoming/new students at University-sponsored RSO events;
- Being available for advice and guidance when other community members need assistance;
- Serving as Committee Liaisons to all UT shows (this includes Mainstages, Workshops, Dean’s Men, Theater, and Collaborations);
- Training and orienting their replacements at the end of their tenure;
- In a neutral, positive manner and setting, promoting Committee elections and encouraging students to run and vote;
- Make every human effort to see all UT productions, including at least one Off Off show per quarter and one Theater  festival per year;
- Distributing the “University Theater Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct Resource Sheet” and “Recommended Process for Complaint Escalation” to productions.
- Attending annual Title IX training in the Spring to be led by the Phoenix Survivors Alliance (PSA). The Chair will reach out to the Co-Presidents of PSA in order to arrange a time, place, and workshop leader (See Section I.B.4.a.i).
- The Committee Liaison is responsible for ensuring the safety of all members in a production and acts as a communication point between a production and Committee during the show’s production process and performances. A Committee Liaison can only be responsible for one production per quarter. The responsibilities of a Committee Liaison include the following:
- Reaching out to and meeting with the production’s director, stage manager, and production manager before the first rehearsal to establish expectations around how the Committee Liaison will interact with the production process.
- Giving a brief presentation on Chicago Theater Standards before the end of the second week of production to both the cast and crew. This presentation should also highlight the roles of Cast/Staff NEDs and University Theater’s Conflict Resolution Path.
- Scheduling and attending check-ins with the Cast/Staff NEDs at least once every two weeks after the first rehearsal.
- Attending production meetings every week, at least one rehearsal once every two weeks, and every rehearsal during the last week of the production. They should also make every human effort to attend rehearsals involving fight and intimacy choreography, as well as strike.
- Documenting any outstanding concerns, especially safety issues that pose an immediate threat to the members of the production, during production meetings and rehearsals discovered either through observation or communication with a member of the production. The concerns should be relayed to the show’s management, Committee, and/or TAPS Professional Staff if relevant.
- Assisting with the mediation of conflicts and complaints between members of the production whenever necessary. Unless anonymity is explicitly waived, the identities of all those involved must be anonymous.
- Implementing and facilitating the distribution of an online production feedback form that is available throughout the entire production process. The cast and crew should be regularly reminded of its presence and how to access it. The form must have an option which maintains the anonymity of the submission.
- Coordinating with the production’s director and management to create weekly updates on the state of the show and any issues that have occurred in the time since the last update. This update will be presented to Committee at its next meeting, and should attempt to be informative to the extent that any Committee member can take over for the liaison with enough knowledge of the production’s dynamics, history, and ongoing concerns.
- Should the Committee Liaison be unable to make a scheduled commitment detailed in (a), (b), (c), and/or (d), they should reach out to another Committee member as soon as possible so that the Committee member can represent the Committee Liaison at said commitment. The Committee Liaison must give the Committee member any extra information about the production that is required to properly fulfill the responsibilities of a Committee Liaison.
B. Membership, Meetings and Voting
UT Committee consists of student voting members and non-voting UT/TAPS Professional Staff. The student members are elected annually from the UT community, and consist of:
- 10 general members
- 1 Dean’s Men representative, nominated by the Dean’s Men
- 1 Off-Off Campus representative, nominated by Off-Off
- 1 representative from Student Administrative Staff
- 1 representative from Student Technical Staff
Students on the Committee serve one-year terms. Elections for general members are held Seventh Week of Winter Quarter. Elections for representatives from the Dean’s Men, Off-Off, Student Staff, and Tech Staff are held according to the schedules determined in the bylaws of those organizations. Vacancies at other times will be filled by Special Elections. At least two weeks in advance of the election, a notice shall be posted to the UT general list-host (email@example.com).
To run for and serve on Committee, a candidate must be a registered student and have at least TWO (2) Quarters of Involvement in the University Theater community during their enrollment at the University of Chicago, including the quarter of the election. A Quarter of Involvement is an academic quarter in which a student has done one or more of the following:
- Participated as a cast or production staff member in a University Theater production (including Workshops), where performances of that production took place in that quarter
- Participated in TAPS productions, projects, and programs that give significant experience relevant to University Theater (e.g. regularly attending a TAPS design/management cohort, being a cast or production staff member in a TAPS Independent Project or Pro Show). Note that participation in a TAPS production only counts for the quarter in which performances took place.
- Participated in an artistic project or program sanctioned and/or funded by UT Committee (e.g. monologue festivals, paper projects, UT Mentorship Program)
- Participated in Radio or Theater
- Was an active member of Off-Off Campus
- Was an active member of the Dean’s Men Board or UT Committee
Candidates must also be prepared to be available for the 5pm Monday meeting time for the entirety of their potential term.
To vote in Committee elections, a community member must be a registered student and have at least ONE (1) Quarter of Involvement, as described above.
Candidates and voters will be asked to describe how they were involved during their Quarter(s) of Involvement.
Members of Pro-staff may not vote in the elections for Committee. Collaboration credits do not count as University Theater credits.
Candidates must provide one-page statement listing their past UT involvement and motivation for running for Committee. This statement must be submitted to the sitting Committee Chair by 5PM the Friday before the election. A list of the candidates and their statements must be emailed to the UT General Listhost that evening. A ballot shall be prepared listing every candidate. If necessary, the Committee Chair will verify the eligibility of candidates and voters.
The Election Meeting
If the sitting Committee Chair is not running in the election, he or she shall chair the election meeting. Otherwise, a member of Pro-staff shall chair. No rehearsals or other UT events may be scheduled at the same time as the election meeting. Each candidate will be given one minute to make a statement followed by a question-and-answer session, lasting not more than two minutes per candidate. Personal endorsements are not allowed. Finally, each voter may cast a number of votes up to the number of vacancies on the Committee. All votes, absentee or otherwise, must be turned in fifteen minutes after the election meeting. The votes shall be tabulated by members of Pro-staff and the results will be posted to the UT general listhost immediately following the elections. Vote totals will remain confidential. Two- or three-way ties will result in the election of all the tying candidates to Committee. Any larger ties, if they bring the number of elected non-staff student Committee members above 10 (as in Section I.B.1), are arbitrated by coin toss.
Should the number of general student Committee members (excluding Off-Off rep and Dean’s Men rep) drop below ten (10) at any point, special elections will be held at the next possible committee meeting. An email will be sent out within twenty-four (24) hours of the resignation or removal of the previous committee member asking for statements, as per the general election requirements. These statements must be received before the meeting in which the election will take place. Sitting members of the committee then vote to fill the seats up for election from amongst the candidates. Eligibility for special elections is the same as for general elections, and the number of seats up for elections will be limited to those vacant (i.e., until the number of general Committee members is restored to ten).
Removal of Committee Members
The Committee may remove a member by a two-thirds majority in the following instances:
- The Committee member in question submits a letter of resignation to the Chair of the Committee.
- The Committee member in question ceases to be a registered student at the University of Chicago.
- The Committee member does not meet the standards outlined in I.A.2. or has proved ineffective in their other duties, especially as a Committee Liaison to a UT production.
The motion for the removal of a Committee member may be made by another Committee member or by a community member lodging a formal grievance to the UT Committee, and must be included in the next meeting’s Agenda.
Sets weekly meeting agenda. Runs all Committee meetings. Serves as a voting member of the University of Chicago Program Coordinating Council (PCC) and as a liaison with the Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI). Sits on the Logan Center Student Advisory Committee and the Performing Arts Roundtable. Coordinates annual Title IX trainings with PSA (See Section I.A.2.q).
Serves as University Theater’s non-voting member of the Program Coordinating Council (PCC) and attends the annual PCC budget negotiations. Works with University Theater’s Managing Director to prepare and present UT’s budget for the PCC budget negotiation meeting. Meets quarterly with the Managing Director to “wrap” each season.
Takes minutes at all Committee meetings, sends the draft to the Committee for approval within 24 hours, and sends the approved minutes to the general listhost after an additional 24 hours. (For most information on the protocol for the minutes, see Section I.B.5.b.) Also records any changes to the by-laws after each Committee meeting, keeping a regularly updated copy and noting the changes in the public Committee minutes. After the final committee meeting of each quarter, emails the most recent edition of the bylaws to the UT general listhost. Actively maintains the “University Theater Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct Resource Sheet,” updating information, noting changes in public Committee minutes, and posting the most current version of these documents in the UT Lounge.
The Social Chair shall primarily be responsible for helping and encouraging Committee to foster a sense of community within UT. They will reach out to the appropriate leadership of the Dean’s Men and Off-Off Campus to coordinate ways to ensure that UT remains cohesive as an organization. The Social Chair will be responsible for any social events put forward by Committee, and they are expected to facilitate at least one event per quarter.
Further officer positions may be created by each new Committee to serve its own needs and those of the community. Frequently such positions include liaisons to organizations outside the Performing Arts Roundtable, such as FOTA.
Terms of Office and Eligibility
Officers’ terms are from the time of election through the end of the following winter quarter. If an officer needs to be replaced prior to this time, a special officer election shall be held at a regular Committee meeting. Officers can be replaced by a two-thirds majority vote of the Committee. In the case of absences, each officer may designate another Committee member to fulfill their duties. Student Staff Committee members (Student Administrative and Technical Staff) are ineligible for Committee Officer positions.
Election of Officers
New officers are nominated and elected during the Ninth Week Committee meeting of Winter Quarter by the newly elected voting Committee members who will begin serving in the Spring Quarter. Position descriptions shall be provided to the new Committee by the outgoing Committee at the end of the Winter Quarter. After brief presentations by those who are running, the Committee shall vote by secret ballot. The individual who receives a majority vote of those present shall fill the position.
Filling Vacant Offices
If at any time an office is vacated through the removal or resignation of a committee member, the duties and responsibilities of that office (but not the office itself) may be taken on in the interim by another member or divided up among members of the Committee. This is done by a nomination or motion during the meeting at which the vacancy occurs or is discovered, and is approved by majority vote. After the number of elected committee members is restored to TEN (10) through special elections (see Section I.B.2.d), a special officer election will be held for the vacant offices, to be held until the end of the winner’s Committee term. Committee members already holding an office are permitted to run for vacant offices, but if elected must give up their previous office, which will then be filled by special election within that same meeting.
The Committee meets regularly, once a week during the regular school term (Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters). Meetings are at 5pm on Monday evening. Any member of the Committee may ask the Chair of the Committee to call a special meeting, at which point a phone or email poll of the other members will determine if quorum can be reached, at which point a meeting is held. Regular Committee meetings should be scheduled for at least one hour with a reasonable amount of time set aside for accidentals, incidentals, and unforeseen important business. Committee members should not schedule rehearsals, builds, etc. that conflict with the already-scheduled Committee meetings. Members who wish to have item put on the agenda should contact the Chair of the Committee at least 24 hours before the meeting.
Agendas and Minutes
Open Session minutes should be shared with the community in full, with edits made for clarity and effective information dissemination. Executive Session minutes should be shared with the community unless pertaining to confidential information or topics.
Confidential topics might include but are not limited to:
- Information that involves identifying or may identify individuals to the larger UT community.
- Discussion of show-specific conflict that does not relate to the larger UT community. This may include—but is not limited to–conflict resolution, communication problems, or concerns about harassment.
- Information that might require action by a Mandatory Reporter.
- Anything marked confidential during or after the meeting.
The agenda for the meeting should be emailed to the Committee 24 hours before the meeting. Minutes of the meeting should be posted to the UT Committee Executive Session listhost by the Secretary within 24 hours of the end of the meeting. These minutes must clearly differentiate confidential minutes from for-public minutes. Committee has an additional 24 hours after the Secretary sends out the full minutes to suggest any changes in information, wording, or regarding the proposed minutes, or to make further additions. Minutes sent out to the community must be anonymized. Executive session minutes will not be confidential unless otherwise specified at this point. All changes must be requested on a platform accessible by all of Committee, such as a Committee meeting, shared communication platform, or Committee listhost. Any member of Committee can make this request. In the case of any objection, the information in question is excluded from that week’s minutes. After this period, the Secretary posts the minutes, with confidential information removed, to the UT general listhost. Any changes to by-laws occurring in a Committee meeting must be noted in the public minutes.
Attendance and Quorum
Committee meetings, with the exception of the Mainstage Proposal Meeting and open forums, are closed (‘Executive Session’). Quorum for a regular meeting is a majority of voting members. For a proposal meeting, at least four of those members must be elected, non-staff student members.
General issues are voted on by ‘secret ballot,’ either on paper or by secret show of hands. The committee chair is not able to vote and is responsible for counting the votes. At any point during a Committee meeting, a Committee member can request the issue at hand be put to a vote. While individual votes are secret, vote totals may be published in the notes.
Meetings are in open session starting at 5pm during this time any member of the UT community is welcome to join the meetings. This open session moves to executive session during which time meeting guests can no longer sit in on the meeting unless a member of committee invites them and committee votes to allow it. In addition to this chance to join a meeting, any member of the community can request a place on the agenda before the meeting to bring up issues, concerns or questions. This can be done by contacting the Committee Chair or any other member of Committee prior to said meeting.
C. Committee Policies
Any Committee member may initiate the creation of a subcommittee for the purpose of more focused discussion around a specific topic, typically with some tangible goal (i.e. producing a bylaw, creating new documents). A subcommittee is created once Committee informally agrees on its subject matter / goals and three or more members of Committee volunteer to participate. If anyone on Committee believes that the subcommittee should be closed (see below), a simple majority vote can be taken to determine if it will be closed. Committee members who were not originally members of the subcommittee can request to join the subcommittee at any time. Creation of the subcommittee, it’s initial membership, and any subsequent changes in membership must be noted in the minutes. A member of the Subcommittee will present updates on its progress to Committee at regular Committee meetings.
- Open Subcommittees: In the case of an Open Subcommittee, community members must have an opportunity to request to be involved in the subcommittee. These requests will be reviewed by the Committee members on the subcommittee to determine if the request will be accepted or denied. In the rare case that a request is rejected, reasoning must be provided to Committee and can be overridden by a simple majority vote. Members of the Subcommittee should exercise discretion when discussing matters regarding Subcommittee business outside of committee meetings.
- Closed Subcommittees: In the case of a Closed Subcommittee, community members may still send feedback to Subcommittee members, however community members may not be involved directly in the Subcommittee.
In the event that a community member or members, or Committee member or members, feel that a member or members of Committee have acted inappropriately (i.e., does not fulfill the responsibilities as outlined in Section I.A.2), they may propose the issue to the Committee Chair within 24 hours of the meeting. In such circumstances, each side should be allowed to make its case. Committee members directly involved in the complaint will then be excused while the remainder of Committee determines a response in an Executive Session. If the Committee determines that the Committee member or members have acted inappropriately, formal responses can range from censure (i.e. a public statement in the minutes) to removal from the Committee.
If a community or Committee member or members are concerned about a Committee member’s ability to vote fairly during a proposal meeting or regular meeting, the Chair should ask publicly or privately that the individual or individuals in question consider their fairness. If the situation has not changed, any member of the Committee may ask for a vote on the person’s further participation in the process, which can include removal from vote or discussion. Should the Committee Member choose to remove themself from the vote, they may have the opportunity to state so at the beginning of the proposal meeting. If the Chair is an individual in question, the Director of UT/TAPS should be approached.
Budgeting and Financial Matters
All Cross-Quarter productions can apply for a budget of up to $5000. All One-Quarter productions, including Dean’s Men shows, can apply for a budget of up to $3000. Weekends of Workshops performances have a budget up to $250. All Mainstage productions must submit a rough budget to the nearest $500 when their proposals are due. If passed, budgets may be adjusted by up to $500 based on a final budget submitted to Committee by noon the day of Uber Prod. Budgets for all productions cannot exceed the aforementioned amounts for Uber Prod (e.g. a One-Quarter show passed with a $2750 budget cannot have an Uber Prod budget greater than $3000). Final budgets are subject to approval by a majority vote by Committee, with budget approvals taking place by the Friday of 9th week in consultation with TAPS Pro Staff. If budget revisions are requested by Committee, they must be submitted by noon on the Monday of 1st Week of the following quarter, and the revised budget will be voted on during the Committee meeting of 1st Week.
One-Quarter and Cross-Quarter shows may apply for additional funding beyond their approved budget due to unforeseen costs (up to $1000) by submitting a Budget Extension Form to Committee by the Sunday before their first performance. Any additional funds may not be spent until approved by a majority vote of Committee, and forms are reviewed the first Monday after they are submitted. See Section V.A.1. for more information regarding One-Quarter and Cross-Quarter shows.
Throughout this process, shows should aim to budget for only what they need to realize their proposed artistic vision, with budgets made to the team’s best ability.
Amending the By-Laws
These by-laws can be amended by a two-thirds vote of the entire Committee. After each meeting, any amendments to the by-laws must be made in the Secretary’s running copy of the by-laws and noted by the Secretary in the public committee meeting minutes. After the final meeting of each quarter, the Secretary emails the most recent edition of the bylaws to the UT general listhost if there have been changes that quarter.
- Any proposal deliberated on by committee must be decided and enacted under the bylaws that existed when it was proposed. Once a decision has been reached, committee will not hold another vote on the matter unless new information arises. A change of the bylaws is not considered new information for the purposes of reconsidering a decided matter. This item of the by-laws may only be changed by a unanimous vote of committee.
- Any amendments to the by-laws must be proposed and added to the committee agenda at least twenty-four hours in advance of any meeting in which they can be passed.
- Any amendments to the by-laws which are not deemed urgently necessary by the Chair must be shared with the community for feedback at least 48 hours before the amendment can be voted on. The author(s) shall not be identified when the by-law is shared unless they request to be identified. Amendments can subsequently be modified and voted on based on the feedback received without being shared again.
D. Diversity, Representation, and Inclusion Statement
University Theater is committed to fostering diversity in its community and in its productions. University Theater does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected groups under the law (see the University of Chicago’s Non-Discrimination Statement and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).
If one or more of the protected groups listed above are integral to a character’s identity per the playwright’s text and/or the directorial team’s vision, then directorial teams should cast an actor that represents the protected group(s) through the actor’s own identities. If none of the protected groups listed above are integral to a character’s identity per the playwright’s text and/or the directorial team’s vision, then directorial teams should be mindful that such factors of an actor’s appearance and/or identity do not negatively impact in any way an actor’s chances of being cast in the role.
In addition, University Theater values and invites storytelling that showcases, celebrates, and/or uplifts all identities. As such, when conceiving of production visions, members are encouraged to consider “identity-conscious” approaches (rather than “identity-blind” approaches)—that is, explicitly and intentionally leveraging identity in casting, crew, and production work with the aim of increasing awareness, honoring culture, fostering equity, and/or promoting identity and identity-focused discourse.
These approaches may include (and are not limited to):
- Intentionally assembling diverse casts and crews to increase representation and encourage many different voices in the rehearsal room, the production room, and on stage.
- Being attentive to casting and stage pictures that depict or are reminiscent of historically discriminatory viewpoints and consciously avoiding such depictions unless they are crucial to the playwright’s text and/or the directorial team’s vision.
- Selecting theater pieces for performance that are written by and/or present the perspectives of under-represented/minority groups.
- Consciously casting people who identify as a member of one or more protected groups—where there may not be precedent to do so—in roles that serve to uniquely portray, uplift, or present the perspectives of their protected group(s).
- Consciously employing a staff of directors, designers, managers, and/or assistants who identify as members of one or more protected groups to uniquely portray, uplift, or present the perspectives of their protected group(s) in all aspects of production—not just in acting.
- Actively engaging with organizations on campus and/or in the larger community that have relevant missions related to diversity, inclusion, and/or promoting awareness of different identities both while conceiving of production visions and throughout the rehearsal process.
A Note on Programming
University Theater honors its commitment to diversity, representation, and inclusion by producing at least one show per quarter authored by and/or centering on the stories of communities historically underrepresented and underproduced in the arts. This means that:
- At least one show per quarter must be authored by and/or center on the stories of communities historically underrepresented and underproduced in the arts. This includes (but is not limited to) works authored by and/or centering on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), queer and trans people, and women; plays that treat identity intersectionally, contemporary plays (i.e. plays written in the last decade), and plays by contemporary Chicago-based playwrights are to be particularly encouraged. This also includes student-written work. A reimagining of a play that does not traditionally meet these standards of representation (e.g a Shakespeare play) will not be considered under this bylaw.
- UT Committee recognizes that in order to honor its commitment to UT’s four pillars, Opportunity, Education, Artistic Excellence, and Community, it must be an active participant in meeting the standards of this bylaw, and it must consistently work to create a space that showcases, welcomes, and uplifts artists of all identities. Committee’s approaches may include (but are not limited to):
- working with the community to compile and promote an accessible library of underproduced work by BIPOC playwrights;
- regularly organizing workshops for Committee members and the community in topics such as (but not limited to) copyright laws and ownership in theater industry, rehearsal room safety, and anti-racist theater practices;
- organizing and funding community trips to productions by theater companies in Chicago committed to showcasing new work by BIPOC, queer and trans playwrights;
- actively supporting the work of and seeking out collaborations with organizations that have missions related to diversity and inclusion, representation in the arts, and promoting awareness of different identities on campus.
- If no production that meets these standards of representation is proposed by the community, UT Committee will initiate a search for an appropriate director and play, working in conjunction with TAPS faculty and pro staff for support. If a production or reading cannot be organized, any UT programming that does not meet these standards of representation may not be scheduled in its stead.
- Production of shows authored by and/or centering on the stories of communities historically underrepresented and underproduced in the arts is by no means limited to one per quarter. This bylaw is in place to ensure that there be at least one such work produced per quarter.
- All UT proposals will be rigorously looked at for their commitment to I.D.1.I-VI, in addition to Opportunity, Education, and Artistic Excellence.
II. The Dean’s Men
Founded in 2006, The Dean’s Men is a student organization at the University of Chicago dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare. Through University Theater productions and other activities, we strive to bring the Bard’s writing to the school and create a community of theater makers in the process. We are dedicated to this community, which prospers through social events as well as the rehearsal process. We believe in the importance of its warm, joyous existence. As we continue to cultivate and strengthen our art, so we continue to cultivate and strengthen our community. Once a Dean’s Man, always a Dean’s Man.
In addition to our quarterly University Theater show, we take part in community outreach, engage with academic resources, and participate in other artist and social endeavors. In the past, such endeavors have included directing a yearly Shakespeare show with local middle school students at St. Thomas Academy, organizing bi-weekly play readings, and hosting gatherings with David Bevington, the world-renowned Shakespeare scholar.
Once a Dean’s Man, always a Dean’s Man
B. Production Process
The Dean’s Men will perform three shows per year. Once a director and show have been selected for a particular quarter, the Board will assist the director in filling a staff and finding a space, as need be. The selected Dean’s Men show is then submitted to University Theater so that a space and week may be selected with sensitivity to the UT season (see below). The Dean’s Men productions, as UT productions, will fully participate in UT production requirements such as arbitration and space scheduling.
If a show passes the Dean’s Men voting process during Fall or Winter Quarter, this production automatically goes into the Fall or Winter Quarter UT schedules. After a show has passed, a space request will be submitted for the Francis X. Kinahan (FXK) Theater. If the passed director/proposer opts to propose for a different UT space, Committee may consider this option during the scheduling portion of the quarterly Committee Proposal Meeting. The only reason this may be vetoed is if logistically the Dean’s Men may not have this space. No pro/con or other merit-based discussion of the proposed production will occur in the Committee Proposal Meeting once the show has been passed in the Dean’s Men voting process. If the FXK theater or other desired space is not available, the Dean’s Men will consult Pro-Staff for alternate locations.
The same above holds true for the Spring Quarter production, substituting Logan Courtyard for the FXK. Upholding long-standing University of Chicago tradition, The Dean’s Men will do everything in their power to make this Spring Quarter production an outdoors production, even if it is held in an outdoor location other than Logan Courtyard. Should an excellent case be made in a proposal for an inside Spring show, however, the Dean’s Men may vote for it in their proposal voting process. Should this decision affect space rental fees and therefore budgets, The Dean’s Men will meet with Pro-Staff and Committee prior to the Committee Proposal Meeting to discuss alternate locations and determine the best course of action on a case by case basis.
The Dean’s Men will be allocated a design budget for each production by Pro-Staff in accordance with the UT budgeting process. All box-office proceeds from Dean’s Men shows will be considered UT profit and treated as such. The spring show is traditionally free and will not have box-office proceeds.
During show weekend, the Production Manager will serve as House Manager and cooperate with the UT Front of House Manager assigned to the performance. Board members are subject to ushering duties as needed.
C. Dean’s Men Activities and University Theater
The Dean’s Men retain the right to perform sonnets, collections of scenes, etc. throughout the school year and summer as opportunities arise and as they see fit. The Dean’s Men understand that when they engage in these opportunities they are representing the Shakespeare face of University Theater and will act accordingly.
At all events hosted by The Dean’s Men, members of The Dean’s Men Board should designate multiple individuals to be “event monitors” that are designated beforehand. The contact information of these individuals should be physically posted at the gathering and presented alongside all instances of event advertisement/information (email, Facebook, etc). Event monitors should be aware of their position before the event and available during and after the event for individuals to voice concerns. In addition, a member of Dean’s Men Board should clearly post the University Theater Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct Resource Sheet at the event.
In accordance with University Theater, the Dean’s Men and Dean’s Men shows will follow the Chicago Code of Conduct (CCOC) that University Theater has adopted, and the Dean’s Men Board will attend the PSA and Title IX trainings coordinated by Committee.
D. Artistic Autonomy
The Dean’s Men Board retains the right to give respectful input and feedback for Dean’s Men shows as the occasion arises. However, directors for Dean’s Men shows maintain complete artistic autonomy. Directors and designers may make whatever choices they deem fit and use available resources to support their vision for the show, provided that they cause neither emotional nor physical harm. Barring extreme circumstances, individuals working on a Dean’s Men show as a director, designer, actor, or assistant may not accept another position on the same show (e.g. a director may not also be a designer or actor, and the reverse is true).
Consistent with the inclusive motto of the organization – “Once a Dean’s Man, always a Dean’s Man” – the Dean’s Men membership consists of all individuals who have a show credit on a Dean’s Men production. Show credits include directors, head designers, production managers, stage managers, actors, assistants, and other positions (including board ops and stage hands) at the discretion of the production manager and director. However, Voting Membership shall be limited to members of the Dean’s Men currently enrolled in or working at the University of Chicago.
- Participation Any community member who is currently enrolled in or working at the University of Chicago is eligible to participate in a Dean’s Men production and gain membership status. Alumni members are welcome to participate in productions at the discretion of active members.
F. Board Meetings
Regular Board Meetings are held on a weekly basis in order to discuss the business of the organization. All Board members and the current Dean’s Men director are expected to attend; other delegates from the current Dean’s Men production (such as managers) are encouraged to attend as well. Board Meetings are open to the public. Decisions regarding organization events, activities, and non-production budget are made at Board Meetings through thorough discussion. In certain cases, the Board may choose to put decisions to a vote. In all cases, consensus is sought. The Board will meet in an executive session following the open Board meeting. Other non-Board members can be invited to the executive session at the Board’s discretion. Public Board Meeting minutes are sent out to the Dean’s Men and UT General listhosts following each meeting.
G. Board Positions
The President serves as the public image of the Dean’s Men. They are required to attend Performing Arts Roundtable meetings and panels as well as any other events expected of a campus arts leader. They are responsible for ensuring the continued excellence of the Dean’s Men and the cohesion of the Board. The President runs Board meetings.
The Secretary is responsible for the successful communication of all Dean’s Men operations. They compose the itinerary for each Board Meeting, write and distribute meeting minutes, announce Dean’s Men events to the necessary listhosts and serve as a contact point between Board members, especially the President. The Secretary is also responsible for maintaining the Dean’s Men listhost, the Board listhost, and the Dropbox.
The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the non-production budget of the Dean’s Men. They collect and allocate funds for non-production events including fundraisers, non-UT artistic projects, etc. They are also in charge of merchandise production and distribution.
The Arts Chair is responsible for facilitating the artistic endeavors of the Dean’s Men, including but not limited to play readings, collaborations, and the proposal process. They are expected to oversee directors, actors, and production staff for collaboration. They are responsible for informing the community about off-campus theatric or Shakespearian events and opportunities. They typically organize the show potluck that the Board hosts quarterly and spearhead Spring Shit Show productions.
TThe Education Chair is responsible for the implementation of Shakespeare education within the University community and beyond. They are responsible for overseeing any education opportunities within local schools that may arise and lead the group of Dean’s Men dedicated to the programs they facilitate. They are encouraged to serve as a director for these school’s shows but are not required to do so.
The Social Chair serves the social needs of the current Dean’s Men show in addition to the Dean’s Men community at large. They plan, organize, and serve as the contact point for any fundraiser or event hosted by the Dean’s Men Board, including the quarterly David Bevington Event. Funding for said events happens through the Treasurer. The Social Chair also maintains the Dean’s Men Facebook page and other social media pages.
UT Committee Liaison
The UT Committee liaison serves as the Dean’s Men Board representative and full voting member on UT Committee. The UT Committee Liaison is also the show liaison to UT Committee. This responsibility is a year-long commitment and is in addition to their Board position responsibilities. They are responsible for bringing all PSA and Sexual Assault Resource sheets to Dean’s Men functions.
All members of the Dean’s Men Board shall operate as co-liaisons to the Dean’s Men quarterly production. However, one member of the Board will be selected to attend production meetings and be the main point person for the production team and another will be selected to serve as the point person for the rehearsal room. They are responsible for communicating effectively and alerting all relevant parties (including other Board Members) of issues that arise. All Board members are responsible for attending rehearsals and production meetings on a regular basis.
J. Board Elections
The Board is elected by Voting Members of the organization (as defined in Section 5) at an annual meeting specifically designated as the Board Election Meeting. Said meeting will take place midway through Spring Quarter. Voting takes place for Board positions in the order stated above, starting with the President. Positions may be added, subtracted, and/or altered in response to current organization conditions and requirements as the present Board deems fit.
An email will be sent out well in advance of the Board Election Meeting calling for people to run for Board positions. To be eligible to run for a Dean’s Men Board position, a Voting Member of the organization must send in a statement of intent, including all of the positions they intend to run for. A Voting Member of the organization may not run for any position on the Dean’s Men Board if they already hold an elected position with another arts leadership body that meets with the Performing Arts Roundtable as well as Iris and CES. At the Board Election meeting, each candidate will present 30-second a brief statement and participate in a two minute question and answer session. The Treasurer will keep time. Once all candidates complete their two-minute question and answer session, all Voting Members will cast their votes by secret ranked ballot. A majority vote is needed to elect a candidate. The current President and Secretary will count votes and announce the results at that time. Then voting for the following positions will go through the same process. On the secret ballot, voters will rank their choices of candidates such that in the event of a tie between two candidates, the tie may be broken by reallocation of the other parties’ votes for other candidates. In the event of a tie after redistribution of votes, a coin will be flipped to determine the winner of the tie. In this case, this information is kept to the Board for confidentiality.
The new Board takes office during the next academic year, though they shall be trained in their new positions and aid the outgoing Board in the interim. The new Board is expected to attend all Dean’s Men Board meetings after they are elected. The incoming President will be expected to attend Performing Arts Roundtable meetings along with the current President. Terms last for a full academic year. In the event of a midterm vacancy, the relevant Chair will nominate a replacement. The Board will then be responsible for approving that nominee.
K. Show Proposals
Any member of the University Community is welcome to propose to direct for the Dean’s Men. Any show may be proposed. All proposals will consist of filling out the proposal form created by the Board. Alterations to this form may be made as necessary to reflect changing values by the Board. Directors do not need staff or sketches to accompany their proposals. However, directors are requested to propose with a space and time in mind, as well as conceptions of their designs for the show. Proposal forms must be submitted by the announced deadline during the Quarter prior to the production. Proposals shall be submitted via email to the Board (firstname.lastname@example.org) and in the form of two hardcopies in the Board’s mailbox. At that time, proposers should email the Board listhost with the names of at least three Board members with whom they would like to meet to discuss their proposals.
L. Selection of Proposals
The Board will determine a meeting time to select a proposal. The Dean’s Men autonomous voting meeting will always occur a week prior to the Committee Proposal Meeting, so that Dean’s Men proposers may propose for other UT spaces than the FXK or Logan Courtyard. The Board will announce the meeting time and distribute copies of proposals to all interested Dean’s Men. Before the proposal meeting proper, all proposers must meet with at least three Board members to discuss their proposals.
At the proposal meeting, proposers will take turns speaking for five minutes about their proposals without any other proposers in the room. They will then take part in a question and answer session, and answer clarifying questions for eight minutes from Voting Members of the Dean’s Men. The Treasurer will keep time. All relevant parties are welcome to come to the proposal meeting and hear the general statements, however, only Voting Members of the Dean’s Men may stay for the question and answer sessions.
Following each question and answer session, directors are asked to leave the room. Once all directors have been questioned, the remaining Voting Members of the Dean’s Men will discuss the proposals and vote by secret ballot. For voting procedure, see Section 8. Dean’s Men members who are not able to attend the proposal meeting may vote for a show of their choice in absentia via email and/or Google Doc, to be managed by the Secretary. These absent voters are expected to read the proposal documents submitted by all directors prior to submitting their vote to the Secretary. They are required to provide at least one show credit for proof of voting, as well as a valid excuse (such as work, illness, class, study abroad, etc.) for their absence.
In the event of a tie in votes between two proposals in a three or more proposal season, the tie will be broken through the ranking ballot system indicated above. In the event of a tie between two proposals in a two proposal season, there will be a second discussion and a re-vote. If there is a second tie between the two proposals, a coin will be flipped to determine the winner of the tie. In this case, this information is kept to the board for confidentiality.
M. Non-Production Activities
The Dean’s Men may hold non-production related activities in the UT season. These activities may include but are not limited to publicity events, fundraisers, staged readings, discussion groups, and short performances.
At any time, the Board of the Dean’s Men reserves the right to amend or change our bylaws as required by changes in circumstance, opinion, or values. All changes to the bylaws must reach majority vote by the Board and then require ratification by University Theater Committee.
III. Off-Off Campus
Off-Off Campus, University Theater’s improvisational comedy troupe, was founded in 1986 by Frank Kinahan, Bernie Sahlins, Steve Schroer, and a number of students. Each Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarter, Off-Off Campus performs a new comedy revue consisting of five Friday night shows (4th through 8th Week) at the Blue Gargoyle Theater in University Church. The Revues consist of original sketches and long and short form improvisation, directed, written, and performed by the members of Off-Off Campus. Off-Off also performs a summer season (length and dates vary) in the Logan Center for the Arts, and performs a variety of special shows including the “O-Week Show” in Mandel Hall.
Like any other UT Mainstage show, the costs associated with the production are covered by ticket sales. And, like any other UT show any profit made is used for the benefit of the entire organization; this includes upkeep of spaces, general publicity, props, competition fees, etc. However, unlike any other UT Mainstage show, the UT Committee does not control Off-Off-Campus’ schedule.
Herein, Off-Off Campus may be referred to as “Off-Off” or “OOC” for brevity’s sake.
A. Membership, Business Meetings, and Voting
Off-Off Campus Membership is based on a Generational system. Each member of Off-Off Campus belongs to a Generation, comprised of the cohort cast at the beginning of the academic year. The 1st Generation was cast in 1986, the 2nd in 1987, etc. No member may change Generations. Off-Off Membership is brokeninto two categories: Active Members and Alumni.
Active Members. All collegiate members of Off-Off Campus are given Active Status. A generation and its members has active status for four consecutive years. If a member graduates or leaves the College prior to their Generation completing those four years, then that member’s status changes from Active to Alumni.
Alumni. All graduated members of Off-Off Campus, or members of Off-Off Campus whose generations have graduated, are given Alumni status. Alumni are welcome to come back and perform/ direct at the discretion of the current active members.
In the rare case that a member of OOC needs to be removed, active members of the group must be notified 2 weeks in advance that the next business meeting will include a vote to remove a member(s) from the group. The Production Manager must approve any request for a vote to remove a member. A vote of 3/4 of those present is necessary to take away a person’s membership status.
- After being cast in Off-Off Campus (See Audition Procedure, section III.B.3), the New Generation must undergo 2 consecutive quarters of training (see Training the New Generation, section III.D.1). The New Generation may not participate in other Off-Off shows or competitions during this time.
- Directly following the 2 quarters of training, the New Generation becomes the Performing Generation.
- The Performing Generation performs 2 Consecutive Revues (Spring and Fall), selects their directors, is the creative face of Off-Off for the duration of their time as the Performing Generation. The Performing Generation has first priority for any extra performances and other opportunities that arise during their tenure as Performing Generation, provided they do not conflict with the Revue rehearsal and performance schedule.
- After completing 2 consecutive quarters of training followed by 2 consecutive Revues, the Generation forfeits the title of “Performing Generation” and rejoins the ranks of Active Off-Off Members.
Regular Business Meetings are held for the purpose of both organization governance and information distribution. Business meeting are chaired by the PM with the APM acting as secretary. The Production Manager is responsible for communication regarding the scheduling and location of business meetings.
- Business meeting serve the following purposes:
- To keep all members informed of areas concerned with production and finances;
- To elect the APM, Publicity Coordinator, UT Liaison, and Casting Committee (Spring);
- To recruit help for special shows and publicity of current productions;
- To hold Post Mortem of the Quarter’s events and performances.
In addition to the Business Meetings laid out above, any member of Off-Off may call a business meeting by contacting the Production Manager.
- Fall Quarter. Fall Quarter will have 3 definite business meetings: The O Week Meeting, The Title/Show Voting Meeting (prior to 8th Week), and the Business Meeting during Reading Period of Fall Quarter.
- Winter Quarter. Winter Quarter will have 1 definite business meeting: The Business Meeting, during Reading Period of Winter Quarter.
- Spring Quarter. Spring Quarter will have 1 definite business meeting: The Business Meeting, during Reading Period of Spring Quarter.
Voting at Business Meetings differs depending on the issue:
- General issues affecting OOC. All Active members present can vote.
- Changing the OOC Bylaws. All Active members can vote. Changes to the bylaws must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those present.
- Voting on selecting the Casting Committee, choosing the Show Director, and choosing the APM/PM are specified in the respective sections.
- Voting to Remove a Member. See Section III.A.1.a.ii.
B. Audition Process
The Casting Committee is responsible for organizing and running pre audition events, as well as the first round of auditions, to help choose the next generation of Off-Off Campus.
- Composition. The Casting Committee will consist of: the PM, APM, and 4 elected members: 1 from each active generation of Off-Off (3 total), and 1 at large “Wild Card.” The “Wild Card” position may be filled by any current member of Off-Off Campus.
- Elections. Elections for the 4 open Casting Committee positions will be held at the last business meeting of the spring quarter. Each generation will vote for their respective representative, and all active members will vote for the at large “Wild Card” position.
- Responsibilities. During Orientation Week/Autumn Quarter, the Casting Committee:
- Works with UT’s Executive Production Manager to schedule and publicize auditions
- Organizes and attends the Off-Off Meet and Greet, typically directly before the UT Audition Information Session.
- Organizes an Orientation Week improv workshop for people interested in auditioning (optional)
- Runs the first round of auditions on Tuesday and Wednesday of first week. The committee is then responsible for determining callback groups.
- UT Correspondence. After casting is determined, a representative of the Casting Committee must send the names of the new members to the UT Chair, for consideration in the Arbitration process.
- On behalf of the Casting Committee, the Production Manager posts the cast list in both the Reynolds Club and the Logan Center the day after Callbacks.
- The Casting Committee is disbanded at the end of the audition process.
- A Meet and Greet/Information Session must be held by the Casting Committee during Orientation Week or the First Week of Fall Quarter each year.
- An Improvisation Workshop for interested individuals may be held during Orientation Week (optional).
- Scheduling. Auditions will be held during the first week of the Fall Quarter every year in concurrence with University Theater auditions. Auditions are open to 1st and 2nd years in the college.
- Round One.
- The first round of auditions will be held in pairs. Two individuals will be required to perform three short improvisational scenes based on suggestions generated by the casting committee.
- Only the Casting Committee views first round auditions, and only the casting committee determines the individuals who will be called back.
- Callbacks will be held in three groups of six to ten individuals per group.
- Individuals auditioning will be required to perform an improvised monologue based on suggestions generated by the OOC members in attendance.
- After each individual in the callback group has finished their monologues, the callback group will be required to perform a montage of improvised scenes together.
- Participation. Any member (performer, retired, or alumni) can sit in on callbacks and participate in the casting of the next generation after callbacks.
- Voting. Every member of Off-Off may vote on the casting of the new generation. (In the rare event that the group cannot reach a decision on the generation or on the casting of an individual, the decision will fall to the casting committee. This is a method of last resort.)
- Generation Size. Generally, a generation consists for 6-8 performers. A decision to pass this number must be passed by a 1/2 majority of the group, and a 1/2 majority of the Casting Committee.
- Time. Casting will follow the last round of callbacks, and will extend as late into the night as necessary until a generation has been cast.
Off-Off-Campus’ administration has four components: the Production Manager, the Assistant Production Manager, the UT Committee Representative, and the Publicity Coordinator.
Production Manager (PM)
has overall responsibility for the logistical and operational welfare of Off-Off Campus and acts as a liaison between the group, the administration and UT’s Professional Staff.
- Election, Term of Office and Training. The role of PM is filled by the person who served as the Assistant Production Manager the previous year. The PM serves for one year from the final Spring Quarter Business Meeting until the final Spring Quarter Business Meeting of the following year. Training takes place throughout the Spring Quarter of the APM term.
- The PM will chair all business meetings.
- The Production Manager will work with UT’s Professional Staff in order to:
- Manage finances and budgeting;
- Produce programs;
- Coordinate publicity efforts.
- The PM acts as a liaison to the Blue Gargoyle and University Church, and is responsible for all spaces (Logan, Cobb, UChurch, Mandel).
- The PM coordinates special projects (including but not limited to: professional workshops, guest performances, outreach, travel, etc.)
- The Production Manager will work with UT’s Staff Box Office Manager in order to coordinate box office with Theater North Front of House Manager
- The Production Manager will work with the season director and cast to select season and show titles
- The PM will make sure that each OOC member has access to a current copy of Off-Off’s bylaws
- Either the PM or the APM will act as House Manager at each of the Friday night shows.
- The PM will represent OOC on the Performing Arts Round Table.
- The PM should seek out opportunities to engage with the alumni network
- The PM should be proactive and conceive professional workshops and labs with The Director of TAPS.
Assistant Production Manager
- Term of Office. The APM serves for one year from the final Spring Quarter Business Meeting until the final Spring Quarter Business Meeting of the following year.
- Election. The role of APM is filled by the person elected at the Final Business Meeting of Spring Quarter the voting body of Off-Off-Campus will accept nominations for the position of APM. If more than one person is nominated the position will be filled by the individual who receives the most votes. If only one person is nominated the individual must receive 2/3 of the vote of those present to be accepted into the position. The Production Manager can veto an applicant for reasonable cause. The election will be run by the current Production Manager.
- To be nominated for the position the individual must be able to serve as PM for the full year following the term of APM.
- The role of the APM consists of the following responsibilities:
- Schedule the pre-glows and after-glows for each quarter of their year of fulfilling the position.
- Serve as a liaison between the performing groups and Off-Off for these performances
- Serve as secretary at production meetings to distribute to the Off-Off list-host
- Represent the Production Manager in meetings which they are unable to attend
- Generally provide support to the Production Manager in all administrative capacities
The publicity responsibilities of OOC are multi-faceted and evolve based on the respective skills of the group’s members. The following duties will be executed and delegated by the Publicity Coordinator.
- Graphic Design. The graphic design responsibilities of OOC include:
- Designing the season’s supplemental posters and Facebook cover photo, as well as additional graphics (images for Pre/Afterglows, special events, etc) as needed;
- Printing and distributing posters across campus and Hyde Park
- Video Content. The media/archival responsibilities include:
- Filming each performance, or arranging for each performance to be filmed
- Editing footage and distributing clips of shows and sketches on Youtube and Facebook
- Archiving all OOC footage
- Creating promotional videos as requesting by the performing generation
- Social Media. The social media responsibilities include:
- Creating Facebook events for each show
- Maintaining and moderating the Facebook and Twitter pages
- Maintaining and up-to-date website
- Overseeing the alumni page
- Graphic Design. The graphic design responsibilities of OOC include:
UT Committee Off-Off Representative
The UT Committee Off-Off Representative sits on UT Committee. This role may be filled by any active member of Off-Off, and will be elected at the Spring Quarter Business Meeting. (see Section III.A.2)
D. Training and Directing
The New Generation of Off-Off Campus is required to undergo two intensive quarters of comedic training. The guidelines for electing trainers is as follows
Fall Quarter Training
- The fall quarter head trainer(s) will be elected by the current members of OOC at the O Week Business Meeting. A single head trainer or a team of two head trainers may propose on a single proposal, but only one proposal may pass. Any current or former member of OOC can make a proposal to head-train the next generation, unless they are in the Performing Generation. In their proposal, the potential trainers should lay out their vision for training as well as practical details such as rehearsal schedules. After presentations, the current members of OOC will choose the head trainers. A simple majority selects the head trainer(s) except in cases where only one person is being considered. If only one person is being considered, they are automatically given the position of head trainer. Elections will be run by OOC’s Production Manager, with the APM stepping in if the Production Manager is being considered for the position of head-trainer.
- Fall Quarter trainers will be responsible for introducing the new generation to short form improv as well as fostering a spirit of collaboration and commitment. The fall quarter head trainer(s) will also be responsible for collaborating with other members of OOC to incorporate specialized “day trainers” to help train the new generation. The number and frequency of these day trainers is left up to the head trainer(s).
- The Fall Quarter trainer(s) will direct the first afterglow of the new generation, which will occur after the 8th Week Fall Quarter Mainstage show
- Winter Quarter Training
- The winter quarter head trainer(s) will be elected by the new generation of OOC at the final business meeting of the fall quarter. Any current or former member of OOC can propose to head train the new generation in the winter. In the proposal, the potential trainer(s) should lay outtheir vision for training, as well as practical details such as rehearsal schedules. After presentations, the newest generation will be left to deliberate. A simple majority selects the head trainer(s), except in cases where only one person is being considered. If only one person is being considered they are automatically given the position of head trainer. Elections will be run by OOC’s Production Manager with the APM stepping in if the Production Manager is being considered for the position of head trainer.
- Winter Quarter trainers will be responsible for training the new generation in long form improvisation and introducing them to sketch comedy writing and performance, as well as fostering a spirit of collaboration and commitment. The Winter Quarter head trainer(s) will also be responsible for collaborating with other members of OOC to incorporate specialized “day trainers” to help train the new generation. The number and frequency of these day trainers is left up to the head trainer(s).
- The Winter Quarter trainer(s) may direct the new generation in three afterglows during the winter quarter (traditionally one sketch, one improvisation, and one of both/either). However, they can also elect to have other members of OOC direct some of all of these afterglows
Directors of Spring and Fall Revues
- The Spring and Fall Revues will consist of 5 shows, to take place 4th-8th week of the academic quarter. The performers are exclusively the members of the current Performing Generation.
- Selection. The director(s) will be elected by the performing generation at the final business meeting of the previous quarter (Winter Quarter for the Spring Revue, Spring Quarter for the Fall Revue). Any current or former member of OOC can make a proposal to direct the Mainstage production, unless they are in the performing generation. Two members may propose to direct together on one proposal, but two proposals cannot be chosen. In their proposal, the potential directors should lay out their vision for the season as well as practical details such as rehearsal schedules. After presentations, the performing generation will be left to deliberate. A simple majority selects the director(s) except in cases where only one person is being considered. If only one person is being considered they are automatically given the position of Director. Elections will be run by OOC’s Production Manager with the APM stepping in if the Production Manager is being considered for the position of Director.
- The director(s) will be responsible for setting a rehearsal schedule, obtaining any necessary resources for the shows, and running the lights and sound for the shows.
- The director(s) must be prop trained before the first show of the season.
Directors of Winter Shows
- During Winter Quarter, five intergenerational shows will be performed 4th through 8th week of the academic quarter.
- The new generation is ineligible for participation in the Winter Revue.
- Selection. The directors for Winter Shows will be elected by all current members of OOC at the designated business meeting of the Fall Quarter. Any current or former member of OOC can make a proposal to direct one of the five shows, unless they are in training.
- Proposals. The Winter Show Proposal should contain the following information: the name(s) of the director(s) the nature of the show they want to direct, how many performers they are planning to cast, if they intend to participate in the show as well as direct, and how often they will hold rehearsals, and an itemized/ projected budget for the show. After presentations, the five shows will be selected by secret ballot. Each voting member can list up to five shows on their ballot. The five shows with the most votes become the winter season. Ties will be decided by runoff election. In the event that five or fewer shows are proposed, all pass automatically.
- Elections will be run by OOC’s Production Manager with the APM stepping in if the Production Manager is being considered for the position of Director.
- Directly following the vote, passed proposers will submit week preferences to the PM, who will schedule the season.
- The directors will be responsible for setting a rehearsal schedule, obtaining any necessary resources for the shows, and running the lights and sound for the shows.
- The director(s) must be prop trained prior to the week of their show.
E. Pre- and Afterglows, and Other Performances
Pre and Afterglows
- Preglows are 15-30 minute performances by campus music, theater, or dance groups that precede Main Stage shows.
- Afterglows are 30-60 minute performances by campus music, theater, or dance groups that follow Main Stage shows.
- OOC members have first priority to schedule pre or afterglows. The final afterglow of Fall Quarter, as well as three winter quarter afterglows, must be reserved for the training generation for showcases.
- The APM is responsible for all scheduling and management of Pre and Afterglows
Competitions and Outside Projects
- Active members are encouraged to seek out comedy competitions and outside projects.
- Communication with the PM is required, but any team under any director may compete after training is complete. Preference is given to the individual(s) who sought out the competition, and/or the most recent performing generation.
The O-Week Show
- During Orientation Week, Off-Off will perform a free sketch show in Mandel Hall in collaboration with ORCSA.
- The O Week Show Director will be elected at the Spring Quarter Business Meeting.
- Any active member of Off-Off can participate in the O-Week show.
Since at least 2009, Theater is a quarterly theater festival of new work that is written, directed, rehearsed, and designed by University of Chicago students within 24 hours. It traditionally occurs on the first week of each quarter, although it can occasionally be postponed to second week due to religious holidays or other conflicting events. Theater is a zany and hectic experience for anyone who wants to get involved with theater at the University of Chicago, but doesn’t want to commit more than 24 hours to it!
B. Production Process / What Theater Curators Do
9th-10th week of the quarter before: Curators meet to decide the theme of this quarter’s Theater. The theme serves as a prompt for the writers and as a way to connect all the plays together into a cohesive one-night festival. Curators then create a sign-up form for the festival. The sign-up form should ask for:
- Email and phone number
- Roommate’s email and phone number
- A ranking of the positions they would most like in the festival: Writer, Actor, Designer, Director
- What other quarters they have participated in the festival
- IF THEY CHOSE WRITER: Who would they like to write with? Would they be willing to write with a stranger?
- Why they want to be involved in this quarter’s festival and why they chose the positions you did.
- A creative writing prompt (usually related to the theme in some way).
Curators should also start reaching out to Chicago theater professionals for a dramaturg. A dramaturg is a Chicago theater professional (not a currently enrolled UChicago undergraduate student) who stays with the writers throughout the night, offering writing tips, dramaturgical advice, and emotional support, while the curators are asleep.
- They are paid $300 by TAPS for working between the hours of 8:30pm and 8am Friday night of the festival.
- Dramaturgs are reached out to, and selected by, the Theater Curator team at least a week in advance of the quarter’s festival. Upon dramaturg selection, curators will reach out to Neel with the dramaturg’s email such that payment and official forms can be completed.
- Over O-Week/Winter Break/Spring Break: Curators send out the sign-up form for the festival to the University Theater and Theater listhosts. The form should be completed by a Wednesday 1 st week 9pm deadline.
- Wednesday 1st week 9pm or later: Curators meet to read the form responses. This is an anonymous process, requiring one of the curators to replace names with numbers for the sake of unbiased arbitration. The curators begin by reading the creative writing submissions of those who have picked Writer as their most preferred position (because writers tend to be the most competitive position). The curators decide who they believe should be writers and pair them accordingly. The rest of the positions can be filled as the curators see fit.
- Anyone who signs up for the festival can join (there is no audition process), unless more people sign up than are able to participate due to sheer logistics. This participation cap is under curator discretion. If curators must turn people away or place them on a waitlist, they must prioritize including those who have never participated in the festival before, and exclude those who have been involved with Theater many times.
- There should be at least FOUR (4) plays in a festival and no more than SIX (6).
- Every writer should have a partner. Under extenuating circumstances, writers may write in a trio.
- Each play should have at least THREE (3) actors, unless there is no way to have a festival without a two-actor play.
- Never should Theater produce a one-person show.
- If there is a shortage of participants, the position ‘Designer’ can be replaced by the curators. The curators may also step in for actors or directors. This should only be done under dire circumstances.
As soon as arbitration is over, curators must send out emails alerting participants to their positions. These emails should include a link to an RSVP form, confirming their positions in the festival by that Thursday’s midnight. The emails should also tell participants when and where they need to be that weekend. (See Appendices 2.A, 2.B, 2.C, and 2.D.)
- Friday 1st week 6pm: Curators, writers, directors, designers, and actors meet in the FXK Theater to introduce themselves. The curators introduce the festival and the theme for the quarter. The actors then each give 60 second introductions on the stage, while writers and directors take notes. By 7pm, actors are dismissed.
- After the actors are dismissed, the curators give the writers, designers, and directors a tour of the theater. This involves telling them the capabilities (and limitations) of the FXK tech equipment. The designers are dismissed.
- Then, the curators match the writers with their directors. They give out the writing prompts to the writers and randomized cast lists. The writers and directors are free to discuss their initial ideas with each other, until 8pm. The directors are dismissed.
- The curators and the writers go to BartMart to stock up on snacks for the night. They then go to that night’s writing location, where they meet the dramaturg. The curators go home, while the writers and dramaturg work until the next morning to write new plays!
- During the night, the dramaturg should establish the festival’s show order.
- Usually, the dramaturg will ask that the writers complete a first draft of their plays by midnight. However, it is the dramaturg’s choice as to how they want to structure the night.
- The dramaturg should also act as a cursory sensitivity reader i.e. making sure no one writes an offensive play that might make directors/actors/designers feel unsafe/dehumanized.
- At 7:45am, the final scripts are due to the Theater email account. A curator prints scripts in Reynolds 001 using the UT copy code and brings them to the FXK.
- At 8:15am, writers are brought to the FXK to meet with directors. They speak about their plays and artistic visions.
- At 8:30am, actors and designers arrive. Curators take attendance and tell the festival participants which teams they are working in. Once the entire team for a play has arrived, they can start their readthroughs.
- Once the readthroughs are over, writers are sent home to sleep.
- Curators then schedule each play’s allotted rehearsal time in the FXK. Each play should have the opportunity to rehearse in the theater before tech.
- Actors and directors are dismissed to go and rehearse wherever they please. Depending on how many designers there are, the curators will help design and program the shows’ light and sound cues.
- At 4pm, tech begins. Tech will be run by the curators and will feature a Q2Q of each of the shows. At least ONE (1) member of Tech Staff should be clocked on and present to help with production.
- After a break for dinner, writers, directors, and designers are called back into the theater for 7pm warmups.
- At 7:30pm, house opens.
- 8pm: the festival is performed! Curators introduce the festival and perform the fire speech.
- When the shows have been performed, curators let the audience know of future University Theater shows that quarter.
- After the audience has left, everyone involved in Theater must help with Theater Cleaning!
C. Theater 24 and University Theater
Upon the election of each new University Theater Committee, one of its members should be selected to be that Committee’s liaison for Theater. This role includes:
- Being present for arbitration, meet-and-greet, the show, and cleanup. They should also be available throughout the day Saturday for tech and other needs upon curator request.
- Conflict resolution between participants of the festival.
- Organizing, running, and processing post-mortems of each festival.
- Spearheading the application process for Theater curators. (See E: Curator Hiring Process)
D. Curator Responsibilities
- There should be at least FOUR (4) curators at each festival. If THREE (3) or fewer curators are able to participate in a particular quarter’s festival, a member or more of University Theater Committee should volunteer to support the remaining curators at that festival.
- Curators should ensure that the festival runs smoothly according to the timeline exhibited in Section B.
- If there are conflicts between participants of the festival, the curators should be the primary mode of contact, unless they choose to reach out to their Committee Liaison as per the CTS conflict resolution pathway.
- If there are conflicts between the curators of the festival, the curators should reach out to their University Theater Committee Liaison for conflict resolution.
E. Curator Hiring Process
Each winter quarter, before the Committee turnaround, University Theater Committee ought to reach out to the University Theater listhost to ask for applications to become a Theater curator. All potential curators will fill out the application, experienced and new will fill out this application for the next year of Theater.
- This application process should involve an interview with a member of University Theater Committee, ideally the Theater liaison, and a curator of at least three previous Theater shows for new curator applicants. Experienced curators will also re-interview for the position with the liason, but not with another curator.
- Although the application process will be for the next three quarters (Spring, Fall, Winter), the applicant will be allowed to selectively apply for any/all of those next three quarters. This is so that applicants who wish to graduate/study abroad are still invited to curate as many festivals as they would like.
- It is Committee’s responsibility to make sure that they accept at least FOUR (4) applicants for each of the next three quarters.
It is important that curators have some sort of training before they are launched into their first show in the whacky, stressful, exhilarating world of Theater.
- This training should include at least ONE (1) festival credit shadowing the experienced curators of Theater. This training can occur after/during the application process.
- Cumulatively, team of curators should ideally have prior experience with stage/production management, sound design, and light design. This experience could be with University Theater or elsewhere.
- That spring quarter, previous curators shall be invited back to help the new curators learn the ropes of curating the festival. Depending on how many new applicants there are (and the skillsets of those new applicants), UT Committee may invite more or fewer previous curators to help with the training process.
- Theater curators of any of the previous three quarters of the festival may suggest amendments to these Bylaws, to be voted on by University Theater Committee and by other Theater curators of any of the previous three quarters of the festival.
- University Theater Committee may also suggest amendments to these Bylaws, to be voted on by University Theater Committee and by other Theater curators of any of the previous three quarters of the festival.
V. The University Theater Proposal Process
A. Types of Work
- One-Quarter Shows: Performances take place during the 7th or 8th week of Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarter and are passed one quarter prior to their performance quarter. One-Quarter shows may also take place during 6th week if no Cross-Quarter shows are scheduled, but shows in the same space (e.g. FXK, Theater West) cannot take place in consecutive weeks.
- Cross-Quarter Shows: Performances take place during the 6th week of Winter and Spring Quarter and are passed two quarters prior to the quarter of their performance. These shows can take place in Theater West, Theater East, 501, or a site-specific alternative depending upon availability. The Cross-Quarter model is intended for productions that want more flexible rehearsal scheduling, increased rehearsal time to accommodate performance duration, and/or additional time to develop design elements.
- Collaborations: RSOs may propose to collaborate with UT to produce One-Quarter and Cross-Quarter shows, utilizing UT resources and following a similar proposal process and timeline.
- Site-Specific Work: Performance pieces and installations that are located in Logan 501 or other locations on campus, pending University administration approval and the availability of desired resources (e.g. scale of designs, space availability)
- Workshops: Performances take place during 4th and/or 5th Week of Fall and Winter Quarters and are passed one quarter prior to their performance quarter. Workshops are intended for works, particularly new or student-written work, with a shorter runtime and minimal stage design.
One-Quarter and Cross-Quarter Productions
- A proposer must request a proposal liaison from Committee. The preaison will meet with the proposer to discuss any questions the proposer might have about the proposal process.
- Proposers must meet with the Director of Performance Programs and the Committee Chair. These individuals may recommend meeting with other members of the TAPS production staff. Proposers must meet with the Managing Director to discuss rights, if applicable. Proposers are also strongly encouraged to meet with the Managing Director and Committee Treasurer to discuss rough budgets.
- Proposers have the option of presenting to a production cohort meeting. This meeting is open to all members of University Theater. In this meeting, proposers discuss briefly their vision for their production, in terms of both design and process. After this meeting, attendees and proposers may meet and form teams.
- Mainstage shows are divided into One-Quarter and Cross-Quarter shows and are distinguished by their different budget amounts (see I.C.4). Each show type occurs at a specific time each quarter, as specified in Section V.A.
Proposers must turn in their proposal to the Committee Chair’s mailbox and electronically, emailed to email@example.com. Deadlines for different shows are as specified below:
- Cross-Quarter Shows are due 5pm on Friday of 2nd week of the quarter two quarters prior to the desired production date. (e.g. Spring Cross-Quarter shows are passed during Fall Quarter).
- One-Quarter show proposals are due 5 pm on Friday 2nd week of the quarter previous to the desired production date. One-Quarter shows take place during the 7th and 8th Weeks of Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters.
- If no Cross-Quarter show is passed during the appropriate proposal cycle, the slot may be filled by a One-Quarter show in the proposal meeting of the prior quarter as usual.
- In the week following, proposers arrange time to meet with individual Committee members to discuss their proposal. Committee members are required to read all proposals and make themselves available for individual meetings.
The proposal should include the following components:
- Name and information about the proposer.
- Cast size and Gender breakdown.
- Run time.
- Space preference.
- The proposed scale (One-Quarter, Cross-Quarter) and week(s) the proposer would prefer.
- A requested budget amount and rough breakdown that corresponds with the proposed scale. See Section I.C.4 for more information.
- Whether or not the show has been passed or performed on campus in the last three years.
- Three important images pivotal to the play.
- The driving question and themes behind the production.
- The production design aesthetic of the play and the textual justification for the aesthetic choice.
- Bios for all staff members. These bios should include qualifications for the position as well as a statement about their particular area on the production.
- While it is not required, inclusion rough drawings of set and costumes is suggested to strengthen the proposal.
- The community-wide Mainstage Proposal Meeting is held 3rd Week, usually at 5pm. No UT activity may be scheduled during the community-wide Proposal Meeting.
- Before the Proposal Meeting, the Chair will meet with the relevant Pro Staff member(s) in order to discuss space scheduling. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss any schedule iterations that might be challenging so that the season can be scheduled in an informed manner after passing.
- After all proposers have spoken, the Committee proceeds into the Executive (Closed) Session in an undisclosed location (See Section IV.A.3). Proposers who are also members of Committee are not allowed to sit in Executive Session Proposal Meeting or to vote on the season. If the Director for the Dean’s Men show is on Committee, however, they are permitted to take part in scheduling and vote on the season just as any other Committee member.
RSOs may propose to collaborate with UT with the same deadline as mainstage proposals.
- Proposing RSOs contact the Committee Chair expressing an interest in collaborating with UT. The RSO then sends a representative to a Committee meeting any time before the Mainstage proposal meeting to discuss the proposal with Committee.
- Collaborations proposers are encouraged to meet with the Director of UT/TAPS and the TAPS Design Team to discuss their proposals. Proposers meet with the Managing Director to discuss rights, if applicable.
- Proposers turn in their proposal by Friday of 2nd Week by 5pm to the Committee Chair’s mailbox and electronically, either by fileshare (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org).
The proposal should include the following components:
- Name and information about the RSO, and proposer, and their role in the organization.
- A brief description of the Collaboration project.
- Cast size and Gender breakdown.
- Run time.
- Space preference, if the RSO would like to use a TAPS space.
- The week (or weeks) the proposer will accept.
- The amount of tech time the RSO will require.
- Any other resources the RSO desires from UT, including but not limited to student production staff, student performers, publicity, and audition space.
- As detailed in Sections V.B.1.h and V.B.1.i, the community-wide Mainstage Proposal Meeting is held on Friday of 3rd Week at 5pm. At this meeting, as with the Mainstage proposers, the Collaboration proposers have one minute each to present their proposal and five minutes each to answer the questions of Committee and community members. Also as with Mainstage proposers, Collaboration proposers who are also members of Committee are not allowed to sit in the Executive Session Proposal Meeting or to vote on the season.
- For the guidelines of the Collaboration process once a proposal passes, see Section V.B.3.f.
Mainstage Proposal Executive Session
Directly after the community-wide meeting, Committee goes into Executive Session to discuss each proposal individually. In this meeting, Committee considers whether a show:
- Is appropriate to the proposer in terms of its scope and the proposer’s relevant experience.
- Identifies the proposer’s focused goals for the production and communicates that the proposer has a clear and specific vision of the play.
- Fits with University Theater’s four pillars of Opportunity, Education, Artistic Excellence, and Community.
- Contains an appropriate staff, including Director, Stage Manager, and Design Team. (Filling the staff as best as possible by the proposal meeting is highly recommended.)
- Is of feasible technical difficulty and requirements, given current University Theater equipment and personnel.
Procedure and Policy for the Committee Proposal Meeting
- The Proposal Meeting is run by the Director of Performance Programs and the Committee Chair. If the Chair is proposing, the Treasurer runs the meeting. If the Treasurer is also proposing, the Secretary runs the meeting. If all three officers are proposing, another member of Committee will be selected at the prior Committee meeting by simple majority vote.
- Committee does not vote for or against a proposal on a comparative basis. They base their vote solely on the proposal, and only weigh it in relation to other proposals when they vote on scheduling.
- Committee takes a straw vote for each proposal, with the options of “yes,” “no,” or “discuss.” If any proposal receives enough “yes” votes such that the number of “discuss” votes does not challenge its majority, that proposal is automatically passed. If the proposal receives enough “no” votes such that the number of “discuss” votes does not challenge its majority, that proposal is automatically not passed. If there is no majority or the number of “discuss” votes threatens the existing majority, the proposal is then evaluated in the form of a list of pros and cons. Each Committee member presents at least one pro or one con in order to create these lists.
- After ALL lists are made for each show being considered, the shows are discussed in greater detail and pro/cons are clarified if necessary.
- Once discussion is completed, Committee votes on each proposal. In this vote, proposals pass if they receive a simple majority of votes. A proposal must have at least half the votes in the room to pass.
Once shows are passed, they are then scheduled. At times, shows can be passed but not scheduled due to limited resources. During scheduling, other productions (such as the Weekend(s) of Workshops, or New Work Week(s) in the Spring) are also scheduled. Once the season has been scheduled, Committee votes on the entire season as scheduled, requiring a simple majority to pass. Committee then reflects upon the season as a whole. Mainstages and Collaborations that are scheduled for the UT season are assigned Committee Liaisons. The Weekend(s) of Workshops, New Work Week, or other such productions are also assigned liaisons at this time. If there are multiple Weekends of Workshops, each one receives its own liaison.
After the season has been scheduled and reflected upon, Committee Liaisons will contact their respective proposers regarding the status of their proposal and its scheduling. The Committee member running the meeting contacts the proposers who shows were not scheduled. All Committee members must speak to their proposers by phone, not via email or in person. The proposer must also be reached directly by phone; voice mails are not permitted. Once all proposers have been reached directly by phone, the season may be announced by the Committee Chair via the UT general listhost.
Post-Meeting Process: Mainstage
Once scheduled, the staff of each Mainstage is encouraged to meet with UT/TAPS Pro-staff to continue to develop design plans, as well as to attend their respective cohorts. They will also be reminded that to be cast, all actors must audition.
Post-Meeting Process: Collaborations
Once scheduled, Collaborators meet with the Managing Director of TAPS to look at venue choice and run capacity, calculate potential ticket sales, and calculate a budget. In the event that a Collaborator wishes to do a free event, the RSO must have money from their own account to cover any production expenses. After this budgeting process, the rest of the production timeline is the same as for Mainstages: the staff of each Collaboration is encouraged to meet with TAPS Pro-staff to continue to develop design plans, as well as to attend their respective cohorts.
- Proposers are encouraged to meet with the Director of TAPS to discuss their proposals. Proposers meet with the Managing Director to discuss rights, if applicable.
- Proposers turn in their proposal by Friday of 5th Week by 5pm to the Committee Chair’s mailbox and electronically, emailed to email@example.com).
The proposal should include the following components:
- Name and information about the proposer.
- Cast size and Gender breakdown.
- Run time.
- Space/week preference, if there is an option (i.e., multiple Weekends of Workshops in different spaces).
- Three important images pivotal to the play.
- The driving question and themes behind the production.
- The production design aesthetic of the play and the textual justification for the aesthetic choice.
See Appendix 1.B for the Workshops Proposal Form
- The Workshops Proposal Meeting is held at the start of the 6th Week Committee Meeting, at 5pm. Each proposer has one minute to present their proposal and two minutes to answer the questions of Committee and community members.
- After all proposers have spoken, they are excused and the Committee proceeds into the Executive (Closed) Session. Proposers who are also members of Committee are not allowed to sit in Executive Session Proposal Meeting or to vote on the Workshops. Once the Workshops have been voted on, proposers on Committee are permitted back into the room for the rest of the 6th Week Committee meeting, which proceeds as usual.
- Committee may accept workshops on a rolling basis at their discretion, up to the Friday of 8th Week. Workshop proposers then present their proposal at the following Committee meeting, following the procedures outlined in this section.
Workshops Proposal Executive Session
Directly after the Workshops proposers have spoken, Committee goes into Executive Session to discuss each proposal individually. In this meeting, Committee considers whether a workshop:
- Is appropriate to the proposer in terms of its scope and the proposer’s relevant experience.
- Fits with University Theater’s Mission Statement of Opportunity, Education, Artistic Excellence, and Community.
- Is of feasible technical difficulty and requirements, given the Workshops format and restrictions, as well as current University Theater equipment and personnel.
Procedure and Policy for the Workshops Proposal Meeting
- While the driving question in the Mainstage Proposal meeting is, “Why pass this show?” the driving question in the Workshops Proposal meeting is, “Why not?” in the interest of opportunity. To that end, each proposal is discussed briefly, addressing any concerns with the proposal.
- Progressing through each individual proposal in this way, Committee constructs a full lineup of Workshops.
- Committee then votes on this line up. If discussion is still required and/or if Committee is still divided upon the season, they may move to pass Workshops individually until the lineup is complete and all Proposals have been addressed.
In the event that there are multiple Weekends of Workshops, Workshops that pass must be scheduled into one of the weekends. Once the Weekend(s) have been scheduled, Committee votes on the entire Workshops lineup as scheduled, requiring a simple majority to pass. Committee then reflects upon the Workshops lineup as a whole.
After the Workshops have been scheduled and reflected upon, the Committee Liaison(s) for Workshops will contact their various proposers regarding the status of their proposal and its scheduling. The Committee member running the meeting contacts the proposers whose shows were not scheduled. All Committee members must speak to their proposers by phone, not via email or in person. The proposer must also be reached directly by phone; voice mails are not permitted. Once all proposers have been reached directly by phone, the season may be announced by the Committee Chair via the UT general listhost.
Once scheduled, the Director and SM of each Workshop are encouraged to meet with UT/TAPS Pro-staff to continue to develop design plans, as well as to attend their respective cohorts.
D. Site-specific work
- Individuals may propose site-specific work to be produced by UT for the following two quarters . Projects appropriate for Site-Specific production include pieces in spaces other than Theater West, Theater East, or the FXK. The proposers are encouraged to meet with the TAPS Managing Director to discuss the production rights as well as the TAPS Production Manager to discuss the feasibility of locations cited.
- Proposers must fill out the Site-Specific Proposal Form and submit it to the Committee Chair by 5PM on the Friday of 5th Week, with the proposal meeting occurring the following Monday at 5PM. The proposal meeting process follows the format outlined in Section Sections V.B.1.h. Note that proposing earlier in the quarter may make it easier for proposals to pass due to greater space availability.
The proposal should include the following components
- Name and information about the proposer(s)
- A brief description of the Site-Specific project.
- Cast size and Gender breakdown.
- Run time.
- Spaces under consideration and how those spaces will be acquired.
- The timeline that the proposer is considering
- Any other resources desired from UT, including but not limited to student production staff, student performers, publicity, and audition space as well as technical needs (extension cords, scooplights, etc).
- After the proposer has spoken, they are excused and the Committee proceeds into the Executive (Closed) Session. Proposers who are also members of Committee are not allowed to sit in Executive Session Proposal Meeting or to vote on Site-Specific Proposals. Once the proposal has been voted on, proposers on Committee are permitted back into the room for the rest of the meeting, which proceeds as usual.
VI. The University Theater Production Process
After a production is passed and scheduled by the University Theater Committee, it enters the Production Process. The following elements are not to be taken as the only necessary steps for producing with University Theater.
A. Pre-Production Quarter
- Once the University Theater season is released, Committee and the production teams will coordinate to ensure that only one lead design/management position is held by any given individual.
- Once production teams are finalized, they work with TAPS production staff to fully realize design visions and determine budgets that are within the specified ranges.
- By the time of the Uber Production Meeting, production teams will finalize budgets. These budgets will be presented at the Uber Production Meeting, after which TAPS production staff and UT Committee will determine exact final budgets.
- All auditions will be scheduled at the same time in order to preserve the arbitration process.
B. Production Quarter
- No Actor will be cast in multiple UT productions in any given season.
- There will be two days of auditions, usually Tuesday and Wednesday of 1st week.
- This will be followed by a day of callbacks, usually Thursday of 1st week.
- No fight or intimacy work will occur in UT that has not been approved by a professional choreographer. Any production that desires fight or intimacy work will work with TAPS professional staff to hire a professional fight or intimacy choreographer.
- A production’s committee liaison should make every human effort to be present for fight choreography rehearsals.
Each show must elect a Cast Non-Equity Deputy and a Staff Non-Equity Deputy (Cast and Staff NED) by the end of the second production week, a process facilitated by the Committee Liaison in the absence of the director, stage manager, and production manager. If possible, these positions should be held by individuals who have participated in at least one previous University Theater production. The responsibilities of the Cast and Staff NEDs include the following:
- Communicating and advocating on behalf of the cast and staff to the stage manager, production manager, and/or the Committee Liaison when their attention is brought to a conflict or concern that cannot be mediated between the complainants themselves. Unless anonymity is explicitly waived, the identities of the complainants must be anonymous.
- Meeting with the Committee Liaison at least once every two weeks to facilitate communication and bring up any concerns to the Committee Liaison.
- For the staff NED, making every human attempt to attend all scheduled production meetings.
C. Casting Arbitration
- All of UT’s mainstage shows are given equal status and standing with each other. To that end, UT has several policies in place to help promote fair and equitable access to acting talent during the casting process.
- Auditions and callbacks for all mainstages casting in each quarter must occur at the same time.
No show has inherent priority to cast any actor for any reason.
- This includes the actor’s preference for casting if they are auditioning for multiple shows. Actor preference never has any bearing on the casting process, and casting teams should not inquire about this information.
After callback auditions, an arbitration meeting with a member of Pro Staff must occur before the release of cast lists. All casting teams bring a proposed cast list to this meeting, and if actors appear on multiple lists, these conflicts are discussed, and lists are modified until each actor only appears in one show.
- Pro Staff oversees arbitration to ensure the fairest resolution of disputes. If casting teams cannot come to a mutual agreement regarding a conflict, the Pro Staff member will have final and absolute authority to decide on an outcome.
- Casting teams are strongly encouraged to bring multiple alternative actors they are comfortable casting for each role to arbitration in the event they must give their top choice to another show. Callbacks are an ideal time to identify these options.
- The arbitration meeting cannot end until all cast lists are finalized with all roles filled. No alterations are permitted to cast lists decided at arbitration except in the case of a role being declined.
- After arbitration is complete, casting teams should coordinate to release the cast lists decided at arbitration together. Each full cast list must be released to cast actors at the same time.
An actor can only receive ONE casting offer during a UT mainstage season. The actor may choose to decline this offer for any reason; however, it is with the understanding that they will not receive another casting offer for a UT mainstage that season.
- If a role is declined or if an actor leaves a show, casting directors may fill the role with any UT-eligible actor that has not already been offered a role during this UT mainstage season. Additional auditions may or may not be held to fill this role.
Before auditions begin, each show should have equal access to each actor auditioning for multiple shows, and each actor should have equal chances of booking roles they are eligible to be cast in. Any communication from casting teams that impacts (a) casting of other shows or (b) casting of other individual actors is strictly prohibited at any time prior to or during casting. Select examples include:
- Indicating a certain actor will be cast in a show/role if they audition
- Explicitly encouraging actors not to audition for other shows
- Telling an actor to decline a callback because they are wanted for a different show
- Negotiating with other casting teams outside of arbitration
Engaging in this type of communication or otherwise breaching this casting arbitration bylaw will result in sanctions for that production—including, but not limited to:
- Automatic rejection of a proposal
- Removal of personnel from a production
- Reduction of funding for a production
- Cancellation of a production
D. Removal of an individual from a production by Committee
- As the governing body of UT, Committee is responsible for ensuring that the standards set in this document are met by all community members. As such, committee reserves the right to remove individuals from productions via a two-thirds majority vote.
- Committee should make every effort to ascertain the details of the situation before calling a vote for removal in this way.
- After a production has closed, the committee chair will arrange for both an in-person post-mort where the process can be discussed and an anonymous online form for the same. If the committee chair was a part of the production, the treasurer will run the post-mort. If both the chair and the treasurer were part of the production, then the secretary will run the post-mort. If all three aforementioned Executive Board members were part of the production, the social chair will run the post-mort. If all of the Executive Board was a part of the production, the committee liaison will run the post mort.
This document was last edited on April 25, 2022.