Theatre UAB Student Handbooktheatre uab handbook graphic

Welcome to Theatre UAB

This is it: the complete guide to being a successful Theatre UAB student. Here you'll find all the facts, routinely updated for accuracy, about how to proceeed toward your chosen degree and how to participate in department productions.

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Find your way around

UAB is an urban campus, meaning that it grew inside the city rather than being built on its own property.  As a result, it has both the advantages and disadvantages of being in the heart of a big city.  For example, parking is often difficult, but getting to stores and restaurants is easy.  

West end of UAB campusThis map shows the west end of the UAB campus, which is where you’ll find all our theatre facilities.  This is also the part of campus closest to Interstate 65, which offers the most common route to UAB from outside the city.

Running through this map you’ll see University Boulevard, which is also known as 8th Avenue South (and, in other parts of the city, Green Springs Highway and Clairmont Avenue).  

On 13th Street South and University you’ll see the parking lot for the Bell Building, one of the oldest buildings on campus.  For years Bell was the home of Theatre UAB, containing our only performance space and all classrooms and offices.  Today the Bell Auditorium is the classroom for all sections of Introduction to Theatre – our largest class by far, averaging 100 students in each section for an average of 1,000 students a year.  Upstairs at Bell is the Tour Closet, which is the prop and storage room for our Touring Groups.

On the south end of this map – at 13th Street and 10th Avenue South –  you’ll find our real headquarters: the Alys Stephens Center, home to most of our classrooms, offices, and performance spaces. The official abbreviation for this building is ASC, and you’ll usually see the classrooms described that way.  For example, our main classroom is ASC 289. 

You’ll find our Costume Studio on the ground floor, and our classrooms, offices, and studio space upstairs.

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Stay Informed

Check your UAB.EDU email – every day!
UAB requires that you use the email address that you were given when you registered.  This is UAB’s vital link with you for advising, billing issues, grades, and everything else. 

Check the call board – every day!
The Department Call Board is a long wall covered with bulletin boards.  It’s on the second floor of the ASC academic wing, on the same hall as the mailboxes.  Get yourself into the habit of checking this board carefully every single day of the week.  The call board is the Department’s center of information about productions, classes, career opportunities, and much more.  

Check your mailbox – every day!
Every time you visit the call board you should also check your mailbox.  Each Department major is given a mailbox on the wall opposite the call board.  These are arranged alphabetically by last name.  Your mailbox is a great resource – but only if you check it every day.

Visit our web site and subscribe to our social media!
Our Department has one of the most dynamic and informative web sites in the entire University:   The site offers valuable information about current and upcoming events, and also contains photographs from previous productions, information about faculty and courses, and much more. We encourage all students to also follow us on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and other media. Our presence on all of these is maintained by Lee Shackleford, and he welcomes all constructive suggestions, corrections, and comments. 

Study the production calendar
Prior to each school year, our production manager creates a complete production calendar, showing all rehearsal, construction, and performance dates for Theatre UAB main season shows, the Festival of Ten Minute Plays, Department meetings, ASC events scheduled in the Sirote and Odess Theatres, professional events (KC/ACTF, Southeastern Theatre Conference, USITT, etc.), and selected University dates (first day of classes, breaks, final exams, etc.). Copies of these calendars are posted on our call board. You can also access these calendars online, and if you use Google Calendar you can add all of these dates and deadlines to your own. Contact Ed Zuckerman for the addresses of the online calendars.

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Learn about our physical spaces and equipment

Getting access

The Department controls the use of all spaces on the second floor of the ASC Academic Wing, the Sirote Scene Shop, the Costume Studio, the Prop Shop, and the Odess Theatre.  We have classes scheduled in most of the spaces in these facilities.  The faculty and staff may reserve time in the Acting Studio, the Classroom, and the Conference Room when it is available. 

You’ll notice that many of our doors are controlled by electronic key cards.  You may be eligible for one of these key cards, which will allow you after-hours access to the exterior and selected interior spaces of the ASC Academic Wing.   Students who are at work on a production (for example, stage managers and student designers) may obtain a key card by seeking permission from the instructor of the course or supervisor for production work.  They will help you get a key card authorized by University Key Control.

Get a locker!

We have 36 lockers on the second floor of the ASC Academic Wing.  They are available to you on a first-come-first-served basis and are signed out through the Theatre Office (ASC 255).

Do not use your own combination lock on these lockers!  We will provide you with a combination lock for a deposit of $5.00, which will be refunded to your at the end of the spring term provided the lock is still in good working order.

Locks that are not issued by the Theatre Department will be cut off.

The acting studio

Our Department's acting studio is a combination classroom and performance space.  It is home to our acting, voice, directing, and filmmaking classes and has been home to readings of new plays, performance of student projects, and special workshops of all kinds.

Students wishing to do after-hours classwork or mount independent productions are allowed to reserve time in the Acting Studio when it is available.   The schedule for reserving time in these spaces is kept at the Department front desk (ASC 255).  You’ll find all the reservation rules in the book where the schedule is kept.

Naturally there are special rules about use of this space:

  • All independent projects must be cleared by the department chair.
  • All independent projects must have a faculty advisor.
  • Rehearsal slots are limited to one hour per day. This is to allow all students rehearsal time for class assignments.
  • Five days prior to performance the studio may be signed out for four-hour slots.
  • Seating capacity must be given to the department chair prior to tech week. NO SEATING WILL BE ALLOWED OVER THE SET NUMBER.
  • Hallways must be kept totally cleared.
  • Exits in the studio must be kept cleared.
  • No live flame may be used.
  • Anything that has the potential of harming the physical space is prohibited.
  • Studio must be cleared and left classroom ready.

And of course special attention must be paid to the lighting and sound systems in that space.  So there are specific rules about that, too:

  • You must seek permission to use the Acting Studio lighting and/or sound system from the Department of Theatre Production Manager. (This does not include use of stage lighting presets programmed into the wall panel near the door.)  
  • Under normal circumstances, only students who have completed THR 124 Theatre Technology (Scenery and Lighting) are allowed to operate the Acting Studio lighting and/or sound system.  The Production Manager may grant permission to operate these systems to students who have not completed THR 124 only after they have received proper training by the Electrics Coordinator or the Production Manager.
  • The repertory light plot may not be altered in any way.  
  • Students may seek permission from the Production manager to hang additional instruments for a project.  All added instruments, accessories, and other equipment must be struck and returned to the proper storage location within 24 hours of completing a project in the Acting Studio.
  • The default configuration of the sound system must be maintained.  Playback devices may be added with permission from the Production Manager.
  • The control booth area must be kept clean and uncluttered at all times.
  • Before leaving the space, both lighting and sound control boards should be turned off and covered.
  • All work lights and stage lights should be turned off before leaving the space.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the control booth. 

Students who do not follow these rules will be forbidden from using the Studio in the future.

Our props and furniture

Everyone in the department is grateful when you keep all spaces clean and orderly.  Of course we want you to use the studio and classrooms for rehearsals – and when you are finished, we also want you to return all chairs, tables, and rehearsal furniture to their assigned places.  Naturally we also want you to throw away all trash before you leave the space, and to be sure you lock all doors behind you. 

The student lounge

Our space in the Alys Stephens Center includes an open area that we use as an informal "student lounge." There are comfortable chairs, a table, and a sofa, all beside a large picture window. We're fortunate to have this space available, and students enjoy it at all hours of the day and night. For many it is a place to sit quietly and study, and for others it is a place to meet up with their friends.

The space is yours to enjoy. But that also means it is your responsibility. Our classroom is next to this lounge, and so are many of our offices. So it's rude and irresponsible to make a lot of noise in this area. Also, since it's a popular place to eat, it can also get very messy very quickly, so we insist that you are considerate about cleaning up after yourself.

The lounge appears to be a place where you could safely leave your phone, computer, or purse unattended. Unfortunately, we've found that is not actually true. So enjoy the space -- but don't get so comfortable in it that you think you're at home and alone.

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How to Earn Your Theatre Degree

Step One: Get theatre major advising.  It’s mandatory.

Now that you’re a Department major, you’ll be assigned to a departmental academic advisor.   Look for a list to appear on the call board.  by mid-September, showing who your assigned advisor will be.  If you need advising help before then, see our Head of Advising, Ed Zuckerman. You will also have a College of Arts and Sciences academic advisor.  To make an appointment with your CAS advisor call 205-934-6135.

The Theatre department requires mandatory advising for all majors each semester.  You will not be able to register if you do not meet with your advisor.  Registration at UAB now requires an access code for majors, which you will receive at your advising appointment. Your advisor will also be able to tell you about special projects or courses that you may be eligible for, such as design opportunities and the departmental Honors Program.

Once you’ve accrued 60 credit hours, you’re considered a Junior, and should make an appointment to see both your Department advisor and College of Arts and Sciences advisor to check your overall progress toward graduation.

When you begin your Senior year, you should apply for graduation. This may seem premature since graduation is still at least one semester away, but in fact you should give the University plenty of time to process your paperwork. You should plan to apply six months before your target graduation date. If for some reason your graduation is delayed, you’ll have to fill out a change of graduation form.

Transfer Students
Did you come here from another school? Welcome! You should make arrangements to be advised as soon as possible, so your transfer credits may be evaluated. The department will accept for elective credit all technical practicums (see below) from other universities. However, only one credit hour of technical practicum will be counted towards the departmental practicum requirement.

Course Substitutions
Sometimes a problem will arise with a required course and you’ll need to substitute a different course in its place.  This is not always possible, but if it is, you’ll need to see our Department Chair, Kelly Allison for help with that.

The BFA is Different
Admission to our BFA in Musical Theatre program requires candidates to first pass a special audition (all the details of which can be found here). After that, BFA Musical Theatre students will embark on a regimented four-year course of study that often overlaps with the BA courses but has a greater emphasis on vocal training and dance. The progression of required courses is laid out on our BFA Musical Theatre Curriculum page.

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Step Two: Get practicum credit

All theatre majors are required to complete a minimum number of theatre practicum credits.   In other words, you’ll be assigned particular tasks on main season productions (running crew, scene construction, stage management, and so on) for which you’ll receive course credit.  

The number of your required practicum credits and the nature of those credits (performance or production) are determined by the curriculum track you’ve chosen (performance, design/production, general studies).  Grades for each performance practicum will be determined by the director of that production; grades for any other practicum will be determined by the faculty member responsible for that area.

IMPORTANT:  If you get cast in a main season production, it is your responsibility to immediately register for one credit hour of Performance Theatre Practicum.  This must be completed before that semester’s Drop/Add period ends. 

You can register for up to three production Theatre Practicums in a single semester.  One credit of production Theatre Practicum typically requires 40 hours of work in one of the production studios or on a running crew.  Under certain circumstances, a single production assignment can earn more than one production theatre practicum credit.  Grades for production theatre practicums are determined by the area supervisor for a given assignment.

Here are the course numbers for theatre practicums:

THR 204 Beginning Production Practicum
THR 205 Beginning Performance Practicum

THR 204 and 205 are the REQUIRED practicums for the theatre degree.  Once a student has completed the requisite number of three (two of which must be production) they should enroll in:

THR 404 Advanced Production Practicum
THR 405 Advanced Performance Practicum

When you register for a production theatre practicum, you must attend an organizational meeting on the first day of classes and complete a production theatre practicum preference form.  The production manager makes all production practicum assignments and posts the assignments on the call board the second week of the semester.

You may be cast in a production or given a production assignment after the deadline for registration.  When this happens, you can receive credit by registering for theatre practicum credit the following semester.  This is called “retro credit.” 

One last thing.  You have to enroll in at least one other class at UAB to participate in any department production.  You cannot be enrolled for practicum only, unless in the extremely-rare situation where the practicum is the only course you have remaining to complete graduation requirements.

Completing your practicum requirement does mean signing up for a class, and that means you incur a fee from the University.  We balance this with a reimbursement program thanks to Theatre UAB’s devoted patron group Ovation.  But there are several things you need to know about receiving funding from Ovation.  

The policy for receiving Ovation scholarship monies states that students must complete three (3) required practicums, one of which can be acting/performance, but at least two (2) must be production/technical.  These production/technical practicums must also be completed to be considered for Ovation monies.  The Ovation scholarship reimburses the cost of your fourth and subsequent practicums upon completion.  Students must be Theatre Majors to receive Ovation scholarships.

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Step Three: Attend classes and do assigned work

Each faculty member sets his or her own policy regarding student attendance.   You’ll find you should never assume that one teacher’s policy is the same as another’s.  In general, though, our faculty expect you to be in each and every class meeting, ready to work, well before the class is scheduled to begin.  

If your instructor uses CANVAS, you will be expected to check for course announcements daily, and participate in any required discussions or online assignments

Step Four: Follow the Honor Code

It’s a sad truth, but yes – the University has been forced to create a set of strict rules to enforce simple honesty on campus.  Breaches of these rules can carry severe penalties – such as an automatic “F” for the class.  Or, in more extreme cases, expulsion from the University.  

But maybe you’re not sure what constitutes a breach of honor.  So here’s a list of such offenses.

PLAGIARISM:   Claiming you wrote or designed something when you didn’t.  This includes ideas, data, computer programs, creative designs, and anything else someone else created.   The definition especially applies to the practice of buying or stealing scholarly papers, including work found on the internet.  Plagiarism is a very serious offense and carries severe consequences.

FABRICATION:   Inventing data to support your conclusions.  This includes making up quotes to support your point of view, or making false claims about historical facts to create a precedent for your own work.

CHEATING:   As in the rest of the world, cheating in a University setting means to take unfair advantage of someone else or of a situation.  This includes copying another student’s work or any other method of presenting someone else’s work as your own. 

MISREPRESENTATION:   The failure to supply complete facts about your work.  For example, to present work done for one class as a complete assignment for another without receiving prior approval from the instructor.  Another example would be when a student misses a morning class due to an event which ended at noon, but then claims the event prevented them from attending an afternoon class as well.

ABETTING:   Helping someone else cheat.  For example, allowing someone to copy your work.

If you’re the sort of person who would do any of these things, now would be a good time to quit doing them.

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Step Five: Apply for a scholarship or stipend

We wish we could give scholarships to all our deserving students.  But we can offer this form of financial assistance to our students who maintain the highest overall quality of work.   Some of these scholarships and stipends come from the University and some from the Department.  In any case, our students are almost always glad to receive financial assistance, especially when it is a sign of the excellence of their work.

And what, you may ask, is the difference between a scholarship and stipend?   A scholarship is money given to students and researchers in order to help them continue with their studies.  So that money is usually applied directly to paying University tuition and fees.  A stipend (from the Latin stipendium, meaning "soldier's pay") is a fixed amount of money paid directly to the student.  

All of our Department majors are encouraged to apply for scholarships and stipends.  We hold auditions and interviews for applicants annually (exact dates here), and choose the recipients shortly after that.   We encourage everyone to apply for the audition/interview online.

University Scholarships
UAB awards scholarships based on academic merit, financial need, or athletic or artistic talent.  Some of these scholarships have specific requirements or conditions that must be met, and several two year scholarships are available for transfer students.  

We also encourage our students to apply for work-study positions on campus. We often have a few positions available in our office, or know of positions in other departments.

Departmental Scholarships
You’re eligible to apply for a Department scholarship if you maintain a 2.5 overall GPA and a 3.0 GPA in your major.   Your GPA scores will be audited at the end of each semester.  If your GPA drops below those limits, you go on probation for one semester and cannot apply for a scholarship.

To receive a scholarship you must be enrolled as a full-time student.  If you drop a class during the term and fall to part-time status, you go on probation for that semester, with the expectation that you’ll be enrolled as a full-time student the following semester.  If you fall below full-time status in two consecutive terms, you forfeit your chance at a Department scholarship for the next academic year.

Departmental Stipends
To get and keep a Department stipend you have to maintain a 2.25 overall GPA.   Your GPA scores will be audited at the end of each semester. 

If your GPA drops below those limits, you go on probation for one semester and cannot apply for a stipend.  And if you’re already receiving a stipend and let your GPA drop, at the end of that semester you will no longer receive that stipend.

If you’re on probation, you should see your advisor immediately to make arrangements for having your progress monitored, particularly in non-major classes.  

If you’ve lost a scholarship or stipend due to low grades, you may reapply for financial aid at the annual scholarship/stipend auditions – but only if you have raised your GPA to the required level and remained a full-time student since the time you lost the scholarship or stipend.  The audition does not guarantee you’ll get the scholarship or stipend back.

The Department considers full-time theatre majors first when selecting which students will receive stipends.  If a stipend position is available after the needs of our full-time majors have been met, sometimes we’ll give a stipend to Department majors enrolled in as few as 6 semester hours.  We expect, thought, that these students will increase their credit load to full-time in the following term – otherwise we will have to give that stipend to another student, one who is full-time.

Stipend money is limited and the number of years of eligibility have to be based on each student’s academic standing upon entering UAB as a Theatre major.  In other words, freshmen are eligible for four years of stipends, sophomores for three, and so on.   In rare cases, of course, students may need to apply for an extra year, and they should see the Department Chair about that. 

We also encourage our students to apply for work-study positions. We typically have a few available in our department, and sometimes know of positions in other departments. Contact Nora Whitten for more information about this.

Low Grades Will Mess You  Up
You have to keep a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 to participate in any department production.  That means that if you let your grades drop below that level, you cannot perform, design, direct, build, work on a running crew, or work in a shop.   And if you can’t work on a production, you can’t earn practicum credit, and without the practicum credit, you can’t graduate.

So keep your grades up.

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How to Work on a Production

Some students come to our Department with the idea that participating in main season productions is their right – that we somehow owe it to them.  The truth is, participation in our productions is a privilege.  You can earn that privilege by striving to be as professional as possible in every aspect of production, starting with the audition.

Department Audition Policy

Each student who elects to participate in UAB Department of Theatre auditions for main stage productions must audition for all productions being cast at that time, musical or non-musical. By auditioning, the student both acknowledges and consents that they can be cast as needed in any production for which auditions are being held.

Department Casting Policy

We view all productions as extensions of student training and make every attempt to cast only from the UAB student body, with Department majors having highest priority. If we have to cast someone other than a student because of special requirements of a role, faculty and staff may be used. Casting outside the University is rare. All auditions are open and equal consideration is given to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Roles are cast based on the needs of the production and in an attempt to further the development of each individual student.  The department maintains a policy of non traditional casting.

Read the entire Casting Policy here.

Requirements for actors auditioning for departmental productions will vary from show to show, but you cannot be cast in a show if you do not have a minimum GPA of 2.0. (NOTE: Beginning with the Fall of 2016, the minimum GPA for auditions will be 2.25.)

How to audition

  • Read the plays.
  • Warm up your body and voice.
  • For prepared monologues/scenes use material that is within your age range, your vocal range, your emotional range, and within the scope of your movement skills.
  • Avoid material that requires a dialect unless specifically required for a production.
  • Choose material you have confidence in and is appropriate for the productions being cast: comic, Shakespeare, naturalistic etc.
  • Wear simple, comfortable clothes and shoes suited to your movement choices as well as movement choices a director may ask you to perform.
  • Remove jewelry and piercing that may impede freedom of movement and articulation of speech.  Ask yourself what you think the director is looking for:  the person you are in real life – or the person best suited for the role the director is trying to cast?
  • Command your space from the moment you walk onstage. Directors are observing you as you set furniture and state your name.
  • Never apologize for and never explain your level of preparation. It will speak for itself.
  • Keep in mind the director is looking for:
    • your ability to urgently pursue strong and clear objectives
    • your ability to make varied, specific, and bold acting choices.
    • your command and use of your voice and body.  That is, how you move through space and project vocally from the stage.
    • clear articulation and communication of the text.
    • your ability to actively engage partners.
    • (if singing) how you act through the lyric.
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When you're cast

Congratulations! You have a role in a Theatre UAB production.  Here’s what to do next.

  • Begin to work on your role immediately.  Re-read the play.  Explore objectives.
  • If you have questions about the script, send them to the director via e-mail (this gives the director time to compose the best answer possible).
  • Begin memorization right away.  Don’t tell yourself you can start on it later.
  • Maintain your health and appearance.  Do NOT change your appearance without permission from the designers.
  • Check the call board daily for rehearsal calls and fittings.
  • Costume fittings are as important as rehearsals. Do not disrespect them! 
  • Make sure you get all contact information to and from the stage manager.

Rehearse like a professional

  • Keep a positive attitude and give respect to everyone.
  • Check the call board daily for costume fittings and rehearsal calls.
  • Rehearsals are all about change – sometimes changes are made in a hurry.  “I didn’t know we changed that” is not an excuse.  Be proactive about getting information!  Know the phone number of your stage manager.
  • The stage manager runs the rehearsal for the director.  Listen and give respect.
  • Always arrive early for rehearsal to warm up physically and vocally.
  • Come to every rehearsal ready to work -- energetic, and  engaged.
  • Review your script daily for lines and new blocking. 
  • Refresh and craft choices outside of rehearsal so you can implement them at rehearsal.
  • Arrive prepared to contribute to the work of each rehearsal.   There will be many other people depending upon your contribution.
  • Out of respect to everyone else working on the production, always maintain good personal hygiene.  Wash.  Use deodorant.  Brush your teeth.  We’re not kidding about this.
  • Be open to constructive criticism.  Hear suggestions and put them to use in your personal process.
  • Understand that our goal in Theatre UAB productions is to build a strong ensemble.  Make sure you understand what this means, and that you do your part.

Backstage: construction, rehearsals, and performance

The potential for danger always exists in our shops, and to a lesser extent in our productions.

Theatre UAB is committed to your safety at all times, and to meet that commitment we need you to know the rules and follow them. So we've prepared an extensive list of guidelines and protocols for anyone working in the shops or in any potentially-dangerous situation onstage. You can download our Safety Manual as a Word document or as an Adobe PDF.

We have excellent offstage spaces at the Alys Stephens Center, such as our Green Room, dressing rooms, and corridors.  We expect you to treat them with care and respect -- and to remember that the show’s needs come before your comfort.  So at all times you must keep out of the way of people and things that need to move quickly and quietly backstage.

Persons not involved in the production are not allowed backstage.

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If you have to fight, do it right

Many of our productions involve stage combat.  There are few aspects of performance more exciting – or more dangerous.  Understand our rules for stage combat before you begin the process.

Each minute of stage fight time receives ten hours of rehearsal with the Fight Director. For example, if the running time of the fight or fights is two minutes, the combatants will be given twenty hours to rehearse with the Fight Director.

Just like the dances in a musical, the fights will be choreographed within the first two weeks of rehearsal. This is especially important if any of the combatants have not had stage combat courses.

The combatants should have the appropriate footwear from the beginning of the choreography phase. This means footwear that is both non skid and is similar to the shoes indicated by the costume design.

Don’t try this at home
Only a qualified fight choreographer may create the fights.  Students who demonstrate talent in this area would be permitted to do the choreography under the direct supervision of  stage combat professor Ron Hubbard, or a qualified guest artist brought in from outside UAB and approved by Ron Hubbard. 

Only the qualified fight choreographer will make changes to choreography. If the choreographer is a student, changes to the choreography can only be done in the presence of Ron Hubbard or a guest artist fight choreographer.

Plays not film
When you’re rehearsing a fight scene for the stage, you have to remember that you’re in a play and not a movie.  Human beings in the live theatre cannot possibly do everything we see done in film.  You don’t get a stunt double!  And the human body can only take so much pounding and rubbing against materials like stage floors and wood.   Even young and strong bodies are still just flesh and blood.

Fight call
Before every performance, dress rehearsal, and run through, the combatants will be given enough time to run the fights twice in their entirety. This time will also include a proper warm up and stretching time.

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Costumes and how to wear them

Few aspects of a production are more important to actors than their costumes.   Our excellent designers will outfit you splendidly, but you have to do your share as well.

Respond promptly to phone or email requests to schedule fittings.  You will be asked to provide the costume studio with a copy of your schedule in order to facilitate the scheduling of fitting appointments.

No changes in personal appearance
IMPORTANT:  Once cast in a show, you may not get your hair cut without the permission of the costume designer, nor should you color or permanently alter your hair in any other way. Getting a new body piercing or tattoo is strictly prohibited during this time as well.  Facial hair will be handled on a show by show basis but you should watch the call board for instructions specific to each production.

You need a makeup kit
If you’re cast in one our main season shows, your old shoebox full of eye-liners will not be enough.  And besides, a makeup kit is required for THR 125, which is a core curriculum class, and provide enough makeup to last even the busiest student through graduation.

The required kit is the Ben Nye Theatrical Pro Makeup Kit (also called the Theatrical Creme Kit), available from a number of sources such as Stage Makeup Online and Norcostco. They are color specific, so be sure you order a kit that suits your complexion!  This is the same kit used in the THR 125 class.

If you have tattoos, it is your responsibility to supply tattoo cover if it is needed, Dermablend is the recommended brand.

Rehearsal costumes
The costume shop will happily supply rehearsal costumes specific to a production but every student actor should own and use the following:

  • Women: rehearsal skirt, character shoes, hat, knee pads
  • Men: suit jacket, hard-soled shoes, hat, knee pads

Attend fittings on time
The costume shop is a very busy place.  It is both a classroom and a production area.  So it is essential to the operation of the shop that you respond to fitting calls promptly and attend fittings on time.  If you are going to be late, or need to reschedule, please call the shop at 934-8262 and let them know. And don’t forget that the shop is staffed by your fellow students who are often building costume pieces under a deadline and for a grade.  They need their peers in the acting companies to respect their work and behave collaboratively.

Wear appropriate undergarments to your fitting.  (At the very least, wear undergarments).

No smoking. No eating. No drinking. No kidding.
Do we have to say it?  Once you are in your costume, you may not smoke at any time, except where specifically called for in the performance. Actors who violate this rule may have practicum grades reduced or be banned from future productions. Onstage smoking does not make backstage smoking permissible. 

Eating and drinking in costume are also not permitted.  There are only three exceptions: hot tea, water in covered containers, and hard candy.  There are no other exceptions.

Do not change the costume
These are not your clothes.  You’re wearing a design.  It is not your place to alter the work of a costume designer, any more than you’d go onstage and make changes to a set, or change lines of dialogue in the script.  So never remove any part of a costume design, and don’t add anything either -- and that goes for undergarments and foundation garments, and for accessories too.  Also, the way a costume should be worn will be established in the dress rehearsal process and should not change during the run of the production.

We can’t fix problems we don’t know about
Communicate clearly and often with the costume shop when needed.  If you have a problem or require a repair during the run of the show, leave a clear, dated, descriptive note on the sheets that will be provided for this purpose on the cork board backstage.

Be kind to our run crew
Your fellow students will be working on the costume run crew, and they should always be treated with respect.  For example, keep your dressing room neat and clean, remembering that the run crew are there to assist you, not pick up after you.  Hang your own costume up in its assigned space, unless a costume is used in a quick-change and a dresser has been assigned to hang up that costume for you.   Keep your costume accessories (shoes, purses, etc.) in their assigned places so the crew does not have to track down missing pieces.

If you get a note from the wardrobe crew, remember that the note probably originated with the director, designer, or stage manager – so you should respond to the note immediately and appropriately.

Actors in performance work closely with hair, makeup, and wardrobe crew.  So it is not unusual for tensions to run high between any or all of these artists.   So remember to treat the run crew with respect, and expect them to do the same for you.    If a personal conflict arises with a member of the run crew, you should simply report it to the stage manager, who will bring it to the attention of the costume faculty.

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Photo and video: production archives

All main season productions will be videotaped and photographed for archiving.   An archival photo call will be arranged by the production manager and your attendance at this call is mandatory.  Videotaping and archival photo calls are never scheduled on opening night or the final performance unless this is unavoidable.  Archive materials are stored by the program manager.

Shows performed under contract or having a copyright of translation may only be videotaped for archival purposes.  This means that in most cases it will be illegal for us to make a copy of a show’s videorecording for anyone’s personal use.

It’s showtime!  And you’ve got tickets!

UAB Theatre majors, cast, crew, and those enrolled in production classes THR 124 or THR 125 receive one comp (complimentary ticket) per production run.   A list of eligible students is sent to the ASC Box Office well in advance of opening night, so students may pick up their comps at the Box Office for any performance.

You must have your comp ticket in hand when you attend the performance.  We all know how easy it is to simply sneak into our performance spaces from the back corridors, but this hurts the Department’s accounting and endangers our relationship with the management of the Alys Stephens Center.  So please take the extra five minutes to go to the box office and pick up your comp ticket.

After the show: post-production meetings

Post-production meetings are conducted for all main season productions.  The post-production meeting is a review of the production process – what worked well, what didn’t work well.  The intent of the post-production meeting is to improve the production process on future productions.  All production personnel who attend production meetings for a production should attend the post-production meeting.

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How to Go Above and Beyond

Tour Groups

One of the highest honors Theatre UAB can bestow on a student is a role in one of our Touring Groups.   Students performing in the Tour Groups receive stipends in addition to the immensely valuable experience of performing for a wide range of audiences – often several audiences in a single day.  Our groups tour all over the state, often driving for hours to reach their performance site, followed by more hours on the way back.

So our Tour Group members must not only be outstanding performers, but also the most responsible and trustworthy students in the Department.  Since they are “on the road” every Friday of the touring season, students may find the tours take away valuable study time – so the Tour Groups are cast with the student’s GPAs very much in mind.

We cast only those students who have demonstrated their ability to take on additional work without detriment to their grades.

Theatre Honors Program

Want to graduate with Honors in Theatre?  The few majors who attain this goal do so through mentored work on an individually-developed creative or research project.  This is excellent preparation for graduate school or a professional career.  

To be considered for the Theatre Honors Program, you’ll have to do all of the following:

  • be a Theatre major
  • earn a 3.5 GPA in Theatre courses attempted
  • earn an overall GPA of 3.0
  • complete THR 124, 125, 154, 210, and 235
  • complete 60 hours toward the BA degree (junior standing)
  • participate in at least two UAB Theatre productions
  • complete required courses for the Theatre major
  • arrange with a faculty mentor for a creative or research project
  • submit a formal project proposal to the mentor and Honors committee
  • register in THR 496 – Honors Project (3 credit hours)
  • publicly present the Honors project
  • have the completed project accepted by the mentor and committee
  • submit an archival copy of the project to the Theatre department

To apply for the Theatre Honors Program, contact Lee Shackleford, Chair of the Honors Committee.

Blazer Theatre Organization (BTO)

All great theatre programs have a student-run theatre group. Ours is the BTO - the Blazer Theatre Organization.

The purpose of the Blazer Theatre Organization is to stimulate interest in performing arts at UAB. The organization seeks to create a fun, safe social environment for theatre students by sponsoring student work, participating in service activities, and coordinating social events for member students.

To get involved, students are encouraged to attend events and be a part of one of our standing committees: the Spirit Committee, the Production Support Committee, and the Social Committee. To become a part of these committees, it's as simple as contacting the officer that serves as the chair of that committee.

To become a member, just attend events. However, to become a voting member, you must pay dues of $10 before each election which will be held in conjunction with the end-of-the-year departmental event. These dues will cover both semesters of the following year.

The BTO has its own section of the Department of Theatre website here.

Independent Productions

Theatre UAB students frequently put together shows of their own, outside the scheduled offerings of the program.  These shows can be tremendously rewarding creative experiences, and an excellent showcase for our most deeply-motivated artists.  These independent productions are usually presented in the Acting Studio, so all of the rules about the use of that space are in force.

Outside Work

We’re always proud when our students are asked to design, build, direct, or act in theatrical productions outside the Department.   In fact, such experiences are often a crucial step toward future employment in the competitive world of professional theatre.  But we do insist that you first seek permission from the Department Chair.  The last thing we want is for our students to get so involved in outside productions that they fail to do all the necessary work toward the completion of their degree. 

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Now for the Fun Part

The theatre programs we offer are among the most serious and demanding baccalaureate programs you’ll find anywhere.

We’ve found that the students who tend to get the most out of  their time with Theatre UAB are the ones who get involved in productions, strive to always do their very best with class assignments, and study aspects of theatre they had not previously explored. 

These are also the people who have the most fun.

Theatre UAB can offer you a wealth of opportunities for experiences you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

The rest is up to you...


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