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Production Policy Memo 13

Revised September 2000

Director's Workshop Production - Procedures

The Director's Workshop affords the 2nd-year student in the MFA program an opportunity to direct a full-length play in the mainstage season prior to undertaking the thesis production in the third year. In these workshops, the primary emphasis is on the director's work with the text and the actors; design and production aspects of the workshop are incidental.


A list of potential workshop titles will be prepared by the MFA student and submitted to the season selection committee; that list of plays will be prepared in close collaboration with the head of the Directing Program. Each suggested title on the director's list will be submitted with a full understanding of the design/technical limitations on the twin resources of both time and money. The director must be careful not to include titles whose successful completion will be dependent on design or technical elements that the workshop format cannot accommodate.

The choice of play, whether calling for a unit set or a bare-stage with multiple locations will be carefully scrutinized to ensure that it will be achievable. Generally speaking, plays needing a high level of realistic detail will be hard to fit into these guidelines. Plays requiring more than a dozen costumes (whether this is for 12 different characters or a total of 12 different costumes for two actors) will be examined closely in order to fit the workshop into the costume shop's overall workload. Lighting for workshop productions will use the repertory plot for the theatre in which they are produced. Six specials will be allocated for use in the production.

First-year directors must submit a list of workshop titles to the Season Selection Committee early in Winter Quarter of their first year. In order to do this, they will confer with the head of the program before their arrival in the fall, as well as during Fall Quarter. First-year directors will submit a list of at least 4 and not more than 5 titles; each play will be accompanied by a fact sheet outlining the play's logistical needs, the director's interest in the particular play, and the director's preferences of theatres in which to produce the work. This fact sheet will be provided to the 1st-year director early in Fall Quarter.

The selection of the Workshop Production has three main variables for the director: the choice of title, the choice of theater into which the production will be placed, and the choice of which quarter into which the play will be scheduled (usually Fall or Spring Quarter). The student must be flexible on all of these points, and not become singularly attached to one title, theater, or quarter at the expense of all other possibilities.

Plays that have received recent productions in Seattle, either in the community at large or on-campus may be ineligible choices. The student should confer with the head of the Directing Program or the Production Manager in order to determine the recent production status of a given title.


Casting will take place at the earliest possible time in the quarter in which the Workshop is to be produced: this is usually concluded in the first 8 days of the quarter, along with casting for any other mainstage productions using undergraduate actors. It is important that these auditions be done efficiently, as all other casting in graduate and undergraduate-directing projects must await the posting of mainstage casting. As in all graduate-directing projects, non-students may be used as well as students; the use of non-students should be in compliance with the casting policy, in consultation with the head of the Directing Program. All cast list lists must be approved by the Heads of Graduate Directing and Undergraduate Acting prior to posting. [Student directors should consult the School's Production Policy Memo No. 9, on Casting,].


Rehearsals usually begin five weeks prior to the first technical rehearsal. During these 5 weeks companies may rehearse a total of 25 hours per week. The customary breakdown is 4 hours per night, Monday-Friday, and one 5-hour rehearsal on either Saturday or Sunday. On the weekend, either Saturday or Sunday will be free. Rehearsal space is booked in advance with priority given to mainstage productions.

Half-hour is at 6:30 for tech week. The rehearsal must end promptly at 11pm for the actors to get out of costume and the crew to put props away, talk to designers etc.

At 11:15 the director has 15 minutes to give actor notes. At 11:30 the actors are released and the director, designers and stage manager will hold a tech meeting - this must break by 11:55 and the building be clear by midnight. If the director wants to give more notes to the actors, they must break rehearsal earlier - the actors must be released by 11:30pm. [For further detail, consult the School's Production Policy Memo #4.]


The emphasis on Workshop Productions is on staging and the relationship between the actor and the director, therefore Workshop Productions are allocated a budget of $200, which may be used as deemed necessary by the Director and the production's consulting designers. Scripts and royalty costs will not be deducted from this figure.

[A.] THEATRE USE: in reserving theatres for rehearsals and performances, Workshops will receive priority after major production use of any kind and after theater maintenance needs, but before class requests.

[B.] DESIGN/TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Consulting designers will be assigned to Workshop Productions with specific parameters to their participation. The Director will work with the consulting designers, grad or undergrad, in making decisions as to ground plan, furniture and prop choice, costume choice, and where to spend the production's limited budget. This is designed to encourage Directors to find minimal and expressive technical/design solutions and to keep the emphasis on the Director's work with the actors.

The Director is encouraged to use the resources of faculty and staff for advice and guidance. Permission must be received from the Technical Director before any plans are finalized to hang or rig anything, or to pull traps or do any other potentially dangerous technical work receive permission from the technical director and will be supervised; the faculty or staff technician may advise that the desired effect is not possible or advisable within the restrictions of time, money, or availability of support.

While some furniture pieces and costumes may not be used for any but major productions, most of the school's stock may be used for Workshop Productions. Desired alterations of any kind, including painting and re-upholstering of furniture and altering or dying of costumes, must first be approved by the Costume Director or Faculty Costume Designer, or the faculty designer supervising furniture alterations. All rehearsal costumes needed should be pulled at one time by either the Costume Designer or the Director or the Stage Manager. Rehearsal costumes are to be returned as soon as possible following the final preview. Following the final performances, costume strike will be the responsibility of the consulting designer with GSA students on call to help if needed. Strike laundry and all maintenance will be the responsibility of the costume staff. [Directors should consult Costume Check-Out Regulations, Administrative Policy Memo #10, for further details.]

The use of platforms or other stock scenic elements will be limited to those not needed in major productions and not too big, heavy or otherwise dangerous to be easily moved, rigged, shifted, and returned to storage in good condition. The student furniture storage supervisor is not required to deliver or pick-up furniture for the production. He/she will advise on what furniture may be used, help the Director, stage manager, and their volunteers to get in and out of the warehouse, and help in the trucking. Arranging for striking and returning furniture, costumes, scenery, and props within two days of closing is the responsibility of the Director.

For lighting, a repertory light plot is hung in each of the theatres; the use of this along with 6 specials will provide the illumination for the Workshop Production.

[For details of technical/design support for Workshop Productions, consult Production Policy Memo #2].


The Stage Manager will perform the normal duties of a stage manager. Actors and stage managers may receive one (1) Drama 498 credit; the stage manager may also receive full credit in the stage management course. [See Academic Policy Memo No. 5, for specific information on Production credits].


Any exception or exemption to the above procedures must have the prior approval of the Executive Director of the School of Drama, the Production Manager, and the Head of the Graduate Directing Program.


Academic Policy Memo No. 9, first established prior to 1983
Subsequent revisions: 8/83; 2/90; 9/93, 9/00
Executive Committee approval: 9/16/96, 9/00
Faculty Approval: 9/25/96, 9/20/00