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Rehearsals - Student Handbook


Rehearsals for mainstage productions generally begin five weeks before the first technical rehearsal. Exceptions to this are: the first show of the quarter, which may start later and incorporate eight-hour rehearsal days during a vacation week.

Rehearsals are Monday - Friday evening – times vary by production, including notes and scheduling and a Saturday daytime rehearsal. Ten minute breaks will be taken during rehearsals at 1 hour 20 minutes, and at 2 hours and 50 minutes into rehearsal.

Rehearsal schedules will be posted on the call board 24 hours before rehearsals and the director and stage manager are strongly encouraged to post schedules that cover the week in advance.

Directors are urged to make the most productive use of actor’s time during rehearsals, but actors should recognize that there are times when they will need to wait around, so they should bring other work to fill that time.

 A cast deputy will be elected at the first rehearsal. The deputy will function as cast representative/ spokesperson. The deputy will bring cast concerns to the stage manager/director. If the stage manager or director is unable to address the concerns, the deputy will communicate them to the appropriate faculty or staff members. The stage manager will indicate who the deputy is by placing an asterisk by their name on the contact sheet.

A room will be assigned for rehearsals for each show. Every effort will be made to keep the same room assigned for all rehearsals for that production. The ground plan for the set may be painted on the floor using the tempera paints available in the Production Office. The markings should be minimal and the paint must be removed immediately following the final rehearsal in that room. Props and furniture brought in for rehearsal should be minimal and must be stored at the end of each rehearsal in a manner which allows classes to function in the room. If a director feels the need for a second room, such assignment will be made on a day to day basis, depending on whether a room is available.

Technical rehearsals

The purpose of these rehearsals is to incorporate the technical elements of scenery, lights, sound, props and costumes into the production. 

Except for a show that techs over Thanksgiving, there are a minimum of five tech/dress rehearsals scheduled for each production (Monday through Friday).

The structure of the rehearsals will be determined in a meeting of director, designers and stage manager 3 to 4 days before the tech. For example, in a heavy scenery moving show a shift rehearsal may be scheduled Monday.

The lighting designer will “light over” rehearsals in the week prior to tech.

We try to maintain as much flexibility as the limitations of a student crew allows, in addressing the specific needs of each show.

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 if s/he chooses. Often, on the first two evenings of tech, the actors are dismissed and the tech notes begin immediately. Otherwise, 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 must be clear by midnight. If there are extensive notes, the director should break rehearsal early. The actors must be released by 11:30pm.

Breaks during tech: while rehearsals are still stop-and-go, breaks remain as during rehearsals 2-10 minute breaks. When acts begin running through, breaks will be at an appropriate time in the action - e.g. at intermissions. Care must be taken to ensure booth crews, follow spot operators, etc. are given breaks during rehearsal.

Actors and crew members are not to leave the building during tech rehearsals without permission from the stage manager.

Rehearsal Protocols

The nature of our work requires vulnerability, risk, the ability to establish bonds of intimacy and trust, and the space to safely explore, and even fail.  There can be joy, frustration, conflict, and compromise, but there must always be respect.  Each one of us must display the utmost courtesy and respect for each other. Please click here to learn more about the shared agreements that guide our rehearsals and performances at the UW School of Drama.