THR A295 Theatre Practicum: Technical

Course description: Participation in mainstage productions as member of technical staff. Credit for scene crew, light crew, props, costume crew, makeup crew, stage management, and publicity.

Requirement :
All theatre majors are required to take at least 1 credit of Technical Practicum per semester for the first three years. Students will meet with the department’s practicum coordinator to sign up for each semester’s practicum assignment. Practicum opportunities include (but are not limited to): scene shop assistant, costume shop assistant, prop artist or artisan, light shop assistant, master electrician, master carpenter, assistant technical director, cutter/draper, costume crafts, and student publicist assistant.

Why is Practicum required?

Students in the Department of Theatre and Dance are encouraged to participate in our all of our productions, in both performance and technical capacities. Being involved in each aspect of our program is a central part of the learning experience, and it helps build the culture of our department.

Since no structured teaching takes place within the practicum format, the primary objectives are to develop skills through participating and producing theatre and dance productions. New skill development is acquired through on-the-job training in the production process.

How much work is one credit?

Students must complete 45 minimum hours over the course of the semester for 1 credit. Students working in certain positions (e.g., as a stage manager) can sign up for additional credits with prior approval. A minimum of 135 hours is required for achieving 3 credits; 90 minimum hours for 2 credits. (NOTE: additional credits gained in a single semester do not typically count toward the overall total of 6 credits required to fulfill the major requirements. The expectation is that students should complete their practicum requirement over 6 semesters.)

Can I choose where I complete my practicum hours?

Yes, though it is our hope that you commit to a specific production or a shop for your hours. Keep in mind that you may need to be moved to an area of production which needs extra help during the semester.

Students may request to concentrate in one of the following areas, or may combine two or more of these areas (as agreed upon in consultation with unit heads). Final placement is determined by the design faculty.

  • Scenery (to be done between the hours of 1:00-6:00 p.m. in the scene shop)
    • construction
    • painting
  • Properties (to be done between the hours of 1:00-6:00 p.m. in the scene shop)
    • building and acquisitions
  • Lighting (weekly work to be scheduled, but a majority of this work will be scheduled via an email group at different times of the semester. Lighting work often occurs evenings or after rehearsal)
    • hanging and focusing lighting for the productions
    • prep and maintenance of the lighting inventory
  • Costume (Work done in the costume shop. Open hours are posted outside of the costume shop)
    • construction
    • hair dressing
    • wardrobe mistress
  • Sound & Video (a majority of this work will be scheduled via an email group at different times of the semester. Sound/projections work often takes in evenings or after rehearsal)
    • work includes the set-up and running of the sound and video needs for the production
  • Publicity (scheduled via an email list)
    • assistance with poster and flyer distribution.
    • assistance with marketing for our productions

When choosing your preference, keep the following in mind:

  • The scene shop requires that you sign up for hours in 2 hour minimum blocks.
  • The lighting and sound shop will have your name put on a list, and will be emailed when lighting calls are happening outside of scheduled shop hours.
  • The costume shop has a more flexible policy: simply show up to work during open shop hours.

Can I run crew on a show for practicum credit?

Technical Practicum should be used to support the production work that is working on our specific shows. However, if your class schedule will not allow for a couple hours a week, with SPECIAL PERMISSION you can sign up for a run crew position. For this option you would commit to backstage run crew position for the entire run of a show. (Keep in mind that this option will likely go over the required 45 hours in the semester.)

Do I have to keep a time sheet?

Students must keep a time sheet with his/her supervisor and accurately record the number of hours.

Are there any other assignments?

Once your hours are complete for the semester, you are then required to submit a portfolio of your work for the semester. Details on what needs to be in the portfolio and how it should be created will be provided in the syllabus for the course. What is most important is that you take pictures of your work, and keep a brief journal of your experiences.

For more information, contact: