Auditions are held in the Minor Latham Playhouse, on the first floor of Milbank Hall at Barnard. Auditions are used to place students in acting classes and to cast for the semester's stage productions. Please prepare a two-minute monologue; it can be modern, classical, or original; students auditioning for the Acting the Song and Acting the Musical Scene classes should prepare 16 bars of an a cappella song. Everyone auditioning is expected to participate in a group warm-up and to stay throughout the two-hour session. The season's plays are posted on the departmental website. Only those students who are placed into an acting class after auditions will be permitted to register for the class; anyone pre-registering who has not been approved for the class through the audition process will be dropped from the roster. There are also auditions later in the semester for directing and playwriting projects.
The Theatre Department offers many opportunities for students to get involved in the theatrical process through taking part in production crew work. The production crew brings students into the community of the department and puts them in positions of responsibility where they develop new skills, solve practical problems creatively, and gain an appreciation of the work and talent that support the onstage performance. These new experiences and perspectives ultimately make students better theatre artists in their chosen fields. Members of the backstage run crew play an active part in the performance, managing props, running lighting, sound, and special effects equipment, and working with costumes, hair, and makeup. Crew heads take responsibility for a production area--props, paint, lighting, sound, or wardrobe--and participate in production meetings in a process modeled on professional practice.
Theatre majors planning on completing a Senior Thesis in Performance (acting, design, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, solo performance) are required to complete a run crew assignment and a crew head assignment prior to their final semester; to be in the strongest position for the thesis, ideally these assignments are completed during the junior year. Crew requirements are typically fulfilled in two different areas, e.g. one in lighting and one in wardrobe. Assistant design positions may also be considered for fulfillment of crew requirements if a substantial amount of production work is involved. All crew members participate in strike after the production closes. Please contact Production Manager Mike Banta with any questions.
Crew head positions include:
Stage Manager (3 credits): accepts responsibility for smooth running during rehearsal and performance, coordinates actors and calls cues during performances. This position fulfills both crew head and run crew. Time commitment is 5 rehearsals per week plus production meetings, tech rehearsals and performances.
Assistant Stage Manager (3 credits): manages props, runs backstage operations during rehearsals and performances, and takes on other duties as assigned by the stage manager. This position fulfills both crew head and run crew requirements. Time commitment is 5 rehearsals per week plus production meetings, tech rehearsals and performances.
Properties Master (2 credits): purchases, builds, or rents props in close collaboration with the Props Supervisor (a professional theatre artist) and the Set Designer. Time commitment is 6 weeks, about 6 hours a week for the first four weeks and 12-15 hours for the final two weeks, plus production meetings.
Master Electrician (1 credit): implements the lighting design by acquiring, installing, and maintaining lighting equipment and supervises lighting crews. Time commitment is 5 weeks, about 4 hours a week, plus participation in light hang and focus.
Sound/Video Engineer (1 credit): implements the sound and video design by acquiring, installing, and maintaining equipment and supervises sound crews. Time commitment is 5 weeks, about 4 hours a week, plus participation in sound hang and focus. Position available depending on the needs of the production.
Scenic Painter (1 or 2 credits): takes responsibility for painting the scenery according to the Set Designer’s specifications and supervises paint crews. Time commitment varies according to the show, but is typically 4 weeks, about 8 hours a week.
Wardrobe Crew Head (1 credit): helps actors get into costume for techs and performances, tracks and maintains costumes pieces, and supervises wardrobe crews. Requires presence at all techs and performances plus up to 8 hours of prep work.
Assistant Technical Director (2 credits): assists with budgeting, drafting, build and strike of scenery and other elements as needed and supervises build crews. Time commitment is 6 weeks, about 6 hours a week for the first four weeks and 12-15 hours for the final two weeks. Position available depending on the needs of the production.
Run crew positions include:
Light Board Operator (1 credit): assists the Lighting Designer in the recording and adjustment of lighting cues and operates the light board on cue during technical rehearsals and performances. Requires presence at all techs and performances.
Sound Board Operator (1 credit): assists the Sound Designer in the adjustment of sound cues and operates the sound computer on cue during technical rehearsals and performances. Requires presence at all techs and performances.
Backstage Run Crew (1 credit): prepares the stage for tech and performance, tracks and sets props and scenery during the performance, assists the ASM in backstage operations. Requires presence at all techs and performances.
Wardrobe Crew (1 credit): helps actors get into costume for techs and performances and tracks and maintains costumes pieces. Requires presence at all techs and performances.
Depending on the needs of the production, additional 1-credit crew positions may be added to help build and paint scenery, set up lighting and sound equipment, or work on costumes. Please contact Mike Banta for details.
Students interested in theatre are encouraged to attend all departmental productions. Academic credit is given for work in departmental productions through the Rehearsal and Performance Course (THTRV 3122-29/3172-79), and all students involved in a departmental production—cast, crew members, stage managers and/or designers—are required to be registered for the appropriate section of Rehearsal and Performance. The credit is variable, from 1-3 units; please consult Rehearsal and Performance faculty to confirm appropriate credit for your work. Registration for this course should be done at the beginning of the term, as soon as cast lists are posted. The Barnard Registrar's office discourages late petitions for these credits and may not waive the $150 late fee if you wait to add the course later in the term. Columbia students must petition if they enter the class after registration closes; to do so, fill out the appropriate form and leave it on the Chair's door for a signature and then turn in the form to the Registrar's Office. Students who would like to attend productions free of charge can work as ushers. Please contact Mike Banta at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about ushering.
Rehearsal and performance space is at a premium. Students in acting classes are expected to rehearse in common rooms or public spaces. Time in 229 Milbank can be reserved on the sign-out sheet on the door of the room; please observe the procedures posted next to the door. Directing and playwriting students can schedule other spaces through the instructor only. Faculty members and Senior Thesis students should schedule space directly with Production Manager Michael Banta,. Students needing to use the shop should make arrangements with Technical Director Greg Winkler,. We do not, unfortunately, have space available for projects that are not part of Theatre Department course work. Extra-curricular space is handled by the Office of Student Life. Theatre students may also schedule space through that office.
Students at Barnard have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and guest artist designers, as well as see their own designs realized in full productions. These design opportunities provide the chance to put coursework training into practice, and to work collaboratively at an advanced level with both peers and theatre professionals.
Costumes & Props
Costumes and props are available for use in class scenework and Theatre Department-produced student productions (such as Senior Thesis or Advanced Directing shows). Students wishing to sign out costumes or props should set up an appointment at least 24 hours in advance by emailing either the Costume Shop Manager Kara Feely or the Technical Director Greg Winkler. Appointments are generally available Monday through Friday between 10am and 5pm.
The Theatre Department Office
Department offices are located on the 5th floor of Milbank — take the elevator to 4, turn left and follow the hallway around the corner to the next stairwell, and walk up to 5. Full-time faculty offices are there, as well as faculty mailboxes. The office of the Departmental Assistant is located on the 2nd floor, 236 Milbank, near the elevator. The shared adjunct faculty office is located in 236 Milbank.
There are a limited number of work-study positions for students on financial aid (Federal Workstudy or Barnard/Columbia College Jobs). Students interested in a Work Study position in the Theatre Department should email Theatre Administrator Jessica Brater early in the fall semester. It is essential that we know your schedule before you are hired. We are particularly interested in students with the following skills: carpentry, sewing, lighting, painting, handling audio-visual equipment, computer graphics, web skills, typing, office work, publicity, box office, house and stage management. We have positions for both Barnard and Columbia students. Hours range from 4-8 a week. Please do not consider applying for a position unless you are willing to make a serious commitment to regular hours throughout the semester.