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. Pre-production crew members work with faculty and staff supervisors in a particular production area--props, paint, lighting, or sound and video--and participate in production meetings in a process modeled on professional practice. 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.
Theatre majors planning on completing a Senior Thesis in Performance (acting, design, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, solo performance, stage and production management) are required to complete a pre-production crew assignment and a backstage crew 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. Design and 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.
Pre-production crew 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 the pre-production and backstage crew assignments. 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 the pre-production and backstage crew assignments. 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.
Lighting Technician (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 credit): takes responsibility for painting the scenery according to the Set Designer’s specifications and supervises paint crews. Time commitment is 30 hours of work over 4 to 5 weeks.
Assistant Designer (1 or 2 credits): assists a faculty member or professional designer in designing scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, or video, with duties and schedule to be determined in collaboration with the Faculty Design Adviser. Time commitment is 30 hours per credit.
Backstage 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 Assistant Stage Manager 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.
Apply for a production crew position here.
Other positions available:
Assistant Director (2 credits): assists a faculty member or professional director with auditions, call-backs, and the rehearsal process. Duties include attending all rehearsals, taking director's notes and other duties as needed. Some research and dramaturgy may also be required. Time commitment is 6.5 weeks, about 20 hours a week for the first five weeks and additional hours during tech, plus design and production meetings. Does not fulfill the crew requirement.
Minor conflicts with the tech schedule can often be accommodated; please contact Mike Banta with any questions.
Students interested in theatre are encouraged to attend all departmental productions. Academic credit is given for work in departmental productions through the Practicum Performance Course (THTR UN 2022-26), 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.
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 the Theatre Department 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.