Skip to main content


Theatre Student Handbook


About Us
The East Texas Baptist University Theatre Arts program is an active, professionally-geared program that seeks to provide opportunities that inspire, encourage, and challenge students to grow intellectually, artistically, and spiritually. Our production seasons are designed to offer students experience in varying literary genres, acting styles, and theatrical venues. Students are given multiple opportunities to participate as performers, designers, and/or technicians in our Mainstage productions and as directors in our student-directed, student-designed productions. Additionally, our classes challenge students to acquire, develop, and master new skills; expand upon and draw connections across specific disciplines and history; and deepen their appreciation for the work that goes on behind the scenes as they prepare to enter the professional world and/or graduate school programs. Your interest in our department is warmly welcomed whether as an artist, technician, or audience member.

Program Identity

Theatre and Christian World View
Our ETBU mission statement states: “As a Christ-centered institution, East Texas Baptist University educates students by integrating biblical faith and learning to develop mind, body, and soul through community engagement to prepare graduates to be Christian servant leaders in their calling to God and humanity.”  Theatre is an academic discipline that serves this purpose and mission in ways that are directly applicable to students, faculty, audience members, and the community-at-large.  

It is our desire to help our students develop the skills needed to succeed in the world of professional and academic theatre. Through the study and production of a variety of theatrical works, we delight in the opportunities provided by our discipline to share the challenges of the human condition with all those who attend the productions. Through our classes, workshops, production work, and rehearsals, we have many opportunities to share with our students the depth of our Christian commitment and how that commitment affects all aspects of our academic discipline.  We want to express to you that our Christian commitment is mature, deep, and intellectually rigorous.  At East Texas Baptist University, we speak frequently, openly, and honestly about the integration of Kingdom principles and faith in our academic work.  Theatre provides an endless stream of conversation and discussion on such matters, and our Christian maturity is greatly enhanced by such discussion.

Theatre Faculty and Staff

Dr. Nathan Phillips
Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Bands
Chair, Department of Music and Theatre Arts
D.M.A.  – University of North Carolina, Greensboro
M.M. in Trombone Performance – University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Education - University of North Carolina, Greensboro

B.S. in Music Education – Bob Jones University | 903.923.2168

Rouba Palmer
Assistant Professor of Theatre

M.F.A. in Directing – Florida State University
Diploma in Education Newcastle University, Australia
B.A. in Drama – Newcastle University, Australia | 903.923.2292

Jake Yenish
Assistant Professor of Theatre

M.F.A. in Theatre Arts – Minnesota State University, Mankato
B.A. in Theatre Arts – Bethany Luthern College | 903.923.2160

Pam Purvis
Administrative Secretary

B.F.A in Design Communications – Texas Tech

Production Season
Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society

Mission Statement
Alpha Psi Omega exists as a vehicle for the advancement of theatre on the ETBU campus. We encourage pride in one's work and demand an attitude of service from our members. Through theatrical productions and departmental and campus activities, Alpha Psi Omega will strive to play an active role in campus life. In doing so we hope to foster a love for the stage among our members and our school.

As members of Alpha Psi Omega, we understand the choice we have made and the responsibility that goes along with it. As active members, we promise to commit ourselves fully not only to Alpha Psi Omega but to our theatre department and our school. We pledge to be responsible to the Alpha Psi Omega constitution, to obey it fully, and to help spread an appreciation for theatre to everyone we come in contact with.


  • 3.0 theatre GPA
  • 2.5 overall GPA
  • Completed a minimum of one theatre class.
  • Participation in a variety of production tasks (acting, directing, playwriting, front-of-house management, technical theatre, dramaturgy, production research, and other appropriate theatrical responsibilities) in one main stage production.
  • Must be nominated for membership by current APO members.

In the early twentieth century, interest in the dramatic arts grew tremendously on college and university campuses. By 1920, most colleges had a dramatic organization staging plays annually for the campus and the community at large. Also, around this time, little theatre productions and dramatic workshops began taking place. This furthered the interest in theatre on campuses everywhere, especially in the western part of the country. At this time, several honorary groups were formed to recognize and reward exemplary student participation in those productions.
In 1921, at Fairmont State College in Fairmont, West Virginia, college theater took root. A faculty director was hired in 1923, and the Masquers were formed. The Masquers were charged with presenting a season of 4 to 5 major productions per year for students and the general public. In 1924, the Masquers began searching for a national honorary organization to join. As there was no truly national organization, Elinor B. Watson, Robert Sloan, and Fairmont faculty director Paul F. Opp researched forming such a national organization.
As a result of their research and work, a proposed national constitution was drawn up, and, on August 12, 1925, the first cast of Alpha Psi Omega members, drawn from the Masquers, was initiated. It was then decided that each chapter was to be called a "cast." Fairmont College became the Alpha Cast. Soon after, Marshall College in Huntington, West Virginia, expressed interest in chartering a cast of Alpha Psi Omega; they founded the Beta Cast. A member from Huntington suggested the name "Playbill" for the national magazine, which was thereafter adopted.
Over the course of the following year, eighteen more casts were founded. When the first national convention was held on December 27-28, 1926, at the Palmer House in Chicago, twenty casts had been chartered. These national conventions, also known as Grand Rehearsals, are now held once every 5 years.
Throughout the country, Alpha Psi Omega has sponsored the formation of theatre honor societies in high schools and junior colleges, with the aim of encouraging dramatic production at every step in a person's academic career. In 1929, after significant interest on the junior college level, Delta Psi Omega was formed. 
In 1936, at the Alpha Psi Omega Grand Rehearsal, Delta Psi Omega was officially recognized as the junior college division of Alpha Psi Omega. Today, there are over 350 Delta Psi Omega casts.
Alpha Psi Omega has enjoyed continuous national growth and, with over 550 casts, is the largest national honor society in America. Membership in Alpha Psi Omega is only granted to fully accredited institutions with a four-year curriculum in theatre and drama leading to a degree.
The business of Alpha and Delta Psi Omega is supervised by National Officers. Such names as Paul Opp, Yetta Mitchell, Donald Garner, and Jerry Henderson are familiar to long-time cast members as officers in earlier years. Current officers are Teresa Choate as President, Frankie Day as Vice President, and Bret Jones as Business Manager and Editor of "Playbill." 

APO Events
All weekly meetings take place on Friday from 10-11 AM in JGMB 136 unless otherwise noted. See an officer for details.
Inductions are held at the end of the fall semester at the theatre potluck and at the end of the spring semester at the end of the year banquet. Invitations to join APO are sent out to those students who are qualified, nominated, and approved. Requirements to join Alpha Psi Omega are listed above under Qualifications.
Spring Awards Banquet
Alpha Psi Omega hosts an awards banquet at the end of the academic year to honor all students involved in the year's productions.
Big Guy Ballerina
Open to the student body and surrounding community, Alpha Psi Omega hosts a night of improvisational games and scenes for all to enjoy under the name of “Big Guy Ballerina Improv Troupe.” Every student on campus is invited to participate as a cast member or an audience member.

Degree Programs

The department offers students the following programs of study: 

Musical Theatre (B.A.) - The Musical Theatre major trains the student as a triple threat performer in theatre, music, and dance. This degree encourages the student to engage this popular art form from the viewpoint of the actor-singer with an integration of Biblical faith.

Theatre Arts (B.A.) - The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts seeks to prepare students to effectively pursue graduate theatre studies or engage in the professional and/or educational arena from a grounded Christian worldview. Students have the opportunity to perform a wide variety of theatrical genres in various venues and/or work as designers, technicians, and in theatre management. Students will study and apply the practical knowledge of the theatre’s historical and theoretical heritage. The program seeks to provide each student with an opportunity to experience theatre in professional venues, including, occasionally, international settings. Additionally, the Department presents high-quality performances both on campus and off. Students pursuing the Theatre Arts B.A. also choose a performance or technical concentration or choose a minor in another field to supplement their education. By also taking courses in English, History, Religion, Math, and others, the theatre major’s liberal arts education will help prepare them for success in a variety of theatre-related professions.

Theatre Arts Education with EC-12 Certification (B.S.E.)
Similar to the Theatre Arts major on the B.A. degree, the Theatre Arts Education major prepares students with a broad education in the discipline.  In addition to the competencies developed in the B.A. program, those pursuing the B.S.E. degree will master the necessary knowledge and skills as outlined in TEKS for all-level education students.  These students are required to direct a production following the rules and guidelines of the Texas University Interscholastic League One-Act Play Competitions.  A core of twenty-four credit hours of professional education courses, including clinical teaching, are required in this degree.

Design/Technical Concentration
The Department of Music and Theatre Arts seeks to prepare students to effectively pursue graduate theatre studies or engage in the professional and/or educational arena from a grounded Christian worldview. Students have the opportunity to perform a wide variety of theatrical genres in various venues and/or work as designers, technicians, and in theatre management. Students will study and apply the practical knowledge of the theatre’s historical and theoretical heritage; those pursuing the BSE degree will master the necessary knowledge and skills as outlined in TEKS for all-level education students. The Department seeks to provide each student with an opportunity to experience theatre in professional venues, including, occasionally, international settings. Additionally, the Department presents high-quality performances both on campus and off. By also taking courses in English, History, Religion, Math, and others, the theatre major’s liberal arts education will help prepare them for success in a variety of theatre-related professions.

Performance Concentration
The Department of Music and Theatre Arts seeks to prepare students to effectively pursue graduate theatre studies or engage in the professional and/or educational arena from a grounded Christian worldview. Students have the opportunity to perform a wide variety of theatrical genres in various venues and/or work as designers, technicians, and in theatre management. Students will study and apply the practical knowledge of the theatre’s historical and theoretical heritage; those pursuing the BSE degree will master the necessary knowledge and skills as outlined in TEKS for all-level education students. The Department seeks to provide each student with an opportunity to experience theatre in professional venues, including, occasionally, international settings. Additionally, the Department presents high-quality performances both on campus and off. By also taking courses in English, History, Religion, Math, and others, the theatre major’s liberal arts education will help prepare them for success in a variety of theatre-related professions.

Theatre Arts Minor
The theatre minor seeks to supplement the student’s major field of study with academic and experiential courses that provide a survey of live theatre as an academic pursuit, a profession, and as an art form. Students have performance, technical, and house management opportunities in a wide variety of shows in various theatre spaces both on and off campus.

Policies & Procedures

Auditions and Admissions
Admission Requirements for the Program: All incoming freshmen and/or transfer students must interview/audition for admittance into the Theatre Arts program.  A student’s admittance is not specific to a particular concentration or degree program. Students may change their degree program or concentration without impacting their admission status in the theatre program providing they continue to pursue any of the theatre majors as evidenced by their official declaration of major. 

Interviews/auditions are scheduled as part of ETBU Tiger Day and Preview Day events, and prospective students are also invited to schedule individual campus visits and theatre auditions throughout the academic year. The interview/audition for entry into the program also serves as an application for a theatre arts scholarship if one is available.  

Prospective students should prepare the following: 
•    Completed interview/audition form to be filled out electronically;
•    Current headshot (or recent photo);
•    Résumé detailing prior theatre experience;
•    For musical theatre
     o    Sixteen bars from a stage musical with sheet music for a live accompanist
     o    One theatrical monologue that contrasts in tone to the musical selection
•    For performance concentration
     o    One contemporary monologue;
     o    One classical monologue; or 
     o    Two monologues of contrasting tone (comedic, dramatic)
•    For design/technical theatre concentration
     o    A portfolio including photographs of work done on set construction, painting, props, costumes, or lighting as appropriate. The portfolio should also include any drawings, sketches, drafting, or model photos.  For stage management experience, students should present their prompt book and photographs of the production.  
•    For theatre education
     o    A record of prior teaching experience and a statement of goals as a teacher of theatre.
     o    Either an audition or portfolio that meets the expectations listed above.

Scholarship Guidelines
Scholarships are available to theatre majors who successfully interview/audition for admittance to the Theatre program and meet the following requirements. 
•    Must be a Theatre Arts major as indicated by official declaration of major;
•    Must participate as assigned in all departmental productions each semester;
•    Must attend all scheduled department meetings, except when conflicts are approved in advance by faculty; 
•    Must fulfill all Professional Expectations (see below) throughout the academic year.

Scholarships are not awarded after students have matriculated at ETBU.  Music and Theatre Arts Department scholarships are awarded in consideration with each student’s overall financial aid package at the time they enter the University. Although productions at ETBU are an integral part of the educational experience of all students, involvement in production will not lessen the academic or attendance expectations of the classroom.

Professional Expectations
The faculty expects students to be self-disciplined, passionate about the arts, and committed to giving 100% in the classroom and in production. With this in mind, it is expected that the successful theatre student at ETBU will:
•    Prepare for, participate in, and attend class on a daily basis;
•    Learn effective time management skills for success in a university environment. Always be on time for class, meetings and rehearsals; 
•    Always learn assignments, lines, blocking, movement, music, etc., by or before the due date;
•    Always work outside of class and rehearse on performance and production assignments;
•    Accept constructive criticism from professors;
•    Respect their professors, administrators, classmates, cast and crew; 
•    Respect the facilities in which they work by following all guidelines, rules, and procedures articulated in this Handbook.
Student Involvement
All theatre majors and minors should understand that their first artistic commitment is to departmental productions.  These take precedence over community theatre productions, productions by other organizations, and other short- and long-term production obligations

All majors and minors are required to enroll in the Theatre Production and Workshop course (THEA 1100/1111/3100/3111) while at ETBU. The number of required semesters varies according to degree.  While all theatre arts students are encouraged to audition regularly for upcoming productions, theatre arts students with a performance concentration are required to audition for each production. Theatre Arts minors are strongly encouraged to audition for each production. Only extreme circumstances should keep a student from auditioning, performing, or being involved in production responsibilities. If a student auditions, he or she is required to accept the role assignment.

Regardless of their enrollment in Theatre Workshop, all majors and minors are expected to contribute to every production (e.g., working on the lights, sets, sound, costumes, props, etc.) as assigned by faculty. However, education majors enrolled in Clinical Teaching are not allowed to participate in departmental productions during that semester as their focus should be on their teaching responsibilities.

Production Assignments
During each student’s tenure with the theatre program, he is expected to gain the widest range of experience possible through a variety of production assignments in the various areas of theatre production and design.  Commonly available positions are listed as follows:

Box office Manager Box office Staff House Manager Ushers
Student Director Dance Captain Stage Manager Assistant Stage Manager
Assistant Technical Director Scenic Designer Master Carpenter Carpenter
Charge Artist Paint Crew Properties Master Properties Carpenter
Properties Artisan Lighting Designer Master Electrician Electrician
Flyman Fly/Rigging Crew FX Crew Head FX Crew
Sound Designer Sound Technician  Costume Designer Costume Shop Manager
Stitcher/Cutter/Draper Millinery/Dyer/Costume Crafts Makeup & Wig Designer Makeup & Wigs Crew Head
Wig Builder/Stylist Back Stage Manager Stage Hand Lighting Console Operator
Mixing Console Operator Wardrobe Crew Head Dressers Makeup Artist

Availability and qualification for the above listed positions will depend on the production and the student’s interest, experience, and skills.

ETBU Email
It is the responsibility of each theatre arts major/minor to check his or her ETBU email account on a daily basis. Cast and crew lists, schedule changes, messages and other vital information will be posted using this method.  All Theatre Arts majors are expected to respond as appropriate to any department notices within 24 hours. Your ETBU email account is the official form of e-correspondence.

Workdays, Load-In, and Strike
Every Theatre Arts major and minor is required to attend and participate in all scheduled workdays, load-ins, and strikes. A production calendar is provided so that students may identify any potential conflicts at the beginning of the year, and is updated each semester.  If, you are unable to attend and/or participate, it is your responsibility to contact the theatre arts faculty at least a week prior to the scheduled activity.  The production calendar is provided at the beginning of the school year to help students manage conflicts, and students are expected to prioritize these events during the semester.

Facilities and Equipment Policies
The Jenna Guest Music Building (JGMB) is available to students from 6:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., weekdays and weekends.  To ensure the safety and security of all students, JGMB is locked at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.  Students may access the building during the accessible hours using their student ID cards.

JGMB houses the Department of Music and Theatre Arts. Included in the facility are the Office of the School of Communication and Performing Arts, faculty offices/studios, production office, Choir Room, Mabee Recital Hall, Black Box Theatre and associated support space, Bennett Technology Lab, Recording Studio Lab, Class Piano Lab, practice rooms, classrooms, faculty and student lounge.

The Black Box Theatre is a flexible, experimental performance space, and is the primary home of rehearsals and production work for theatre students. The seating capacity is 70.
The Mabee Recital Hall is a proscenium theatre which serves as the primary venue for music performances, and the secondary performance venue for theatre performances. The seating capacity is 168.
The Costume/Makeup Area is located adjacent to the Black Box Theatre and provides access to the backstage area of the Mabee Recital Hall and Black Box Theatre. The Costume/Makeup Area accommodates 12 actors simultaneously.
The Dressing Room and private restroom are located adjacent to the Costume/Makeup Area and provide access to the backstage area of the Mabee Recital Hall and Black Box Theatre.   

The School of Communication and Performing Arts Office, located in JGMB room 100, is open from 8:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00-11:00 a.m. for Chapel. To contact the School of Communication and Performing Arts office, email, or call 903.923.2158.

The Bennett Technology Lab (BTL) houses 13 computer stations loaded with theatre design and editing software, and a variety of music resources.  The Lab is available for student use, and students are encouraged to work in this lab on class assignments and projects. The hours of the Bennett Technology Lab vary each semester according to the needs of the students and availability of the BTL staff. The BTL schedule is posted each semester outside the lab. This schedule may change for special events and activities (Homecoming, home football games, Tiger Days, etc.)

The Scene Shop building is located outside the south facilities gate, across from the University Apartments.  It houses the Scenic Shop, as well as storage areas for costumes and props. Access to the shop and storage areas is restricted.

The Jenna Guest theatre facilities are available for use throughout the academic year (August-May). Some rooms in the building such as the Black Box Theatre, Mabee Recital Hall, Bennett Technology Lab, and Choir Room are open for student use at various hours in the evenings and on weekends. Personal practice in the Black Box, Choir Hall, and Recital Hall is strongly encouraged. These spaces are available to students during the evenings and weekends if time is available; however, they must be reserved by making specific requests in the School of Communication and Performing Arts Office. Mrs. Purvis in the Office of the School of Communication and Performing Arts will assist in this process. Students are expected to take care of these facilities in the absence of faculty/staff supervision.

Scheduling and Equipment
The facilities (classrooms, rehearsal halls, practice rooms, labs, etc.) and equipment (UIL set, props and costumes, chairs, etc.) are for the exclusive use of students, faculty, and staff. Activities in these buildings are generally limited to those activities associated with academic requirements of the Department of Music and Theatre Arts. Users of the facilities in these buildings must schedule activities via the School of Communication and Performing Arts Office and by following appropriate University protocols. Anyone who sees individuals or groups not associated with the School of Communication and Performing Arts in the music building should notify the office or campus security immediately.

Theatre Arts faculty or administrative leaders of ETBU must approve use of scenic, lighting, sound or costume equipment by any groups other than ETBU theatre arts students. Unauthorized removal of furniture, props, costumes or any other school property will be considered theft. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the loss of building use privileges. The use of Jenna Guest furniture from the hallways or classrooms is strictly prohibited. Theatre Arts students may only use furniture or props that have been designated for rehearsal or performances.

When rehearsing in any rooms in JGMB, theatre arts students must restore student desks, pianos, risers, and other classroom furnishings to their proper places after use. Students who violate this or other stated policies may lose the privilege of using Jenna Guest facilities.

Copy Machines and Printers
Students are not allowed to use the copy machines in the School of Communication and Performing Arts Office as copies are charged directly to ETBU budget accounts; however, students are provided access to scanners and printers in the BTL and the Jarrett Learning Center.

Furniture, Props, and Costume Checkout Procedures
Students may request the use of furniture, props, and costume pieces for course work. Requests must be made in writing. If granted, the students must submit a list of the items removed from storage. When their assignment is complete, the students are responsible for cleaning the borrowed items and neatly returning them to their correct locations in storage. Users must report any damage to the equipment and make arrangements for repair.

Located in the JGMB, lockers are available to music and theatre students free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact the secretary in the School of Communication and Performing Arts Office for locker assignments.

Lost and Found
Items turned in to the School of Communication and Performing Arts Office as "found" will be kept for one semester. All unclaimed items will be discarded.

Student Workers
The Department of Music and Theatre Arts employs many student workers for the purpose of assisting with the administrative, performance, and security needs of the Department. Students may go to the Financial Aid webpage to peruse and apply for appropriate employment positions.

Public Productions: 
Each year, the ETBU Department of Music and Theatre Arts produces a minimum of four shows for the public. Faculty or students in the BSE All-Level Theatre Education program may direct these shows.  Theatre faculty select the productions, which are then approved by the ETBU administration. ETBU students, faculty, and staff the work together to produce high quality performances for the campus and surrounding community.

Mainstage Productions
Each semester, one show is directed and designed by resident faculty and/or contracted artists. These mainstage shows are produced for a public audience of both ETBU faculty, staff, and students, as well as for the Marshall community. Mainstage shows allow performance, design, and technical students to apply theories they are learning in theatre classes to an actual production.

Student-Directed Productions
The student-directed productions are designed to give BSE All-Level Education students the opportunity to assume various leadership roles and work in collaboration with peers in ways not always available to them in the Mainstage productions. 

BSE students must register for THEA 4101 Studio Lab in the semester they plan to direct. Students in THEA 4101 must have completed THEA 3362 Directing I and THEA 4300 Teaching Theatre in the Public Schools, and be in good academic standing with the Department of Teacher Education. The student directors will submit three shows from the UIL Approved Play List with a written justification for directing each. These shows should be ranked in order of preference, but the student must be willing to direct any whichever of the three is chosen. After the theatre faculty approves the shows, they are added to the season roster and submitted to the University Administration for approval.

Approval for Student Director submissions shall be based on the following criteria:
1.    Technical feasibility of the play;
2.    Casting feasibility of the production in regard to all other productions in the Department of Music and Theatre Arts. For example, the number of males/females required may exceed the talent resources of the Department;
3.    Content of the proposed production;

Once approved, student directors edit the show according to the UIL One-Act Play (OAP) Rule Book. Student directors use the approved UIL OAP Unit Set and may use additional pieces as dictated by the Rule Book. Costumes, furniture, and props are pulled from existing ETBU Theatre Arts stock. A stipend of approximately $500.00 is allocated to directors for the production.

While student directors are responsible for all aspects of the designs for their shows, faculty supervise the process, and students support the production work by designing and assuming various crew responsibilities. These productions give the students the experience of directing in a more limited high school setting and prepare students to direct high school productions in the Texas UIL OAP format.

Auditions will be held at the student directors’ discretion and with the approval of the Theatre Arts faculty. Auditions will be open to theatre students and the larger ETBU community of students.

Scheduling and Rehearsals
The theatre arts faculty schedules the Student-directed productions on the SCPA calendar as part of the overall performance season. Because student-directed productions are relatively short in length, it is typical for multiple performances to be presented in the same evening. Thus, the rehearsal schedules for these productions must be coordinated. The student directors will give a copy of the approved rehearsal schedule to all students involved in the project, and post it on the Call Board. The maximum rehearsal time for one acts is thirty (30) hours. Rehearsals must not begin before 6:00 p.m. nor go later than 10:00 p.m. unless approved by the faculty advisor in advance. Extended weekend rehearsals must be approved by faculty before being scheduled.

Technical Considerations
Limited construction of costumes, properties, set pieces, or special makeup needs, and other technical needs may be allowed if it is essential to the dramatic action of the play and approval is granted; however, the production should utilize existing theatre resources to meet the technical needs of these productions. The dressing rooms, shops, and all rehearsal spaces must be kept in a clean and orderly condition at all times throughout the rehearsal activities and production run. Strike occurs on Sunday following the matinee performance.  

Policy Compliance
All students enrolled in THEA 4101 Studio Lab will be responsible for complying with all theatre arts policies and regulations throughout the production process. Further, individuals participating in the production work may be relieved of their responsibilities if they fail to meet production deadlines, complete class assignments, or comply with any Department policy.

Casting Policy
For Mainstage, Musical, or student-directed productions, the ETBU Theatre Arts holds open auditions. Performance majors are required to audition. Theatre Arts minors and BSE All-Level Theatre Arts Education students are strongly encouraged to audition, and tech/design students are encouraged, but not expected to participate. All performance roles are given to ETBU students, but when specific needs arise, ETBU faculty and staff and others from the community may be cast upon approval of the University administration.  Faculty will not assign any role to a non-student if there is an interested and qualified ETBU student willing to accept that role.  

Best Practices for Auditions:
•    Dress in business casual attire unless the audition specifies wardrobe.
•    Prepare audition materials completely.
•    Read the play prior to the audition.
•    Be polite and respectful to everyone at the audition

Directors make casting decisions based upon some or all of the following:
•    The quality of the audition 
•    The auditioner's suitability for a role 
•    Recent roles performed 
•    Specific course or degree requirements 
•    Participation in workdays and strikes 
•    Academic standing 
•    Specific performance skills required by a role 

Obviously not everyone who auditions for a production can be cast. Students should not become discouraged if they are not cast. More than likely, it has to do with the aforementioned criteria. However, students should feel free to seek specific constructive criticism from the faculty on how they may improve their audition in the future. Students should remember to take criticism in the spirit it is given; the faculty want all theatre students to grow and mature as artists. Each audition is one of many for every student. 

Production Team Responsibilities
The descriptions below are snapshots of the various areas of artistic and supervisory responsibility in any theatre production. These are not meant to be complete, but to give the reader an introduction to the responsibilities and expectations of the creative team for any production.
"Ensemble" - A unit or group of complementary parts that contribute to a single effect.
“Company” – an organization that produces theatrical performances

•    Coordinates production goals through collaboration with all active participants, both onstage and off, in pursuit of a unified artistic approach;
•    Casts the play, sets the rehearsal schedule, attends all rehearsals, blocks the actors, and provides strategies to help the actors reach professional standards of performance;
•    Attends all design and production meetings; facilitates collaboration, artistic unity, and creative vision;
•    Coordinates with faculty designer and Technical Director, and reports to the Department Chair.

•    Coordinates unified production goals through work with the entire production team;
•    Provides the director, stage manager and technical director with design documents;
•    Attends all production meetings. 
•    Coordinates with faculty director and Technical Director, and reports to the Department Chair.

Technical Director (TD)
•    Organizes and supervises all technical aspects of the production process; 
•    Attends all production meetings, design meetings, maintains production budget, supervises crews, maintains and implements safety standards;
•    Supervises work days (including the daily schedule for each work day), load-In, and the technical/dress rehearsals;
•    Coordinates with Theatre Arts faculty and reports to the Department Chair and Dean.

Assistant Technical Director (ATD)
•    Supports the TD in the creation and completion of all supervisory duties related to the production;
•    Supervises crews as needed, if TD is not available, and facilitates strong communication between the TD and all other necessary members of the production team;
•    Reports to the TD.

Stage Manager (SM)
•    Assists the director with the running of auditions, rehearsals and production meetings;
•    Facilitates communications between the director, designers, cast, and crew; 
•    Maintains blocking and direction of the show during the run as well as calling the cues for the cast and crew; 
•    Runs the performance;
•    Attends and supervises all production meetings. 
•    Reports to the TD, the Director, and Theatre Arts faculty.

Assistant Stage Manager (ASM)
•    Assists with the stage manager’s duties including but not limited to preparing for and running rehearsals, taking direction and blocking notes, and organizing rehearsal props;
•    Assists in the coordination of the scene shifts, props placement and other backstage elements;
•    Positioned backstage during the show;
•    Attends all production meetings;
•    Reports to the SM, the TD and the Theatre Arts faculty.

Box Office Manager
•    Coordinate and executes ticket sales, including publicity and promotion of the season;
•    Supervises box office volunteers;
•    Reports to the House Manager, the TD, and the Theatre Arts faculty.

Box Office Crew
•    Assists in the daily activities of the Box Office, such as ticket orders, mailings, data entry; 
•    Reports to the Box Office Manager and the Theatre Arts faculty.

House Manager
•    Trains ushers, opens and closes the house, knows emergency procedures, assures the professional appearance of the facility, and enforcement of house rules. This position reports to and the Theatre Arts faculty and coordinates with the SM.

Scenic Designer
•    Creates scenic design in keeping with the production approach, available budget, resources, and time constraints;
•    Provides the director, faculty designer, and technical director with a ground plan, white or color model, working drawings, paint elevations and section;
•    Attends all design and production meetings;
•    Coordinates with Director, other designers, and the TD.

Master Carpenter
•    Manages the scenic crew, interprets working drawings, schedules and assigns crew jobs, and maintains the shop;
•    Coordinates with the TD and the Scenic Designer.

Scenic Carpenter (Crew)
•    Builds, transports, and maintains scenery, equipment;
•    Hangs soft goods, rigging, and maintains the shop;
•    Reports to Master Carpenter and the TD.

Properties (Prop) Master
•    Develops a detailed prop list; conducts period research, purchases or builds all hand and personal properties;
•    Designs or builds special furniture or set dressings following Scene Designer’s specifications;
•    Maintains the prop budget and purchasing log and is responsible for the placement, inventory and maintenance of the props and supervising the properties crew;
•    Coordinates and runs props for the show;
•    Attends all production meetings;
•    Reports to the Scenic Designer, the Director, the TD, and the SM.

Properties Carpenter (Crew)
•    Builds larger prop pieces such as furniture, and assists in the collecting, purchasing or building of hand and set properties, as well as the placement, inventory and maintenance of props;
•    Reports to the Properties Master, the Scenic Designer, the Director, and the SM. 

Properties Artisan (Crew)
•    Assists in the collecting, purchasing or building of hand and set properties, and the placement, inventory and maintenance of props;
•    Reports to the Properties Master, the Scenic Designer, the Director, and the SM.
Scenic Charge Artist
•    Maintains the inventory and paint shop area, serves as head scenic artist on paint crews, and executes the Scenic Designer’s paint techniques and style as indicated by model or paint elevations;
•    Mixes paint, prepares textures, and supervises the paint crew to assure the proper execution of the scenic design;
•    Maintains the paint area, including regular cleanup and storage of all paint, tools, drops, and the paint sink during the show and at strike;
•    Attends all production meetings;
•    Reports to the Scenic Designer and the TD.

Lighting Designer
•    Creates lighting designs in keeping with the production approach, available budget, equipment, and time constraints;
•    Provides the director, stage manager, and technical director with lighting paperwork, and is in charge of lighting focus and cueing of the show;
•    Attends all design and production meetings;
•    Coordinates with the Director, other designers, and the TD.

Master Electrician (ME)
•    Organizes and manages electrics crew, implements and maintains the lighting design, and performs necessary maintenance of equipment;
•    Supplies the TD with a purchase list of needed equipment and supplies, prepares for and conducts the hang, supervises safety of rigging and equipment, and updates lighting paperwork;
•    Assists the lighting designer with the execution of focus and conducts pre-show dimmer check;
•    Attends all production meetings;
•    Reports to the Lighting Designer and the TD.

Electrics Crew
•    Executes the light plot and maintains equipment and electrics area;
•    Assists in hang and focus process and assists the Sound Crew in hanging and cabling the sound system for the production;
•    Reports to the ME.

Light Board / Lighting Console Operator (LBO / LCO)
•    Knows operational procedures of the lighting console, and operates the lighting console during the hang, focus, and cueing process, as well as technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances;
•    Takes cue prompts from the Stage Manager; updates computer paperwork and cleans the booth on a daily basis;
•    Reports to the Master Electrician, Lighting Designer, and the SM. 

Special Effects Coordinator
•    Creates and fabricates specialized effects (i.e. explosions, fog, fire, etc.);
•    Maintains all safety standards and supervises stagehands in their execution of effects;
•    Supervised closely by the Theatre Arts faculty and staff and requires very specific training;
•    Reports to the TD. 

Costume Designer
•    Creates costume design in collaboration with Director, Scenic Designer and Lighting Designer;
•    Works within stated budget, accounts for all expenditures, responsible for purchasing all fabrics and trims, creating and executing the costume plot, and coordinating costume needs of the production;
•    Patterning and costume construction, pulling stock or renting;
•    Provides the Director with design paperwork, attends fittings, design and production meetings, and dress rehearsals;
•    Coordinates and instructs the wardrobe crew for run-of-show-procedures.

Costume Shop Manager
•    Manages and maintains the costume shop schedule, equipment, and supplies;
•    Coordinates with the Costume Designer to implement the costume design by pulling, building, or purchasing the required pieces
•    Assigns projects to the Costume Crew, manages the costume budget, and coordinates with the Wardrobe Supervisor to transition into performances;
•    Reports to the Costume Designer and the SM.

Costume Crew
•    Executes the design as a cutter, draper, stitcher, craftsperson, or dyer as needed
•    Serve as Dressers during performances;
•    Reports to Costume Shop Manager initially, then to the Wardrobe Supervisor during performances. 

Hair and Makeup Supervisor
•    Works closely with the Hair & Makeup Designer and the Costume Designer to implement hair and makeup designs for the show;
•    Creates a makeup and wig change/quick change breakdown in collaboration with the Designer;
•    Supervises and trains the makeup and wig crew in the application, removal, and care of all makeup, wigs, pieces, facial hairpieces, and prosthetics for the production; and finally assisting the actors with pre-show makeup & wig-related need.
Wardrobe Supervisor
•    Organizes and supervises costume changes during performances and assists the actors as necessary;
•    Supervises dressers and is responsible for load-in, laundering, cleaning, and repairing the costumes during the run;
•    Assumes complete responsibility for all the costumes in a production after opening night, including strike;
•    Coordinates closely with the Costume Shop;
•    Reports to Costume Designer and SM.

•    Assists actors with costume changes before, during, and after performances;
•    Assist actors with difficult costumes and performs quality checks before the actors go onstage;
•    Presets costumes for quick changes and returns costumes to dressing rooms after changes;
•    Inventories all costume pieces and launder items before the next performance;
•    Reports to the Wardrobe Crew Head.

Sound Designer
•    Creation of a sound design in keeping with the production concept and available resources;
•    Selects, purchases, and coordinates all recorded music, as approved by the Director;
•    Creates and coordinates live and recorded sound effects;
•    Works with the Mixing Console Operator to integrate the soundscape into the production during technical rehearsals;
•    Attends all production meetings;
•    Coordinates with the Director, the SM and the TD. 

Sound Board / Mixing Console Operator (A3 - Playback Engineer)
•    Operates, maintains, and secures all audio equipment;
•    Conducts pre-show sound checks, assists in audio production, and cleans the booth on a daily basis;
•    Operates the sound board during tech and dress rehearsals as well as performances;
•    Takes cue prompts from the Stage Manager; 
•    Reports to the Sound Designer, the TD and the SM. 

Sound Crew
•    Installs, tests, and runs equipment necessary to execute the sound design, assists in sound production;
•    Reports to the Sound Designer and the TD.

Deck Manager
•    Coordinates scene changes and operation of all backstage equipment (foggers, rigging, etc.);
•    Maintains and secures that equipment, and manages the backstage crew; 
•    Conducts pre- and post-show inspections of all scenic elements, and performs necessary repairs. This position reports to the SM and the TD.

•    Installation and ensures safe operation of all fly rigging and hanging scenery;
•    Reports to Deck Manager, the TD and the SM.

Deck Hand
•    Operates of backstage equipment, special effects and shifting scenery and props;
•    Reports directly to the Deck Manager, but also works under the SM and the TD.

•    Creates, teaches and polishes choreography in musicals or specific moments in straight plays;
•    Coordinates with the Director, Music Director, and the SM.

Dance Captain
•    Maintains and polishes all choreography in the absence of the choreographer.

Music Director
•    Ensures all elements of the production’s music are prepared;
•    May serve as vocal coach and/or conductor;
•    Coordinates with the Director and the SM.

•    Selects musicians, rehearses the orchestra and conducting during performances’
•    Coordinates with the Director, the Music Director and the SM.

•    Creates a believable character in keeping with the Playwright’s intentions and the Director’s approach;
•    Attends all rehearsals, fittings and performances, maintaining a responsible work ethic and a positive attitude;
•    Reports to the Director and the SM.

Safety Guidelines and Procedures

Safety is the top priority for all students, instructors, and supervisors. To help ensure a safe work environment for everyone, the following guidelines and procedures have been developed. All Theatre Arts faculty, staff, and students who participate in theatre arts production work are expected to familiarize themselves with this information, and implement these guidelines in their work at all times. In addition to these general rules. Theatre arts work is physical and can be unsafe for the careless and the untrained.  However, by using common sense learning and following appropriate safety procedures, working in the shop and on stage will be fun, professionally rewarding, and safe for everyone.

 Emergency Procedures

  • In the event of an emergency during class time, production work hours, or rehearsal, follow established ETBU protocols for medical or natural emergencies, fire, or active shooter.
  • Any injury or event that warrants first aid or faculty notification requires that an incident report be filed.  If ETBU security or 911 are called, incident report is automatically generated.
  • All injuries to any person involved in the production, whether it is during build, rehearsal, show, or strike, should be noted in the rehearsal/performance report. If the injured person refuses to be treated, that should be notes as well.
  • Report all accidents to the Technical Director, Director, or other faculty/staff supervisor immediately.  If a student is in need of immediate medical assistance, call 911 and then call campus security at 903-923-2323.

Rendering First Aid

  • In any situation where first aid is required, first determine if a call to 911 is necessary. Notify Theatre Arts faculty and staff of the incident immediately. From the first aid kit, use items as needed to protect both parties from pathogens and infection. If 911 and campus security have been called, stay with the patient until emergency aid arrives. If emergency assistance is not required, an incident report must still be filed within 24 hours.

Emergency Evacuation

  • For evacuation during a show, the Theatre Arts faculty/staff representative will stop the show and announce the evacuation process. The House Manager will take the audience to a designated location, the Stage Manager will take the cast and crew to a designated location and call roll. Once the all clear is given, the managers will lead their groups back into the theatre. The faculty/staff representative will decide where the show will restart.
  • In the event of a medical emergency during a show, in the audience or backstage, the Theatre Arts faculty/staff representative will stop the show.  If the patient is in the audience and can move on their own, the Theatre Arts faculty/staff representative and House Manager will assist them out of the theatre to wait for emergency assistance. If the patient cannot be moved, the remaining audience will be escorted out of the theatre until emergency assistance arrives. If the patient is back stage, the Theatre Arts faculty staff representative and the Assistant Stage Manager will move the patient to the lobby area and wait with the patient until emergency services arrives. In any situation, the Theatre Arts faculty representative will determine if the show can continue.


  • The work areas of the theatre abide by the Federal Disabilities Act for equal access and opportunity. However, some disabilities may cause the disabled individual or others to be endangered in some activities. It shall be the determination of the supervisor whether such disabilities could result in endangerment. If it is determined that endangerment exists, alternative work for the disabled individual will be provided by the supervisor. Any student is expected to fulfill all the class requirements to successfully complete the course.
  • Students requiring approved accommodations should meet with the instructor/supervisor at the beginning of the class/crew assignment to determine effective assessment of those disabilities in regard to required tasks and activities.

Personal Safety Guidelines

  • Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times.
  • Horseplay, practical jokes, and pranks are prohibited.
  • Follow all written and verbal instructions carefully.  If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, ask the instructor or appropriate supervisor before proceeding.
  • Perform only those duties for which you have been trained and approved, as assigned by your instructor or supervisor.
  • Working in the Scene Shop alone is not allowed. No exceptions. At least two other people, including a Theatre Arts faculty or staff member, must be present when anyone is working in the Scene Shop.
  • Observe good housekeeping practices. Work areas must be cleaned and organized daily.
  • Know the locations and operating procedures of all safety equipment including the first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and material safety data sheets.
  • Be alert at all times in the work and performance areas. Notify the instructor or supervisor immediately of any unsafe conditions you observe.  If you are in doubt about he safety of something, ask the TD or faculty supervisor.
  • Use caution when using sharp objects and tools. Always carry them away from your body. Never try to catch falling sharp instruments. 
  • No student will be required to do anything that he or she feels is dangerous or unhealthy, and must communicate such concerns to the Theatre Arts faculty or staff supervisor.  Under no circumstances will pressure be placed on a student to perform the work task if he or she feels unable. If ill or injured, the decision regarding working, rehearsing, or performing belongs to the student. 
  • Immediately report any accident (spills, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the instructor or supervisor, no matter how trivial it may appear.
  • Safety demands that proper clothing be worn for work in the shops and ETBU Theatre is not responsible for clothing damaged in any way. Failure to wear proper clothing is a safety hazard and is not an excuse to miss work. No loose, long or baggy clothing or jewelry.  Wear clothes that will protect you from dust, etc.
  • Wear shoes with good, non-slippery soles that cover the whole foot; no sandals, open toed shoes, high heels, flip flops, or dress shoes.
  • Long hair is required to be pulled back and secured for operation of power equipment. Long hair must be worn up in such a way so as to not be entangled in power equipment.
  • Persons taking medications should notify the supervisor. Those taking medications which may affect balance, motor skills, depth perception, or mental functions may not operate power tools, lighting equipment, climb, or do any activities where those affected functions are involved.
  • Anyone in the work place under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol will be dismissed immediately and will be reported to the proper authorities.
  • Students who do not obey the safety guidelines and procedures will be required to leave the work area, and their course grade will be affected according to policies outlined in specific course syllabi.

General Workshop Safety

The guidelines below apply to all of the shop, stage, and classroom spaces at all times. Any and all students doing class or volunteer work in the shop spaces are expected to abide by these rules.

  • Distractions lead to injuries. Never interrupt someone when he/she is using a tool. Wait for them to finish.
  • Allow plenty of space for someone who is working.
  • Always check your tools for damage. Check electrical and compressed air cords for damage before you plug them in.
  • Complete clean-up of the work area is required after each work session or class.  Put away unused materials and return all tools and equipment to their proper place.
  • Do not leave tools and materials out unnecessarily.
  • Do not let the work area become too cluttered; this can lead to trip hazards. Clean as you go.
  • Keep pathways to fire extinguishers and fire exits clear.
  • Before using any new solvent, paint, or chemical, read the Safety Data Sheet carefully for precautions, ventilation, and cleanup. Copies of Safety Data Sheets for any chemicals and solvents on hand are available in the Costume Shop area and in the Scene Shop.

Scenic and Properties Shop Safety

Personal Protection Equipment

  • Always wear appropriate clothing for shop time.
  • OSHA & ANSII approved, impact resistant eye protection must be worn in the scene shop or whenever using or assisting with the use of power tools. Failure to use appropriate protective equipment after a warning will result in dismissal from work.
  • Hearing protection is required when working in the Scene Shop or when power tools are in use.  High frequency ear plugs or muffs are to be worn whenever using or assisting with the use of power tools, or whenever students are working in close proximity to power tools in use.
  • While several classes require you to purchase eye protection and you are encouraged to bring your personal eye and ear protection, the Scene Shop and the costume shop will have a stock of disposable ear plugs and several pairs of safety glasses available for use.
  • Due to the possibility of spreading COVID-19 students will not be allowed to share PPE.  Students will be responsible for labeling their assigned protective eyewear, and disposing of earplugs after use.
  • Close-fitting, construction work gloves are optional, but recommended.

General Guidelines

  • Always inspect electrical or pneumatic tools for damage before you use them. Do not operate any machinery or equipment if it is known to be in an unsafe condition. Any damaged equipment or missing machine guards must be reported to the Technical Director. Damaged or malfunctioning equipment must be reported immediately and tagged to prohibit use.
  • Never use dull or damaged blades or bits. Dull blades or bits are more dangerous than sharp ones. Damaged blades may break and dull equipment makes you work harder and make it easier to lose control of the tool.
  • Working in the Scene Shop alone is not allowed. No exceptions. At least two other people, including a Theatre Arts faculty or staff supervisor, must be present when anyone is working in the Scene Shop.
  • The Scene Shop shall be clean and all tools put away at the end of each work day.
  • All warning signs, signals and alarms shall be obeyed.
  • All injuries, no matter how minor, must be reported immediately.
  • Clean up your work area at the end of your work shift, which means clean up all sawdust and debris, put away unused materials and return all tools and equipment to their proper place.
  • Remove all nails and screws in all reused lumber. Flatten nails in lumber that is trash.
  • Do not leave long sticks in trash barrels. They can poke others in the eyes.
  • Do not block fire extinguishers, doors, or marked tool-safety areas.
  • Paint solvents and adhesives produce toxic fumes. Do not spray paint in the shop. Go outside and use brown paper to prevent over-spray. Spray adhesive and spray shoe dye are especially bad.
  • Students must never lift an object that is awkward or that weighs more than 40 lbs.  Before lifting and carrying any object, students must check that the floor/path is clear of trip hazards and should ensure a clear line of sight for the path of movement.
    1. When lifting, have a secure footing, bend your knees, keep your back straight, take a firm hold of the object being lifted and slowly straighten your legs. If you must turn with a load, turn your feet and whole body. Do not twist yourself. Avoid reaching while lifting or putting the object down.
    2. If you are carrying the object you have lifted ensure that the path you are using is clear of debris and safe to move through. Look where you are going and communicate with the others carrying the object.
    3. If you are losing your grip or if something is too heavy, tell the person you are carrying it with and take a rest and then get a better grip; this is much better than dropping it and having someone suddenly bear the entire weight at once.
    4. Be aware of the back end of the object and what is behind you. When carrying tall objects like a flat or ladder, lift with one hand high and one hand low. That is, lift with one hand which carries the weight, and use the other hand to help balance the object.
    5. Be aware of the top of tall objects and things that it might hit like the ceiling, tops of doors, other scenery or lighting equipment. If the object is too heavy for you, get assistance. Wherever possible, use mechanical lifting devices to move heavy objects. Such devices include carts, dollies, or hand trucks.
    6. When you lean scenery or materials against a wall, be sure that the object is a sufficient distance between its base and the wall, so it will not fall back by itself.
  • Fire Safety
    1. Most of the materials in the Scene Shop are combustible.
    2. Paint solvents etc. are highly flammable and must be kept in a special cabinet.
    3. Know where the Fire Exits are in the shop.
    4. Know where the fire extinguishers are and what types we have in the shop.

Traditional Hand Tools

  • Instruction will be given on the proper use of any hand tool that a student must use.
  • All tools are designed to facilitate specific tasks, and the appropriate tool should be used in each instance. Hand tools are not considered hazardous when used properly. 
  • No tool should be used for anything but its intended purpose(s). Tools are not toys and should never be thrown or handled in an inappropriate way. Anyone deliberately misusing equipment (in ways or for purposes other than instructed) will immediately be dismissed from the lab.

Power Tools and Equipment

  • No person may operate any power tool or equipment until they have received instruction in the use of that tool/equipment and they have been signed off by a supervisor, confirming the satisfactory completion of instruction and check-out. Students enrolled in classes having technical laboratories are required to complete the instruction and checkout procedure on specified power tools and equipment. After that, the student may elect not to use that tool/equipment again without any consequence to their grade.
  • Each power tool has its own set of safety rules. They are safe when properly used, but they can cause serious accidents when misused.
  • Sometimes there is a strong temptation to remove safety guards when they seem to complicate the work. If you think you need to do something without the standard blade guard, stop and ask the Technical Director. In cases where a guard must be removed, a jig will be put in its place to allow for safe operation of the saw and still provide adequate protection to the user.
  • Tools must be returned each day/night to the Tool Room. Do not leave tools in the theater or Scene Shop overnight. Keep the tools in working order by using them properly. If a tool breaks, it may not be able to get fixed immediately. Keep up with basic tool maintenance. If a tool does not work properly, inform the Technical Director immediately.

Stationary Power Tools

Table Saw

  • Only operators trained in the safe operation of a table saw are allowed to use the saw.
  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Prior to using the table saw, the blade should be checked for tightness.
  • Check the hood guard and anti-kickback devices for proper operation.
  • Verify location of “off” switch and/or emergency power disconnect.
  • Check to ensure the fence is set properly and tightly.
  • Ensure that the table is clear of materials, tools, and debris.
  • The table saw must have a hood guard, splitter, and anti-kickback device installed. One or more of these devices may be removed only if absolutely necessary to perform a specific cut (e.g. dado or rabbet) and only with the approval of the Technical Director. These safety devices must be re-installed immediately after completing the cut(s).
  • Always stand firmly on the floor and avoid any awkward operations. This is to avoid falling into the blade by slipping or losing your balance.
  • Do not carry on a conversation while cutting. Pay attention to the work being performed.
  • Do not reach behind or over the blade unless it has stopped turning.
  • Do not leave the saw until the blade has come to a complete stop.
  • Make sure that the blade has stopped turning before you adjust the table saw. After any adjustment, make sure that the blade is free before you turn on the power. When changing the blade or servicing the saw, the power disconnect must be locked in the “off” position. For saws with a cord and plug, the saw must be unplugged. The saw must be tested after disconnecting power and before beginning service.
  • Ensure that the guides are positioned properly and that the tabletop is smooth and polished. An unclean or rough table requires you to use more force to push the stock through the blade. The more force that you are required to use, the more chance that you may slip or lose your balance.
  • Check that the stock has no nails, knots screw, stones etc. in it prior to cutting into the wood. These items can become projectiles and cause injury.
  • Push sticks, feather boards, hold-downs, etc. must be used whenever an operation is performed that would require the operator’s hands to pass within six inches of the saw blade.
  • When boards over three feet in any dimension are cut, a helper should be used to assist in supporting the work.
  • Never allow your saw blade to project more than 1/8” to 3/8” above the surface of your work piece during a cut. It just stands to reason that the less the blade is exposed, the less likely you are to come in contact with it, and if you do, the less serious your injury will be.
  • Make sure your saw blades are clean and sharp. A dull blade or one coated in pitch or gum can create a dangerous situation.
  • After completing work, the saw blade should be lowered below the table.
  • A two-foot perimeter around the saw should be kept clear of debris and sawdust.
  • The fence and miter gauge should never be used together. Use the fence for ripping and the miter gauge for crosscutting. Use a stop block when you crosscut short lengths.
  • When making a rip cut to bevel an edge, always work with gravity by positioning your rip fence on the down side of the saw blade and never above it.
  • When making a crosscut to bevel an edge, always place your miter gauge on the down side of the saw.

Band Saw

  • Only operators trained in the safe operation of a band saw are allowed to use the saw.
  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Blade should be checked for tightness.
  • Verify location of off switch and/or emergency power disconnect.
  • Ensure that the table is clear of materials, tools, and debris.
  • All portions of the saw blade must be enclosed or guarded except the portion between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table.
  • The blade guard should be kept adjusted as close as possible (no more than ¼” space) to the table without interfering with movement of the stock.
  • The down travel guard from the upper wheel to the guide rolls shall be so adjusted that the blade will travel within the angle or channel.
  • The wheels of the band saw (upper and lower) must be fully enclosed.
  • A blade tension control device with an indicator must be present on all band saws.
  • When changing the blade or servicing the saw, the power disconnect must be locked in the “off” position. For saws with a cord and plug, the saw must be unplugged. The saw must be tested after disconnecting power and before beginning service.

Chop Saw

  • Only operators trained in the safe operation of a band saw are allowed to use the saw.
  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection at all times.
  • All guards must be in place and operating. If a guard seems slow to return to its normal position or hangs up, report this to the Technical Director immediately. Unplug or lockout power when making repairs.
  • Hands and fingers must be kept clear of the path in which the blade travels.
  • Clean the lower guard frequently to help visibility and movement. Unplug before adjusting or cleaning.
  • Use only the recommended RPM and sizes of blades.
  • Regularly check and tighten the blade and the blade-attachment mechanism.
  • Prior to installing or changing a blade, be sure to lockout or unplug equipment. Ensure that the blade and its related washers and fasteners are correctly positioned and secured on the saw’s arbor.
  • To avoid losing control or placing hands in the blade path, hold or clamp all material securely against the fence when cutting.
  • Never re-cut small pieces.
  • Long material should be supported at the same height as the saw table. Ask for assistance if you need it.
  • Never place hands or fingers in the path of the blade or reach behind the fence.
  • Use the brake if one is provided. To avoid contact with a coasting blade, do not reach into the cutting area until the blade comes to a full stop.
  • After completing a cut, release the trigger switch immediately and allow the blade to raise back up to its resting position.

Drill Press

  • Only operators trained in the safe operation of a band saw are allowed to use the saw.
  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection at all times.
  • Be sure that the table and head of the drill press are secure.
  • Select the proper drill bits (avoid dull drill bits). Make sure that the correct speed is used for the bit selected. If uncertain, check with the Technical Director.
  • Remove the chuck key before the power is turned on!
  • Use whenever necessary to firmly secure the work.
  • Use a block under your project at all times. Set the stop so that the bit will never go through the base block.
  • Make sure that no one but you is within the safety zone.
  • Keep your hands away from the revolving spindle once the power is on.
  • Operate the feed handle so that the drill cuts evenly into the work.
  • Ease up on the pressure as the drill begins to break through.
  • Back out the drill as soon as the hole is drilled.
  • When boring to depth, use the lock nut on depth adjustment.
  • Stop the drill press before attempting to remove work.
  • Keep the floor clean around the drill press.
  • If the work comes loose and is seized by the drill press, shut off the power immediately if possible without endangering yourself. If impossible to shut the machine off, move away from the machine and move others away.
  • The drill bit should be backed out occasionally to clear shavings and cool the bit.
  • Obtain approval of the Technical Director for any special setups on the drill press before beginning the operation.

Portable Power Tools

Corded & Cordless Hand Drills

  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Inspect the drill and cord (if applicable) for damage before plugging in the tool.
  • Only use drill bits that are sharp.
  • Follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Select the bit or attachment suitable for the work being done.
  • Ensure that the bit or attachments are properly seated and tightened in the chuck.
  • Use only bits and attachments that turn true.
  • Keep drill air vents clear to maintain adequate ventilation.
  • Keep all cords clear of the cutting area during use. Inspect for frays or damage before each use.
  • Disconnect power supply before changing or adjusting bits or attachments/
  • Do not drill with one hand while holding the material with the other.
  • Secure work piece being drilled to prevent movement.
  • Slow the rate of feed just before breaking through the surface.
  • Drill a small “pilot” hole before drilling large holes.
  • Do not attempt to free a jammed bit by starting and stopping the drill. Unplug the drill and then remove the bit from the work-piece.
  • Do not reach under or around stock being drilled.

Saber (Jig) and Reciprocating Saws

  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Inspect the saw and cord for damage before plugging in the tool.
  • Only use saw blades that are sharp. Disconnect power supply before changing or adjusting blades.
  • Make sure the blade is securely seated in the saw.
  • Always check to see that you have ample length of power cord to complete the job.
  • Keep all cords clear of cutting area.
  • Clamp your project in place. Do not try to hold it with one hand and cut with the other.
  • Position the saw beside the material before cutting and avoid entering the cut with a moving blade.
  • Make sure guards, if present, are installed and are working properly.
  • Remember saber saws cut on the up stroke.
  • Secure and support stock as close as possible to the cutting line to avoid vibration.
  • Keep the base or shoe of the saw in firm contact with the stock being cut.
  • Do not start cutting until the saw reaches its full power.
  • Do not force a saw along or around a curve. Allow the machine to turn with ease.
  • Do not insert a blade into or withdraw a blade from a cut or lead hole while the blade is moving.
  • Do not put down a saw until the motor has stopped.
  • Do not reach under or around the stock being cut.
  • Maintain control of the saw always. Avoid cutting above shoulder height.
  • To start an external cut:
    • Place the front of the shoe on the stock.
    • Make sure that the blade is not in contact with the material, or the saw will stall when the motor starts.
    • Hold the saw firmly down against the material and switch the saw on.
    • Push the blade slowly into the stock maintaining an even forward pressure.
  • To start an internal cut:
    • How should you start an inside cut?
    • Drill a lead hole slightly larger than the saw blade. With the saw switched off, insert the blade in the hole until the shoe rests firmly on the stock.
    • Do not let the blade touch the stock until the saw has been switched on.
  • Do not touch the blade after use because it will burn you.

Portable Circular Saw

  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection at all times.
  • Inspect the saw and cord for damage before plugging in the tool.
  • Always check to see that you have ample length of power cord to complete the job.
  • Make sure the electric power cord will not come in contact with the moving blade.
  • The saw must be unplugged from the power source when changing the blade, adjusting the depth of cut, or doing any adjust-ments in the cutting operation.
  • Only use saw blades that are sharp. Disconnect power supply before changing or adjusting blades.
  • Make sure the blade is securely seated in the saw.
  • Make sure that the lower guard revolves up into the upper guard assembly without sticking or binding, and rotates freely back, covering the circular blade, at the completion of the cut.
  • Before starting a cutting operation, you should set the proper cutting depth at 1/8” below the thickness of the stock you are cut-ting.
  • All stock must be supported so that the rotating guard will not bind and will move freely during the complete cutting operation.
  • Place the saw on the stock to be cut with the blade clear of the stock and lined up with the cut line on the stock, before the power is turned on.
  • The portable circular saw is designed to cut only straight lines, which can be square or beveled from the top surface of the stock to be cut.
  • If the cutoff piece of stock is unsupported, caution must be used so that when it falls, the stock does not cause injury to the opera-tor, other students, or damage to the cut stock.
  • Make sure the switch is in the off position before plugging the saw into the power source.
  • If you are apprehensive about using this machine, have the instructor assist you.

Pneumatic Tools

  • Review the manufacturer’s instruction before using a tool.
  • Do not use pneumatic tools until you have been trained by the faculty supervisor or the Technical Director.
  • Operator must wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Inspect the tool for damage before connecting the tool to the air supply.
  • Check hoses regularly for cuts, bulges and abrasions. Tag and replace, if defective.
  • Always check to see that you have ample length of power cord to complete the job.
  • Keep tools clean and lubricated.
  • Do not operate the tool at a pressure above the manufacturer’s rating.
  • Turn off the air pressure to hose when not in use or when changing power tools.
  • Do not carry a pneumatic tool by its hose.
  • Avoid creating trip hazards caused by hoses laid across walkways or curled underfoot.
  • Do not use compressed air to blow debris or to clean dirt from clothes.
  • Always handle a tool as if it loaded with fasteners (nails, staples, etc.). Disconnect a tool from air supply when the tool is unattended and during cleaning or adjustment. Before clearing a blockage, be sure that depressing the trigger exhausts all air from the tool.
  • Do not point the tool toward yourself or anyone else, whether it contains fasteners or not.
  • Do not depress the trigger unless the nosepiece of tool is directed onto a safe work surface.
  • Do not carry a tool with the trigger depressed.

Safety Data Sheets

  • Safety Data Sheets for chemicals and materials used in the shops are maintained by the Technical Director and are available at any time to all persons in the theater area.
  • Workers in the shops, students, and paid assistants are required to follow safety guidelines on each sheet for each material and chemical.
  • If you do not understand or have questions about anything in any SDS, or about any process, see the Technical Director for clarification.

Costume Shop Safety

There is a misconception about costume crew. Many people think costumes is the easiest crew that requires the least amount of work or time. This is simply NOT TRUE. Because every character needs a full costume, and because there are always laundry, alterations and repairs until the show is over, the costume crew is often the longest working, highest level of expectation, most stressful crew to which you can be assigned. The rule of three applies to the Costume Shop as well as the other on campus shops. NEVER work alone.

  • meet with the Costume Designer to verify that you are trained on all equipment in the costume shop.
  • attend an orientation of the shop so that you know where to find, AND WHERE TO PUT AWAY, equipment and materials.
  • If at any time, you are unfamiliar with a machine or procedure in the shop, ask the Costume Designer or faculty member for training.
  • proper, common shop attire is required any time you are working in the costume shop. Bare feet are not allowed for any reason.
  • Anyone working in the costume shop should be aware of the first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and fire alarm pull box locations.
  • Do not use spray paints in the Costume Shop. Spray all paints / dyes in the Scene Shop or an area approved by the Theatre Arts faculty or staff supervisor.
  • After each work session, unplug the iron, steamer, or any hot plates.
  • Allow time at the end of each work session to clean excess fabric, thread, and debris from the floor.
  • All flammable materials should be stored properly in the approved flammables cabinet.
  • Dispose of solvent soaked rags properly after each work session. After drying (preferably outside) rags can be placed in the proper disposal bin

Electrics Shop Safety

  • The Technical Director will purchase some basic needs early in the season for all productions to use.
  • Do not attempt to repair defective wiring or other electrical equipment. Report defective electrical equipment to the Technical Director. Electrical equipment can only be repaired or serviced by a qualified electrician. If something looks unsafe, it probably is.
  • Electricity follows the path of least resistance. A “short” may result in severe shock to anyone coming in contact with an unprotected channel of electrical flow. Use insulated tools with plastic or rubber handles; wear shoes with rubber soles. Electrical fires are often caused by arcing or short circuits. Maintain appropriate connections and strain relief on all cables and connectors.
  • Locate electrical fire extinguishers in the work area. Wood and fiberglass ladders are best for electrical work; NEVER use metal ladders when working with electricity.
  • It is also important to know exactly how to accomplish the tasks you are given. Mistakes on electrical crew can destroy expensive equipment, cause a fire, or cause severe injury or death.
  • Members of the electrics crew must learn to be comfortable with heights and ladder work.

Lighting Equipment:

  • The deliberate misuse of lighting tools/equipment endangers the user and others.  Anyone deliberately misusing lighting tools/equipment (in ways or for purposes other than instructed) will be dismissed from the lab/workshop session.
  • Lighting tools/equipment found to be defective or not working properly may not be used and must be reported to the lighting supervisor immediately. Such tools/equipment will be removed from service until they are properly repaired.
  • When working above others, carry a minimum of tools and always tie them off.
  • Take special precautions to avoid falling gel frames, pens, pencils, gobo holders, lamps, or other accessories.
  • All lighting equipment mounted overhead must be secured to the pipe with a safety cable in addition to the C-clamp.
  • Always disconnect power from the instrument before checking or changing a lamp.
  • DO NOT TOUCH the lamp with your bare hands; the oil from your skin will cause the lamp to explode or otherwise be destroyed.
  • Be sure you know the correct method of changing that particular lamp in that particular instrument.
  • Connect power to the instrument only after lamp replacement is completed and the instrument is fully closed.

Safety for Pyrotechnics:

  • No student may operate a pyrotechnic device until you have received formal instruction in its use.
  • All pyrotechnic devices are extremely dangerous.
  • Use only commercially manufactured flash-pot systems and always follow instructions carefully.
  • Never fire flash pots close to flammable materials or to people.

Ladder Safety:

  • Never use a chair or other object in place of a ladder.
  • Work on elevated structures must be done on safety ladders or scaffolding.
  • Working on ladders and scaffolds presents a potential for a fall. If you must use a ladder, always have someone there to foot and hold the bottom for you.
  • Do not stand on the top or any steps the safety labels indicate.
  • Before you get on a ladder, make sure that all four legs are firmly on the floor.
  • Remember not to leave tools and hardware or anything heavy on top of a ladder.
  • When you are working above on a ladder, you must take extra precautions. You need to be aware of overhead scenery and lighting instruments and the electrical cable.
  • Do not have loose items in pockets that may fall, tools should always be attached to you.
  • Use ladders with care near electrical circuits.
  • Refrain from ladder usage if you are not in good physical condition; the weight limit is 300 lbs. total for all people and equipment, unless labeled otherwise.
  • Only one person on a ladder at a time. Conversely, never work on a ladder when you are alone.
  • Do not use a ladder in front of unlocked doors.
  • Place all ladder feet on firm level ground.
  • Never walk, bounce, or move the ladder while on it.
  • Do not overreach, especially on the side of the ladder.
  • Use caution when pushing or pulling anything from you as you may lose your balance.
  • Never use a closed ladder as a straight ladder or a platform, plank, or brace.
  • Face the ladder and maintain a firm three-point grip while on the ladder.
  • Inspect ladders for damage before each use.
  • Open the ladder fully and lock the spreaders open.
  • Close the ladder and put it away when finished.
  • Do NOT try to repair ladders.

Black Box and Recital Hall Ceiling Spaces:

  • No student is allowed to access or work in the attic space above the Black Box Theatre for any reason at any time. Only professional staff and faculty of ETBU are permitted to work in this space.

Rehearsal and Performance Safety

  • Actors and technicians must plan to make rehearsals the safest environment in the theatre. This is because performers and technicians must give their full attention to the rehearsal/performance and should not have to worry about personal safety at every moment.
  • Any injuries should be noted in the rehearsal/performance report. If the injured refuses to be treated, make note of it.
  • If you are working running crew, regulation stage blacks are the only appropriate garb. If you are working house or box office crew, semi-professional dress is appropriate.  Any student whose attire is not in compliance with these guidelines will not be allowed to work and will not be logged in until dressed in compliance. 
  • After any work call, it is the responsibility of the work crew, whether it is scenic, lighting, or costumes, to remove all extra debris and materials and thoroughly sweep the floor of the rehearsal or performance space. Equipment and materials must be moved to a safe area and present no danger to the performers or technicians during rehearsal. If any elements, such as scenic platforms or rehearsal garments, are incomplete and could therefore pose a danger to performers or technicians, these items should be clearly labeled and the supervisor should directly notify the director and stage manager, so that an announcement can be made before rehearsal begins.
  • Before rehearsal begins, stage management is responsible for doing a safety check of the space. This includes checking the a/c, performing a “sniff test” of the space, making sure any and all old food containers are thrown away. Stage management should also plan to sweep the rehearsal or performance space DAILY. Even if stage management is sure the work crews swept, the space must be swept again.
  • No food or drink is allowed during rehearsals. Water is allowed in a closed container, but it is the responsibility of the performer or technician to label their drinking container, and to dispose of that container at the end of rehearsal. Systematically leaving an empty or half-empty container of water will result in the loss of this privilege. Please eat before rehearsal or plan a quick snack that can be eaten outside of the rehearsal space during breaktime.
  • At the end of rehearsal, it is the responsibility of the company (actors, stage management, and any attending crew members) to put away rehearsal items such as props, furniture, and costume pieces. Any items used in rehearsal such as furniture, practical lighting or costume pieces should be put away before rehearsal end. As with any rehearsal or performance, the stage manager should do a quick walk through to make sure everything is done and put away before the company is released. If stage management finds any job incomplete after the company is released, it is the responsibility of stage management to complete that task.
  • Since most rehearsals end late in the evening, actors and technicians should be aware of personal safety as they exit the rehearsal space. Students, faculty, and staff should never leave alone, and are encouraged to leave in groups and to watch out for one another.
  • Any staged violence must be worked out and well-rehearsed to ensure the safety of the combatants as well as fellow actors, technicians and audience. There are specific protocols for hand to hand conflict, as well as for using edged weapons, blunt weapons, and fire arms in a rehearsal or performance setting. These protocols should be introduced early in the rehearsal process for the entire company.
  • Finally, the most important aspect of safety in rehearsals and production is communication. Clear and open lines of communication, between the production crews, designers, directors, stage management, performers and technicians, are the surest way to prevent injuries or property damage.

Fire Control and Safety


Acknowledging the dangers of open flame on stage during any production, the policy of the ETBU Department of Music and Theatre is to avoid using live flames during a production. There are, however, productions that require the use of matches, lighters, candles, etc. In all cases, the following best practices will be used:

  • Specifically assigned and trained backstage crew members will be standing by, with fire extinguishers in hand.
  • All flammable materials will be kept in a metal container, when not in use onstage.
  • Signs will be posted in the lobby, notifying audience members that open flames will be in use for the show.
  • All technical personnel and students must, and all actors should, be trained in the location and use of fire extinguishers in the backstage areas.
  • If a fire cannot be extinguished within the first ten seconds or so, getting everyone out safely is the top priority. This is the responsibility of the Stage Manager, the House Manager, and the Theatre Arts faculty/staff representative.
  • The use of open flames shall be permitted when necessary for production only with the written approval of the ETBU administration. If performing off campus, permission and approval is required from the venue manager and the City Fire Marshal. If permission is denied in any situation, then the fire effect, no matter how small, shall not be permitted.
  • Any time open flames are in use, at least one crew person shall stand by offstage with a fire extinguisher at hand the entire time the open flame is present, and that shall be that person’s sole duty at that time.
  • In the event of a fire alarm, the building will be evacuated until such time as a person of authority gives an “all clear”. Please move at least 100’ from the building

Example Safety Plan

Since each production will require an individualized safety plan, below is an example from the ETBU production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Fiddler on the Roof (Spring 2017)

The following is the East Texas Baptist University Department of Theatre Arts’ fire safety plan for the performances of Fiddler on the Roof from February 15th to February 26th, 2017. The use of 10, stationary, lit candles on stage has required this plan.

Period of Use

The use of fire shall commence on, and shall continue through February 26, 2017. The primary time of day will be between 6pm and 10pm, except on February 26th, it will be between 12pm and 5pm.

Safety Plan:

The following precautions have been taken to make the use of lit candles onstage as safe as possible.

  • The candles are dripless and smokeless, and will remain unlit until they are safely placed on a table onstage. They will also be secured into the candlesticks with a glue-like putty so they will not fall out of the candlesticks.
  • The candles will remain stationary at all times while lit.
  • Each set of two candles per table will be lit by the same cast member every performance. This cast member has been instructed to carry the candles onstage with the matches sitting in their box, on the table. The cast member will place the candles securely on the table, will use a single match, and will light the two candles. 
  • After the candles have been lit, the cast member will extinguish the match and drop it into a metal cup of wet sand. This cup remains on the table for the duration of the scene. The wet sand is available to extinguish the small flames of the candles, should that be necessary.
  • The candles are sitting away from the edge of the table, a safe distance from any person or clothing. Hair is pulled back, clothes are not excessively loose, and there is nothing hanging near or above the candles.
  • The solid, wood table that the candles are sitting on is too dense for the match to light off, should it drop on the table. The tables are placed far enough away that one table cloth will not be able to light off another table cloth, therefore preventing the fire from spreading, should there be one.
  • A member of the cast at each table has the sole responsibility of watching the candles. This cast member is fully prepared to snuff out the candles should there be need before the end of the scene.
  • On both sides of the stage, there will be a CO2 fire extinguisher held by a crew member who has been briefed on P.A.S.S. A third fire extinguisher will be available in the Stage Left wing.
  • At the end of the scene, the cast member who lit the candles will blow them out – making sure they have been thoroughly snuffed – and will carry them offstage where a crew member will go through and double-check that all matches and candles are completely cold.
  • The matches used will be properly disposed of after being doused in water.

Combat and Weapons

  • Any production requiring the use of potentially dangerous weapons creates a policy document to specifically address the needs of that production. The University Administration approves all policy statements. A template is available in the appendices.
  • Any production requiring the use on open flame onstage creates a policy document to specifically address the needs of that production. The University Administration approves all policy statements. A template is available in the appendices.
  • No stage combat shall be permitted in production or class without training and approval of the Theatre Arts faculty responsible and/or the faculty Fight Director.
  • Prop weapons are not toys. They are not to be handled except by authorized persons and are the responsibility of the Props Master of each production and/or the assigned Weapons Handler.
  • Prop weapons shall be secured when not in use, and shall be issued to the actors using them only when required, and shall be immediately turned back in immediately when finished to the Props person responsible; the weapon shall then be immediately secured until the next performance.
  • All prop weapons must always be treated as weapons (which in fact they are). All guns used as props must be handled as if loaded; all edged weapons must be treated as sharp.
  • Productions containing gun shots made by a prop gun must be reported to and approved by the ETBU administration before rehearsals begin. All weapons’ use requires training and documentation.

Appendix A Shop Power Tool Competency Checklist
Appendix B General Crew Checklist
Appendix C  Costume Crew Member Checklist
Appendix D Scenic Crew Member Checklist
Appendix E Electrics Crew Member Checklist
Appendix F Rigger/Flyperson Checklist
Appendix G Run Crew/Deck Hand Checklist
Appendix H Lighting Console Operator Checklist
Appendix I A3-Playback Engineer Checklist
Appendix J Follow Spotlight Operator Checklist
Appendix K House Management Checklist
Appendix L Master Carpenter Checklist
Appendix M Hair & Makeup Supervisor Checklist
Appendix N Assistant Technical Director Checklist
Appendix O Stage Management Checklist
Appendix P Master Electrician Guidelines
Appendix Q Properties Master Checklist
Appendix R Scenic Charge Artist Checklist
Appendix S Policies and Procedures Template for the Safe Use of Stage Firearms and Edged Weapons in Theatrical Productions