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Theatre & Music Theatre Department

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Department Handbook

Directing Project

Students proposing directing projects must meet all of the general guidelines for projects, as outlined in the General Guidelines for All Senior Thesis Projects

All students proposing a "Senior Thesis" in directing must have a declared concentration in directing and must have completed THTR 325 Directing and THTR 425 Advanced Directing prior to beginning actual production work on the thesis project. Students should have also functioned as an Assistant Director on at least one faculty directed production prior to the submission of a directing thesis proposal. Students are reminded that this is a two-credit "capstone" course in the directing concentration; students must meet the thesis course guidelines as indicated below. 

Senior thesis directing project proposals will be evaluated by the Theatre faculty on the basis of previously completed coursework, practical directing history, the merit of the written proposal, compatibility with departmental season goals and schedules, and the availability of support staff. Previous directing experiences outside the department may also be considered in the evaluation and selection process. 

The proposal for the senior thesis project in directing should include the following elements: 

  • Title and author of the proposed selection;
  • Description of the style and genre of the play;
  • Statement of cast size and gender distribution;
  • Brief synopsis of the ;lot, as well as a description of primary characters and themes found in the work;
  • Concept and design statement relating to HOW you will produce this show within the parameters of the project guidelines;
  • Justification for WHY this play is a valid and appropriate choice for YOU as a director and for the theatre department as a whole.

For all senior thesis directing projects, the student must select a 25-35 minute ONE ACT play script which can be effectively cast, designed, rehearsed, staged, produced, and presented in a minimalistic manner. (Any presentation which violates the time or staging requirements will be assessed a lower grade by the project advisor.)  More than one directing thesis project may be scheduled during the same evening. If this occurs, directors are expected to work collaboratively together as they plan and develop technical specifications which will work for each production. Each directing project will be presented two times for a public audience, free of charge. The Department has the authority to schedule the presentation dates and times to best fit time and space considerations. 

As stated above, all senior thesis directing projects are to be presented in a minimalistic manner. Student directors will have access to a minimal budget (as determined by the faculty and department chair), which is to cover ALL production-related costs (except script purchase and royalties).  All purchases are to be approved by the faculty advisor prior to the purchase time. Remember the old adage: LESS IS MORE. After obtaining permission from the project advisor and faculty members in the design and technical production areas, directors may pull essential scenic, costume, and properties from department storage.  The faculty (in consultation with the student's project advisor) must approve all production/staging elements of the production. Students are required to keep their assigned rehearsal space clean and organized at all times, and students who do not completely "strike" their technical elements after the project is completed will not be assigned a passing grade for the process portion of the project. 

Student directors are responsible for coordinating and planning all aspects of the project, including the acquisition of necessary actors, staff, designers, technical personnel, and publicists. The Theatre and Music Theatre Department does not guarantee access to workstudy or practicum students, or to departmental staff in the shop areas. 

The final grade for the senior thesis will be assigned by the project advisor, and will be based on both process (50%) and the final product outcomes (50%).  The remaining faculty members will provide the student director with written comments and reactions for their consideration. 

Student directors must carefully document ALL aspects of the production process (as indicated by the project advisor) and compile a professional prompt book at the completion of the project. This prompt book MUST include the following elements: 

  • finalized director's concept/analysis statement (research when available)
  • finalized rehearsal schedule
  • scored script with blocking and textual notation
  • daily rehearsal records listing goals, activities, and outcome assessments
  • production meeting agendas and reports
  • marketing and publicity documents
  • a final self-assessment of both the PROCESS and FINAL PRODUCT
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