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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Theatre



Independent Projects

independent project guidelines- pdf format

Project Guidelines (1/2014)                           Project Proposal Forms       

INdependent project guidelines

What’s an “Independent Project”?

There are those times in the academic year when JMAC is not being used, and people would like to do stuff – but the Department is engaged in the production process in the Byron. We have the space available, but not the resources. Independent projects allow theatre students to explore creating art without the normal Department processes or resources. 

Two Kinds of Projects

SIMPLE PROJECTS : These are the easiest. A group of students gets together to read/stage a play. When they are ready to perform, they sign out a space in JMAC through the Roombook system, and present the play with the basic support available in the room:

  • Rehearsal blocks
  • Available seating
  • Room lights (fluorescent and dimmable house lights)
  • Boom box

Check with the Chair before you start, and you should be able to do this with minimal planning or permissions.  

SUPPORTED PROJECTS :  Many times, students would like to present a show that has some technical elements (lights, sound, props and furniture) but the Department resources are focused on Byron productions. Students may propose a supported independent production. These are provided with funding to allow you to realize your production, and require the partnership of a Tech Assistant (TA).


  • The supported production process is made possible through the paid labor of the Tech Assistant. The TA will support your project’s technical needs, and be a liaison between your project and the department. TAs are paid $10/hour, typically from a grant awarded to you by the Department. It allows them to do your project and not get over-extended, and allows you to know how much time you have to get things done.
  • When you propose a project, the Department will help you find a TA to work on your project. Sometimes this is challenging: our TAs are frequently also cast in shows, or working on Department productions. You can suggest or request a TA, but the Department makes the final decision on the suitability of a TA. Each TA comes with a basic skill set, but you should expect the TA will excel in some areas and not others (i.e., skilled in sound, only basic in lights). Plan ahead for this, so you can find people to fill in where you need more skill.
  • The TA attends all technical rehearsals, all performances, and is needed if you want to visit the shops (pull furniture, find props). The TA is the central problem solver on a project, and if things go wrong, the TD will talk with them.
  • While they are in the room, use them! Hang lights, supervise crews, run the boards during productions. But they are your partner, not your lackey. Plan ahead, give them support as needed, and make the TA aware of your schedule so they can support you.

BASE (MINIMUM) GRANT:  $400 to cover the labor and partnership of the Tech Assistant.  It is expected that a typical show will have:

  • 2 hours of targeted TA assistance (props, furniture, etc.)
  • 8 hours of tech/hang/risers
  • 12 hours of dress rehearsals (3 nights @ 4 hrs each)
  • 16 hours of performance (4 performances @ 4 hrs each)
  • 2 hours of strike

If your request to produce a Supported Project is approved, you will receive a minimum of 40 hours of funding to cover the required facilitation of the TA. It is totally do-able in this amount of hours, but plan ahead for other stuff you need!


Stuff we already have: if we already own it, we will probably loan it to you. You and your TA can visit props and furniture storage, and make a date with the Costume Shop Supervisor. Plan ahead: you need to pay your TA to get stuff AND to put it back properly.

Stuff you want to buy: if your grant has extra cash above your TA requirements, you can buy stuff. Talk to Jennifer about how to do that. There are very specific rules regarding purchases, and if you fail to follow DU procedures, you won’t get any money.

Building stuff: Not possible during Shop. If your TA has building skills, it may be possible to schedule time outside of Shop. All of this needs to be coordinated with and approved by the TD.


  • Using the booth in the spaces requires the attendance of the TA. Plan ahead for this in your budget!
  • Sound gear is $10/day for speakers/desk/QLab
  • Lighting is 30¢/fixture per hour. This covers lamp costs, and makes you budget on how many instruments you will need. You can estimate costs based on your TA: for example, if you need lights for 36 hours of tech & performance, 36 hours X 30¢ = about $10 per lighting instrument
  • The light board is included in the lighting bid

  So How Do I Do It?

  • Make a plan for what you want to do (lights, sound, furniture, costumes, etc)
  • Make a plan for how much time you need: rehearsals, performances, TA time.
  • Make a budget ($400 for base TA time, plus Lighting, Sound, Other likely expenses)
  • Fill out the Supported Project proposal form with all this info
  • Submit to the Chair

Proposal Submission Deadline
Fall Quarter: due by noon on September 22, 2017
Winter Quarter: due by noon on January 12, 2018
(not available in Spring)

Submit the completed proposal form to Jennifer Forsyth
For questions, email Steven McDonald