Skip to main content

Theatre Department Handbook

Theatre Handbook


This Handbook is designed to present information and policies that are most often used by theatre majors and other students actively involved with the theatre program. It is a supplement to the Emporia State University Undergraduate Catalog, which is the authoritative source for academic requirements at ESU. It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the rules and regulations contained in the ESU Undergraduate Catalog.

Emporia State University Mission Statement

Emporia State University is a dynamic and progressive student-centered learning community that fosters student success through engagement in academic excellence, community and global involvement, and the pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment.

Emporia State University Theatre Mission Statement

ESU Theatre values collaboration, creativity and service. Our faculty is committed to the liberal arts that values theatre as an expression of culture and a pathway to personal growth. We provide our students the knowledge and skills to succeed and our community a source of quality entertainment.

Emporia State University Theatre Educational Goals

  • Students should demonstrate basic proficiency in theoretical and practical skills in performance and technical theatre.
  • Students should demonstrate a familiarity with the essential literature of the theatre.
  • Students should demonstrate a working understanding of the collaborative processes of theatre.
  • Students should be familiar with opportunities for further training and learning.

History of the Theatre Program at Emporia State University

Beginning in 1913, with the Department of Public Speaking and Expression, classes and theatre productions were part of the academic program at Kansas State Normal. Professor Franklin L. Gilson organized the Gilson Players in 1915. Before Gilson’s death in 1946, this group had performed in cities and towns across Kansas and toured to fifteen states. Albert Taylor Hall, located in the Administration Building, now called Plumb Hall, was the home of major productions beginning in 1916. The department also presented many smaller productions in The Little Theater, located on the third floor of the Administration Building.

In February of 1923, the college formally became Kansas State Teachers College. The department was reorganized in 1926 and named the Department of Speech. The theatre program grew, more faculty were added, and in 1951 the department begin to offer the Master of Science degree with a major in Speech. This degree was offered until 1983.

In the summer of 1955, the department inaugurated the first Summer Theatre program in Kansas. Eight shows were produced in eight weeks. With an attendance of over 8,000, the season was declared a success and Summer Theatre became an annual part of the Speech Department. The Summer Theatre program is still active, now producing one or two productions each summer as pre-professional capstone projects for rising seniors.

The department moved into its new home, the Humanities Building, in 1966. In 1977 the college formally became Emporia State University. In 1981 the Humanities Building was renamed King Hall to honor former college President, John E. King and the College Theatre was renamed the Bruder Theatre, to honor Professor Karl C. Bruder, long time Chair of the department.

Beginning in 1974, with a production of “Camelot”, the program began producing the annual Homecoming Musical. This annual event has raised thousands of dollars to fund scholarships for students in the performing arts.

The theatre program has always been an active participant in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The program has twice hosted the regional festival, taken productions to several regional festivals, and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.


The theatre program is part of the Department of Communication and Theatre, a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Director of Theater heads the program and reports to the Chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre.

Link to past theatre productions.pdf

Academic Policies

Academic Advising (from the University Policy Manual)
Students and faculty share responsibilities for academic advising. Academic advising involves good course schedule planning and at the same time balances the student's course load with goals and capabilities, outside work, and other responsibilities. Advisors are frequently general counselors. This may involve assisting a student who has personal, financial, family, work-related, housing, or other concerns to find help in resolving the problem.

Student Advising Center (University Policy Manual)

The Student Advising Center (SAC) provides academic advising and assistance to all freshmen and undeclared students (regardless of classification) to make a satisfactory transition to college life. Advisors in SAC provide referrals to other offices and support services as deemed appropriate for assisting students to realize their personal and educational goals. Professor Susie Williams is the SAC advisor for theatre students.

Early each semester, SAC advisees are invited via mail to make an appointment for an initial interview with the advisor from the student's intended major. These sessions allow the advisor and advisee an opportunity to discuss issues related to the advisee’s past academic performance aspirations for a major and degree, to develop and review short-term and long-term goals, to discuss career opportunities, to discuss transition information, to make referrals to other resources, and to identify other factors which influence academic achievement.

Students are advised in SAC until three conditions are met: 1) attainment of 30 semester hours of credit, 2) satisfactory academic progress (a minimum 2.00 grade point average), and 3) selection of a major. When these three conditions are met, the student is transferred to a permanent advisor in the student’s major.

Declared majors

All declared theatre majors are assigned to a faculty advisor. Each student must meet with his/her advisor prior to registration for the following semester. It is the student’s responsibility to study the ESU Undergraduate Catalog and to be aware of the academic requirements for the degree program for which he or she is enrolled. Every semester the Class Schedule has information as to enrollment instructions, fee schedules, General Education Requirements, and other university wide information.

The advisor will work with the student in keeping a degree program checklist and filing required forms for graduation. Students may request to change advisors by contacting the Director of Theatre. Students should make appointments with their advisors to arrange and approve class schedules well in advance of the enrollment period for each semester. Students should maintain their own personal file with copies of all degree programs and grade reports.

Academic Load (University Policy Manual)

A normal load for undergraduate students is 15 to 16 hours of credit each semester. The student’s advisor, the department chair, and the college dean must approve a load exceeding 18 hours. The overload for summer varies with the duration of the courses.

Full-time Status (University Policy Manual)

A minimum load of 10 hours for undergraduate students and 7 hours for graduate students is considered a full load for tuition and fees. A minimum load of 12 hours for undergraduate students and 7 hours for graduate students is considered a full load for financial aid.

Graduation Requirements (University Policy Manual)

A minimum of 124 hours of credit in courses numbered 100 and above is required to graduate, 60 of which must be taken from a 4-year college or university. Of the 124 hours, at least 45 hours of course work must be numbered 300 or above. The last 30 hours of the final 45 hours and 6 hours of the final 12 hours must be taken in residence. At least 48 hours of general education credits are required. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 must be achieved on all work taken and at least a 2.00 GPA must be achieved for all credits taken at ESU. Completion of the University competency examination requirement appropriate to the specific degree program is required.

General Education Requirements

The General Education Program at ESU provides a coherent, well-rounded curriculum, consisting of a body of knowledge and skills designed to prepare a person to function successfully and effectively in a global society and workplace. This Program is at the core of the college experience at ESU and complements a student’s major program of study.


Season Selection

The Director of Theatre. announces the production season guided by a selection committee made up of students and faculty. As a general rule the academic season includes a fall musical, presented for Homecoming. A normal season will have four productions. The Summer Theatre will have four productions. The season may include a production directed by student. Students may also be selected to design sets, lights costumes or other elements of a production.

Auditions / Casting

Auditions are open to all ESU students. All theatre majors are required to audition unless granted an exception. The assignment of technical production positions is part of the audition process. Students must complete the audition form in order to receive a position in the production company. All full-time students assigned to the production, cast and crew, will be enrolled in one hour of production credit: TH 272 or TH 472. (Exception: no hours are required if the student is enrolled in TH 131: Stagecraft.)

Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester. Audition information is posted online and on the Call Board. The theatre faculty meets after the final session of callbacks and makes assignments for the cast and crew of each production. The Company List is posted on the Call Board.

Auditions for other productions

Auditions for other productions, such as scene work in the Directing class, are open to all students. Information about auditions will be posted on the General Information Call Board or the Student Production Call Board, both located on the second floor of King Hall.

Production Crews

Productions crews are a vital part every ESU Theatre production. Crew assignments are made as part of the audition process. All students must complete the audition form and indicate their preferences for production assignments. If a theatre major is not cast, that student must accept an assignment to a production crew. Non-majors may volunteer for positions.

Students assigned to the crew of a particular production will be considered members of that production company. All company members must attend the Company Meeting scheduled at the beginning of the rehearsal period.

Production Meetings

Production meetings will be scheduled for the production staff for each production. Production meetings are attended by: director, designers, stage manager, shop managers and other members of the production team. These meetings are held on a weekly basis.

Company Meetings

A company meeting is a meeting of the entire production company: director, designers, cast, and crew. Most productions will have only one company meeting. All members of the company are required to attend. The meeting is called, at the beginning of the rehearsal period, to introduce the company members and identify their duties. Rehearsal Guidelines.pdf


All members of the company, cast and crew, of a production are required to participate in the strike of that production. Members of the current Stagecraft class and other students may volunteer. Unless special arrangements are made, the strike will begin immediately following the close of the final performance.


Theatre majors and all members of the production company, cast and crew, are required to attend the post-mortem following each production. Unless other arrangements are made, the post-mortem will be scheduled for the first Monday following the close of a production.