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 first organized the Gilson Players in 1915. Before Gilson’s death in 1946, this group had performed in cities and towns across Kansas plus 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 1926 the department was reorganized 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 four shows each summer.

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 given to 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.

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 Susan 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.

Production Policies

Season Selection
Responsibility for final selection of the season rests with the Director of Theatre.  Department-wide input reflects students, faculty, staff, and the audience in the process. During the fall term, the Director of Theatre submits a season “plan” to the faculty.  The faculty and staff may make additional suggestions. After a period of time a list of time slots, script requirements and suggested shows is compiled. The list is typed, and posted on the Department Call Board for student input. At this time, show titles may be added to the designated categories. This list is brought to the Selection Committee.  In consultation with the entire faculty, the Director of Theatre makes the final determination. The summer season is announced at the end of the fall semester. The academic season is set by Spring Break.

As a general rule the academic season will include a fall musical, presented for Homecoming. A normal season will have four or five productions. The Summer Theatre usually will have four productions. The season may include a production directed by a single student or one-acts directed by several students. Students may also be selected to design an element for a production. Students interested in directing or designing for a production should watch the Call Board for specific information and applications for these positions.

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 136, Stagecraft.)

Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester. Audition information is posted on the Production Call Board. The theatre faculty will meet after the final session of callbacks and make the assignments for the cast and crew of each production. The Company List is posted on the Call Board. Students must check the list and initial next to their name to acknowledge their assignment.

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 not only support the current production but provide an opportunity for a variety of technical production experiences. Production crew assignments are made as part of the audition process. Students who request a particular assignment should contact the faculty member in charge of that specific area before the auditions begin. All students must complete the audition form and indicate their preferences for production assignments. The faculty will make every effort to honor a student’s preference but, as in casting, a particular assignment cannot be guaranteed.If a theatre major is not cast, that student must accept an assignment to a production crew. Non-majors may volunteer for positions.

Members of the current Stagecraft class, TH 131, will be given an assignment if so requested. Students assigned to production crews will be enrolled in TH 272 (freshman/sophomore) or TH 472 (junior/senior). To satisfy the credit requirement, students must complete 36 hours of work in the assigned production area. If a student is assigned to a running crew, 18 hours of work must be completed before the technical rehearsals begin. Members of the Stagecraft class may not enroll in TH 272 or TH 472 for additional credits. 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, assistants to stage manager and designers, and other people necessary to conduct the business of the meeting. Meetings generally deal with discussions of the designs and particular problems and ideas discovered in the previous week’s rehearsal and construction sessions. These meetings monitor and adapt the production calendar. Plans for publicity photos, work calls, and other events are made at these meetings. The stage manager’s daily rehearsal report usually serves to insure that all areas are discussed. Production meetings are generally called on a weekly basis; usually Thursday mornings at 8:00 a.m. The stage manager should post notices of all meetings on the Call Board and on the daily rehearsal report.

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. The production calendar will be distributed and explained. The director and designers may take the opportunity to share ideas, approaches, and concepts in the production’s directions and design. Some productions may, particularly a regional KCACTF entry, require additional company meetings to distribute and gather information regarding additional performances or travel plans.

Rehearsal Guidelines

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. All participants must be current students of ESU. Unless special arrangements are made, the strike will begin immediately following the close of the final performance. Individuals on running crews should begin work in those related areas. Performers should report to the costume shop or stage for work assignments. Everyone should wear clothing and shoes that are safe and appropriate for the assigned work. Strike will end by the Stage Manager taking attendance from the company roster.

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. The discussion will focus on the production process; what areas were successful or rewarding and what areas are in need of improvement for future productions.


There are three basic types of production in which the student may be involved as a member of the cast or crew: Department productions, Laboratory productions and Summer Theatre.  Laboratory productions are shorter works usually generated by classes or student directors.  They are not funded, require no technical support, and are presented in a variety of locations.  Audiences are invited and there is no ticket charge.  Other student opportunities include—

Educational Theatre Company
Sponsored by the Department of Communication and Theatre, the students who comprise the Educational Theatre Company, serve as an academic resource pool in performing dramatic presentations of plays, poetry, stories, novels, non-fiction, and original scripts before classes in all academic areas of the university. The company also provides its services to educational groups off campus. The coordinator, with the supervision of the faculty sponsor, works with the company to prepare scripts and scenes that will serve the various requests made by different academic units.  The company is under the direction of a theatre faculty sponsor.  The company has a student coordinator selected by the theatre faculty.  (See page 44.)  Members of the company are selected by audition and are enrolled in TH 377 for academic credit.

ZOIKS! Improv Group
ZOIKS! is an affiliated student organization and receives funding support from student government.  Members rehearse weekly and perform at university functions throughout the year.  Like ETC, they also represent the program at schools, with civic groups and at various meetings.  On occasion, ZOIKS! has performed with touring groups like Second City, the band Ha Ha Tonka and other acts.  The ZOIKS! Artistic Director is assisted by a Business Manager and a Public Relations Manager.  All three executive positions are elected members of the company, which is sponsored, by a member of the theatre faculty.  Membership is by audition. 

ESU Theatre Dance
Each semester, students in Theatre Dance classes present a public performance.  Some of these performances are open to audition.  Contact Lindy Bartruff at for additional information.

Directing scenes
Students enrolled in Directing (TH 426 and TH 526) present 10-minute plays and cuttings from full-length plays throughout the academic year.  Consult the Student Production Call Board for additional information.

In addition to these department performance groups, theatre students often perform in scenes from the playwriting program in the English Department.

Emporia State Theatre Technicians
Students interested in opportunities in technical theatre can join this group.  They hold meetings throughout the year to share information, explore new technologies and explore student opportunities available through USITT.  For additional information see the groups facebook page.

Alpha Psi Omega
This national theatre honorary provides opportunities for service and performance.  The Nu Rho chapter re-organized in the spring of 2014 after many years of inactivity.

The Theatre Department usually maintains several paid student staff positions. The number of positions varies due to budget allocations and needs of the department. Most years 8 to 12 positions will be assigned between the Costume Shop, Scene Shop, and the Director of Theatre. Additional positions are filled as budgets allow.Students assume positions in production areas to assist with the routine operation and maintenance of the shops and daily activities necessary for the technical support of current university theatre productions.All hourly positions are paid at the current minimum hourly rate. Work schedules are usually between 9 to 12 hours per week. Schedules are flexible but must satisfy the needs of the particular production area.

Students must apply initially at the student employment office to secure a position. Students must satisfy minimum requirements of the job description as posted at the student employment office. Theatre majors must satisfy the standards as required by the academic Eligibility Policy.

Work Study program
The student employment office along with the financial aid office will determine a student’s eligibility for the Federal Work Study Program. Some but not allpositions will be available to students who qualify for work study funding.

Policies and Regulations


House Manager Standard Operating Procedures

Stage Manager Standard Operating Procedures

Use of Frederickson Theatre

ETC Coordinator Guidelines

Participation and Eligibility Policy

Scholarship audition guidelines

Cast and Crew Information form

Production crew letter (example)

2018-19 Faculty and Staff

Suggested readings




Updated 07/25/2015 2:29:07 PM