Frequently Asked Questions

TDPS Production Season:

What kind of performances does TDPS produce?
The UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies produces a wide variety of performances, drawing from all parts of the world and ranging in period from the ancient to the contemporary. We plan our season to offer opportunities for students to test their skills as artists and to experiment with different styles and genres. We are committed to cultural diversity in casting and project selection, and in balancing opportunities for men and women, designers and performers, directors and choreographers. In the past few years, we have produced the work of nationally and internationally renowned directors, playwrights, and choreographers representing South Asia, Africa, South America, Europe and North America. We also regularly present performances that challenge the boundaries between art forms–between dance and theater, between theater and the visual arts, between dance and film, between theater and literature. While we do not regularly stage musicals, our commitment to cutting-edge theater means that we do produce work that integrates musical content. Main Stage productions are directed or choreographed by a mix of faculty, visiting artists, and graduate students. Workshop productions are directed by a mix of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Our season runs August through May, concurrent with the academic calendar.
Our season extends the mission of our Department as a whole: to promote performance as a mode of critical inquiry, a means of creative expression, and a vehicle for public engagement. We see performance as an interdisciplinary form, exploring verbal, visual, spatial, and embodied modes of experience. We see performance as a transnational cultural form, exploring the politics and poetics of social life in all parts of the world. We see performance as a public forum for contemporary ideas, allowing us to test and debate the central concerns of our time in a space that is at once critical, emotional, and collective. In Main Stage and Workshop performances, in the post-show, master classes, talks and symposia scheduled around our season, we seek to advance this multi-faceted way of imagining performance at the University of California, Berkeley.

How many performances do you produce each year?
Our season is composed of both a Main Stage season and a Workshop season. The Main Stage season consists of four to six productions per academic year, including the Berkeley Dance Project. Main Stage productions are fully produced, generally directed by faculty, graduate students, or guest professional directors, and run two weekends in the season. The Workshop season consists of anywhere from eight to fourteen productions, including the Choreography Showcases, Directors’ Showcase, Playwrights’ Showcase, the Lab Run graduate student festival, and other kinds of experimental theater. This season allows faculty and students to test ideas, to develop students’ skills, to produce original work, and to take a risk with new kinds of experimental collaboration. They receive smaller budgets and technical support and typically run for one weekend.

Where do you produce your plays?
We present our season in the Zellerbach Playhouse (a flexible-configuration, 547 seat theater), the Durham Studio Theater (141 seats), and the Zellerbach Room 7 Black Box (72-90 seats), and studio spaces. For more information on facilities, see also http://facilities.calperfs.berkeley.edu/zellerbach_playhouse/

How is the TDPS production season selected?
Main Stage productions are selected by the Production Committee, which is comprised of TDPS faculty, production and marketing staff, a graduate student representative, and the Department Chair. Main Stage proposals are submitted in early fall, one year prior to the opening of the season under consideration. Workshop productions are selected by a committee made up of members of the Undergraduate Committee, staff, and the Chair of the Production Committee. Workshop proposals are submitted in late February, six months prior to the opening of the season. All production selections are subject to approval by the Department Chair.

When is each season announced?
The season is announced in April and opens in the fall of the next academic year.

Are there summer productions?
TDPS does not presently maintain a summer season.

Where can I buy tickets?
Please visit our ticket page

How can I stay informed about upcoming events, deadlines, performances, productions, or other opportunities related to the TDPS department?
TDPS majors and minors receive weekly email updates through the Department office with the most current information on auditions, course enrollments, productions, auditions, special events and lectures, ticket offers, internships, career opportunities, and more. If you would like to be on the student mailing list, send your email address to ugprograms@theater.berkeley.edu, requesting to be put on the email list.

Auditions and Casting:

Who can be cast in a TDPS production?
Participation in department productions is for UC Berkeley students; individuals who are not currently enrolled may audition but, if cast, must enroll through UC Extension to participate.

I’m in the UC Berkeley Extension’s Fall Program for Freshman. Can I participate?
The UC Berkeley Extension’s Fall Program For Freshman students are not eligible for casting in Department productions without a written waiver from the Fall Program For Freshman.

Do I have to be a TDPS major or minor to audition for departmental plays? 
No, auditions are open to all Berkeley students, regardless of major.

Which audition can I sign up for?

Each production has two audition times: “Majors only” audition nights are just that, for TDPS Majors only. “Open Call” auditions are open to everyone except participants in the Fall Program for Freshman (see above.) TDPS Minors should sign up for the “Open Call” audition.

Where are audition announcements posted?
Audition announcements for TDPS productions are posted in the front office of Dwinelle Annex and on the bulletin board outside of Dwinelle Annex. Dance audition announcements are posted in the Bancroft Dance Studio and on the bulletin board at 170 Zellerbach Hall. TDPS majors and minors receive regular email updates through the Department office with the most current information on auditions.

Where do I sign up for an audition?
Sign-up sheets for TDPS classes are at the Administrative Offices, located at D-33 Hearst Field Annex. Sign-up sheets for Main Stage and Workshop productions are at Dwinelle Annex. Dance auditions are generally open-call and do not require a sign-up.

What do I need to do to prepare for an audition?
Audition requirements will vary for each production. The audition announcements will include specifics on audition requirements. Please adhere to the requirements for individual productions. [For auditions related to classes, see Undergraduate Curriculum FAQ.]

When are auditions held?
Generally, TDPS holds independent auditions throughout the year for each production or workshop in the season. We do not hold one general audition for the season. The first production of the season is auditioned on the first day of classes in August.

How does the audition process work?
There are usually two stages in the audition process–auditions and callbacks. When a student auditions for a TDPS production, s/he is provided with the full schedule of rehearsals and performances for that production. Following the first stage of auditions, the director will post a callback list of actors still under consideration. When a student accepts a callback, s/he makes a commitment to that production schedule in its entirety. For more details, download the TDPS Casting Policy and Rights & Responsibilities of the Actor.

Can I do more than one show in one semester?
If responsibilities for each show do not conflict, yes.

How many units am I eligible for when cast in a production?
The corresponding course for Main Stage theater production is a variable 1-4 unit course and letter-graded. Students may enroll in the unit load of their choice. All students cast in a Main Stage Theater production are eligible for the maximum number of units regardless of the size of the role, with some exception. Workshop productions fall under a variety of enrollment rubrics, depending upon the course associated with the workshop. Some enrollments are variable 1-3 unit course and letter-graded (eg., H195 and 196 workshop productions); other classes in which coursework culminates in a workshop or showcase production may be fixed at a 3 or 4 unit enrollment and letter-graded (eg., Black Theater Workshop and 115 workshops); still others allow for a 1-unit enrollment if participating as a performer only (eg., Fall Choreography Workshop). Finally, not all production activity is eligible for enrollment (eg., performers for Playwrights’ or Directors’ Showcase). Consult the instructor of the appropriate course for further information.

Am I graded for production work?
As with number of unit options, letter-grade and P/NP options vary with the courses associated with the production activity. Consult the instructor of the course for specific information.

Design and Technical Participation:

I’d really like to get involved, but I’m not an actor.
What can I do?

You can work in a TDPS shop or on a “technical run crew” for a show. If you are interested in participating in a shop or production but are not already enrolled in one of the design and technical production courses, you may be eligible to enroll in THR 167, 168, or 169, hour-based practicum-courses with shop and production based opportunities. Please contact Production Manager, for further information regarding enrollment.

I’d like to work on a TDPS production (scene shop, costume shop, etc.) How do I do that?
Many of the TDPS design and technical production classes include participation in the corresponding Department shop or on “run crews” for Department productions. If you are interested in participating in a shop or production but are not already enrolled in one of the design and technical production courses, you may be eligible to enroll in THR 167, 168, or 169, hour-based practicum-courses with shop and production based opportunities. Please contact Production Manager, for information regarding enrollment.

What is a “shop” ?
The department shops are where all of the scenery, costumes, and properties are built for department productions. Students fulfilling hours for THR 168, THR 169, THR 60, or other TDPS design and technical production courses who are assigned to work in a shop will work on many productions throughout the course of the semester, helping to build, paint and assemble scenery, props, or costumes, or to hang lighting, install sound equipment, hang soft goods, move seating, or otherwise configure the theater facilities. You will also work on shop set-up, stock maintenance, and other general theater-facility maintenance duties.

What is a “technical run crew”?
The “technical run crew” are the persons who move props and scenery, prepare the theater for performance, run the lighting control and sound control, and everything else that happens “behind the scenes” during a theatrical production. When you select to be on a run crew in association with enrollment in TDPS design and technical production courses, you must understand that you are agreeing to work as an integral and irreplaceable part of a live theatrical performance. Because of the nature of live theater, the absence of any member of the production team can not only affect the artistic performance, but also jeopardize the safety of fellow actors and crew. Accepting an assignment to work on a run crew means that you are committing to being at all scheduled work calls, technical rehearsals, performances, and strikes without exception. If you have a conflict with the schedule, then you are ineligible for that run crew. Most run crews are longer than 45 hours (1 unit of THR 167 or 169) and most are fewer than 90 hours (2 units of THR 167 or 169). Please note that you are obligated to fulfill all hours required before you will be given credit.

Can I design for a TDPS production?
The faculty selects student designers, normally from students who have participated in the design curriculum and who have demonstrated excellence and interest. Student designers and assistant designers are enrolled in supervised design sequence and receive units for their work. If you are interested, please contact, Production Manager, for information.

I’m a stage manager. Can I stage manage a TDPS production?
All productions are stage managed by students. The faculty selects student stage managers from students who are currently enrolled in the TDPS stage management lecture course or the supervised Advanced Production Study course. If you are interested in participating in TDPS productions in a stage management capacity, please contact Production Manager, for information.

Directing and/or Choreographing a Production:

I would like to direct a production for the department.
What do I do?

Undergraduate and graduate student playwrights, directors, and choreographers can submit proposals for workshop productions. Workshop proposals forms and guidelines are available in the TDPS office. The submission deadline is in February for the following year’s season. Graduate student directors or playwrights may also submit proposals for the Main Stage Season. Proposal forms are distributed over the summer and are due early in the fall semester. Interested students should consult with the chair of the Production Committee. Submitted proposals are evaluated by the Production Committee, and treated in the same manner as submissions from faculty and guest artists.