Performance FAQs

The TDPS Season

What kind of performances does TDPS produce?

TDPS 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 all genders, 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.

Playhouse and Studio productions are directed or choreographed by a mix of faculty, and visiting artists. Workshops are directed by students whose projects have been selected from submissions for capstone work under THR 196 or 195A/B. 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 Playhouse Productions, Studio Productions, and Workshops:

Each academic year we produce four to five Playhouse and Studio Productions, including the Berkeley Dance Project. These works are fully produced, generally directed by faculty, or guest professional directors, and run five performances over one weekend or six performances over two weekends.

Each semester we present one to three student Workshops, as well as numerous final showcases for coursework, including the Directors' Showcase, Playwrights' Showcase, and other kinds of experimental theater. These works 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. The focus for workshops and showings is given to getting work on its feet in front of an audience with minimal technical support and typically run two to four performances within a week.

Where do you produce your plays?

We present our season in The Playhouse at Zellerbach Hall (a flexible-configuration, 547 seat theater), Durham Studio Theater (135 seats), Zellerbach Room 7 (a black box theater with 66 seats), and Z170 (a flexible studio space seating up to 36).  See the Cal Performances website for more information about The Playhouse at Zellerbach Hall.

How is the TDPS production season selected?

Playhouse and Studio Productions are curated by the by the Public Programming Committee, which is comprised of TDPS faculty, production and marketing staff, and the Department Chair. Once each semester, a Production Forum is held, a meeting open to all department constituents, to solicit feedback and recommendations for future works. The programming committee endeavors to plan seasons up to two years in advance to ensure appropriate time for engaging collaborators, planning for funding and seeking deeper curricular engagement with campus departments.

Workshops are selected by a committee made up of members of Public Programming Committee and the vetting committee for THR 195A/B and 196 capstone applications. 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 February 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 Box Office page for ticket information.

How can I stay informed about TDPS events and opportunities?

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 TDPS email list, please submit this form.


Auditions & Casting

Who can be cast in a TDPS production?

Participation in department productions is open to all current UC Berkeley students, regardless of major. However, course credit is required for production participation.

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 UC Berkeley students, regardless of major.

Where are audition announcements posted?

Audition announcements for TDPS productions are posted on the online Callboard. 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 for auditions via the online Callboard.

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 the Class Auditions page.

When are auditions held?

Generally, TDPS holds independent or combined auditions for each production or workshop within the first three weeks of a given semester. We do not hold one general audition for the season. Schedules are posted on the Callboard.

How does the audition process work?

There are usually two stages in the audition process: auditions and callbacks. When students audition for a TDPS production, they are 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 students accept callbacks, they make a commitment to that production schedule in its entirety. For more details, view the TDPS Casting Policy and Rights & Responsibilities of Participants.

Can I do more than one show in one semester?

In recent years it has become less likely for students to be able to perform in more than one show per semester due to scheduling. 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 Playouse or Studio production is a variable 3-4 unit course and letter-graded. Students must enroll in the unit load commensurate with the time spent in rehearsal and performance. Workshop productions fall generally fall under THR 171 for 2 units and are Pass/No Pass; other classes in which coursework culminates in a showcase production may be fixed at a 3 or 4 unit enrollment and letter-graded (e.g. Black Theater Workshop and 115 workshops); still others allow for a 1-unit enrollment if participating as a performer only (e.g. Fall Choreography Workshop). Finally, not all production activity is eligible for enrollment (e.g. 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 & Technical Participation

What can I do if I'm not an actor?

You can work in a TDPS shop or on a "technical run crew" for a show. Participating in productions in a technical capacity generally requires completion of THR 60: Introduction to Technical Theater and Production. Following the introductory course, additional work may be pursued in THR 167, 168, and 169. See the Callboard for more information.

How do I work on a TDPS production (scene shop, costume shop, etc.)?

Many of the TDPS design and technical production classes include participation in the corresponding Department shop or on "run crews" for Department productions. Participating in productions in a technical capacity generally requires completion of THR 60: Introduction to Technical Theater and Production. Following the introductory course, additional work may be pursued in THR 167, 168, and 169. See the Callboard for more information.

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 the Production Manager for information.

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 visit this page or contact the Production Manager for information.


Directing or Choreographing a Performance

How can I direct or choreograph a performance or production for the department?

Undergraduate and graduate student playwrights, directors, and choreographers can submit proposals for workshop performances. Workshop proposals forms and guidelines are available on the Advanced Study page. 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. Submitted proposals are evaluated by the Public Programming Committee and treated in the same manner as submissions from faculty and guest artists.