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Department Student Handbook

Mission Statement

The Theatre Department provides students with the knowledge and skills to prepare for a career in the theatre and its related fields through a combination of academic and production experiences. While serving students in career preparation and enrichment through a diversity of courses and productions the department is also dedicated to enhancing the cultural life of the campus and the larger community.

Department goals

  1. Students completing a Theatre degree will be able to write and speak with clarity, accuracy and perception.
  2. Students completing a Theatre degree will have gained experience in realized productions.
  3. Students completing a Theatre degree will be well prepared for entry-level positions in the field or to a graduate program. 
  4. The production program will continue to be received favorably by the campus and the larger community.

For more information about Theatre Majors, Minors, and classes required, please visit our Areas of Study page. 


At the mid-point of each semester, you are required to sign up for advisement for the upcoming semester's course selection. Signs will be posted in the building announcing advisement times. The PIN assigned at freshmen orientation will allow you to register your freshmen and sophomore years. In the first semester of your junior year, you must meet with your advisor. A second PIN will be assigned at that time. While the advisors are here to assist you in your degree progress, the responsibility to finish all of the assigned degree requirements is up to you, the student.

Departmental Advisors:


It is important to adhere to all of the add/drop dates for each semester and note the signatures needed.

View Registrar's Forms

Things to Note by Year


As a theatre major, your first year advisor will be assigned through the campus Advisement Center. 

You should make every effort to take THT 110, THT 130, and THT 200 within your first two semesters.


You will begin to formalize your concentration within the major and discuss travel abroad options. Your portfolio should begin to take shape. You should make every effort to take THT 222, THT 285, and your first THT 300 within your first four semesters.


Your portfolio, resume, and headshot should be ready to present when interviewing for summer internships/auditions. Also prepare the following:

  • Senior check list
  • Internship possibilities
  • Consider a leadership position in a Mainstage production
  • Enroll in THT 395: Professional Success Seminar


  • Enroll in THT 495: Senior Seminar/Capstone. Note this is only offered in the spring.
  • Apply for graduation
  • Complete senior checklist with advisor

Academic warning

If a student's semester GPA falls below a 2.0, the student is not eligible for THT 200/300 and/or participation in the production program during the upcoming semester.

If a student in on academic warning due to "hours passed" eligibility for THT 200/300 and/or participation in the production program for the upcoming semester will be determined by faculty review. The department chair will initiate the review process and notify the student of the outcome.

Production Involvement

It is expected that each theatre major will actively participate in the production program on a consistent basis. The theory and skills developed in formal class work are tested and strengthened through participation in THT 200: Theatre Production & THT 300: Advanced Theatre Production, lab hours for various courses, and involvement in all levels of production throughout the year. Students involved in productions at Oswego are expected to adhere to the department's student code of conduct.

stage crew building props and smiling at each other from a distance

Increased responsibility and commitment in the production program are inevitable as a student progresses through the introductory, intermediate and advanced level course work.

Production Opportunities

Documenting your work

As you gain experience it is important that you maintain documentation of your work. For example: photographs of costumes, sets, props, make-up/wigs, lighting that you designed or worked on for productions. You will use these and production photos to assemble a digital portfolio (a requirement for Senior Seminar).


Any SUNY Oswego student is eligible to audition for a production. Always check the show's audition announcement for what is required (for example: a monologue, song/dance component to the audition, readings from the script). Announcements are posted on bulletin boards in Tyler Hall and on the department's social media platforms. If an audition requires you to sign up for an individual time slot, make sure you sign up and arrive at least 15 minutes early for the audition. Scripts are generally available on a sign-out basis in the Theatre Department office.

Note: Actors must adhere to the Costume Policy.

Assistant Director

Attends meetings and rehearsals; assists the director in planning and running rehearsals; takes notes from the Director; under guidance of director may at times assist in staging rehearsals. Students particularly interested in dramaturgy and directing for the Mainstage season are encouraged to work as assistant directors. Student Directors will not be assigned an Assistant Director. 

Requirements for the student director:

  • Junior or Senior Standing
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.5 and a 3.0 in the major, successful completion of THT 341 & THT 440.
  • Written proposal and interview with faculty committee

Attends rehearsals and meetings; assists the director and cast in research on the play text, playwright and historical/literary/production background of the play. Creates a student study guide under supervision of the director for productions, which include student matinees. 

Production and Assistant Stage Managers

The Production Stage Manager and their staff play a pivotal role in the success of any production. The Stage Manager is responsible for facilitating the work of the director in pre-production, in rehearsals and for maintaining the integrity of the production through the run of the show. The SM schedules, attends and documents all production meetings, assists the director in organizing rehearsals, records all blocking and works with the director, designers and technical crews in establishing and recording all cues. The SM is responsible for disseminating all pertinent information to those involved with the production and for both coordinating and executing all backstage elements during technical rehearsals and during the run of the show. The SM provides rehearsal reports to the designers and technical team and works closely with the costume shop to schedule fittings for the cast.  For this position, strong organizational, leadership and communication skills are essential, as well as a working knowledge of all the collaborative elements necessary to produce a play or musical.

The Assistant Stage Manager assists the Production Stage Manager with all of the duties outlined above: from assuring a safe, clean and supportive working environment - to taking on full responsibility for specific tasks as delegated by the stage manager. This training position should be viewed as a pre-requisite and stepping-stone to the position of Production Stage Manager.

Technical & Assistant Technical Directors

Responsibilities for the technical director include: placing material orders, maintaining a budget, creating construction drawings and a construction schedule, supervising student crews, attending all production meetings, working closely with the designers to actualize the scene design, supervise striking of scenery.

A student may hold the position of technical director if they have:

  • shown leadership abilities
  • achieved a high skill level in the Scene Shop
  • a clear understanding of the actual running of a show
  • served as an assistant technical director under the departmental technical director

The assistant technical director assists the technical director in all of the duties outlined above.


Head Carpenter

The head carpenter helps maintain stock of materials needed, supervise actual construction of scenery, maintain a safe and clean work environment and helps to develop a construction, load-in and strike schedule. This person must show leadership qualities and have extensive experience within the Scene Shop.

Scenic Carpenter

The scenic carpenter assists the head carpenter in the scene shop (see description above). The scenic carpenter schedules their hours with the head carpenter, assistant technical director and/or the technical director. Scheduling must be completed before the first day of construction and limited to the hours available. Shop time should be scheduled in a minimum of two-hour time blocks.

Run Crew

Crew members will get their assignment from the stage carpenter or stage manager. They will attend two rehearsals before the first technical rehearsal. Attendance at all meetings, and rehearsals and performances are mandatory.

Fly Captain

The fly captain is in charge of all flown scenery and lighting positions. They make sure that all flown line sets are safely weighted, spiked and operational at all times. The fly captain will oversee all fly cues during rehearsals and performances. The fly captain in consultation with the stage manager and stage carpenter will make all necessary assignments to crews.

Fly Crew

The fly crew executes fly cues in coordination with the fly captain and stage manager. Fly crew members are required to attend two rehearsals before the first technical rehearsal and all meetings, technical rehearsals and performances.

Backstage Crew

The backstage crew will assist with the backstage operation of the production, so that it is always in safe operational condition during technical rehearsals and performances. They update and maintain run sheets, monitors scenery for wear and tear. They remain in constant communication with the stage management team in regards to backstage needs and concerns. They see to it that the stage is swept and mopped before all technical rehearsals and performances.


Props Head

The Props Head develops a prop list in consultation with the director, scene designer, technical director and stage manager. They develop a budget for the props needed and is responsible for maintaining and tracking the budget. The Props Head must have experience in running and gathering props for an actual production. A close record should be maintained of where props were acquired.

Prop Running Crew

Crew members help in the final stages of gathering and altering props. They must attend two rehearsals before beginning technical rehearsals.This crew tracks where props are at all times, develops a props map that shows where props are stored, pre-show set up and where props are needed on stage. Members of the running crew work closely with the actors to assure that props are ready on cue. The running crew is responsible for the maintenance of props.


Scene Painters

Scene painters are required to work with the charge artist, and designer to base and paint the scenery for the productions. Sculpture and props may be a part of the job description based on the skill of the painter. Painters are required to bring their own (appropriate) paint clothes. Painters are responsible for cleaning up any brushes or materials they use prior to leaving a work call. Hours are designated by the charge artist and will vary. Painters must be flexible as the work revolves around the scene shop build schedule.

Scenic Charge Artist

The charge artist's duties include organizing paint calls, mixing the paint and materials needed for the paint call. TheThey are also responsible for creating samples for the paint project with the designer. The charge artist organizes all elements of painting for the show.  They works with the scene designer to mix colors and create all needed finishes. The charge artist schedules all paint calls in conjunction with the scene shop and designers.

Electrics and Lighting

Head Electrician

The head electrician oversees hanging and focusing of all lighting equipment; maintains lighting instruments; organizes, in coordination with the lighting designer and technical coordinator the hanging and focusing crews; runs light checks before tech rehearsals and performances; performs needed repairs; creates and maintains accurate paper work documenting all lighting equipment used in the production.

Lighting Crew

Under the supervision of the head electrician and stage electric supervisor, crew members hang, color, cable, focus and troubleshoot all lighting equipment as specified in the light plot. They will also prepare any set practicals for the production.

Lighting Board Operator

Under the supervision of the lighting designer and the head electrician. The board operator writes cues during technical rehearsals and executes all cues in subsequent rehearsals and performances. They make any adjustments as requested by the lighting designer. The board operator must attend crew watch and participate in the focus call prior the first technical rehearsal. The board operator will be responsible for participating in a light check before each dress rehearsal and performance and is responsible for maintaining a backup of the computer cues on a department flash drive.

Follow Spot Operator

Under the supervision of the lighting designer and head electrician, this operator writes cues during tech rehearsals and executes all cues in subsequent rehearsals and performances. They make any adjustments as requested by the lighting designer. This operator must attend several run-through rehearsals in order to generate "spikes" prior to the first technical rehearsal.

Special Effects Crew

Members of this crew construct and run all special effects under the supervision of the technical coordinator. Some effects are simple and often do not require a separate crew. Other productions have a heavy demand and may require a larger crew. Members of this crew must attend all technical rehearsals and performances.

Sound and Video

Sound Operator

The sound operator places and removes microphones; adjusts levels; and in connection with the director, sound designer and stage manager writes cues during technical rehearsals; executes all cues in subsequent rehearsals and performances.

Front of House Sound Mixer

The FOH sound mixer will be the head of the sound department and will be responsible for overall sound of the show. The FOH mixer will coordinate the sound departments call with the stage managers.The FOH mixer is directly responsible to the sound designer for the development of the show, preparing a cue book, preparing sound FX for playback and the layout and configuration of the console and playback devices.

Deck Audio Positions

The deck audio positions have two primary roles, the first is the accurate tracking of the assignment and swap of RF microphones and the second is to troubleshoot any problems in the sound department during the performance. The position will also perform Foley sound effects or set and plug any device required for the audio/video portion of the performance.

Video Technician

The video technician will be responsible for the setup and check out each night of any video monitors that are required by the cast or the stage managers. This technician is responsible for checking the full color shot of the stage, any special "looks" required by the show and the infrared camera shots. This technician will also be responsible for shooting the archival copy of the performance and then logging the show into the department archive storage. This position may be combined with audio technician on a smaller production.

Wardrobe and Makeup

Costume Construction

This crew works under the supervision of the costume designer and costume shop supervisor to prepare the costumes for each production. Costumes vary a great deal depending on the needs of the production. Costumes may be designed and built from scratch; purchased; rented or pulled from stock and modified to fit the production's needs. Duties in this area include sewing, dyeing & painting, construction of masks, puppets, jewelry, armor etc. Crew members of varying interests and all levels of expertise are welcome. 

Wardrobe Running Crew

This crew assists in keeping costumes in performance condition. Duties include, but is not limited to washing, minor repairs and ironing. Crew members must attend two rehearsals before the first dress rehearsal. Attendance at all meetings, dress/ technical rehearsals and performances is mandatory. Crew members receive assignments from the costume designer and/or the costume shop supervisor.

Make-up Running Crew

Crew members works closely with the make-up and/or costume designer to prepare the make-up, wigs, beards and possible prosthetic pieces for the production. Crew members organize make-up supplies and work closely with actors to ensure designs are carried out.

Front of House

Box Office

The box office is usually our first contact with potential audience members and often times the first contact for the College to many community members at large. Responsibilities include ticket sales, phone & personal customer contact and record keeping.

House Manager

The house manager is the 'customer service manager' during the run of the show and the link between what happens in front of the curtain and behind. The house manager is responsible for overseeing all front of house operations under the supervision of the box office manager and during the run of the show with the Stage Manager. Duties include recruiting/supervising ushers, distribution of programs, emergency details and patron concerns. 


The usher is the last customer contact for the patron before the show begins. The usher meets the patron at the door, checks tickets, distributes programs and directs a patron to the proper seat. Ushers often assist in refreshment sales at intermission, and are responsible for clean up of the house after a performance.

Assistant positions are available and encouraged in all areas. Contact the director of a production or a faculty/staff member in your area of interest for more information.

Theatre Scholarships

Linda J. Iannone '73 Scholarship

To qualify for this award, a student must:

  1. Be a full-time matriculated student majoring in theatre

  2. Apply in freshman, sophomore, or junior year (having completed 12 - 86 credits, including transfer).

  3. Have a minimum cumulative SUNY Oswego GPA of 3.0 at the time of application.

    NOTE: This scholarship is renewable

John and Ida Mincher Scholarship

This $1000 scholarship is offered to a currently enrolled design or technical theatre major, having completed at least one semester at SUNY Oswego. It will be provided as a check for $500.00 each semester during their sophomore year. Applicants must have completed at least one semester at Oswego. The scholarship recipient is announced in April.  If you have any questions, call the department at 315-312-2130.

Sandra Kelly Mincher '65 Memorial Scholarship

To qualify, a student must: 

a. Be a matriculated student in good academic standing.

b. Have a stated interest in pursuing educational or professional theatre as a career and submit an essay on career goals in educational or professional theatre.

c. Be active in the Theatre department.

d. Preference will be given to Theatre majors or minors, or related minors, such as expressive arts therapy, live events, etc.

e. Apply in freshman, sophomore, or junior year to receive the award the following academic year. 

Diane Lucey Ouckama '68 Memorial Scholarship

To qualify for this award, a student must:      

  1. Be a junior or senior who is majoring or minoring in music and/or theatre
  2. Demonstrate through performance both on campus and off, a high level of achievement and potential in performance, 
  3. Have an emphasis on musical theatre
  4. Maintain a 2.5 or better cumulative grade point average

Candidates are nominated by members of the Music and/or Theatre faculty. Interested students should contact professors in either department.

Kathleen Pendergast Memorial Scholarship

To qualify for this award, a student must:

  1. Have a demonstrated commitment to a professional career as an actor, director or teacher of theatre arts.
  2. Be a fully matriculated student in attendance at SUNY Oswego
  3. Have completed at least one semester at Oswego.    
  4. Submit a cover letter and resume. The letter should address your involvement in and commitment to theatre activities in the area of Acting & Directing and articulate future goals.  
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation that speak to your creative work and meaningful involvement in Theatre. 

Selection will be made by the Theatre Department Selection Committee. 

Jon Vermilye '66 Theatre Scholarship

To qualify for this award, a student must:

  1. Be a declared Theatre major with a technical emphasis

  2. Be of junior status at the time of selection (have completed 57 - 86 credit, including transfer credit, hours.)

  3. Maintain a minimum SUNY Oswego GPA of 3.0

  4. Demonstrate a commitment to community service

  5. Resume and 3 letters of recommendation

Theatre Alumni Scholarship

To qualify for this award, a student must:

  1. Be a declared major in the Theatre Department
  2. Apply in their sophomore or junior year for an award to be received in the next academic year. 
  3. Have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA and a 3.0 SUNY Oswego GPA in the major.
  4. Submit a resume and additional 350-word essay addressing involvement in and commitment to the Theatre Department and future goals.
  5. Submit 2 letters of reference that highlight involvement in the Theatre Department, creative and scholarly work and future promise.
  6. A student may be awards this scholarship more than once, but it is not automatically renewable. 
Benita Zahn ' 76 Theatre Fund

To qualify for this award, a student must:

  1. Be a full-time student majoring in theatre
  2. Be of junior status at the time of selection
  3. Submit a proposal for the student's theatre senior capstone project
  4. Preference will be given to a student has gone above and beyond in the Theatre Department and who is interested in pursing theatre as a profession.
  5. Award monies will be applied for reimbursement of expenses to support books, materials, travel or study for the senior capston project/senior experience upon submission of supporting documentation.


Student rights, responsibilities and conduct

All students must abide by SUNY Oswego's approved Student Handbook code of conduct.

In addition to adhering to the SUNY Oswego Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct code, the Theatre Department has outlined the following expectations for all students participating in the program.

Theatre Department code of conduct

During your years as a student in the SUNY Oswego Theatre Department, it is expected that you will

  • place the highest priority on success in all your classes;
  • fulfill all necessary work required for your degree and actively participate in the program's many aspects;
  • be consistent in your commitment to classes, rehearsals and calls by arriving prepared and ready to work at the designated start time;
  • respect the work and abilities of others. A class, a production team, a cast and a crew work closely and often intensely in the pressure situation of a creative project. There is no excuse for rudeness or intolerant behavior. Cultivate grace under pressure.
  • respect the spaces in which you work. Remember food and drink are not allowed in any of the performance spaces. The Green Room is available to students while the building is open. It is expected to be neat and orderly. The Green Room furniture cannot be taken out of the room or used for class scene work.
  • encourage attitudes that recognize each person's contributions to the success of a production; remember that some members of the company may be doing their job for the first time.
  • show respect for peer authority and understand the responsibilities you have when placed in a leadership position.

Questions and concerns

Any questions or concerns regarding the code of conduct, rights, and responsibilities should be directed to the Theatre Department Chair.

Krystal Kennel
125D Tyler Hall
315.312.2130 (Sally Van Buren, Administrative Assistant)
[email protected]

Two actors kneeled before an actress lying on the ground on stage. Another actor behind the woman holding her head gently


Each and every person in theatre is a leader in training. From your first supporting role, technical assignment or project, you are creating an image for yourself.

Character develops over time. A person with strong character shows determination, drive, energy, self-discipline, willpower, and nerve; sees what they want and goes after it. 

One of the ways to build trust is to display a good sense of character. Character is the disposition of a person and integrates the components below:

  • Beliefs, the deep-rooted assumptions or convictions that you hold true regarding people, concepts, or things.
  • Values, attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, or things.
  • Skills, the knowledge and abilities you gain throughout life.
  • Traits, distinguishing qualities or characteristics of a person, while character is the sum total of these traits.
  • Competency, actions based on reason and moral principles.
  • Forward thinking, sets goals and have a vision of the future.
  • Inspiring, displays confidence in all that one does.
  • Intelligence, reads, studies, and seeks challenging assignments.
  • Fair-minded, shows fair treatment to all people.
  • Broad-minded, seeks out diversity.
  • Courageous, has the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
  • Straightforward, uses sound judgment to make a good decision at the right time.
  • Imaginative, shows creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems.

Paid Employment

image of table filled with costume making materials

Federal Work Study

Work Study is a federally funded program administered by the Financial Aid Office. To inquire if you are eligible for work study, visit the Financial Aid Office in Culkin Hall or visit the student employment website. Work study jobs are available throughout campus; and in Tyler can be found in the box office, costume shop, scene shop, main office, MIDI Lab and the Music Listening Room.  

man in the center laughing when people surrounded him with their hands raised to him


Artswego is a campus effort whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for high quality arts programs that enhance the cultural environment of the college and augment academic offerings. A product of your student arts fee, Artswego produces five outside productions AND a chamber music series. Paid technical positions and house manager position are available for events in Waterman Theatre and Sheldon Hall. Employment is based on experience and interested candidates can contact Cole Sostak, Venue Coordinator by email [email protected] or phone 315-312-2132.