Guidelines for Full-Length, Production-Based Independent Study and Honors Projects

These guidelines describe the process of applying for and producing a full-length independent study or honors project for the stage.

Production Template and Timeline


Producer - A student who applies for and produces a full-length, production-based independent study or honors project.

Project - An independent study or honors project.

Faculty Advisor - A faculty member who oversees and finally evaluates the student's independent study or honors project.

Advising Faculty - A faculty advisor and other faculty members contributing to the project.

Technical Advisor - A member of the department Technical Staff, assigned to the project.

General Student Responsibilities  

Proposal Guidelines: A good proposal must outline a strong academic need for the project, one that cannot be filled by taking an existing course. The student should clearly articulate what excites them about the project, what course work they have taken to prepare themselves for it, what their vision for the project is, what books or other resources they intend to make part of the proposal, and a timetable for how they plan to execute the project.

Proposal Deadline: The producer must submit a proposal to a faculty advisor (in theater or dance) one month prior to the end of the preceding semester. The last week of November is the deadline for spring semester proposals; the second week of April is the deadline for proposals for the fall.

Approval: Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and technical staff. The process is competitive; not all proposals can be accepted. Decisions will be based on the educational value of the project, technical feasibility, and clarity of the proposal. Students will be notified of a decision the week before classes end.

Initial Consultation Meeting: Prior to the end of the preceding semester, the producer of an approved project must set up an initial meeting with the Theater & Dance production coordinator, the technical director, appropriate technical staff, and the advising faculty.

Responsibility for Design: While an effort will be made to provide design candidates for the project, the Producer assumes responsibility for all design issues, with the guidance and support of the faculty advisor and technical staff.

Collaboration: The department encourages a collaborative approach to mounting a project. For example, in addition to the student producer, another student may propose an independent study as stage manager. Other roles such as lighting, scenic, or costume designer may also be proposed and considered. The fundamental requirement is that these proposals also meet appropriate academic criteria.


wish seating

The Department of Theater & Dance will provide:

- Academic advice and support by the faculty advisor

- Production budget advice and support by the faculty advisor and technical advisor

- Production schedule advice and support by the technical advisor
  (See Production Template and Timeline)

- Publicity advice and support by the production coordinator and the department coordinator

- Technical advice and support by the technical director and assistant technical director, including:

- Set, prop, sound, costume and lighting design
- Stage manager duties
- Set construction supervision and crew management
- Run crew assignment and management


The budget for an Independent Study is $350 and for an Honors Project $500. This includes expenditure for lighting, sound, costume, set and prop materials, and special effects. The department will absorb costs for staff and work-study separately, except for overtime charges. Any single expense over $50 must be approved - in advance - by the faculty advisor.

The department absorbs the costs for a modest publicity package, including black and white poster and program produced at Campus Services as well as listings and announcements in local calendars and on the web. Any costs incurred beyond this standard package are the responsibility of the producer.

The producer is responsible for writing a press release and working with the production coordinator to produce a poster and program.  The Ray Rutan Fund for the Performing Arts must be credited in all publicity materials.

The producer is responsible for the management of the budget and for reporting an accounting of the costs, including turning in all receipts in an orderly and timely fashion to the faculty advisor in the week following the production. The department is committed to assisting the producer in the management of the budget and is available for advice and consultation.s


The fundamental design assumption is that all technical areas will be minimal and basic in nature. The goal of each technical discipline will be to serve the production by addressing issues such as period, place, season or emotional quality in unique and interesting, yet affordable and time/labor-sensitive ways. At times, more emphasis will be placed in one area over another due to the demands of the work. In these cases, all other areas will serve to simply create an unobtrusive and supportive atmosphere to the performance.

Staging orientation of the performance space will be determined and agreed to upon approval of the project.

Scenic designs will consist of 3-4 basic scenic elements, either pulled from the scenic/personal stock or requiring minimal construction. These designs will not attempt to create full-blown realistic locations but rather be suggestive in nature.

Lighting cues will be drawn from an established repertory light plot. The exact number of lighting cues will be determined through discussion with the producer, the lighting designer and the technical director. In general, the number of specials and effects will be limited.

Costumes will be drawn from the cast's personal wardrobe and/or pulled and altered from the department's stock. The costume shop manager provides design and functional advice but cannot be considered the ad hoc designer for the project. Costume purchases or selection from stock should be supervised by the producer. Alterations must be approved and supervised by the costume shop manager. The schedule for fittings, alterations, arrival of rehearsal costumes and arrival of final costumes should be established at the initial production meeting.

Props will be drawn from the department stock and from other available sources. The producer should designate a props coordinator and work with that person to secure suitable items.

The faculty advisor is the producer's primary resource and the overall supervisor for the project.