Undergraduate Production Regulations

Student Responsibilities

All students involved in undergraduate production share responsibility for the safety of their production, crew, cast, audience, and performance space. All participants should be familiar with the relevant regulations and observe them during all phases of the production process; should direct any questions or concerns to the appropriate adviser, to the Undergraduate Production staff, and to other relevant University officials; and should consistently apply good judgment and common sense.

Undergraduate production is understood to include all dramatic, musical, dance, operatic, and comedy events involving performance before an audience. All undergraduate production events must comply with the regulations below, regardless of their scope or size.

All University spaces fall under the jurisdiction of Yale Fire Code Compliance (FCC), Yale Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and the department that manages the space (e.g., Head of College’s Office, Chaplain’s Office).  All students planning productions must coordinate all aspects of their project with Undergraduate Production and must follow the Undergraduate Production Regulations. In the event of conflicting policies, the most stringent will be assumed to apply.

The use of drugs or alcohol in any theater by cast, crew, or audience is strictly forbidden and may be grounds for individual expulsion from the theater and/or immediate termination of the production’s use of the theater.

Production elements not conforming to the Undergraduate Production Regulations may be cut from a production.  Failure to observe these regulations may be grounds for stopping an event.  Serious or repeated violations of these regulations will be referred to the Yale College Dean’s Office for possible disciplinary action.

Curfew

There is a curfew of midnight for all production activity, with the exception of strike, which may continue until 1am, or later with UP staff supervision.  Production activity includes meetings.  Production teams should be exiting the theater or rehearsal room no later than midnight. In the case of Dramat Mainstage productions, the curfew is 1am.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Students must wear all appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., hard hats, safety glasses, work gloves) when working on productions. Generally speaking, long pants, short sleeve shirts, and sturdy close-toed shoes must be worn for any and all technical work including during build/paint calls, load-in, strike, and focus. 

  • Hard Hats must be worn: during load-in, strike, focus, or at any time that work is being done overhead. 
  • Safety Glasses/Goggles must be worn when working with any power tools or hand tools, painting, and during all load-ins and strikes.
  • Work Gloves must be worn when handling/moving materials, including built scenery and lighting and sound equipment, and when loading/unloading trucks.

Additional required personal protective equipment may be determined by Undergraduate Production staff.

Fire Safety

  • Yale Fire Code Compliance provides a sufficient number of appropriate fire extinguishers to each theater and assembly area.  Students are responsible for ensuring that extinguishers are readily accessible and available at all times.
  • Open flame is prohibited, including cigarettes, lighters, candles, flash powder, and pyrotechnics.
     
  • Use of fog and hazer machines requires specific requests and permissions and, when approved, may involve additional costs. Theatrical fog and haze is not normally permitted in residential college theaters.  Theatrical fog and haze in any Yale Rep or Yale School of Drama venue must be executed according to the YSD/YRT Theatrical Fog, Smoke, and Haze Policy.  Theatrical fog and haze in any venue must meet Actors’ Equity Association standards.
  • No cooking appliances of any kind are allowed to be used in undergraduate productions.
  • Fire extinguishers must be left on their wall mounts at all times and may not be used as door stops or for any other purpose.
  • Fire protection and life safety devices may not be disabled or in any way tampered with.
  • Highly combustible or flammable items are not permitted.  The offstage side of all non-treated scenic materials must be back painted - an opaque coat of latex paint or two coats of a clear water based polyurethane are acceptable. At no time are untreated raw wood surfaces acceptable.
  • All fabrics and other flammable scenery must be treated with flame retardants with the exception of actor handled properties.  Undergraduate Production provides training and advice on how to obtain and apply fire retardants.  Flame retardant projects must be limited to a total of no more than 100 square feet of material per production. Non exempted materials that fail a flame test at the fire inspection will be cut from the production. Contact your Undergraduate Production advisor to schedule a test of any treated materials (such as fabric or paper) prior to your fire inspection.
     
  • Producers must conduct a pre-production Fire Drill with all members of the cast and support staff, and document the event, including all participants, using the Fire Drill Log, then post on the theater’s main bulletin board for review by university and city officials.

Aisles, Exits and Exit Ways

  • A minimum of two (2) exits are required from all performance and audience areas; and at least three (3) are required from audience areas if seating exceeds 300 people.
  • Aisles and exits may not be blocked by any object, for any reason, at any time.  Nothing may be stored, even temporarily, in an exit way.
  • All aisles, exits, and stairwells are to be lighted at all times.  At no time may the house lights be fully blacked out, unless specific lighting for all aisles, exits, and stairs is provided.  The edges of all stages, steps, and openings must be marked with glow tape, with a 1-inch strip of white paint or ½-inch striped marks every 12 inches.
  • No audience standees are permitted in theater aisles at any time during a performance.
  • Exit signs must be lighted and visible at all times.  No mirrors, drapes, or other items may be affixed to, block, or otherwise obscure visibility of the exits or exit signs.
  • Fire exit doors, crash bars, door closure hardware, and hand railings may not be painted, covered, removed, or otherwise modified.

Seating Areas for Audiences

  • In some venues, audience capacity will vary depending on configuration of the seating area.  Audience occupancy may not exceed the posted limits or the capacity set during the fire inspection.
  • Aisles must be at least 44 inches wide and lead either directly to an exit or to a cross aisle that leads directly to an exit.  For moveable seating, chairs must be fastened together into rows of at least two chairs.    
  • Rows of seats opening onto an aisle at one end may have no more than seven (7) seats; those opening onto an aisle at both ends may have no more that fourteen (14) seats.
  • Seats must be spaced a minimum of 18 inches from the back of one row to the front of the next.
  • Audience seating risers, if used, must be constructed entirely from commercially available products.  No other forms of audience seating risers are permitted.
  • Loose seats in rows should be attached to each other. (Zip ties are a good way to do this.)
  • All temporary audience seating configurations must be approved by Undergraduate Production staff.
  • Transportation of platforms or riser parts must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section below.

Safety Evaluations

  • All students planning productions must coordinate all aspects of their project with Undergraduate Production.
     
  • All undergraduate productions and special events must undergo pre-production fire and life safety evaluations by the Yale Fire Code Compliance Office to ensure compliance with the Connecticut Fire Safety Code.  These pre-production inspections are generally scheduled the Wednesday afternoon prior to opening for larger projects and an hour before opening for smaller projects.  The producer and/or director must attend these inspections.  
  • Yale EHS conducts safety evaluations when specialized technical review is required. 
  • Undergraduate Production, Yale Fire Code Compliance, EHS, and City of New Haven Fire Marshal reserve the right to alter these regulations without advanced notice or to conduct unannounced inspections at any time to ensure the safety of all persons involved.

Transportation

  • Consult with your UP advisor ASAP about possible transportation needs.
     
  • Transportation of platforms, flats, large furniture, lighting and sound equipment, or other large and heavy items must be done by vehicle.  Large and heavy items may not be carried or rolled more than one block between buildings.
     
  • For longer distances, transportation options include vans or pickup trucks rented and driven by students or vans or box trucks rented and driven by UP staff.
     
  • Undergraduate students may not rent or drive box trucks for general production needs.  Exceptions for Dramat productions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  The Dramat transportation policy may be found here.
     
  • Any undergraduate student planning to drive a rental vehicle, transport large and/or heavy items with any vehicle, or travel more than 15 miles from campus in any vehicle must first complete the UP Driver’s Form and complete the Yale University Driver’s Safety Awareness Training online.  Production related travel outside of New Haven must be pre-approved by UP.  Students applying for production related out of town travel must complete the UP Travel Request Form. The relevant forms must be submitted one week prior to planned travel dates.
  • All undergraduate students who plan on driving a vehicle for any production related need are encouraged to take the Driver’s Safety Awareness Training.

Lighting and Electrical Devices

  • All theatrical electrics work, including changes or additions to rep plots in theaters, must be reviewed and pre-approved by UP.
     
  • Lighting and electrical devices must be commercially available, plug-based products that require no field wiring.  All electrical devices must be Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) listed and tagged.  Exceptions to these basic electrical safety rules will only be considered after consultation with and approval by Undergraduate Production, EHS, and/or Yale Fire Code Compliance.  Any permanent wiring must be performed by a licensed electrician.   
  • All electrical extension cords must be fully insulated, with three prong grounded connectors.  Lightweight “zip cord” and flat wire extension cords are not allowed.
  • Lighting, sound equipment, and rigging may not be affixed to fire sprinkler pipes, nor may cables or equipment be run through or across aisles or exit ways or doorways.
  • Any floor-run temporary wire or cable runs must be securely taped to the floors.
  • Theatrical lighting and sound equipment must have safety cables securing the equipment to any elevated supporting structure.
  • Theatrical fixtures without lenses must have a safety screen securely fastened to the lighting fixture to protect the exposed lamp.
     
  • Exposed bulbs hung over audience or acting areas must have a shatter resistant coating.
  • Rigging over the audience seating area is discouraged. 
     
  • Where used, lighting towers over 10 feet tall must be secured at the top and secured or sufficiently weighted at the bottom to prevent falling.  Lighting towers or booms up to ten feet tall and/or with up to four lights must have at least 125 pounds of counter-weight secured to the base.  The use of towers or booms greater than 10 feet high or with more than four lights is prohibited at all locations except the Off Broadway Theater and the Whitney Theater, and events produced by the Yale Dramatic Association.   
  • Strobe lights may only be used in a production if their use is described in all programs, posted in the entry and lobby area, and announced directly to the audience during the pre-show public announcement.  This is to ensure the safety of audience members with certain pre-existing ocular or neurological conditions.
     
  • Any floor mounted lighting must be located, enclosed, and/or marked such that it does not pose a hazard to audience or production team members. Specific plan for floor mounted lighting must be approved by UP prior to load in.
     
  • Transportation of heavy lighting or sound equipment must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Properties

  • Undergraduate Production no longer maintains a props collection.  Information about how to obtain props and what to do with them after your production may be found here. Information about the Yale School of Drama Props Warehouse may be found here.
  • Stage properties that could be considered weapons (e.g., actual or simulated knives, firearms, etc.) are subject to the Staged Combat and Stage Weapons Policy.  Contact Undergraduate Production if you wish to use such props.
     
  • Weekday props delivery and pick up are available for a fee, and must be scheduled in advance will Bill Batschelet.  Weekend props delivery and pick up, if appropriate, must be scheduled in advance with your UP Advisor. Labor to move the props from the truck to the venue and from the venue to the truck must be provided by the student team. If sufficient staff are not present to load or unload the truck, the delivery or pick up will be rescheduled.  The fee will be charged even if the delivery or pick up is canceled due to insufficient labor, because truck time is used.  Please see complete details here.

Scenery

  • The use of scenery in most college venues is limited to hand props and furniture.  Platforms, flats, and more complex scenery may be used in the Off Broadway and Whitney theaters, and in Dramat productions. Exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • When scenery construction is permitted, it must:
    • Be built and installed so as to ensure safety of the cast, crew, and audience;
    • Be pre-approved by Undergraduate Production, following submission of a suitable plan that details construction methods, labor skills available, and materials to be used.  Resources and skills must be compatible with the scale of the planned work;
    • Occur only in an authorized work area with prior approval and appropriate supervision.  Construction is prohibited in all other locations;
    • Occur with students wearing all appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., hard hats, safety goggles, gloves) as required by the work. See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) above;
    • Be constructed in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Environmental effects using such materials as water, dirt, and sand require special consideration and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
     
  • Transportation of heavy scenery must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Structural Platforms, Railings, Risers, Stages, Stairs, and Other Elevated Stage Equipment

  • All elevated surfaces or potential fall exposures must be reviewed in advance by Undergraduate Production and Yale Fire Code Compliance, and may also be reviewed by Yale EHS.
  • Platforms, risers, stages, stairs, and other elevated equipment on stage are generally prohibited in all productions, except those constructed and installed directly under the supervision and approval of Undergraduate Production and used by the Yale Dramatic Association or in the Off Broadway Theater or the Whitney Theater. Exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Where platforms, risers, or stages are permitted, they must be designed to support an anticipated load of at least 100 pounds per square foot and constructed in a secure and stable manner that allows no movement.
  • Acting platforms higher than 24 inches are only permitted in the Whitney, Off Broadway, Yale Rep, or University Theaters.
  • Acting platforms 36 inches or higher must have a railing on all exposed sides.
  • Railings must be designed at least 42 inches high above the platform or tread and capable of supporting an anticipated force of 200 pounds applied at any point, in any direction; cable or other non-rigid railings may show no more than 2-inch deflection under these test conditions.  Railing systems must also have an upright support at least every 4 feet, a mid and top rail secured to the insides of the uprights, and the top rail surface must be smooth. Safety railing systems must be constructed in a secure and stable manner that allows no movement. 
  • Acting area stairs higher than 24 inches must have a safety hand railing on at least one side.  Acting area stair railings must be capable of supporting an anticipated load of 200 pounds per tread, and constructed in a secure and stable manner that allows no movement.
  • The edges of all stages, steps, and openings must be marked with glow tape throughout the space, with a 1-inch strip of white paint, or ½-inch spiked marks every 12 inches.
  • Scaffold type platforms, railings, risers, stages, and stairs must be constructed entirely from commercially available products.
  • Transportation of platforms or stairs must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Tools and Equipment

  • A limited amount of theatrical equipment is available for loan from Undergraduate Production.  This inventory includes theatrical lighting and sound equipment, flats, and platforms. Consult your UP Advisor for more information.
  • The unsupervised use of unapproved powered cutting tools is prohibited and is grounds for immediate termination of the production.  The only power tools that are approved for unsupervised use are jig saws, hand-held drills, screw guns, and orbital sanders. Some of these tools require the EHS “buddy system.” See below for details. Complete information about the responsibilities of a Buddy may be found here. EHS Tool Classification Matrix may be found here.
     
  • Use of personal (non Yale owned) power tools is prohibited.
  • Students must wear all appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., hard hats, safety glasses, work gloves) when using tools and equipment.  See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) above.

Painting

  • When permitted by Undergraduate Production, scenic painting may only occur in authorized work areas with appropriate supervision. 
  • Appropriate Personal protective Equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses/goggles should be worn when painting. See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) above.
  • Only water-based paints, stains and coatings may be used for scenic flats, platforms, backdrops, and props, etc.
  • Painting must be done only in well-ventilated areas, with adequate protection against splashes and spills.  Drips and spills must be cleaned up immediately.
  • Used or unwanted paints must be disposed of promptly and properly.  For water-based paints, cans should be opened and the paint allowed to evaporate to dryness, and then discarded as trash.  Neither paint nor any other materials may be discarded down the drain. Potentially toxic materials may not be put into the trash.  Instead, contact Yale EHS (203.785.3551) to arrange for a waste pick-up.

Classification of Student Production Activities (“The ABC List”)

This list is to serve as a base line and should not be considered all inclusive.

Prohibited Activities

The following activities are not allowed in Yale College undergraduate productions.

Construction:

  • Unsupervised use of stationary or hand held power tools with the exception of jig saws, hand-held drills, screw guns, and orbital sanders. Some tools require the EHS “buddy system.” See below for details. Complete information about the responsibilities of a Buddy may be found here.
  • Use of personal (non Yale owned) power tools
  • Structural weight bearing scenery except with approval and supervision by Undergraduate Production
  • Audience structures higher than 24 inches without permanent 42-inch guard railings
  • Audience structures higher than 8 inches without intermediate steps
  • More than two intermediate steps without permanent 42-inch hand railings
  • Cable clamps or clips are not permitted as terminations in structural cables

Electrical:

  • Installing, altering, or repairing theatrical lighting or sound equipment without pre-approval
  • Use of devices, fixtures, switches, outlets, etc., that are not UL listed
  • Electrical wiring of devices, fixtures, switches, outlets, etc.
  • Electrical discharges, sparks, etc.
  • Flat (EIC) extension cords (zip cords)

Fire Safety:

  • Use of flammable materials or processes
  • Use of combustible fabrics, woods, papers, etc. without flame retardants
  • Use of pink and blue Styrofoam boards
  • Use of aerosol spray paints, sealers, or adhesives
  • Pyrotechnics, flash powder, open flames, smoking materials, etc.
  • Aisles less than 44 inches wide, exit doorways less than 30 inches wide
  • Blocking or impeding aisles or doorways
  • Crossing aisles or doorways with anything unsecured
  • Seating rows with less than 2 seats; rows with one aisle with more than 7 seats; rows with two aisles with more than 14 seats; seats in rows not secured together
  • Seating risers without 1 ½-inch chair guards
  • Tampering with, disabling, or blocking any fire protection device or sign
  • Attaching anything to sprinkler pipes or sprinkler heads

Production:

  • Leaving a theater, shop, or rehearsal space unlocked while unattended
  • Working alone in any theater, shop, or rehearsal space
  • Working in a theater, shop, or rehearsal space before 8:00 am (with the exception of the Yale Dramatic Association)
  • Working in a theater, shop, or rehearsal space after midnight, with the exception of strike, which may extend until 1 am.  Supervised strikes may extend later at the discretion of the UP supervisor.
  • Performances that end later than midnight
  • No standees are allowed at rehearsals, staged readings, or performances
  • Photo calls between last performance and strike
  • Parties and receptions held in theaters, shops, or rehearsal spaces

Rigging:

  • Flying or rappelling
  • Lighting equipment without safety cables
  • Lighting towers or booms over 10 feet without top support and all without bottom weight

Stage Action:

  • Use of functional fire arms or live ammunition
  • Use of sharp blades, swords, knives, arrows, etc.
  • Use of working bows or cross bows with string and arrows
  • Use of nooses, tying-up, or binding of persons
  • Confining persons in any kind of locked enclosure

Category A

Activities that require supervision by Undergraduate Production, Theater Studies, or qualified staff as designated by Undergraduate Production.

Construction:

  • Platform and stair construction/installation
  • Structural construction/installation
  • Structural guard railings
  • Structural doors and windows
  • Use of University Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre stage trap systems

Hand Held Power Tools:

  • Cordless tools greater than 24V
  • Pneumatic framing nail and medium or large crown staple guns
  • Router
  • Biscuit cutter
  • Grinder
  • Sawzall

Production:

  • Certain tech rehearsals as determined by Undergraduate Production
  • All Yale Dramatic Association load-ins, performances, and strikes
  • All Theater Studies Program load-ins, performances, and strikes
  • Certain rehearsals involving staged combat or the use of stage weapons, as determined by Undergraduate Production

Rigging:

  • Installation and strike of rigging systems and components
  • Use of Nicropress and hanging irons
  • Ladder and scaffold work over 15 feet
  • Genie work over 25 feet

Stationary Power Tools:

  • Table saw
  • Radial arm saw
  • Miter (chop) saw
  • Panel saw
  • Metal cutting chop saw
  • Band saw
  • Drill press
  • Jointer/shaper/planer
  • Belt sander

Category B

Activities that require supervision by Undergraduate Production or Theater Studies staff, or by students approved by Undergraduate Production (EHS “buddy system”). Complete information about the responsibilities of a Buddy may be found here.

Construction:

  • Pre-approved platform/structural assembly. No assemblies will be put into service until inspected and approved by Undergraduate Production.
  • University Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre’s material lifts
  • Flame proofing of materials
  • Hanging doors, windows, picture frames, moldings, etc.

Hand Held Power Tools:

  • Jig saw, corded devices less than 1/3 hp, 19V-24V cordless drills
  • Pneumatic brad and narrow crown staple guns

Production:

  • Certain tech rehearsals as determined by Undergraduate Production

Rigging:

  • Operation of rigging systems and components
  • Selected ladder, scaffold, and genie work over 15 feet but under 25 feet

Category C

Activities that may occur unsupervised by students who have been approved as qualified for the task by Undergraduate Production. Students may never work alone in a theater or shop.

Construction:

  • Scenic painting
  • Set dressing

Hand Held Power Tools:

  • Use of cordless drills 18V or less, orbital sanders, and glue guns
  • Pneumatic ratchet

Production:

  • Sign-out and sign-in of lighting, sound, and props equipment
  • Theater, shop, rehearsal space, and greenroom clean-ups

Rigging:

  • All ladder and scaffold work under 15 feet, except at the Crescent and Whitney Theaters
  • Installation of lighting on booms under 10 feet and on floor mounts

Additional Policies

Staged Combat/Stage Weapons Policy
No use of stage weapons or staged combat of any kind is allowed, in rehearsal or performance, without the express written permission of Undergraduate Production. Requests for the use of staged combat must be submitted to UP by the CPA deadline at the beginning of the semester in which the production will occur.  Requests for the use of stage weapons must be made to the UP Technical Director of the specific production at least 6 weeks prior to the first performance date.  Both requests should be made using the Staged Combat/Stage Weapons Request Form. UP will determine whether a proposed stage combat, if approved, may be staged by the students in consultation with Undergraduate Production, or if the services of a professional fight director are required. In all cases, no consultant may be hired without the approval of Undergraduate Production. All fights involving weapon-to-weapon contact will require oversight by a professional fight director.  For productions requiring oversight by a professional fight director, UP and the fight director will determine the level of supervision required for fight rehearsals. Yale Police will be notified about any approved uses of staged combat and/or stage weapons in undergraduate productions.

Securing The “Right To Produce”
It is the policy of Yale College that anyone producing a theatrical production on campus must secure and pay for the Right to Produce from the appropriate publisher or author’s representative. A copy of the Right to Produce must be submitted to Undergraduate Production in order for a production to be approved by this office.

Participation by Unenrolled Students, Graduate Students, and Unaffiliated Persons
Arts activities are a vital part of student life in Yale College.  In order to maintain equity in access to opportunity and College resources, the policies linked here apply.

Off-Campus Production Policy
Occasionally students may have a strong artistic interest in pursuing off-campus venues for their theatrical productions. The Off-Campus Production Policy ensures that these requests are evaluated on the basis of both safety standards and artistic merit. When approved, off-campus productions are supported by Undergraduate Production. Due to the complexity of logistics for off-campus productions, students are encouraged to exhaust all possible venues on campus before proposing an off-campus location. Off-campus Theater Studies projects must be proposed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the end of the academic year prior to the projected performance. Off-campus extracurricular projects must be proposed to Undergraduate Production at least 12 weeks prior to the first entry into the venue for load-in or rehearsal.  More information about the Off-Campus Production Policy may be found here.

Live Animals In Productions
The “casting” of a live animal in an undergraduate production must be anticipated and planned for well in advance of the expected arrival of the animal. The management staff (producer, director, stage manager) for a production or event that anticipates using an animal must confer with Undergraduate Production during the design and planning phase of the production. An application process will begin after an initial conference related to the proposed use of an animal. A request in writing must be submitted to Undergraduate Production no later that six weeks prior to the first rehearsal requiring the animal.  More information about the Live Animals in Productions Policy may be found here.

Change Log

Fall 2014
EHS Tool Classification Matrix information and Buddy System duties incorporated into regulations.
Distance beyond which Travel Form is required set to 15 miles from campus.
Stage Combat application deadline set at beginning of each semester (due to UP when CPA application is due).

Spring 2014
Driver/Travel Policy added - with Risk Management

Fall 2013
Policies for Participation in Yale College Arts Activities added - with Yale College Dean’s Office