Undergraduate Production Regulations

Introduction

All students involved in undergraduate productions 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 and should consistently apply good judgment and common sense. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the appropriate advisor, the Undergraduate Production staff, and other relevant University officials.

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, etc.). All aspects of any production must be coordinated with Undergraduate Production staff and follow the Undergraduate Production Regulations listed below and all additional policies linked throughout this page or in the menu on the side. Any additional venue-specific policies must also be followed. In the event of conflicting policies, the most stringent will apply.

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.

All undergraduate production activity must be done in accordance with Yale College and Yale University policies. The use of drugs or alcohol in any venue by cast, crew, or audience is strictly forbidden and may be grounds for individual expulsion from the venue and/or immediate termination of the production’s use of the venue.

Definitions

Undergraduate production activity (production activity) – any activity or work done towards the completion of an undergraduate production including, but not limited to, meetings, auditions, rehearsal, technical work, load-in, tech, performance, and strike.

Technical work – any undergraduate production activity that requires the use of any of the following: hand or power tools; scaffolding, ladders, personnel lifts, or other positioning equipment; theater-specific equipment (i.e. lights, projectors, speakers) or their accessories

Undergraduate Production staff (UP staff) – any full-time or part-time staff member of the office of Undergraduate Production (UP) or any person contracted or otherwise deemed competent by UP

General

  • Theaters, shops, or rehearsal spaces that can be locked must be locked while unattended.
  • All production activity must occur with a partner; no student may work in a shop or venue without someone else present and aware of the activity in the room.
  • Parties and receptions may not be held in theaters, shops, or rehearsal spaces.
  • Any venue or space that is used for an undergraduate production must be returned to a clean and neutral state after use.

Curfew

  • All undergraduate production activity, as defined above, has a curfew of midnight. The following exceptions are applicable:
    • Any strike may continue until 1am.
    • Dramat mainstage production activity has a curfew of 1am.
    • Any strike may continue beyond 1am, with UP staff approval and/or supervision.
  • No production activity may occur before 8am with the exception of the Yale Dramat.
  • To ensure strike calls don’t run later than necessary, photo calls are not allowed between the final performance and strike.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Students must wear all appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing when working on productions.
    • Hard Hats must be worn during load-in, strike, focus, or at any time that work is being done overhead.
    • Safety Glasses must be worn when working with or around any power tools or hand tools, painting, and during any activity with risk of airborne particulates.
    • Work Gloves must be worn when handling heavy materials, including scenery, lighting and sound equipment, and when loading/unloading trucks.
  • The following dress code must be adhered to during build and paint calls, load-ins, strikes, lighting focuses, and any other technical work calls:
    • No loose or baggy clothing or jewelry is allowed.
    • Sturdy closed-toe shoes must be worn (i.e. sneakers or boots).
    • No shorts, short pants, or skirts are allowed. Full length denim or canvas work pants are preferable.
    • Long hair must be tied back or worn under a hat.
  • Additional personal protective equipment may be required as determined by UP staff.

Tools and Equipment

Hand and Power Tools

  • All work with tools or in a shop space must adhere to the Yale University Student Shop Safety Policies and Practices and must be approved by UP staff. Use of power tools requires official training from UP staff before any work can be approved.
  • Any use of power tools must be supervised by UP staff excluding the following list: jig saws, palm sanders, or cordless drills and impact drivers up to 18 volts.
  • The use of non-Yale owned tools is prohibited.

Ladders, Personnel Lifts, and Positioning

  • Any use of personnel lifts, ladders, scaffolding, or other positioning equipment requires proper training, pre-approval, and possible supervision by UP staff.
  • Any use of personnel lifts requires supervision by UP staff or by someone deemed qualified to supervise by UP staff.
  • Any work on ladders and scaffolds accessing equipment over 15 feet from the floor requires supervision by UP staff or by someone deemed qualified to supervise by UP staff.
  • No flying or rappelling is permitted during any performance, rehearsal, or technical work being done for an undergraduate production. Any work requiring the use of fall arrest system must be supervised by UP staff.

Fire and Life Safety

  • Open flame is prohibited, including but not limited to the following: cigarettes, lighters, matches, candles, flash powder/paper, and pyrotechnics.
  • Use of atmospherics (i.e. theatrical fog, haze, smoke, vapor, etc.) requires specific requests and special approval. Atmospherics are not permitted in residential college theaters. Atmospherics in any venue must meet Actors’ Equity Association standards. Atmospherics in any YSD/YRT venue must be executed according to the YSD/YRT Theatrical Fog, Smoke, and Haze Policy. To ensure no accidental activation of a fog or haze machine, the power cord and fluid container hose must be disconnected from the machine at the end of each rehearsal or performance. 
  • Yale University is a tobacco-free campus. Smoking cigarettes, including e-cigarettes, and/or the use of tobacco products in prohibited in all areas of the Yale University campus, and in property leased or owned by Yale. Theatrical use exceptions to this policy are as follows:
    • Yale College is committed to comprehensive testing and explicit compliance with industry standards for stage fog, smoke & haze as outlined in the Actors’ Equity Association guidelines. Because of this commitment, electronic smoking devices used in Yale College productions must be nicotine-free, must be on the Actors’ Equity Association approved list for theatrical smoke, fog, and haze equipment, and must be checked out from Undergraduate Production. UP maintains a small stock of these devices, along with disabled lighters, which are available to reserve. Students may not use any electronic smoking devices on stage that have not been obtained from UP.
  • Fire extinguishers are allocated by and under the jurisdiction of Yale Fire Code Compliance (FCC). Fire extinguishers must be left on their wall mounts at all times unless needed to extinguish a fire. Access to fire extinguishers may not be obstructed or obscured and the extinguishers must remain readily accessible and available at all times.
  • Fire protection and life safety devices may not be disabled or in any way tampered with, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinkler heads and pipes, and any other fire suppression system, emergency alarming system, or part thereof. Sprinkler pipes or other plumbing pipes may not be used to hang theatrical equipment, scenery, props, or any other item.
  • Highly combustible or flammable items are not permitted. The offstage side of all non-treated scenic materials must be back painted with an opaque coat of latex paint or two coats of a clear water-based polyurethane or FR for raw wood. 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. Flame retardant projects must be limited to a total of no more than 100 square feet of material per production. Exceptions can be made for actor-handled props. Non-exempted materials that fail a flame test at the fire inspection may be cut from the production. Contact your UP advisor for fire retardant, training on its application, or to schedule a test of any treated materials prior to your fire inspection.
  • The entire production team, including cast, crew, and support staff, must conduct a pre-production Fire Drill and document the event, including all participants, using the Fire Drill Log. The completed Fire Drill Log must be available for review at the pre-production fire and life safety inspection and then visibly posted at the venue for review by university and city officials.
  • All undergraduate productions 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. The schedule will be coordinated on a weekly basis by UP staff. The producer and/or director must attend these inspections.
  • Yale EHS will conduct 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.

Audience Seating and Egress

  • All audience seating configurations must be approved by UP staff and Fire Code Compliance (FCC). Audience occupancy may never exceed the capacity limits posted in the room or set by UP staff or FCC.
  • A minimum of two (2) exits are required from all performance and audience areas. A minimum of three (3) exits are required if the seating capacity 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 or egress. No audience member may stand or sit in an aisle, egress, or exit way during a performance.
  • All aisles, exits, and stairwells must be appropriately lit at all times. At no time may the house lights be fully blacked out without providing specific lighting for all aisles, exits, and stairs.
  • Exit signs must be lit and visible at all times. No item 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.
  • 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. Seats must be spaced a minimum of 18 inches from the back of one row to the front of the next. 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.
  • For venues with non-fixed seating, chairs must be fastened together into rows of at least three (3) chairs using pre-fabricated or built-in connection systems, zip-ties, or industrial Velcro straps.
  • Audience seating risers, if used, must be installed entirely using commercially available riser systems and must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and supervised by UP staff. They must have a properly secured 42-inch guard railings and handrails when higher than two feet and intermediate steps when higher than 8 inches.
  • Transportation of platforms or riser parts must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section below.

Transportation

  • The following situations require submission of the UP Driver’s Form and completion of the Yale University Driver’s Safety Awareness Training at least a week ahead of the planned transportation:
    • Transporting large or heavy items any distance with any vehicle
    • Traveling more than 15 miles from campus in any vehicle
    • All travel involving a rental vehicle
  • The Yale University Driver’s Safety Awareness Training is strongly encouraged for all students involved in any production-related driving.
  • The following situations require submission of a UP Travel Request Form at least a week ahead of the planned transportation:
    • Traveling more than 15 miles from campus in any vehicle
    • All travel involving rental vehicle
  • Any student must have a valid driver’s license issued in the US or Canada in order to be approved to drive for production-related activity.
  • No undergraduate student is allowed to drive a box truck for production-related activity. If a box truck is required, it must be driven by UP staff. Exceptions may be made by UP staff on a case-by-case basis for Dramat productions only, dependent upon appropriately experienced drivers and appropriately sized vehicles being available.
  • Travel request forms must include a travel plan complete with destination, travel distance and route, and planned rest stops. One rest stop is required for 2-3 hours of travel and one additional rest stop is required for each additional hour or part thereof. No student driver may drive for longer than two hours in a single sitting. No overnight driving is permitted. If approved, the travel plan or drivers may not be changed without a resubmission of the UP Travel Request Form with the updated information. 
  • Any travel beyond 15 miles from campus requires two approved drivers. Both approved drivers must remain awake at all times during travel. Travel within 15 miles from campus requires a companion. Solo travel is not permitted.
  • UP Staff reserve the right to postpone or cancel any approved trip for inclement weather.
  • Transportation of platforms, flats, large furniture, theatrical equipment, or other large and heavy items for more than a single block must be done by vehicle. The loading of any vehicle with large or heavy items must be approved by UP staff.
  • Any use of a material handling lift must be supervised by UP staff.
  • All vehicles must have insurance coverage, either through privately owned insurance policies, Yale’s insurance policy, or a rental company’s insurance policy. If a vehicle is rented, it is essential that the terms and conditions of the rental contracts are followed, particularly with regard to age restrictions and licensing of the drivers. Use of a preferred rental agency and the Yale corporate rental code is strongly encouraged. More information may be found here.
  • Any travel beyond 15 miles from Yale University campus must sign out a roadside safety and emergency travel kit from the UP office. Kits must be returned within two days after returning to campus. UP staff must be informed if anything in the kit is used.

Lighting, Sound, and Electrical Devices

 
  • All work with theatrical lighting systems, including changes or additions to a venue’s rep plot or repairs to lighting or sound equipment, must be reviewed and pre-approved by UP staff.
  • The allowance of functional appliances in undergraduate productions is limited to those listed in the Campus Housing and University Facilities Regulations as being permitted in dorm rooms.
  • Any 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 FCC. 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.
  • Any wires or cables run along the floor must be securely taped down and must not be run across aisles, doorways, or exit ways.
  • Theatrical lighting and sound equipment must have safety cables securing the equipment to any elevated supporting structure.
  • Theatrical lighting 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.
  • 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, the Whitney Theater, and YSD/YRT venues.
  • 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.
  • Any use of strobe lights must be described in all programs, posted in the entry and lobby area, and announced directly to the audience during the pre-show public announcement.
  • Transportation of heavy lighting or sound equipment must be done by vehicle.  Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Scenery

General

  • The use of scenery in most undergraduate venues is limited to hand props and furniture. Platforms, flats, and more complex scenery may be used in the Off Broadway Theater, the Whitney Theater, and in YSD/YRT venues. Exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • When scenery construction is permitted, it must:
    • 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;
    • Be built and installed so as to ensure safety of the cast, crew, and audience;
    • 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 and clothing 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.
  • The installation of scenery may require supervision by UP staff or by a student who has been approved by UP staff. The removal of traps in YSD/YRT venues requires supervision by UP staff.
  • Transportation of heavy scenery must be done by vehicle. Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Scenic Platforms, Risers, Stairs, and Other Walking Surfaces

  • Scaffolding PlatformAll 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 walking or working surfaces on stage are generally prohibited with the exception of those constructed and installed directly under the supervision of UP staff and used in the Off Broadway Theater, the Whitney Theater, or YSD/YRT venues. Other exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The installation of these must be supervised and evaluated by UP staff before they are used by anyone.
  • Where platforms, risers, or stages are permitted, they must be designed and built to support an anticipated load of at least 100 pounds per square foot and constructed in a secure and stable manner that allows limited movement.
  • Scenic platforms higher than 24 inches are only permitted in the Whitney, Off Broadway, and YSD/YRT venues. Scenic platforms 36 inches or higher must have a railing on all exposed sides. Scenic stairs or step units higher than 24 inches must have a railing on at least one side.
  • Stair Railing must be between 36 and 37 inches from the upper surface of the stair rail to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.
  • All platform guard rails must be 42 inches high (+/- 3”) above the platform 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. 
  • The edges of all stages, steps, and openings must be marked with glow tape, with a 1-inch wide strip of white paint, or ½-inch spiked marks every 12 inches.
  • Scaffold type platforms, railings, risers, stages, and stairs must be installed entirely using commercially available scaffold, staging, or riser systems.
  • Transportation of platforms or stairs must be done by vehicle. Please see details in the Transportation section above.

Rigging

  • Installation and strike requiring use of any pre-installed or custom rigging systems and components, including static rigging and swaging wire rope terminations, must be supervised by UP staff.
  • Rigging of scenery, technical equipment, or any other item may not be affixed to electrical conduit, sprinkler pipes, other plumbing system components.

Painting

  • Painting must be pre-approved by UP staff and 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. Aerosol spray paints, sealers, and adhesives are prohibited.
  • Painting must be done only in well-ventilated areas, using drop clothes or other adequate protection against splashes and spills. Spilled paint 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. No paint or any other materials may be discarded down the drain. Potentially toxic materials must be disposed of through a Yale EHS waste pickup request.

Change Log

Fall 2018
Reorganized regulations and site structure for clarity.
Added Guidelines for Rehearsing Material with Sexual Content.
Updated minimum row length for flexible seating to three chairs.

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