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So you want to propose a show?

a guide to Spike Tape show selection

Fall 2023 Edition



How do I propose a show?

Any Wesleyan undergraduate student can propose a show to be produced in Spike Tape’s upcoming season! First, read this document in its entirety to learn about the show selection process. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Charlotte George ( or any member of the Board and we’d be happy to talk with you to help develop your idea. Once you know what you want to propose, fill out the proposal form. After we’ve received all submissions, we will schedule meetings between proposers and the show selection committee to discuss, and decisions will be made by the end of April.

What do I need in order to propose a show?

First, you need a show. For published plays and musicals, the rights cannot be restricted, and we will not consider shows produced at Wesleyan in the last 3 years. For original works by Wesleyan undergraduates, you will need a completed script (though it does not necessarily need to be a final draft). Spike Tape does not produce capstone/thesis projects, dance shows, or devised theater.

Second, you will need a team. All proposals are required to have a director. If you are struggling to find a director for your project, please attend a Spike Tape meeting and we’d love to help you. Specialized projects will be expected to have the appropriate directors: musical director for any musicals, puppet master for any puppet shows, cinematographer for any Ivo van Hove inspired pieces, etc. You are not expected to have a full production team going into show proposals; we can help you find collaborators after your project has been selected. 

Third, you will need information related to your vision for this specific production. Why do you want to produce this show? When in the semester would you like to perform it? Where would you like to see it staged? Is there any sensitive material Spike Tape should be aware of?



What should I know before proposing a show?


Anyone can propose a show, regardless of theater experience! Spike Tape is open to new people and new ideas, and proposing a show can be a great way to get involved. That said, you should also be prepared for a lot of work and responsibility. The more ambitious your project is, the more we’ll be expecting from you in terms of planning and preparation. 


Resources and Requirements

Before proposing a show, you should be aware of the resources and requirements involved in producing a show with Spike Tape. Past shows have received anywhere from $32 to $2400 in SBC funding, as well as having our assistance in borrowing lighting and sound equipment from the ‘92 Theater, and costumes and furniture from the CFA. Information about Spike Tape as an organization can be found on this website and is important to know for anyone proposing a show. As said in our Mission Statement, Spike Tape’s number one priority is the well-being of all participants, so review the guidelines of our Bill of Rights. You should also be familiar with our Production Checkpoints and Well-Being Board.


Getting Rights

For any show not in the public domain, we will be required to get rights. Before you propose your show, make sure the rights are theoretically available. Once we’ve approved your show, we will work with the Theater Department to formally request the rights, which can take several weeks to hear back on, and there is no guarantee. To prepare for this, we recommend having back up plans for shows you would want to produce instead. This is not a requirement during the selection process, but it will be a topic of discussion by the end of this semester, after shows have been approved, so you may want to begin considering multiple options.


Your Team

Anyone can propose a show, no matter what role you intend to take on in that production. The only role we require you have filled at the time of the selection process is director(s). For all shows, a director will be the central figure leading the process and executing the creative vision, and in musicals, the music director is just as essential, so we need to know who will be taking on these vital roles when we’re approving a show. Your central production team will also include a Stage Manager and Production Manager. Depending on your show, you may also have designers (lighting, set, costumes, props, sound) and crew (stagehands, set builders, electricians, sound mixer, board ops). While you only need a director to get approved, you will need to fill certain roles before Spike Tape will let you proceed in your production process. For example, you cannot hold auditions without a Stage Manager, and you will not be allowed to use  lighting equipment if you don’t have your lighting designer by the third week of rehearsals.

What will I have to present to the committee?


Creative Vision

Spike Tape’s goal is to produce a wide range of shows representing the diverse interests of the student body. While we want to approve as many shows as possible, we limit our season to what we know is feasible based on the capabilities of our community and availability of resources and venues. Smaller scale shows that are flexible in how they can be produced are more likely to be approved since they demand less of Spike Tape’s limited resources. We can only produce a small number of large scale productions, so we will approve these based on how they fit in with the overall Spike Tape season.

In the form, we ask “Why do you want to produce this show?” This can be as simple an answer as “Because it is fun and audiences will like it” or you can write a paragraph explaining why this will deeply affect the Wesleyan community. Neither answer is more valuable than the other. In creating our season, we are looking to produce a variety of shows that serve different purposes, so the best way to answer this “Why?” question is honestly. 

During our meeting, we will talk more about what you literally want your show to look like. If it’s a published show, will you be making any unique interpretations? Is this a project that is ‘92 or bust, or are you flexible in where/how it is produced? Do you have any grand ideas you’re exploring, even if you don’t yet know how to achieve them? This will be more of a conversation, so come prepared, but don’t feel pressured to have your answers super formal or set in stone.



You will be asked to rank your top three venues. You can read about past Spike Tape venues here, or suggest other campus locations that you believe are reservable by student organizations. Note that we do not currently have access to CFA spaces like Crowell, the Theater Studio, or the CFA Theater. There are unfortunately a very limited number of spaces on campus that can accommodate significant theater equipment or full tech weeks, so we will only be able to approve a limited number of shows that require the ‘92 or WestCo. The more flexible your show can be on venue, the easier it is for us to produce it in our season. We only ask for a simple list in the form, but be prepared to talk more in depth about why you want certain spaces, overall flexibility, and potential further back ups during our meeting.



When planning performance dates, think about how much time you need to rehearse a show, bearing in mind actors cannot be called for more than 10 hours a week prior to tech. Top Girls, a 2.5 hour theater thesis play, was only able to achieve their 6 week timeline with 18 hrs/wk, which Spike Tape would not permit. Untitled Christmas Special managed to follow an expedited 5 week rehearsal period because the musical ran under an hour. Assassins was able to rehearse a 90 minute musical in 8 weeks, and The Masquerade did a Shakespeare-length play in 9 weeks. Every show will be different, but the more ambitious your endeavor, the more planning we’ll expect from you to prove feasibility.


Sensitive Material

Shows that deal with sensitive material (including but not limited to intimacy, partial or full nudity, fight choreography, slurs, and references to abuse or self harm) require advanced preparation and careful directing. Because projects of this nature have a heightened risk when handled poorly, Spike Tape will hold directors to a higher standard. Come to the proposal meeting ready to discuss any sensitive material and how you specifically intend to deal with it. 

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