THE VARSITY SHOW OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
CONSTITUTION AND RULES OF ORGANIZATION
The Varsity Show of Columbia University is a student organization dedicated to the annual creation of a full-length theatrical production (and events associated with this production) addressing the life and times of Columbia and the people, places, and problems that make up the University community.
To ensure the continued organization and effective function of the Varsity Show, this CONSTITUTION will provide for the essential structure, operation, and perpetuation of the Varsity Show. The form and creative content of each show shall be the exclusive province of its individual creators; the fundamental structure of the organization shall be addressed herein and established in perpetuity.
I. STRUCTURE OF PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION
A. The creation and production of each show shall be the ultimate responsibility of a Production Team, made up of a Director, Producer, Choreographer, Music Director, and Head Writer.
B. The Production Team shall each year audition and select an ensemble of performers. The Production Team shall also, at their sole discretion, select additional production staff, musicians, and others to contribute to the creation and production of the Show.
C. No member of the Production Team may also be a member of the ensemble. The Director, Producer, and Head Writer may only hold one of these positions, although a person in one of these positions may fulfill one of the other Production Team roles. (For example, such situations may include, but are not limited to the following: the Director may not also be Head Writer, but the Director may also Choreograph. The Music Director may also be the Producer.)
D. Together, the Production Team, under the guidance of the director, has ultimate authority in the creative production. This body assumes full responsibility for all aspects of production. Individual duties include, but are not limited to:
1. The Music Director shall be responsible for composing and/or supervising the composition of all the songs and music for the show, teaching and/or supervising the teaching of all the songs to the ensemble, preparing the ensemble for performance, selecting and rehearsing the orchestra, and in general ensuring the quality of the music in the show.
2. The Choreographer shall be responsible for creating and/or supervising the creation of all the dances for the show, teaching and/or supervising the teaching of all the dances to the ensemble, coordinating dance music with the Music Director, and in general ensuring the quality of the dances for the show.
3. The Head Writer shall be responsible for writing, editing, and supervising the writing of all scripted material for the show. The Head Writer will assemble and supervise a staff of writers, work with the Director and Production Team in the conception and assembly of the show; work with the ensemble to create and transcribe improvised scenarios and scenes; advise the Director on preparation and staging of scenes; cut, rewrite, and write additional material as necessary throughout the production, and in general ensure the quality of the writing in the show.
4. The Director shall lead the Production team and shall direct, guide, encourage, edit, critique, and supervise the work of the Head Writer, Choreographer, Music Director, ensemble, and production staff. The Director shall be responsible for the entirety of the creative production, as well as coordinating with the Production Team and production staff the entire logistics of the production. The Director shall stage or supervise the staging of all scenes. The Director shall facilitate and direct the creative work of every member of the production, and shall in general ensure the quality of the entire production.
5. The Producer shall be responsible for all business, organizational, and utilitarian aspects of the production. The Producer shall assemble a production staff to manage the majority of logistics, including production elements such as rehearsal space, scheduling, costumes, and props, leaving the remainder of the Production Team and the ensemble relatively free to assemble-the show. The Producer is responsible for all alumni relations, including coordination of Turkey Day, the opening night reception, as well as coordinating all publicity efforts and maintaining all financial records and processing reimbursements.
6. Additional creative staff may be hired by the Director, or by the entire Production Team under the guidance of the Director. Additional production staff may be hired by the Producer or by the entire Production Team with the agreement of the Producer.
E. The Director and ensemble must be undergraduates at Columbia College, Barnard College, or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Other members of the Production Staff may be non-undergraduates, providing they have Varsity Show experience as undergraduates at Columbia. The Producer may be an undergraduate, but must have previous Varsity Show experience.
II. CREATIVE EFFORTS
A. The Varsity Show is and must be an ensemble production. The Varsity Show director should recognize the necessity of assembling the optimum group of performers and building among them a sense of group effort, nurturing both the ensemble and the creative, productive atmosphere in which it can thrive.
B. The ensemble of actors should recognize that all creative theatrical efforts must be guided and that within the cooperative structure of the Varsity Show, the Production Team, under the guidance of the director, shall have ultimate authority in creative production.
C. The director shall be responsible not only for preparing and conducting rehearsals, but also for establishing and enforcing ground rules for group contributions and actor participation in all aspects of the creative process. To ensure the equality and congeniality of this process, actors shall take care to adhere to these rules.
D. Actors, staff writers, and production staff members should participate as fully as they desire in the writing of the show but should recognize that the direction of their pieces, as well as their rewriting, reinterpretation, and ultimate use in the show becomes the province of the Production Team once the piece is submitted. Similarly, those pieces which may be created in collaboration or in improvisation are subject to the redirection and reinterpretation of the Production Team.
E. Because the Varsity Show is a new work, and ensemble production, and because of the dynamic and changing nature of the show's production, actors must understand that changes will be made throughout the development of the show, up to and including closing night. Parts can be reassigned, changed, given, or taken away at any time.
F. In keeping with Varsity Show tradition, Varsity Show alumni shall be encouraged to play a role in the creation of the new show. Input shall primarily be encouraged by invitations extended by the Production Team to all Varsity Show alumni to attend Turkey Day. Turkey Day shall be held the Friday two weeks prior to opening night, or on a date as close to this date as possible, and shall consist of a complete run-through of all material rehearsed to date, followed by a critique session open only to alumni and the Production Team. Other alumni contributions may be solicited and used at the sole discretion of the production team.
III. TERMS OF EFFECT; PERPETUATION OF ORGANIZATION
A. The Production Team for each show shall be selected at the end of the previous year by the Production Team for that year's show. (i.e., the Production Team for the 241st annual show shall choose the team for the 242nd, and so on...) The incumbent Production Team shall solicit applications in particular from all those involved in that year's show, and--if the incumbent Production Team so chooses and deems necessary--from the larger undergraduate community.
B. The Director must be expected to be an undergraduate at Columbia College, Barnard College, or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences during his/her year of production. Other members of the Production Staff may be non-undergraduates, providing they have Varsity Show experience as undergraduates at Columbia--that is, provided they are Varsity Show alumni--if and only if their candidacy for such positions is endorsed by the incoming Director. The Producer may be an undergraduate, but must have previous Varsity Show experience.
C. The incumbent Production Team shall choose its successor by the end of the school year. The incumbent Production Team shall make every effort to select the new director first and consult with at-director in the selection of the remaining Production Team. The new Production Team shall take office on Commencement of that year.
D The incumbent Production Team may choose to select only some members of the succeeding team. In this event, or in the event that selection is not complete by Commencement of the current year, those members selected shall be responsible for filling the remaining positions (adhering to all stipulations herein). If no decisions at all have been made by Commencement of the current year, those members of the current Production Team not graduating shall automatically assume the same positions for the following year and shall be responsible for filling the remaining positions.
E. The first duties of the new Production Team shall be the assembly and production of the Reunion Show, to be performed during the summer. To ease the transition, and to ensure an exchange of knowledge, the new Production Team shall work under the non-binding advisement of the outgoing Production Team for this period, ending no later than August 31 of that year. Following that transitional period, the incoming Production Team assumes full responsibility for the Varsity Show.
F. To ensure the continued quality of each production, and the sovereignty of each Production Team, the ensemble of players is auditioned anew every year. Non-graduating ensemble members who wish to return the following year are welcome to audition again, but are made no guarantees about their candidacy.
G. Cast members may be replaced at any time by a majority vote of the Production Team, provided that the Director is among that majority. Production Team members may only be replaced by a unanimous vote of all other Production Team members. In the event of removal, resignation, or death of a Production Team member, a replacement will be chosen by unanimous vote of the remaining Production Team.
H. This Constitution may only be amended by unanimous vote of a complete Production Team in the time period following the closing night of their show up to Commencement of that year. Any amendments take effect immediately but only become permanent changes to this Constitution when ratified by the subsequent Production Team in the time period following the closing night of their show up to Commencement of that year.
IV. THE VARSITY SHOW CREED
A. The Varsity Show is intended solely for the entertainment and enlightenment of the Columbia community through the best production possible.
B. The Varsity Show is a unique organization. It is not a political organization, not a theatre club, not a democratic student group, not a partisan body. All are welcome to participate, no one is required to, and a sense of humor is necessary. Auditions are selective because the stage is small and because the world is a hard, hard, place. Not everyone will make it into the ensemble. The ensemble is chosen by the Production Team to best suit the show--nothing less, nothing more.
C. The Varsity Show is an independent, sanctioned, student organization at Columbia University, responsible only to is own managing board--the Production Team. Though working with a staff advisor, with the Office of Student Activities, and with the student government structure, the Varsity Show does not report to anyone.
D. The Varsity Show does not censor itself for reasons of religion, politics, race, creed, or taste, and it will not allow anyone else to do so either. If you're not offended, we're not doing our job.
E. The Varsity Show must go on forever.