First Year Information

Welcome Class of 2021!

On behalf of all the faculty, staff and students in the Department of Theatre and Dance, we'd like to welcome the incoming first year students to our department and our programs in theatre and dance. We hope you will find our programs intense, rigorous, challenging, and fun! We encourage to become as active as possible during your first year, and to develop the kinds of attitudes and skills that will make your four years with us exciting, educational, and successful.

Your most important contact during the summer months is the department chair, Prof. Samantha Kenney. She can be reached at 716-673-3596 as well. The department secretary, Ms. Lisa Schrantz, is also an invaluable source of information. Her phone number is the same as Prof. Kenney's. The summer months on a college campus are much slower than during the academic year, and people do take time for vacations and such. Generally speaking, however, the office is open from 8AM-4PM Mon-Fri.

This page is designed to provide you with some initial information and a reference point to get you a little oriented before the semester begins. You will also be receiving a letter from the department through electronic mail in early August. So make sure your Fredonia email address is active and working.

To being with, here are some important dates to remember and mark in your calendar:

  • Monday August 21 - First Day of Classes. If you are scheduled for dance classes, please come prepared to dance. If you have any questions about dance dress code, please contact Samantha Kenney at
  • August 21 @5:30 PM - Meeting of all first-year and transfer students in the Alice E. Bartlett Theatre. That is the black box theatre located in the lower level of the Rockefeller Arts Center.
  • August 21 @7:00 PM - All Department Meeting. All student majors and faculty are required to attend this first meeting of the department to kick off the fall semester
  • Tuesday-Friday August 22-25 - Auditions for the 2017-2018 Walter Gloor Mainstage season. All of our auditions are open to all students enrolled at the University. Specific times and sign-up sheets will be posted on the department callboard located by the main dressing rooms. The directors make every attempt to cast the best possible person for each role regardless of major. This year’s season consists of the following shows: Peter and the Starcatcher, Much Ado About Nothing, Daisy Pulls It Off, Spring Awakening, and the Fredonia Dance Ensemble. You will be given a complete breakdown of audition information and times in the August letter. Generally speaking, you should prepare for the theatre auditions with two 32-bar cuts of music from the musical theatre repertoire (one ballad, one up-tempo), and two one-minute contemporary monologues (one comic or seriocomic, one dramatic). Pieces should be appropriate for your age range and type ranges, and reflect roles you would be cast in NOW. These four pieces will be sufficient for all shows. The audition for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble concert does not require advance preparation, as all audition material will be generated by the choreographers. Students wishing to audition for Fredonia Dance Ensemble should wear appropriate dance attire and be prepared to move. The following is a list of who has to audition for what:
    • BFA Acting and Musical Theatre - these students must audition for all the plays and play as cast. They do not have to audition for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble, but they may if they choose.
    • BFA Dance - these students must audition for the Fredonia Dance Ensemble. There is nothing to prepare; just bring appropriate dance attire and shoes and be prepared to move. They may also choose to audition for the plays, but are not required to do so.
    • BA Theatre - these students have the option to audition for any show individually, all the shows (including the Dance Ensemble) together, or none of the shows at all.
    • BFA Technical Production and Design - these students are not required to audition for anything, but they may if they choose.
  • Fri-Mon Aug. 22-25 - Directors meet, prepare and post final cast lists for all shows. Directors may post their cast lists at any time during this period. Casting must be approved by the department chair before any lists are posted.
  • Monday August 28 - Shops open and training for first year students in the shops commences. Rehearsals may commence for the first show, and the Fredonia Dance Ensemble. It's on!
  • Monday Sept. 4 - Labor Day. No classes.

In addition to all those dates, there are also some academic dates to consider. During the first week of classes, should you need to make any changes to your schedule of classes, it is generally done at that time. Please see this web page to look at the important academic dates for adding and dropping classes. If you need help in the first week with your classes, you should see the department chair for help. You will not be assigned an academic adviser until the third week of school.

You should also take the time to make yourself as familiar as you can with the College Catalog and the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook for the Department of Theatre and Dance contains all the policies you need to adhere to for your work in the department, and is a contract between you and the department specifying your rights, requirements and responsibilities as a student major. Remember, the only person responsible for knowing all these policies and procedures is YOU!!! You are solely and completely responsible for fulfilling all the requirements for graduation and for staying in compliance with all policies. While there are many people here to help you along the way and to get you to understand all these requirements, they are not responsible for your failure to meet or complete these requirements. The link above will get you a copy of the Student Handbook in PDF format for 2017-18. The handbook is revised every other year.

The College Catalog is your contract with the university and contains all the various policies and procedures you need to know concerning your academic and student life. It also contains all the current graduation and course requirements for each degree program. The link takes you to the Theatre and Dance section of the catalog. This is the official page for all information on our degree programs. You may receive other checklists or see other listings for each degree program, but all of those other lists must be checked against the official page for accuracy. To graduate, you must complete all the requirements listed on the official page in the catalog. It's important not only to read and understand this section, but many other sections in the catalog. Things such as appealing a grade, changing advisers or majors, figuring out your GPA, the drug and alcohol policy, and many other aspects of student life are in this catalog. You have responsibilities, but you also have rights. It's a good idea to become familiar with both by reading the catalog.

Enjoy the rest of summer! We look to meeting you in August and helping you become a productive and successful member of our department.

Theatre & Dance

212 Rockefeller Arts Center
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3596
(716) 673-3621 fax