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Theater Rental Process

Availability & Booking

All requests to use the theater must be submitted using our online form. Because of high demand for use of the Wisconsin Union Theater, all groups wishing to use Shannon Hall or the Play Circle are required to submit a formal request by filling out the Theater Usage Request Form. 

Be prepared to provide information such as: Contact Info, Group Name/Type, Venue, Event Type, Description, Start/End Time, Admission Information, Days Required for Event, Estimated Attendance, and Three Possible Event Date Choices

 Only requests submitted via this form will be considered. You will be contacted by union staff shortly after submitting the form. Groups may request specific dates or may request a date range. Events that have flexible date options are more likely to be accommodated. 

Submitting a request does not guarantee space in the theater; a booking is completed once theater availability has been confirmed and a contract has been signed. If you need assistance filling out the form or if you have questions about the booking process, please contact Heather Good. 

Booking is not done on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Priority will be given to groups/events that:

  • Are an appropriate fit for the resources of the Wisconsin Union Theater
  • Support the mission of UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Union
  • Benefit UW-Madison students

Deposit

A $500 non-refundable deposit may be required in order to sign a usage agreement. Deposit is applied as payment towards final invoice.


Cancellation Policy

For holds (no signed contract):

  • Dates on hold may be released at any time without penalty. Held dates that have not been confirmed with a signed contract 8 weeks prior to the event will be released.

For confirmed reservations (signed contract):

Cancellation Timing Room Usage Labor Box Office
Cancellation takes place at least 4 weeks prior to event, and the event is not on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday None None If ticketed, customer is still responsible to pay box office set-up fee & per ticket printing fee 
Cancellation takes place at least 4 weeks prior to event, and the event is scheduled for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday Customer is responsible for room usage charges None If ticketed, customer is still responsible to pay box office set-up fee & per ticket printing fee 
Cancellation occurs less than 4 weeks out, but more than 1 week out Customer is responsible for room usage charges Customer is responsible for labor charges equal to 2.5 hours of labor per person assigned to the event If ticketed, customer is still responsible to pay box office set-up fee & per ticket printing fee
Cancellation occurs less than 1 week out Customer is responsible for room usage charges Customer is responsible for full labor charges If ticketed, customer is still responsible to pay box office set-up fee & per ticket printing fee 

Note: all deposits are non-refundable and applied to any applicable charges for cancelled events


Setting Rehearsal & Day-Of-Show Schedule

Rehearsal for a live performance event is an important time for establishing sound and light cues, helping performers familiarize themselves with the space, and preparing for your event. The rehearsal is also a critical time for our stage crew to learn what they need to know in order to make your performance a success. When thinking about how to schedule your rehearsal and performance times, please keep the following things in mind:

  • Doors open 30 minutes before your show start time.
  • Stagehands need a 1 hour break before the doors open, and activity on stage needs to be done before that break.
  • In addition, another 30 minutes is required between the end of the rehearsal at the start of the stagehand break to handle any notes or changes that have come up during rehearsal.
  • Therefore, all rehearsing, tech set-up, sound checks, etc. must be completed 2 hours before your performance start time. The stage must be cleared at that time.
  • Please be aware that some events require an additional day of tech preparation before the performance. If you are producing a touring show, please provide the tech rider before you schedule your dates so that we can determine if an additional day of tech set-up will be needed.
  • If you’re not sure about the rehearsal requirements for your event, please contact the staff to discuss.
  • If your performance requires cues of any kind, we require a script. The script is an outline describing each segment of the show in order with the required light, sound, video, and flyrail cues.

Backstage information for performers and sample scripts are available upon request.


Theater user's checklist

At least 8 weeks before event:

  • Set up meeting with Heather Good to finalize contract, go over event logistics, and receive a cost estimate. After this meeting you’ll receive via email a Tech Chart template, Ticketing Estimate spreadsheet (if applicable), a Theater Usage Agreement and Estimate, and additional information discussed at your meeting.
  • If your organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, submit a copy of your IRS documentation of tax exemption.
  • Set up ticket sales with box office using this form (note: this must be submitted 10 business days prior to your target tickets-on-sale date).
  • RSO fundraising events should request information about campus policies regarding these events; make sure you comply with all university and state regulations as you plan your event.

2 weeks before event:

  • Tech Chart is due. Provide final rehearsal & day-of-show schedule and event script via email to Heather Good.
  • Order backstage hospitality/catering by contacting events@union.wisc.edu.
  • Request card key access to backstage areas.
  • Provide promotional information to Sandy Peterson.
  • Requests and changes that are communicated to theater staff less than 2 weeks prior to the event date cannot always be honored, and may require extra charges. It is highly recommended to communicate all event details in writing (e-mail preferred) or face-to-face meeting with theater staff one month in advance of your event.

After the event:

  • RSO Free Events with Funding from ASM: It is the responsibility of the student organization to provide ASM with a copy of the invoice and to complete all necessary follow-up in order to apply grant funds to theater costs.
  • You will receive an invoice from WU Accounting after your event; final payment is due within 30 business days after invoice date.
  • Past due balances must be paid off before new events can be booked in the theater.