Constitution of the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble
Article I. Name and Purpose
1.1 The name of this organization shall be the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble, henceforth the Ensemble.
1.2 According to the Mission Statement, the Ensemble is a group of students and community members who are committed to forming an open and fun-loving community that is focused on learning the various aspects of theater through the exploration of Shakespearean and other related works.
Article II. Membership
2.1 Membership is open to any MIT Community Member.
2.1.1 An MIT Community Member is
- a current MIT student
- an MIT faculty or staff member
- a significant other of one of the above
- an MIT Alum who was not a member of the Ensemble as a student
- someone who was an active member of an ASA recognized group in the past year
2.2 The Membership of the Ensemble will at all times consist of at least 5 MIT students and at least half of the membership must be undergraduate students at MIT.
2.2.1 The Ensemble will not discriminate based on any characteristic listed in MIT's Nondiscrimination Statement.
2.2.2 Should the Ensemble choose to charge any monetary dues, there will be exceptions made for students that cannot afford these dues.
2.3 New Member: a ShakeDarte is anyone involved with the Ensemble that is not a full member.
2.3.1 Darte may become a Full Member at the End of Term Meeting.
2.3.2 All Dartes must perform a run time job if acting.
2.3.3 Dartes who are working toward completing their ensemble requirements to become Full Members may participate in play choice, at the discretion of the officers.
2.3.4 For a Darte to become a full member one
- must attend Ensemble Class
- must do Shop Hours
- must do Box Office Hours
- is encouraged to audition or to assume an adjunct position
- is encouraged to do put-in/strike even if not in the production
2.4 Full Member: shakeSpear
2.4.1 If Darte satisfactorily completes his/her term, s/he becomes a Full Member.
2.4.2 As a Full Member, one
- must attend Ensemble Class
- must perform a Semester Job
- must perform a Run Time Job if acting
- must do Shop Hours
- must do Box Office Hours
- must do put-in/strike
- must honor commitment to role if accepted
2.4.3 Full members are encouraged to take classes offered by the Theater Arts Department.
2.5 One may remain a Member (including Dart term) for five (5) years or one (1) year after graduation, whichever is longer.
2.6 When a Member's term is up, s/he becomes an Ensemble Alum.
2.6.1 As an Alum, one can
- act in any show so long as they do not act for two consecutive terms. S/he must do Put-in/Strike Hours, a Run Time job, and, if possible, Shop Hours.
- be asked to be a technical member.
- bequeath unto current membership the enlightenment s/he received while a Member, in the form of Ensemble Classes and "Back in my day..." stories.
2.7 Inactive Terms
2.7.1 A Member may take a term off from the Ensemble and return the following term with Full Member status.
2.7.2 If a member decides to declare an Inactive Term it is suggested it should be done at the Beginning of Term Meeting. It must be declared no later than two weeks before Put-In for the main-stage show that semester.
2.7.3 If the member has accepted a Term Job at BOT and then declares an Inactive Term, they are still expected to fulfill their obligation to the Shakespeare Ensemble.
2.7.4 If more than one inactive term is taken in a row, one must spend returning term as a Dart before receiving Full Membership Status again.
2.7.5 Taking more than one non-consecutive inactive term is discouraged.
2.7.6 If a student takes more then one term in a row off because s/he is not enrolled in MIT for that duration, s/he may return to the Ensemble as a Full Member when s/he returns as a student. Once this length exceeds two (2) years, s/he may be asked to spend returning term as Dart at the discretion of the Officers.
2.8 Ejection of Members
2.8.1 A vote of two-thirds (2/3) majority of current membership may revoke any person's membership for failing to fulfill responsibilities of membership.
Article III. Officers
3.1 There shall be five (5) officers: President, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Officer-at-Large.
3.2 Any MIT Student who has been a Full Member for at least one term can run.
3.3 Officers are not required to take a semester job.
3.4 Officer responsibilities
3.4.1 General officer duties
- Each Officer shall be a model member of the Ensemble. This includes completing all membership requirements; filling production crew and cast positions when necessary; completing all tasks necessary to the smooth running of the Ensemble; and stepping in to fulfill another Officer’s duties if he/she is unable to do so.
- An Officer shall not be permitted to take an inactive term during their year-long Officer term.
- Each Officer shall be committed to representing the general consensus of the Ensemble.
- Officers shall keep the members as informed as possible about any changes that might be occurring.
- No Officer shall make a permanent decision without informing and asking the Membership for feedback or without the other Officers’ consent.
- The President shall act as liaison between the Ensemble and the community, including Theater Arts and other theater groups.
- The President shall be the primary link between the Artistic Advisor and the Ensemble. If the Artistic Advisor is having difficulties with a member, s/he must bring this issue to the President.
- The President is responsible for prompt response to email sent to ensemble-request.
- The President shall be responsible for ensuring that all constitutional amendments are lodged with the MIT Association of Student Activities.
- The President will be an MIT student distinct from the Treasurer
- The Chair shall have two main responsibilities, to chair and to whip.
- The Chair shall give adequate notice of all Ensemble meetings and shall chair all Ensemble meetings.
- The Chair shall act as the Ensemble's 'whip', ensuring that Members fulfill their responsibilities.
- If there are Members not fulfilling their jobs, the Chair must make sure that the jobs get done, either by doing them, or appointing some one else to do them.
- The Secretary shall take and post minutes of all meetings.
- The Secretary shall ensure that all key lists, and other such documents are kept up to date.
- The Secretary shall communicate with the Campus Activities Complex to reserve box office, drop poster space, and rooms.
- The Secretary shall be in charge of checking the mail box and distributing the mail to the appropriate Members.
- The Treasurer shall handle all the Ensemble's finances including payment of bills, keeping track of budgets, and creating detailed budgets for the Producer.
- The Treasurer shall reimburse all Members with proper receipts promptly.
- The Treasurer shall be in charge of applying to grants.
- The Treasurer shall oversee all fundraising endeavors.
- The Treasurer shall be in charge of all signature lists and accounts.
- The Treasurer will be an MIT student distinct from the President
- The Officer-at-Large is responsible for all dedicated recruitment activities.
- The Officer-at-Large shall coordinate any and all activities for incoming new students during Orientation.
- The Officer-at-Large is responsible for any publicity, of the Ensemble in general, unrelated to a show.
- The Officer-at-Large shall monitor the Membership and work to
improve retention of Members from term to term.
Article IV. Elections
4.1 Officers shall be elected at the end of each academic year.
4.2 Officers' terms of office shall run from their election until the election of new officers the following year.
4.3 Procedure of Election
4.3.1 At said meeting, nominations and elections shall proceed in order of office (President, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Officer-at-Large).
4.3.2 Candidature for an elected position requires a nominator and a seconder, both of whom must be Full Members. A candidate may propose, but not second, her or his own nomination. In order to stand as a candidate for election, a proposed candidate must accept his or her nomination. If s/he does not want the position, s/he may decline his or her nomination.
4.3.3 After all nominations for position are accepted or declined, each nominee has the opportunity to briefly talk about why s/he wants the position. Questions may be asked.
4.3.4 After all nominees are heard in full, they shall leave the room and the Membership shall discuss the decision at hand. Election shall be by simple majority of the Membership present, by show of hands unless any Full member present requests a secret ballot. In the case of election by secret ballot, the membership present shall nominate two (2) returning officers, who must not be candidates for election, to oversee the ballot.
4.4 Officer Removal
4.4.1 Officers may be removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the members.
Article V. Meetings
5.1 General Meetings
5.1.2 There shall be a general meeting of the Ensemble on Registration Day of each Fall and Spring semester, henceforth referred to as Reg Day Meeting. At the Reg Day meeting, run time jobs shall be assigned and any other business shall be discussed. Additionally, officers must be notified of those members taking inactivity by or at this meeting.
5.1.3 There shall be a general meeting of the Ensemble during the week before final examinations commence in each Fall and Spring semester, henceforth referred to as End of Term Meeting. At the End of Term Meeting, semester jobs shall be assigned and any other business shall be discussed.
5.2 A special meeting may be called at any time by the Officers or by petition to the Chair of twenty percent (20%) of the current Membership. The Chair shall give five (5) days e-mail notice of a special meeting, including agenda items. Additional agenda items may be posted up to three (3) days prior to the meeting, but no further items may be added after that time.
5.3 Quorum and Procedure
5.3.1 Quorum shall consist of two officers plus one third (1/3) of the remaining current Membership excluding Members who are taking an inactive term. If quorum is not made, the meeting may proceed, but any decisions made at that meeting shall be subject to ratification at the next quorate meeting.
5.3.2 The Chair shall chair the meeting and ensure that it proceeds in an orderly fashion. The Chair may introduce formal rules of debate if s/he deems this necessary. No rule of debate can restrict speeches to less than three minutes and number of speakers to less than three pro and con. Upon agreement of a simple majority of the membership present, any agenda item may be tabled to the following meeting. Any Full or Provisional member may move motions with respect to any agenda item. With the exception of constitutional amendments, motions do not require a seconder and shall be passed by approval of a simple majority of the Membership present. All Full Members are entitled to vote on any issue. Ballot shall be by show of hand unless a Member requests a secret ballot. No motion shall be passed that contravenes any rule or regulation of the MIT Association of Student Activities.
5.4 Proxy votes are acceptable, in writing, for constitutional amendments and play or director choice only.
5.5 If budget allows, there shall be one (1) retreat a term alternating business and pleasure.
Article VI. Artistic Advisor
6.1 If Membership sees fit, an Artistic Advisor shall be hired by consensus of Membership, to act as a general councilor for all Ensemble issues. Selection shall be made on the basis of experience in both acting and directing, teaching ability, and ability to effectively communicate with the Ensemble.
6.2 An Artistic Advisor's term shall be of a duration determined by the Membership in his/her contract. The term shall then run until the contract expires, s/he resigns, or until the Membership decides that ending the Artistic Advisor's term would be of benefit to all parties involved.
6.3 The Artistic Advisor shall serve as the Ensemble's extra-curricular faculty advisor unless s/he is not a member of the MIT faculty, in which case the Membership, in conjunction with the Artistic Advisor, shall select an advisor from the faculty.
6.4 The Artistic Advisor may be the director for no more than one (1) of the yearly productions.
6.5 The Artistic Advisor shall work with the director (if not self) to teach ensemble classes pertinent to current production
6.6 A two-thirds (2/3) majority of the current Membership may overrule any decision made by the Artistic Advisor or make any decision the Artistic Advisor is empowered under this constitution to make, excepting those made in his or her capacity as director of a theatrical production.
Article VII. Financial
7.1 Members wishing to be reimbursed for expenses that have been previously approved by the Treasurer relating to a production or Ensemble event must present reimbursement in electronic Request For Payment form (including electronic copy of the receipt) in addition to the hard copy of the receipt to the Treasurer no later than two (2) weeks after that production's final performance or the event
7.2 The Treasurer shall reimburse the Member before the end of the current term.
7.3 The director will be paid in two installments of $500. The first installment will be paid at auditions and the last installment will be paid on opening night. To ensure that the first payment is made on time, the director's contract should be signed at play choice.
Article VIII. Casting Policy
8.1 Before auditions begin, the Officers, Producer, Stage Manager, and Director shall meet to discuss the following policy on how the show shall be cast.
8.2 Member auditions shall be held as soon as possible. The attendees of this audition shall be Full Members who wish to act in the production.
8.3 All Full Members auditioning for the production shall receive a speaking role.
8.4 Following member auditions, the show will be tentatively cast from the member audition pool.
8.5 Open auditions shall be held following member auditions. The attendees of this audition shall be non-members.
8.6 Casting shall adhere to the preferential order of: Full Member, ShakeDarte, Ensemble Alum, Community Member. Given two equal candidates, casting preference will be given in this order.
8.7 The Director will consult with the Producer, Stage Manager, and a non-acting member of the Ensemble, to be sure that the Ensemble’s casting policies are followed by his/her casting of the show. If the Producer and Stage Manager are not full members, this non-acting member shall be appointed by the Officers.
8.8 Members are strongly discouraged from accepting a role in the show if academic or personal problems may cause them to decline the role in the near future.
8.9 Casting Policy for the Summer Show
8.9.1 Due to the different nature of summer shows, the desirability of gaining new blood in the Ensemble, and allowing for the consideration of summer shows with very few characters, the term show casting policy will not be observed for summer shows. Instead, the following casting policy should be used.
8.9.2 Directors are encouraged to cast members of the Ensemble and/or members of any Theater Group that may be cosponsoring the production. In particular, given two equal candidates, the preference will be as follows: MIT Shakespeare Ensemble Member OR Member of Co-hosting group, ShakeDarte, MIT Student, MIT Community Member, Other.
Article IX. Production Crew Policy
9.1 Before a production begins, the Producer shall work to assemble a production crew from the Full Members of the Ensemble.
9.2 Positions not filled from the Membership shall be filled from the non-member community.
9.3 Given interest in a production position by more than one person, interviews will be held, and preference will be give in order of: Full Member, ShakeDarte, Ensemble Alum, Community Member. Given two equal candidates, choice of production position will be given in this order.
9.4 Members are strongly discouraged from accepting a role on the production staff if academic or personal problems may cause them to decline the role in the near future.
9.5 Production Crew Mentorship
9.5.1 Full Members of the Ensemble and ShakeDartes are encouraged to explore new production positions, regardless of experience. In these cases, a Mentor may be assigned, at the discretion of the Producer and the Officers.
9.5.2 The Mentor shall be available to teach and to guide but shall not give artistic input unless asked directly. The Mentor is encouraged to communicate with the Mentee regularly.
9.5.3 The Producer and Officers may remove or change a Mentor if a problem arises.
Article X. Curtain Call
10.1 A curtain call shall follow every performance and shall be staged by Shakespeare Ensemble tradition, emphasizing the “ensemble.”
10.2 A “default bow” is one in which the cast enters the stage together, takes a bow together, acknowledges the technical crew, and exits together.
10.3 At the precasting meeting, the director shall be encouraged to propose alternatives to the “default” bow. If all the officers of the ensemble approve of a proposed bow, it shall be used instead of the “default” bow. If now alternative is approved, then the cast shall use the “default” bow.
Article XI. Interpretation and Amendment of Constitution
11.1 The interpretation is primarily the responsibility of the President, and secondarily the other officers. In the case of conflict between the President and the other officers, the issue shall be put to a meeting. In any case a vote of the majority of the Membership present at any meeting may overrule the President's interpretation.
11.2 Motions to amend the constitution require a mover and a seconder and must be posted by the Chair no less than seven (7) days prior to the meeting at which they are to be considered.
11.3 Amendments to the constitution require approval of a two-thirds majority of the current Membership.
11.4 Any amendment passed shall be submitted to the Association of Student Activities by the President forthwith.
Article XII. Affiliation with the Association of Student Activities
12.1 The MIT Shakespeare Ensemble agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of the Association of Student Activities, and its executive board. This constitution, amendments to it, and the by-laws of this organization shall be subject to review by the ASA Executive Board to insure that they are in accordance with the aforementioned rules and regulations