Auditorium User Guidelines

Dodd Auditorium Guidelines

  1. Booking process Dodd Auditorium (Request for space)

Dodd Auditorium is the largest performance space at The University of Mary Washington, and controls have been put in place to ensure the space is available to meet the primary need of the mission of the University of Mary Washington.

To facilitate planning of events, requests for the booking of Dodd Auditorium is handled in the following manner:

  • Administrative, Departmental, Faculty, and Staff – contact the director of Dodd Auditorium directly through email ( requesting specific dates and times.
  • Student Organizations and Clubs – all student requests to use Dodd Auditorium will continue to be booked through the SAE Office and they will contact the director of Dodd Auditorium.
  • Outside UMW Organizations – contact the director of Dodd Auditorium directly through email ( requesting specific dates and times. More information on rentals is located below (2. Dodd Rental Procedures –  Outside Community Rentals).

Once a request has been submitted, it will either be “approved” or “denied” by the director of Dodd Auditorium. Each requestor will receive an email from the director confirming the booking or an explanation of the denial (see “Reasons for Denials” below).

Booking Priority

  • Requests for current academic year – decision is based on the date of the requests
  • Requests for the next academic year – is tiered based and are not allowed until the spring semester of the current academic year
    • January – Administrative Events
    • February – Departmental, Faculty and Staff Events
    • March – Student Organizations and Club Events
    • May – Outside UMW Organizations Events

Reasons for Denials:

  1. Date or time requested is not available
  2. Food is involved
  3. No technical staffing is available
  4. Dodd Auditorium is not the appropriate venue for your event
  5. Organization, club or event does not fit within our community value statement of ASPIRE

Any questions concerning booking Dodd Auditorium should be sent to the director of Dodd Auditorium – Douglas Noble at

  1. Dodd Rental Procedures

UMW Organization/Department/Club Rental

There is no rental/user charge to any organization, department, or club that is affiliated with UMW unless the following incidents occur:

  1. No shows
    1. No cancellation notice – if the client does not notify the Dodd Auditorium Staff within 24 hours of the scheduled event that the event has been cancelled– a charge of $100 will be assessed to the clients FOAP.
    2. Change in stated arrival time – If the arrival time that the client has submitted on the Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider moves to later and the Dodd staff is not notified within 24 hours prior to the event, the Dodd staff will assessed a late fee of $35.00 for each half hour past the stated arrival time.
  2. Damage occurs during the event – if any lighting/sound equipment, seating, or stage equipment/curtains are damaged during the event, caused by inappropriate behavior on the part of the participants or the audience, the client will be assessed a damage fee based on a quote received from a reputable vendor on the cost of repairs.
    • Including but not limited to:
      • breaking of auditorium seating caused by people standing/jumping on seats or purposeful destruction
      • Ripping of seat cover fabric – caused by sharp objects or purposeful destruction
      • Damage to soft goods (curtains, cyc, screen, or scrim) on stage cause by careless or reckless behavior
  3. No food or drink policy is broken – if audience members sneak food or drink into the auditorium that results in spillage or smeared food on the floor, seats, or carpet, the client will be assessed a cleaning fee. This fee could range from $35.00 to $275.00 depending on the extent of the damage.

Outside Community Rentals

Dodd Auditorium is open for rental to non-UMW affiliates during UMW’s spring break (usually the first week of March) and between mid-May through mid-July. The space is reserved during the academic year for events supported/sponsored by the UMW community for the benefit of their programs. Rental of Dodd Auditorium is limited to events that require a minimum number of support staff.

The following is a list of the events that Dodd Auditorium is open to for rentals:

  • Lectures/panel discussions
  • One or two person shows/comedians/magicians
  • Concert bands/orchestras
  • Business meetings
  • Movies

If your event meets the above criteria, then you must contact the director of Dodd Auditorium at, to discuss possible rental dates and your planned event. Once the director of Dodd Auditorium determines the scope of the event, a date may be determined; it will be placed on “hold” until a signed contract is returned to the university. Contracts are handled through the Events and Conferencing Office. Rental fees are based on predetermined space charges and on labor costs per staff member required to support or run the event.

  1. Tech Riders

Dodd Auditorium

A Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider is required for ALL events to take place in Dodd Auditorium. The Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider must be submitted at a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to the first day of your event/rehearsal. The Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider is used to determine the number of staff needed to run the events, date and times of arrival, departure, and duration of event, stage set-up, and the type of equipment that will be needed to run the event.

The Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider can be located on the Dodd Auditorium webpage which can be accessed through the UMW homepage and type “Dodd Auditorium” in the search box. This will take you to the Dodd Auditorium webpage and located on the left side of the page will be the link to the Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider. Please remember to submit your request after you have filled it out. You should receive a confirmation email, once the form has been submitted.

UMW Sponsored Outside Group Tech Riders

When a UMW department or group sponsors an outside group or individual to perform in Dodd Auditorium, they must supply a copy of the performer’s technical rider (if they have one) with the request to book Dodd Auditorium. This is to insure that the Dodd Auditorium staff can handle the outside groups requirements and if not to allow the sponsoring club/department a chance to either negotiate a change in the technical rider, before the sponsor has signed the contract; or to hire an outside sound or light company to supply and run the event according to the groups technical rider. It also makes sure that there are no surprises at the time of the performers’ arrival for the event when the sponsoring group has agreed to something that Dodd Auditorium cannot support.

  1. Piano

Dodd Auditorium has a concert grand piano available for clients to use. However, clients will be responsible for having the piano tuned at their expense. Piano tuning is arranged through the music department. If you are a campus department or club you will need to supply the music department with a FOAP; if you are an outside organization, you will need to supply a check to the music department for the cost of the tuning.

  1. Dressing Rooms/Restrooms

Dressing rooms may be requested for use for any event (Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider). It is up to the sponsoring organization to return the dressing rooms in the same or better condition than when they found them. A housekeeping fee will be assessed to the sponsoring organization if this guideline is not followed. Dodd has three dressing rooms; two have the capacity to hold 10 performers and one has the capacity to hold 4 performers. There is a male and a female restroom located next to the dressing rooms to be used by performers and Dodd staff.

  1. Scenery/Props/Equipment for Events

Dodd Auditorium does not supply any props or scenery for any events.  Any props or scenery that is brought into the auditorium for your event must be taken down and removed immediately after the event.  This includes any signage.

Dodd Auditorium has a few stackable chairs and 3 or 4 folding tables that can be used by our clients for their events.  Please request these on the Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider in the “other” section at the end of the form.

Any large equipment or musical instruments that are brought into the auditorium for an event must be removed by the following business day after the event.

Dodd Auditorium does not have storage space available for storage of any items.

  1. Staffing

Dodd Auditorium is a student run facility with limited resources. All events will be supplied with at least one Dodd Auditorium technician to assist with the event. In most situations, the minimum number of technicians will be four (4); a sound operator, a light operator, a stage manager, and a house manager. Additional staff will be determined by the scope and size of the event, and based on the needs listed on the Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider. All equipment in Dodd Auditorium will only be handled by Dodd Auditorium technical staff. The sponsoring organization may be asked to supply additional staff to assist with the handling of the performers or running of the event, this will be determined prior to the event. One Dodd Auditorium technical staff member must be present during the entire time that the sponsoring organization is present in the Dodd facility.

ALL events must supply ushers if programs are to be handed out and/or assigned seating is sold. The Dodd Auditorium house management staff have other duties and will not be available for this task.

Front-Of-House Procedures

  1. Food and Drink Procedure

There is no food or drink allowed in the auditorium for any reason. Food and drink are allowed in the Dodd foyer and the dressing rooms only.

Dodd Foyer

Food and drink in the foyer can be served prior, during, and after an event under the following conditions:

  1. Food and drink are provided by Sodexo Catering
  2. Volunteers from the sponsoring organization are assigned at the entrances to the auditorium to prevent food or drink from entering into the auditorium.
  3. Volunteers from the sponsoring organization are assigned to clean the auditorium after the event is complete, to remove any food or drink items that are present.

Dressing Rooms

Food and drink are allowed in the Dodd dressing rooms for the performers under the following conditions:

  1. NO ALCOHOL is present. Alcohol is not permitted under any circumstance – violation of this policy could result in the cancellation of the event, police involvement, and/or reporting the incident to the Judicial Review Board.
  2. Fulfillment of the performers/groups contract as part of their technical rider under the “hospitality” section.
  3. Performers are in rehearsal/show for more than 5 hours without any breaks.

All food and drink must be removed after the events and the dressing rooms must be cleared of all containers, cartons, and serving devices immediately after the show. Failure to do so could result in the assessment of a $35.00 cleaning charge to the groups FOAP.

  1. Ticket Sale Procedure

All tickets and staffing of a box office will be left to the task of the sponsoring organization. If an admission fee is collected by a student club or organization, they must follow the “Cash Collections and Deposits policies” located in the Student Club Handbook. This policy determines if a police officer is needed in the Dodd foyer while tickets are being sold. Any cost related to this policy will be incurred by the sponsoring organization. Dodd Auditorium staff are not allowed to handle or collect any money.

  1. Seating

Seat Removal

Due to the amount of wear and tear on the seats and their supports, seat removal is prohibited as of Nov. 1, 2015.

The only exception: The UMW President gives written approval directing the Director of Dodd Auditorium to remove seats for a specific event and the organization requesting removal of seats agrees to pay a seat removal charge of $500 per row/section to be paid to the general fund, and any additional damage fee while the seats are removed.


Dodd Auditorium has 1273 seats. All seats are numbered and all rows are lettered for reserved seating. There are currently 915 seats on the main (orchestra) floor, and 358 seats in the balcony. There are also 10 spaces on the main floor for wheel chaired patrons. Of the 358 balcony seats, 72 of them have an obstructed or blocked view of the stage.

  1. Pipe and Drape

Pipe and drape are available in Dodd Auditorium to be used to limit the seating capacity on the main floor. Blue is the only available color. Pipe and drape must be requested separately from the Dodd Auditorium Technical Rider, by way of an email to the director of Dodd Auditorium. The request will be discussed between the client and the director to determine feasibility of the request. If time and staffing does not allow for set-up and take-down, then the request will be denied.

  1. Music Playlists

Music playlists need to be supplied to the Dodd Auditorium staff a minimum of 30 minutes before the house opens. All music selections must be appropriate for any age group. Playlists need to be supplied on a USB memory stick. Internet music providers such as Spotify or Pandora are not allowed because of copyright laws. Dodd Auditorium has classical, pop, and soft jazz playlists available, however, the client will not be allowed to edit or change these playlist in any manner. The Dodd staff is not responsible for the timeliness of the music selection in the Dodd playlist.

Safety and Emergency Protocols

All UMW Safety and Emergency Procedures will be adhered to regardless of sponsoring organization.

No standing, dancing, or sitting in the aisles while the performance is in progress will be allowed. Due to the possible safety implications, this policy is strictly enforced and audience members who violate this policy will be requested to return to their seat by the house managers. If incident continues, UMW Police will be called and the patron will be removed.

Special Effects

The use of any pyrotechnics or fire/flames/sparks will not be permitted in Dodd Auditorium.

The use of fog or haze machines will not be permitted in Dodd Auditorium.