Departmental Events

The following pertains to BU departments that reserve the Tsai Center for an event, conference, or production. We welcome the opportunity to hear your ideas and brainstorm how best to make them come to life at the Tsai Center. With so many possibilities, the information below is intended to serve as a foundation for planning, and some nuances might be different depending on the time of your reservation and the nature of your program. Departments need to be heavily involved in all planning and serve as the main communicator of event information to the Tsai staff. Departments cannot just book events in name only for non-BU groups and then have the non-BU group handle the event. Producing the event is your responsibility (and it’s a lot of work).


Dates & times are outlined in your reservation. Review it carefully. For all events, there will be one full-time Tsai staff person assisting with advance planning. Either that staff person or a lead student will be on duty at the event with additional student staff supporting the event. The Tsai staff determines how best to use our in-house systems and what equipment we can give your group access to for your show. If you have additional needs, please discuss them with us first. Reservation of Tsai is subject to the same “Requirements for Use of a University Facility” provided by the BU Reservations & Sales Office in Events & Conferences (click below to read).


  • Name/Location: List the venue as “Tsai Performance Center” or “Tsai Center” on all materials, printed or online. (We are not “Tsai Auditorium” — that is a lecture hall at Harvard.) Our address is 685 Commonwealth Avenue.
  • Time: Advertise the start time of your program, not when doors open. The doors always open 30 minutes prior to the start time unless you make other arrangements at booking.
  • BU Calendar: Please add your program to the BU calendar, if appropriate.
  • Ticketing: If your program is ticketed as a show, we encourage use of Eventbrite. Seating capacity is 515 (but depends on any seats being held back for reserved seats). Please discuss your plans with us well in advance of your event. Standing room tickets cannot be sold. If your event is a conference, attendance at programs within the Tsai Center cannot exceed our seating capacity of 515.
  • All areas of egress must remain clear at all times.
  • Only those who are part of the event itself (including planners) are allowed backstage. Please instruct guests to meet in the outer marble lobby after the program if they wish to meet up.
  • Food and beverages (except water) are not allowed in any area of the theater other than the dressing rooms. Receptions must be contained to the marble lobby. Note that this is the main entrance to CAS, so all doors, stairways, and elevators must remain accessible and free of obstructions at all times.
  • The carpeted lobby is for egress and cannot accommodate elaborate decorations or extensive table setups. It must remain well lit and free of obstructions at all times. The carpeted lobby is not to be used as a painting, crafting, woodworking, or eating space.
  • You may not screw, nail, staple, or tape anything onto any surface within the theater, hallways, or dressing rooms without specific approval.
  • No open flames, including lit candles, matches, cigarettes, or any other flammable material, are permitted anywhere in the theater. Smoking and vaping are not permitted in Tsai or CAS.
  • Animals, other than service animals, are not permitted inside the theater.
  • Be mindful that our staff is comprised of full-time and student workers. Please contribute to making this a respectful work environment for all.


  • Kara Mullen will be your initial booking contact, who will then pass your event to a member of the Tsai production staff to manage. That person will work with you on advance planning and either they or a lead student will be at Tsai on the day(s) of your event.
  • Establishing the stage setup and overall needs is an important part of the process. Please share all ideas and plans for your upcoming program with Kara Mullen and/or your Tsai contact so we can prepare accordingly.
  • We will try to accommodate all reasonable requests, but we reserve the right to deny requests that are not in the best interest of the event or the facility.
  • During the planning process, we will confirm the setup, rehearsal and tech schedule, start and end times, and staffing as appropriate for your reservation. Notify us immediately if you change the start time.
  • Videography: If you contract BU Productions or another videographer to record your event, please notify us so we can talk with them about their setup needs and the schedule.
  • Livestreaming: The Tsai Center does not offer livestreaming services. LETS may be able to support this as an additional service.
  • Invited press: If you have invited any radio or television press, their technical needs (if any) has to be part of the overall tech setup for your event. We need advance notice. An example is inviting WBUR to record or live broadcast the program.
  • Marble Lobby: Use of the marble lobby in front of Tsai is part of your reservation. This area can be used for registration, check-in, information tables, and receptions. However, please be mindful that this lobby is the main entrance to CAS and has high traffic, especially between classes. Setups must take this into account. With a few exceptions, custodians do setup & cleaning of this lobby. We can advise on lobby setups and diagrams and how to communicate your needs to the custodians.
  • Catering: BU Catering on the Charles should provide all catering. Your department is responsible for making all arrangements with them.
  • Parking: Your department should work directly with Transportation Services on your needs.
  • Security: Work with BUPD on your security needs and keep the Tsai staff aware of your plans. For most programs, we have student ushers that will be at the front doors, but these are not security personnel. Please discuss your needs with your Tsai contact.
  • Sustainability: The Tsai Center is committed to furthering Boston University’s Zero Waste Plan. Think about what you can do to reduce the environmental footprint of your program. Avoid printed programs if you can. We are happy to post in the lobby a sign with a QR code as an alternative. Read more about “How to Host a Sustainable Event.”


The facility fee for internal programs covers staffing. If there is a unique situation where additional staffing fees occur, we will communicate it to the client for approval in advance. The Tsai Center provides, to the best of our ability, the following:

  • 1 full-time production staff member to prep your event (your Tsai contact). Either this person or a lead student will be on-site at your event.
  • Student operators for lighting & sound, unless advised differently when booking. Certain programs might require freelance technicians to be brought in (at an additional expense) to handle advanced technical needs.
  • Additional student stage crew as needed
  • Student staff to usher and manage the house