Student Events

The following pertains to registered student groups that reserve the Tsai Center for one show only and is intended to serve as a foundation for planning your show.

For theatrical productions by student groups who reserve Tsai for multiple days, please review the Student Theatrical Productions page.


Dates & times are outlined in your reservation. Review it carefully. For all events, there will be one full-time Tsai staff member on duty plus student crew. 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 with us first. Any rentals will need to be coordinated by your group with SAO. 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).


  • Ticketing: Must be done via SAO/Eventbrite. Seating capacity is 500. Standing room tickets cannot be sold. Any performers who wish to sit in the house must have reserved seats. Reserved seats come out of the capacity of 500.
  • 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 event, not when doors open. The doors always open 30 minutes prior to the event start time unless you make other arrangements at booking.
  • All areas of egress must remain clear at all times.
  • Only performers, backstage assistants, and Tsai staff are allowed backstage. If friends or family wish to meet with performers after the show, please instruct them to do so in the outer marble lobby.
  • Food and beverages (except water) are not allowed in any area of the theater other than the dressing rooms. Please dispose of your waste appropriately to keep Tsai clean for all.
  • Animals, other than service animals, are not permitted inside the theater.
  • Be respectful in your interactions and communications with all Tsai staff, including student staff.
  • While using the Tsai Center, students must at all times adhere to policies set forth by the Tsai Center staff. Failure to abide by these policies may result in the loss of the privilege of using the Tsai Center or immediate suspension of your event.
  • 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. Read more about “How to Host a Sustainable Event.”


  • One member of the full-time production staff will be your main contact. You must arrange at least one pre-production meeting with your Tsai contact to discuss all details of your event, deliverables we will need, and associated deadlines. Deliverables include:
    • Tech rehearsal schedule: Every element of your show must have scheduled tech rehearsal time in order to ensure the success of your event.
      • The main purpose of tech rehearsal is to prepare and perfect the technical aspects of the show. If you would like to do a full dress rehearsal, this must be included at the end of your tech rehearsal schedule.
      • Your tech rehearsal schedule must include meal breaks for the Tsai staff. We will discuss this in more detail with you.
      • Please keep efficiency in mind. Avoid scheduling long stretches of free time into your tech rehearsal schedule.
    • Program order: List every element of your show in performance order. This includes pieces, introductions, videos, intermission, etc. We also need to know all technical needs of each piece, including light cues, audio/video files, microphones, and any props or other equipment to be used onstage. When finalizing your program order, be sure to consider all the moving parts of each piece to ensure smooth transitions.
    • Lighting cues: We will give you lighting cue forms to fill out ahead of time, which must be returned to us in an editable format. For more details and to access the lighting cue forms, visit the SAO Lighting Information page.
    • Audio and video files: We will discuss submitting audio and video files to us at our pre-production meeting.
    • Outside professional artists information: If your group has invited or intends to invite any professional artists/musicians to perform at your show (the kind of person/group that requires a contract with BU/SAO and supplies you with a tech rider), you must make us aware of that, ideally when you book Tsai, but at very latest, at the beginning of the planning process. Tsai staff is not responsible for any rentals of backline equipment to meet the needs of a tech rider. Students should work with SAO well in advance to fulfill these requirements. Additional Tsai fees may be incurred if our staff dedicates extra labor hours working with external production groups in preparation for your event.
  • Use of the Tsai basement dressing rooms is included in your reservation. If you require additional space for performers, you must reserve CAS classrooms through 25Live on your own.
  • The Tsai Center can offer tables (skirted or unskirted), orchestra chairs, and easels for use in the lobbies or onstage. Discuss all furniture needs with your Tsai contact. Dressing room furniture may not leave the dressing rooms.
  • Discuss any decoration of the Tsai Center with your Tsai contact. Note that the lobby is for egress and cannot accommodate elaborate decorations. It must remain well lit and free of obstructions at all times. The lobby is not to be used as a painting, crafting, woodworking, or eating space. Any approved decorating must be done simultaneously with tech rehearsal, not during its own dedicated time.
  • 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 show or the facility.
  • The Tsai staff welcomes additional pre-production meetings as needed to ensure everyone is confident and comfortable.


Your group needs to provide:
  • 2-3 backstage assistants to manage the flow of performers between dressing rooms/classrooms and backstage to ensure performers are ready to go onstage for each piece
  • 1-2 students to assist with ushering at the front doors
  • 1-2 students to handle on-site ticket sales. No Tsai staff members are authorized to assist with sales of any kind.
Tsai Center will provide:
  • 1 full-time production staff member (your Tsai contact)
  • Operators for lighting & sound
  • 1 student stage manager and additional backstage crew as needed to assist with changes
  • 2-3 student staff to usher and manage the house


  • No open flames, including lit candles, matches, cigarettes, or any other flammable materials, are permitted anywhere in the theater. Smoking and vaping are not permitted in Tsai or CAS.
  • All scenery as well as decorations anywhere in the theater must comply with the regulations of the Boston Fire Department. You must obtain a certificate of fireproofing from BFD if necessary. (Discuss this further with your Tsai contact.)
  • No fog machines, smoke machines, or hazers are permitted.
  • All props, scenery, and decorations must be taken with you after the performance. A fee will be assessed if items are not cleaned up and removed by the end of your reservation time.
  • You may not screw, nail, staple, or tape anything onto any surface within the theater, hallways, or dressing rooms without specific approval.