The Technical Director, or TD, is the person in charge of the technical elements of a production. Though in many theatres these days the TD presides mainly over the scenic elements of the production; as many companies have Production Manager
s and Lighting Supervisor
s who handle lights and sound. The costume shop is often in its own little world no matter what theatre
The TD's basic function is to ensure that the technical aspects of a show are created to the designer's specifications and that everything gets finished on time. The scene designer will hand
off the plot
to the TD, who then creates Working Drawings
that are given to the carpenters and crafts people in the scene shop. Often one of the biggest challenges for the TD is to make sure that pieces are finished in a timely manner so that they can get sent to the painters.
[top]During the Build
During the build
, the TD oversees all of the crew that works in the shop. Often the TD is in charge of hiring the crew. In smaller venues / shops, the TD assigns projects and makes sure that people know what they are doing. The TD is also there to assist any crew member who needs help or instruction. In larger venues this is primarily the responsibility of the Master Carpenter
In some shops the TD will also work on part of the show, especially in smaller regional and educational venues. In many scene shops the TD is just a supervisor and helps with projects as needed, but in the smaller shops where they can't afford to have all the carpenters they might need, the TD will work in the scenic shop.
The TD is also in charge of getting all of the pieces of the set from the scene shop and assembling them correctly in the right position on stage
. This often means locating critical points on stage by measuring from center line
and plaster line
. Loading in the set may also require creating proper rigging and bracing to keep the set in place.
During the tech process, often the TD will sit with the director and stage manager
and watch the rehearsal looking out for things that still need touching up and making sure that everything is safe for the actors. The TD also makes sure that all the technical elements function properly. During the rehearsal (or after) the director may give notes to the TD about things that need fixing, finishing, or safety
concerns. Usually the director's notes for the TD will include any scenic notes from set construction issues to paint issues.
[top]During the Run
In the regional theatre
world the TD is not usually at every performance of a show. They may come in to check on equipment each day, but in general they move on to start working on the next show.
While the above is an idealistic scenario, reality is seldom so well defined.
Originally Posted by derekleffew
A road house
or other venue
may use the term Technical Director, but which might be better deemed Manager (Director) of Technical (Backstage) Operations, or Operations Manager.