Technical Theatre Organization Best Practices


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"A Stage Apart" Lecture series: Technical Theatre Organization Best Practices
Goal; to compile and expand upon a set of recommendations on how high school theatre's technical department could be organized to operate is a similar fashion to a professional theatre.
[h1]A Working Theatre Hierarchy[/h1]
[h2]Standard Hierarchy[/h2]
Theatre hierarchy depends greatly on the type of theatre. One of the easiest to understand models is that of the Regional Theatre. Though not all theatres operate in the same way, the Regional Theatre model is very similar to the way in which academic theatre operates.

At the top of the hierarchy you usually have the board of directors. Under the board you have two people, the Artistic Director and the Business Manager (Managing/Executive Director). Why these two? Because generally the artistic staff don't have or don't want to deal with the business end of things, and the business people don't want to deal with art things. In the academic setting, the artistic director may be equated to the Department Head and there is probably some person within the department that handles the business though it may be the same person.

Next down in the structure on the artistic side would be the Production Manager and the Production Stage Manager. The production manager oversees all aspects of the production process for each show. He may be in charge of hiring crew, and extra hands for the different shops. The PSM manages the acting side of the world, and coordinates with the production manager and the different shops to keep everything running smoothly.

Under the Production manager you then have all the department heads. You would have the Technical Director, Lighting Supervisor or Master Electrician. From there you would have a Master Carpenter and Asst. Master Elec.

The costume shop has it's own structure that may or may not be pertinent to a high school setting.

[h2]Applying the Professional to the Educational[/h2]
Since in a high school setting the administrative and artistic director's duties usually fall to the department head, they fill that roll effectively. Depending on the program and the experience level of the students it may be possible to have a production manager, even if this position os given to a different student each show. This would probably be a job that students work towards, and then have the chance to fill in their senior year. On the stage management end, it seems that most high schools assign a different stage manager to each show.

Then we get to positions like Student Technical Directors, usually a job given to upper classmen who have proven themselves as competent and well organized, and capable of leading others. The same can probably be said for Lighting Supervisors, though this might be a semester long assignment.

Probably for the best educational experience a master carp and master elec should be assigned to each show, and positions should be rotated so that students have the opportunity to experience multiple positions.

then lastly you have the rest of the crew, which, given the nature of high school theatre probably works both for lighting and carpentry.

[h1]Roles in the Theatre and Responsibilities[/h1]
Producer/Board of Directors
Artistic Director
Business Manager
Dance Captain
Line Captain
Company Manager
Executive Stage Manager
Production Stage Manager
Stage Manager
Cue Caller
Associate Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
<Scenic/Lighting/Audio/Projections/Special Effects/Costume> (SLAPSC) Designer
Associate (SLAPSC) Designer
Assistant (SLAPSC) Designer
Assistant TO THE (SLAPSC) Designer

Production Manager
Production Supervisor
Technical Director
Scene Shop Foreman
Master Carpenter
Head Carpenter
Production Carpenter
Road Carpenter
House Carpenter
Lead Carpenter
Set Crew Chief
Carpenter: Automations
Carpenter: Hydraulics

Wardrobe Assistant
Wig Maker
Shoe Maker

Production Rigger
Head Rigger
Artists' Rigger
High Rigger
Ground Rigger
Rigger: Automations
Head Flyman
House Flyman
Master Flyman
Fly Rail Operator

[h1]How technical theatre positions are filled[/h1]
[h1]Duration of positions[/h1]
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