The Stage Management team consists of the Stage Manager and their assistant(s).
The stage manager is the head of the show’s crew, assisting the director and production manager in making the show happen. They run auditions, attend all rehearsals, and keep track of everything that happens in each tech department. At rehearsals, they record everything that is discussed, from blocking notes for the actors to notes and ideas that the director has for the crew to listing all props and costume changes. They are responsible for making sure everything is set up for rehearsals and usually arrive 15-30 minutes early to get things ready. They also work with the director to create the rehearsal schedule, communicating any schedule conflicts. Broadly speaking, it is the SM’s job to know everything about the show such that if anyone has a question about the tech, actors, vision, etc., the SM has the answer. During the run of the show, they are responsible for meeting with each team to learn how all of the moving parts fit together, as they are now fully in charge. This means they set up the stage and prep the actors before the show, call cues (i.e. tell the light/sound operators, backstage “grips,” and actors what to do and when to do it) during the show, and lock up and clean the theatre afterwards. The assistants help the SM with everything leading up to the show and typically act as grips during the run.
The set department consists of the Set Designer, the Master Carpenter, the assistants of both, and sometimes a Scenic Designer.
The set designer is responsible for creating the physical world in which the performances will take place. They read the script and then communicate with the director to translate their vision into a physical structure complete with set dressings and set pieces for the actors to interact with. This design is then given to the master carpenter and the rest of the tech departments as a physical or digital 3D model. The designer also attends ‘set work parties’ and helps the master carpenter build the set they designed.
The master carpenter is responsible for building the set. They take the set design and put together a plan for construction over several weeks. Set construction happens during ‘Set Work Parties’ that are scheduled and hosted by the carpenter. They order materials based on our inventory and what the set requires. This construction usually involves lots of wood and/or metal work, the use of power tools, and painting.
A scenic designer is chosen for a show if the set designer doesn’t feel like they have enough artistic ability for some of the things in their vision. They manage the painting and art for the show usually when more textured and complicated painting or decorating is needed.
The Lights Department consists of the Lights Designer, the Master Electrician, and the assistants of both.
The designer is responsible for designing the lighting of the stage space of a production. They read the script to know what lights/effects are required and discuss ideas with the director to gain an understanding of their vision. They then create a light plot of where the lights will be hung, consulting with the set department on the layout of the set. They also consult the costumes and props departments to ensure the agreement of costume and props designs and lighting colors. After passing the design along to the electrician, they are expected to help get the lights in place according to their plot. Once the lights are hung, they program cues into our light board that will allow the lights to change and create unique lighting effects throughout the performance. They are also responsible for teaching the run crew light op as well as those running tech for LTT performances how to use the lights board.
The electrician is responsible for ensuring that lights are hung as indicated on the designer’s light plot. Additionally, they mount special effects equipment like projectors and fog machines when needed and make sure that the backstage area is lit during performances. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of lighting equipment throughout the run of the show. They will put together a work schedule to ensure that all these responsibilities are completed in a timely manner. This work is done during ‘Lights Work Parties’ that are scheduled and hosted by the electrician.
The Sound Department consists of the Sound Designer, the Sound Engineer, and the assistants of both.
The designer is responsible for all music and sound effects in a show. They read the script and help to enhance the director’s vision while also adding their own ideas and creativity. They then work with the sound engineer and the master electrician to decide where speakers should be placed. The designer will obtain and/or create the music and sound effects required, identify where cues need to occur in a show, and create a file in QLab to trigger the sound cues. They are also responsible for teaching the run crew sound op and those running sound for LTT performances how to use and level the sound board and Qlab.
The engineer is responsible for setting up sound hardware such as speakers and microphones, as well as ensuring this equipment interfaces properly with our sound system. To achieve this, they create a sound patch file to map audio signals running through our network, and thoroughly test devices once they are hooked up. This work is done during ‘Sound Work Parties’ that are scheduled and hosted by the engineer. They are also responsible for setting up the intercom system used to run shows, as well as training run crew positions working with mics.
The Costumes Department consists of the Costumes Designer and their assistant(s).
The designer is responsible for working with the director to design clothing and accessories for the actors. Both the director and designer bring ideas to the table and the designer brings the director’s vision to the stage. The process begins with the designer and any assistants reading the script and creating an initial design to present to the director through sketches and sometimes pinterest boards for approval. The construction and acquisition of the costumes fall to the designer. Costumes can be pulled from what DT already has in costume storage, made by the designers, or purchased anywhere.
The costumes designer is also responsible for the design of hair and makeup for each character. If a makeup designer or hair designer is chosen, they report to the costume designer to ensure that their work adheres to the overarching concepts/designs. The designer is also responsible for informing the run crew costume master of quick changes and how costumes should be maintained during the run of the show. If the show calls for it, there may also be run crew hair and/or makeup grips. The designer is responsible for training them as well.
The Properties Department consists of the Properties Designer and their assistant(s).
The designer is responsible for working with the director to design stage props that satisfy the director’s vision for the show. They read the script and create a document with what props are required called the ‘Props Matrix’ and then select, purchase, pull (from our props storage called the Props Dock) and/or assemble said props. As early in the show process as possible they provide ‘shadow props’ to the actors to be used in place of the real ones while they are being made or acquired. They should make sure to communicate with the set and costume departments to determine if there are objects that fall under set dressing (responsibility of the set department) or costume pieces (responsibility of the costumes department). They are responsible for showing the actors and stage management the correct way to use the props and giving a detailed rundown of what props are used and when to the run crew props master. If there are food items or drinks consumed in the show, the props designer is responsible for purchasing and/or making them throughout the run of the show, unless delegated to the props master.
The Streaming Tech department consists of the Streaming Technician and their assistant(s).
The technician is responsible for ensuring that any camera set-up necessary for a live broadcast performance is completed, tested, and ready before dress and technical rehearsals. This can include physically setting up a camera in our performance space, or coordinating to deliver cameras to remote locations and walking the actors through set-up. They are also responsible for the integration of the cameras with the streaming platform as well as making sure that everything can be seen and heard on the stream. Finally, the streaming technician is responsible for running the broadcast during a live streamed show.
Projections and Media
The Projections and Media department consists of the Projections Designer, the Media Engineer, and the assistants of both.
The designer is responsible for generating initial projections ideas (including backdrops, graphics, videos, etc.) as well as a layout for projectors in the space. They read the script and work with the director to refine these initial ideas alongside the director’s vision to produce projections which support the show artistically and thematically. They are responsible for finding and/or creating any video or graphics that will be projected as part of their design. The designer is also responsible for programming these projections as cues in QLab and working alongside the sound designer to develop a consistent list of QLab cues.
The media engineer is responsible for setting up equipment related to projections or video feeds used in the show. This includes hardware such as projectors, monitors, or TVs. The engineer ensures that this equipment is interfacing correctly with the projections computer, and that the designer’s cues are being displayed properly. The engineer is also responsible for troubleshooting and repair of any projections or video equipment throughout the run of the show as well as training the member of run crew that will be responsible for the projections and/or video cues.
If a core aspect of the show does not fit easily into any of the above positions and/or is very technically demanding, a special effects department head might be appointed to focus on this aspect. Historically, special effects crew heads have worked on rain effects, fake blood troughs, steam whistles, pyrotechnics etc. This position is most often created when the load on the lights department for a particular show seems overly daunting.