Theatre Production Handbook
This handbook will provide an overview of each position of the production team. It will outline responsibilities and the chain of command that occurs on most shows. This is not absolute! Every production process is different and communication is key, this is intended to simply start everyone on the same page. If you have any questions regarding your role in any of these positions, please talk to Scott Olinger or Jeremy Olson. We will try to clear up any confusion before it becomes a problem.
Stage Manager - keeps whole production running smoothly from first production meeting to closing performance. Duties include but are not limited to:
- assisting with auditions
- attending all production meetings
- attending all rehearsals
- leading warm-ups as necessary
- taking all blocking and directorial notes
- distributing daily rehearsal notes to the artistic staff and production staff
- assembling rehearsal props
- making plots for props, sound & lights
- calling cues in technical rehearsals and performances
- working with house manager to coordinate smooth running of performances
- creating checklists for both stage manager and assistant stage managers for use in the running of the show
- running all performances with consistency and professionalism.
A stage manager must be responsible and organized, efficient and dependable, cool under pressure, a good problem solver, considerate, and have a good sense of humor. The stage manager reports to the director.
Assistant Stage Manager - assists the stage manager in the smooth running of rehearsals and performances and collaborates on the rehearsal schedule with the stage manager and director. Duties during rehearsals may include:
- setting the stage
- organizing rehearsal props
- shifting scenery
- cleaning the stage
- holding book
- taking line notes
- standing in for an actor
Performance responsibilities include:
- the management of all backstage and dressing room activities before, during and after the show - in particular, establishing a professional working atmosphere in all backstage areas
- cleaning the stage
- presetting all props and set pieces
- giving all actor calls
- insuring that actors are in place for entrances
- making any assigned scene or property shifts
- handling any backstage emergency
- communicating with and taking cues from the stage manager throughout the show.
The assistant stage managers report to the stage manager.
Assistant Director - this position offers an apprenticeship in directing by both observing the directing process and participating in it through discussion, planning and conducting scene work with the actors. The assistant director must attend all production meetings and rehearsals and reports to the director.
Publicity - publicizes the production on campus and in Mt. Vernon. Duties include:
- attending production meetings and first read-through of the play
- coordinating publicity including banners, posters, table tents, contact with student organizations and the Cornellian
- gathering playbill information
- creating a lobby display appropriate for the production.
The director must approve all publicity materials before they are distributed.
Box Office Manager - coordinates the sale of all tickets. Duties include:
- working with Theatre Department Chair to insure tickets are printed and numbered
- organizing the selling of tickets at the Thomas Commons beginning a week before the production opens
- recording a ticket reservations message for the box office answering machine three weeks prior to opening & regularly filling ticket orders
- scheduling and supervising box office personnel for the running of the show
- maintaining efficient box office procedures
- completing ticket and cash box reports following each performance.
House Manager - coordinates all front-of-house activities and, with the stage manager, the smooth running of the show. Duties include:
- scheduling and training all ushers
- establishing a welcoming atmosphere for patrons & assisting them with any problems or concerns
- maintaining control of the house so that, barring any unavoidable need for a hold, both acts of show begin on time
- managing all late seating in accordance with the director's wishes
- remaining front-of-house until all patrons are safely out of the building.
Sound Operator - The sound operator reports to the Sound Designer and is responsible for:
- the installation and setup of sound equipment (as needed)
- operating the sound equipment during the run
- striking the sound equipment following the run
The sound op is responsible for any actor handled sound equipment (body mics, etc.) which includes distributing and retrieving this equipment before and after each performance. Once the run begins, the sound op is responsible for sound check prior to each performance (including dress rehearsals). Also, once the show opens, the sound op reports to the Stage Manager.
Assistant Designers/Technical Director (Includes Assist. Scenic, Costume, Lighting, and Sound Designers) - These positions will be filled on an "as needed" basis from show to show, at the discretion of the associated designer/TD. Each person will report directly to the designer they are assisting. Duties will vary greatly from designer to designer, as each professional has different uses for their assistants. All assistants are required to attend production meetings. In addition, the assistants must attend:
Assist. Scenic Designer - Scenic Load-In, Tech Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals, Previews
Assist. Costume Designer - Dress Rehearsals, Previews
Assist. Lighting Designer - Hang, Focus, Tech Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals, Previews
Assist. Sound Designer - Sound Load-In, Tech Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals, Previews
Assist. Technical Director - Scenic Build Calls, Scenic Load-In, Tech Rehearsals, Dress Rehearsals, Previews, Scenic Strike
Other responsibilities may arise at the discretion of the designers/TD.
Wardrobe Chief - The wardrobe chief is responsible for maintaining and cleaning the costumes during the run of the show. He/she is expected to be at every performance, including all dress rehearsals. Duties include:
- Making sure all costume pieces are accounted for before and after each performance
- any ironing and/or washing of costumes necessary as directed by costume designer or stage manager
- any repair of costumes as directed by stage manager or costume designer
- arrangement for delivery and retrieval of any dry clean items
These duties may be assigned in part to members of the costume run crew but are the final responsibility of the wardrobe chief. The wardrobe chief reports to the costume designer before the opening of the show, and to the stage manager after the opening of the show.
Master Electrician/Light Board Operator - The Master Electrician and Light Board Operator positions are now combined into one position. The master electrician is responsible for supervising the hang and focus of the lighting for the show as well as maintaining the lighting throughout the run of the show. Duties include:
- circuiting the plot (with assistance from the lighting designer)
- running dimmer check before every show (including dress rehearsals)
- running the light board for each show (including dress rehearsals)
- assist TD in supervising strike of electrics after show is complete
- replacing burnt out lamps and gel as needed
- programming the board during light levels
The master electrician reports to the lighting designer before the show opens, and the stage manager after the show opens.
Scenic Construction Crew - The primary responsibility of the scenic construction crew is to assist the TD in the construction of the scenic elements of the show. Painting may also be involved. Crew members report to the Technical Director. Construction crew ends when the show opens.
Scenic Run Crew - The scenic run crew members are responsible for moving scenery during the run of the show. Duties include:
- sweeping and mopping of floor before every performance
- setting the stage with scenery before every performance
- moving scenery during scene changes during the show
- striking the scenery at the end of each performance
Crew members report to the stage manager and their assistants.
Costume Run Crew - The costume run crew reports to the wardrobe chief and performs duties as directed. Duties may include:
- assisting in accounting for costume pieces
- assisting in washing/ironing costume pieces
- assisting in quick changes during show
- assisting in costume strike
Duties are concluded when costume strike is complete.
Makeup Assistant - The makeup assistant is responsible for assisting the costume designer with the application of makeup. Duties include:
- helping to supervise cast members applying makeup
- helping to wig cast members
- possibly attending selected production meetings
The makeup assistant reports to the costume designer.
Scenic Artist - The scenic artist is responsible for painting the scenery as directed by the Scenic Designer. The scenic artist may be required to supervise crew members as assigned to paints by the Technical Director. The scenic artist may be required to touch up scenery during the run of the show. The scenic artist reports directly to the scenic designer.
Lighting Crew - The lighting crew is responsible for assisting the master electrician in the hang and focus of the show. In some circumstances, they may be called upon to fill the following positions if needed:
- follow spot operator
Crew members report to the master electrician.
Props Master - The props master is responsible for assisting the scenic designer with stage properties. Duties include:
- gathering props as directed by designer
- painting props as directed by designer
- building props as directed by designer
- attending all production meetings
- making sure all props are accounted for at beginning and end of each show?
- Striking props at end of performance run
- Repairing props during the run of the show
Props master reports directly to the scenic designer before the show opens and to the stage manager after the show opens.