Designer/Technician Guidelines

Master Electrician Guidelines

There are two levels of participation in this area:

  • Master Electrician
  • Assistant Master Electrician

The Master Electrician is responsible for the safe and accurate hanging of the light plot as indicated by the lighting designer and lighting supervisor. He or she is also responsible for the supervision of the lighting crew, running the board (unless there is an A.M.E. present), the maintenance of the show during the run, and the construction and function of any practicals or special effects required by the production.

The Assistant Master Electrician is responsible to assist the master electrician in all duties as assigned.


Obtain the following from the lighting supervisor: circuit plot, shop order, instrument schedule, channel hook-up and any other paperwork as deemed necessary. The master electrician should prepare a rough schedule of crew calls and of how much needs to be accomplished daily and weekly. The staff technical supervisor should approve this.


Approximately one week before hang, crew should be trained in correct hanging and focusing procedures under the supervision of the light cage supervisor. The light cage supervisor will then sign off on the crew members training sheets. 

Pulling the Shop Order

With help of the light cage supervisor, all units should be:

  • Pulled out, dusted off and have their hardware checked. Any old markings on the yoke or connector should be removed.
  • All lamps and all cables should be tested. Any repairs should be done at this time (including fixing strain relief).
  • If any lamp or lens changes need to be made the unit should be marked accordingly using electrical tape around the yoke.
  • Color should be pulled from the stock files and inserted into the show color file.
  • With the lighting supervisor, the master electrician will prepare hanging cards or hang tapes as deemed necessary by the staff technical supervisor.

Production Meetings

The master electrician is expected to attend all production meetings.


  • All units should be hung ready to focus. All shutters should be pulled out, all gel and templates installed, all units safety cabled, and all units circuited and tested.
  • All ladders and booms should be rigged, hung, and circuited. The master electrician should check with the staff technical supervisor for proper rigging techniques if they are not familiar with rigging.
  • All dimmer numbers should be given to the lighting supervisor so they can be plugged into the paperwork.

The master electrician should meet daily with the lighting supervisor and staff technical supervisor to update each other on any new information.

The show must be ready to focus by the date scheduled for the first focus call. This means all units work and are soft patched into the correct channel, all templates and color are in the proper units, all units have the necessary hardware and everything has been hung to the specifications of the lighting designer. The master electrician should be prepared to do a channel check with the lighting designer and the lighting supervisor the day before the first focus call. A show that is not ready to focus at this time is grounds for being pulled from the show and failing Theatre Production.


The master electrician is expected to attend all focus calls. The master electrician is responsible for making sure that the crew is called and is ready to work at the specified time. During the focus, the M.E. (or the A.L.D. or A.M.E.) will run the board (or remote focus unit) and document any changes that occur in the instrument schedule. It is the responsibility of the M.E. to notify the lighting supervisor of any changes in the Lightwright file.

The master electrician should be available to take care of any problems that arise on the day of focus. The M.E. is responsible for organizing the crew, making sure any necessary equipment is available, and any electrical problems that arise during focus are taken care of. The M.E. is there to keep things running smoothly; the M.E. should not do any of the actual focusing unless absolutely necessary. The lighting designer will “call” the focus but the master electrician is in charge of making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

If the assistant lighting designer is not present during focus, the master electrician should be available to record focus charts for each unit.

Technical Rehearsals

The master electrician is responsible for running the board during all technical rehearsals (unless this duty has been assigned to the A.M.E.). A channel check should be done before every technical rehearsal. At channel check the master electrician should make sure that the instrument works, that the focus hasn’t changed, and that the color is not burned out. Bad lamps should be changed, bad fixtures or cable should be changed out and left, clearly marked, for the light cage supervisor to repair, focus notes should be referred to the lighting designer, and color should be changed at the discretion of the lighting designer.

Notes Sessions

At the end of each technical rehearsal and preview, the master elctrician, lighting supervisor and the lighting designer will meet to share notes and develop a list of work and focus notes for the next day’s work call.

The master electrician is responsible for securing all necessary crew and equipment for that call. It may also be necessary to coordinate with the technical director to arrange for the necessary dark time and usage of ladders and lifts so as not to stall out other departments.


Channel check should be done before every performance. Once the show is in performance the master electrician is responsible for adjusting focus and changing color.


The master electrician, in conjunction with the lighting supervisor, will supervise the strike of all the instruments, cable, special effects, color, hardware and any other equipment used after the final performance. All units should go to the light cage where they will be inventoried and sorted by the light cage supervisor, all gel should be sorted and returned to the cage, and all other equipment should be returned to its storage place. At the end of the night the floor should be swept and all ladders returned to storage.

The master electrician and his/her assistant, when present, should fill out a crew evaluation on each crew member and give the evaluations to the department technical director.


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