Introduction

Working Backstage

There are many dangers inherent in working backstage – we use machinery (sometimes automated), chemicals, lifting devices and ladders, and electricity. At times we work high above the surface of the floor. We hang equipment above the heads of our co-workers and audience members. Their safety, and yours, is the responsibility of everyone who works backstage.

Always remember that your safety and the safety of others is the most important priority when working backstage – more important than deadlines, work notes, grades, or anything else. If you are asked to perform a task and are unsure of how to perform that task safely, ask your crew supervisor or a faculty member for assistance.

If you are providing training to student workers, be clear about the instruction you are providing. Student supervisors are provided with training syllabi to cover with their crews to ensure everyone working backstage knows how to do the job safely and correctly.

Training

Each student who will be working on a production will be trained by a student supervisor or faculty/staff member to safely use the tools, equipment, and techniques which will be required of that student throughout the production process. Each production department (lighting, carpentry, wardrobe, sound, properties, scenic art) has different expectations, tools, and sets of techniques to be learned.

Departmental training is mandatory prior to working in any capacity on any crew for Theatre Practicum or Theatre Production. At the beginning of a departmental production’s build period, all members of Theatre Practicum and Theatre Production I will be scheduled for a training session. If you miss your training session, not only will your grade suffer as a result, but you may not work your assigned hours until successfully completing a training session. This may result in further penalties to your grade if you are scheduled for work hours before a makeup training session can be arranged.

Student supervisors are provided with training guides to be taught to each student worker in each production department. Each item on the training guide will be covered for new student workers, and it is important for all student workers to be comfortable with the covered training material. If further clarification is needed on a training guide item, please contact the appropriate staff member or faculty mentor from the Sources of Assistance section to your left.