Other Key Positions
There are many important people who help to make a production go smoothly--on and off stage. Below are some not represented in Theatre People's individual pages.
Most productions use a properties master to deal with the large number of small items that a play needs. In larger shows, there may also be a props designer who decides what the props should look like and how they will function, in coordination with the director and set designers.
Assistant Stage Manager
Often needed in larger productions, the ASM is often stationed just offstage to facilitate communication between the stage manager (who is out in the house) and actors, as well as ensuring safety. The ASM often helps with complex set changes, quick changes offstage, or preparing the stage for performance.
When sets need to be built or lights hung, shows need carpenters and electricians to do the grunt work of sawing, hammering, lifting, hanging. In many companies, no experience is necessary to serve in one of these roles as you will be taught on the job. Often, actors serve in these roles when they aren't needed in rehearsal.
The crew chief is intended to take the burden of finding a scheduling staff off of the TD and master carpenter's shoulders. The CC will find determine with the master carpenter what the build schedule is, and how many carpenters will be needed on any particular day (and then make sure that they show up).
Responsible for the design and execution of hairstyle and color for cast members appearing on stage. Key duties may include: Submitting hair design and color samples for cast members appearing in a production, in consultation with director, costume designer and make-up artist; creating designs as agreed upon while instructing cast members in the proper procedure for execution of the design; monitoring and maintaining hair designs and color throughout the run of the production; maintaining an inventory of design tools, dryers, and related hairdressing materials for use in each production; collecting, maintaining and preserving hairpieces and/or wigs as property of the theatre company; supervising clean up and storage of all hair products; working within prescribed budget; training hairdressing volunteers in method and practice.
This person is responsible for preparation and application of make-up to cast members. Key duties may include: consulting with director, costume designer and hairstylist for final approval of characters’ appearances; make-up design; maintaining an inventory of make-up products consistent with general makeup requirements for cast members; acquiring any make-up products specific to character cast members’ appearance on stage; applying make-up for cast members unfamiliar with basic requirements and techniques, to be done in an instructional manner so as to allow cast members to learn techniques; supervising and maintaining make-up requirements throughout the run of each production; supervising removal of make-up, preserving pre-cast and/or pre-made pieces for use throughout the run of the production; supervising clean-up of make-up room and inventory of products; cleaning and storing make-up to preserve product life and allow maximum use; working within prescribed budget; and training make-up volunteers in methods and practice.
The master carpenter's job takes the working drawings from the TD, and using them, builds the set. After a quick glance at the working drawings, the MC should be able to schedule the build, order lumber, and then just pass that information on to the crew chief and TD, who make sure that the carpenters are there at the appropriate times. In many theatres, these duties having been absorbed into the TD position. If your show can come up with a master carpenter, use them wisely.
The ME is responsible for taking the lighting plot and making sure that all lighting units on the plot are hung in the correct locations and actually work. Coordinating the numbers of lights and circuits and allocating cabling, gels, and other accessories are the most important aspects of this role. In many theatres, the light designer often ends up sharing many of the typical ME roles, so the job gets done by both.
A highly sought skill in most theatres, the MP is responsible for painting set elements under the direction of the set designer, but often the Master Painter has the freedom to choose many of the design elements him/herself.
This person is responsible for designing and securing all stage properties needed for each character in show. (Note: Some companies have two positions--a Prop Manager who is responsible for building, storing and cataloging all props for the company, and a separate Prop Master for each production.) Key duties may include: Works with director to understand his/her vision and needs related to time period or other limitations; determines needed props for each show considering script, time period of show, and usage of props; works with producer to communicate budgetary needs and work within the assigned budget; collects all receipts for expenses and turn in to producer; works with producer as necessary to find alternate sources of props if unable to find what is needed; works with producer and director to ensure props are ready according to schedule; works closely with each actor to develop understanding of usage of any special props; works with stage manager and props crew to explain and develop mechanics of running the show, including setting up prop tables and assigning specific tasks to each crew member; strikes all props at end of show and return Hershey Area Playhouse prop shop or place of origin.
This person is responsible for securing all items needed to decorate the set that are not considered to be stage properties. Key duties would be similar to Prop Manager/Master above, replacing the word "props" with "set pieces."
The sound engineer must take the sound design and ensure that it can be created in a given space. This involves selecting equipment to reproduce the various sound elements required, installing and testing it, and usually running the actual show.
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