WANT TO HELP OUT BUT NOT SURE HOW?
HERE'S A HANDY GUIDE TO ROLES AT THE THEATRE
The one who makes sure the show happens
Basically, the producer is the one in charge of the show. The director is in charge of the artistic side of things, and the producer is in charge of the rest. Making sure that everyone is doing their job, coordinating schedules, keeping everyone happy and enabling the director to focus on directing. It’s up to the producer how much they do personally and how much they delegate.
The one who designs the show artistically
The director takes the artistic lead. The director's job starts early, reading and re-reading the play until they know it inside out and have a vision for what it will look like. The director and the producer choose a cast, and the director runs the rehearsals. As the director, you are in charge of blocking the play, making choices about the mood, the interpretation and the presentation of the play, and helping the actors to fully develop and portray their characters. All this is done with the able assistance of the-
The day to day organizer
The Stage Manager is the Director's right-hand (wo)man. From telling the actors to sit down and be quiet to taking notes while the director directs, the stage manager is the one keeping all the ducks in a row. Once the show is running the stage manager is in charge, making sure that everyone is in their place and on their marks.
Pulling together the bits and pieces
The props are all the little items that make a show believable. Dishes, food and drink, giant statues of Buddha with hidden compartments... all these are props. The props person is in charge of collecting (or making) all these items, as well as maintaining them during the show. Once the show is done, the props person puts away all the props, and makes sure that any borrowed items are returned to their owners.
Clothing the cast
An actor without a costume is just an exhibitionist, and the costume or wardrobe person makes sure that the actors look the part. Sometimes the job involves sewing, sometimes it's merely a matter of going through our costume department and pulling together outfits. Once everyone is outfitted, the costume person is expected to make sure that costumes are kept clean and ready, and to help with any changes during the show. After the show is done, the costumer launders and puts away all the costumes, making sure that any borrowed items are returned to their owners.
Set Design, Construction and Decoration
Building a setting
The set is the background for the play. It can be as simple as a black stage with a tree in it, or as complicated as a full living room with three doors, a staircase and a couple of secret compartments. The designer gets together with the director and decides what the set should look like. Then the set is constructed, then painted and decorated. These can be three different jobs for three people, or all rolled into one. The set decorator often works closely with the props person as props are often part of the set.
Lights and Sound
The technical side
Some shows require two technicians, some require only one, depending on how technical a show it is. The lighting tech sets and programs the lights, and during the show is in charge of running the lights. The sound tech downloads and organizes the pre-and post-show music and the sound effects, and runs them during the show.
Front of House
The front line
The Front of House volunteers are the cheerful, smiling people who take tickets, sell food and drink at the concession, and keep the lobby tidy for shows. Volunteers can do one night or many, and are responsible for making the coffee, setting out food, selling tickets, and cashing out and cleaning up afterwards. There is also a Front of House Co-ordinator who books the volunteers, makes sure that the concession is stocked, and oversees the Front of House operations for the run of the show.
Getting people in the door
This job is done mostly on your own time, from home. Tickets are set up online with Brown Paper Tickets, and the ticket sales co-ordinator checks online and by phone to confirm reservations. Before each performance, a list of ticket sales is dropped off at the theatre or sent via email for the Front of House workers.
All eyes on you!
Last but not least, the actors are the ones who learn the lines, inhabit the characters, and put on the public face of the show.
Each and every one of these jobs is equally important. Without a strong team working together, the production can fall flat on its face. And as each show has different needs, sometimes the jobs are melded together and doubled up. For instance, if a show is light on props or costumes, often the Stage Manager will take on one of those tasks as well. Or if a show is very complicated, sometimes a backstage crew is needed for the scene changes, setting props and helping the actors with quick wardrobe changes. Flexibility is key. Here at Opening Nite Theatre, we like to get everyone trying multiple jobs, and we fully appreciate every single volunteer. Without volunteers, we'd be nowhere! Once the show is done, we always host a cast and crew party, with food and beverages, a great chance for everyone who worked on the show to get together and just relax.