Design and Technical Production
theatre department - college of arts and sciences
Students, majors and non-majors alike, who work on preparation crews or running crews for Theatre Department productions are eligible to sign up for a one-credit lab. This must be done during course registration in the first week of each semester. A theater major is required to earn six laboratory credits in order to complete the major. See website for details on signing up for labs or email Crystal Tiala.
Lab credits can be earned in a variety of ways.
Assistant Stage Manager (ASM)
The ASM reports to the stage manager. There are up to two ASM’s per show. During performances the ASM’s work backstage and are in charge of the shift crew.
If you register for a run crew, you are required to be at all technical and dress rehearsals as well as every performance and strike (approximately ten days in all). There are a number of run crews.
- The Run Crew arrives before and stays after the actors to check in all costumes. These crew members assist the actors with makeup, hair, and difficult changes.
- The Shift Crew is responsible for all scene changes.
- The Light Board Operator controls all light cues for the show.
- The Sound Board Operator controls all sound cues for the show.
If you register for a prep crew you will be expected to complete 22 hours of work in your designated area over the course of the semester, usually two hours per week.
- The Electrics Crews hang lights and assist in the maintenance of the various electrical fixtures. This crew generally operates only during tech weeks.
- The Costume Shop Crews assist in the building of costumes for department productions.
- The Paint and Props Crews paint sets and make props.
- The Scene Shop Crews build the sets for department shows.
- Sound Design Basics teachers the steps that a sound designer would need to create their work.
Advanced Production Positions
Certain production positions require significant class preparations and a major commitment of time. Students who register for these labs receive two lab credits, but must obtain faculty permission.
Stage Manager (SM)
The SM has substantial responsibilities during rehearsals and the run of the show. During the rehearsals the SM takes notes and follows the script while the actors speak their lines. During performances the SM calls all of the cues. It is understood that the stage manager or his/her assistant will arrive sufficiently before the rehearsal to prepare the space, and remain after the rehearsal to return the space to a condition consistent with the use of the room. The SM is expected to be the last student to leave the rehearsal and is charged with compiling a detailed report of each rehearsal. A complete explanation of the SM’s remaining duties is available in the Rehearsal Guidelines.
Costume, Lighting, Sound, and Set Designers
Typically, all student designers must have taken upper level design courses in the area in which they are working. When chosen to design, the student works under the guidance of a faculty designer. All designers are expected to conduct significant research and attend all production meetings.
- The Costume Designer is responsible for the appearance and appropriateness of all costumes.
- The Lighting Designer is responsible for the artistic illumination of the sets, costumes, and actors.
- The Sound Designer is responsible for creating the audio system and auditory subtext for the show.
- The Set Designer is responsible for creating the three dimensional environment inhabited by the actors.
Some Department productions make use of a student production dramaturg who conducts research, makes presentations, and offers input geared towards providing a richer context for a play's reception and understanding. For more information or to get involved in production dramaturgy email Scott T. Cummings.