Theatre Companies & Play Production
A Guide to Structure
A number of years ago I was Assistant Director/Production Stage Manager for an NYC Equity Showcase of a new musical. The Producer was new to the business and was uncertain as to what staff he needed to acquire for the show, and what the actual jobs were for each position. The Director asked me to write up a Guide to help the producer navigate the sometimes confusing world of theatrical employment. While I was researching and compiling the Guide, it occurred to me that others might find it useful. So when I completed my work for the Producer, I continued adding to the Guide and have since made it available to friends and colleagues who needed help setting up a theatre company or breaking down the job descriptions of those hired for shows they were producing. I've also found the descriptions of great help in training young people I've worked with as well. I hope that you find it helpful as well.... Enjoy!
Production Staff - Job Descriptions
The Production Staff of a Theatre Company is made up of many people working together in collaboration to create an organization capable of efficiently producing an artistically, economically and interpersonally successful theatre season. The following list is an attempt to clarify the contributions of each member of that staff and the way they combine to work most effectively, with as little friction and as much synergy as possible. Theatre being what it is, more Art than Science, the general job descriptions for the following positions are, for the most part, universally accepted. However, the specific responsibilities of each postition may vary somewhat from theatre to theatre. In some theatres the responsibilities of several jobs may even be combined into a single position. In the interest of clarity and understanding, I have, therefore, included both the job description and the most common job responsibilities for each position.
This Guide is divided into five sections:
which includes the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors: more specifically the Managing or Executive Director, Producers, Publicity
Manager, Artistic Director, Director of Development, Theatre Manager, Company Stage Manager, Literary Manager (Dramaturg).
which includes the Director, Assistant Director, Musical Director and Choreographer, Fight Choreographer (Stage Combat Director). which includes the Technical Director, Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager and Production Assistants. which includes the Set Designer, Lighting Designer, Sound Designer, Costume Designer and Props Coordinator. which includes the House Manager and ushers.
To go to any of these sections, simply click on the appropriate button. There you will find these primary Production Staff positions and their job descriptions. In full-scale productions there are other important members of the staff, including various technicians and stage crew. In the limited scale of a Showcase, or in case of a less than well-staffed community theatre, theses are the most essential personnel. Some of these may be eliminated or one person may occupy more than one position, but only with great care. Each of these is a full time job with specific skills and qualifications, and overloading any one person only means several jobs done at less than its best.
I hope this Guide clarifies some of the ambiguities and confusion as to the who does what to make a Theatre Company and the shows it produces a success. You are welcome to use it as a guide. I would only request that if you do, you give proper attribution as to its source.
When you've had a chance to look at this Guide, please take a minute and sign my Guest Book. I'd love to hear any comments or suggestions you might have about it and whether it had been of any help to you .... Thanks!!!