Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Jobs


ANIMATEUR
(From French) Facilitator of a community, education or group event (social, cultural or artistic). The Animateur may be a group leader, or may have initiated a project. She or he is responsible for running the event.

ARMOURY
The Department in a large producing theatre which deals with the maintenance and storage of prop weapons.

ASM
Assistant Stage Manager.

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
Usually shortened to ASM, the assistant stage manager is the most junior member of the Stage Management team, and is often in charge of sourcing and running Properties during the run of a show. She or he is also a member of the stage 'crew'. See also STAGE MANAGER and DSM.

BAGGAGE MASTER
Redundant term, in use theatrically between approximately 1884 and 1960 in the UK, it originated on the railway system. The Baggage Master is part of a touring theatre company, and is responsible for all personal and company luggage, and has to check all luggage (including props, costumes, scenery etc.) is packed and ready when the show leaves for a new venue.

BOX OFFICE MANAGER
Member of the theatre staff responsible for the operation of the Box Office, including customer service standards, ticket sales in person, by phone or online, and the correct recording of ticket sales, repayments to theatre companies etc.

CASUALS
Part-time temporary technicians (paid by the hour).

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN
The senior member of the theatre's stage lighting team, although not necessarily the lighting designer. Known in the US as MASTER ELECTRICIAN.
In common with many theatre jobs, the actual duties of the Chief Electrician vary from theatre to theatre. Some chiefs are responsible for electrical maintenance of the building, some design the lighting for nearly every in-house production, some design no lighting at all, some have a team of eight staff under them, some have two. Many theatres employ casual staff to assist on lighting rigging sessions. Some theatres have a separate sound department, smaller venues have the lighting team also running sound for shows (and doing sound design for some).

CHOREOGRAPHER
Member of the production team responsible for setting dances and movement sequences during the production.

COMPANY MANAGER
In a touring theatre company, the Company Manager is responsible for the well-being of the cast and crew of the show; ensuring their arrival at the venue, dealing with their payments, dealing with any disputes, and generally ensuring all is well and happy. The CM is also the representative of the producers in that he/she is responsible for collecting payments from the venue management.
In a building-based theatre company, the role is more administrative, dealing with payroll and other matters connected with the cast and crew of the current production(s).

CONDUCTOR
The director of an orchestra. See also MUSICAL DIRECTOR.

COSTUME DESIGNER
Member of the creative team for a show responsible for the clothes worn by the actors throughout the performance. She/he works with the director to discuss the needs of the show before coming up with a series of sketches to illustrate the looks for particular characters. The designer then works with the wardrobe team at the theatre / production company to decide which items are already in stock, which can be adapted from existing stock, which should be hired, which should be bought and which should be made from scratch. Charity shops are useful sources for modern / recent items, and theatre are many theatrical costume hire companies available in larger cities.

COSTUMER
Member of the WARDROBE Department. See also DRESSER.

CRITIC
Journalist who writes reviews for theatre productions.

CSM
Company Stage Manager

DANCE CAPTAIN
Member of a group of dancers in a show who is responsible for leading rehearsals and warm-ups prior to the performance.

DANCER
Member of the company whose role is choreographed, and who has no spoken words.

DAYMAN
A member of the backstage staff whose employment includes work done in day-time.

DEPUTY STAGE MANAGER (DSM)
Usually shortened to DSM, this is a member of the Stage Management team. In the UK, the DSM is often "on the book" - that is, they are in charge of calling all of the technical and actor cues during the show, usually using a headset communications system and/or a system of cue lights. The DSM is often also in rehearsal working with the director to prepare the prompt book. Known in some places as a Stage Director.
See also PROMPT BOOK, STAGE MANAGER.
German: Inspizient

DESIGNER
See SET DESIGNER, COSTUME DESIGNER, LIGHTING DESIGNER, SCENOGRAPHER.

DIALECT COACH
Specialist who's bought into a production to train actors in a specific dialect / accent.

DIRECTOR
There are many types of director.
Broadly, the role involves being responsible for the overall artistic vision of a production.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - Normally in charge of the programming of a venue. May also direct shows.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - Manager in charge of the administration of a venue.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR - In charge of the technical requirements of a production.
(The term LIGHTING DIRECTOR is used in the UK for a TV Lighting Designer).

DRAMA
The academic subject area into which theatre falls.

DRAMA TEACHER
Teacher of Drama.

DRAMATIST
A playwright, composer or lyrisist who takes an existing story and transforms it into a play or musical.
Dramatists Guild of America

DRAMATURG
Works as an advisor/assistant to the director on the background and historical relevance of the play being produced. Also can act as a liaison between director and playwright, and can work on the text of the play (editing & revising scripts). Also advises the theatre management staff on the suitability of plays for the theatre's audience and artistic policy. See link below for more information.
What is Dramaturgy?

DRESSER
Member of the WARDROBE Department who helps actors with costume care and costume changes during the performance.

EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Member of the theatre staff who develops work for schools, or provides resources on current productions and runs workshops for students / school groups.

FIGHT DIRECTOR
Choreographer of fight scenes on stage. Works intensively with actors training them how to avoid hitting (and hurting) each other, how to use weapons safely etc. Fight directors are highly skilled and trained and should not be substituted for someone 'who once saw Gladiator' and thinks they can repeat it!!
Society of American Fight Directors
Fightdirector.com

FINANCIAL BACKER
See ANGEL.

FLYMAN
Term for the operator of the theatre's flying system. Can be male or female, and now usually referred to as FLYPERSON. See also SPOTTER.

FOH MANAGER
See FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER.

FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER
Member of theatre management who is responsible for the day to day running of the front of house (FOH) area (as opposed to the backstage areas). He or she may oversee the running of the box office, any merchandising / catering stands as well as the ushers and any part of the building the public may enter during their visit to the theatre.
Often shortened to FOH Manager.

GRIP
(US) Member of stage crew responsible for moving items of scenery during the show. Usually wears black. A group of grips is a GRIP CREW. This term is borrowed from the film/tv industry, where a grip handles and sets up camera equipment and lighting.

HAND
(US) Short for Stage Hand (member of Stage Crew).

HOUSE MANAGER
Duty member of theatre staff who is responsible for the Front of House staff and organisation for a particular performance. She/he is also responsible for the health and safety of the audience while they are in the theatre. See FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER.

LIGHTING DESIGNER
Member of the production team for a show who is responsible for the overall look of the lighting. He or she may have an Assistant Lighting Designer who concentrates on the necessary paperwork for the lighting design. The Lighting Designer (or LD) is responsible for liaising with the director about style and with the set and costume designers about colour and decides on the position, type, focus direction and colour of every lighting instrument in the rig. She/he draws a lighting plan to communicate this to other members of his team (and to the theatre staff who are rigging the lighting). During a lighting plot, the lighting states are built.

LIGHTING DIRECTOR
A lighting designer for television is known as a lighting director.

LX
Short for Electrics. The department in the theatre responsible for stage lighting and sometimes sound and maintenance of the building's electrical equipment. Lighting cues in the prompt book are referred to as LX cues (abbreviated to LXQ).

LYRICIST
Author of the text of a musical / the words of a song.
See also DRAMATIST.

MASTER
1) An overall control fader or lever on a lighting or sound control board. The Grand Master takes precedence over all other controls and allows the operator to fade out the entire output of the lighting desk.
On a lighting desk the PRESET MASTER allows the control of a section of the desk independently from the rest.
See also SUBMASTER.
2) An original (e.g. Master tape, master plan) which should be used only to make a copy from which to work.
3) A Department Head (e.g. Master Carpenter, Master Electrician).

MASTER ELECTRICIAN
See CHIEF ELECTRICIAN.

MD
1) See MUSICAL DIRECTOR.
2) Mini Disc. See DIGITAL RECORDING.

MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Often the conductor/leader of a musical, or the person responsible for the musical content of a production. Also known as the MD.

PM
Short for PRODUCTION MANAGER.

PRODUCER
That person or body responsible for the financial and contractual side of a production. This can include the raising of money to stage the production, hiring the facilities, employing the technical crew, front of house and publicity staff, director and cast. The producer usually works closely with the director before embarking on a production.
Submitted by Alan Williamson

PRODUCTION MANAGER
(UK) Responsible for technical preparations, including budgeting and scheduling of productions. This role in the US is usually known as TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.

PRODUCTION SOUND ENGINEER
Often shortened to PE. Works alongside the Sound Designer to help in translating artistic ideas into equipment (and installing it).

PROMPTER
Person whose role is to follow the text of a play, and be ready to remind the actors of their lines if they forget them. In many older theatres, there is a prompt box downstage centre sunk into the stage, so that only the prompter's head is above stage where she/he can see the actors.

PROPERTIES MANAGER*
TO BE DEFINED

PUBLIC RELATIONS / PR / P.R.*
Department in the theatre (or any company) which deals with the public image of the theatre. Sometimes known as the MARKETING DEPARTMENT.

PUBLICITY
The department in the theatre whose job it is to entice the audience into the theatre, and to tell them what they need to know in order to get the most from the production.

RF Co-ordinator
Member of the sound team on large scale events who ensures that all users of radio frequency devices (radio mics, comms, in-ear monitors, IFB etc.) have radio frequencies allocated to them which do not interfere with each other, and are covered by the appropriate licences in the region in which the event is taking place.

ROAD MANAGER (ROADIE)
A touring technician with one night shows, particularly music groups. Large groups will have a roadie in charge of a particular instrument or set of instruments (eg Guitar Roadie, Drum Roadie, Lager Roadie) who is responsible for the correct unloading and setting up (tuning etc) of the instruments before the artists arrive onstage for the sound check.
Roadie stories

SCENOGRAPHER
Designer responsible for all the SCENOGRAPHY - the visual aspects of a production (lighting, scenery, costumes etc). One of the greatest scenographers of current times was Josef Svoboda (1920-2002).
Lighting Practitioners

SEAMSTRESS
Member of the wardrobe department who operates sewing machines and carries out other sewing tasks.

SET BUILDER
Member of theatre's production department or outside contractor who is responsible for realising the set designer's construction in timber, steel or other material as specified by the designer.

SET DESIGNER
Member of the artistic team for a show who works with the director to create the scenic 'look' for the stage throughout the show and any accompanying props. She/he sometimes also designs the costumes.
The set designer works with the production manager to ensure the design stays within the budget. Many theatres have a stock of scenery which means that items can be reused by recovering or repainting in a different production
In Europe, the set design is sometimes called 'D?cor'.
See also MODEL, SCENOGRAPHER.

SET DRESSER
Member of production staff who is responsible for the props and furniture that are required on the set. This position only exists in larger organisations. Set dressing is often the job of the stage management department.

SOUND DESIGNER
Member of the production team who has the responsibility for planning and executing the layout of all sound playback and reinforcement equipment for the show. This role also includes the sourcing of music and sound effects for the production.
See also SOUND OPERATOR.

SOUND OPERATOR
Also known as Sound Op. The Sound Operator is responsible for operating the sound playback and mixing equipment for a show. He or she is often a member of the Electrics department of the theatre and works with the sound designer for the production.

STAGE CREW
Member of the Stage staff who is responsible for moving props and/or scenery during the show, and for ensuring that items under their responsibility are working correctly and properly maintained. Stage Crew (also known as Stage Hands) are often employed on a casual basis for a specific production, and may not be part of the theatre's full-time staff. They also may be touring with a particular production.

STAGE DIRECTOR
See DSM.

STAGE DOOR KEEPER
The first person that technical staff, actors and administrative staff meet when they enter the theatre through the Stage Door. This is a pivotal role as 'Stage Door' has to know everyone, deal with a whole host of queries, pass messages, meet visitors, the press, agents, visiting theatre companies as well as being a point of contact on Health and Safety matters, fire procedures etc.

STAGE ELECTRICIAN
Member of the electrics staff whose responsibility it is to set or clear electrics equipment during scene changes. May also carry out colour changes on booms etc.

STAGE HAND
See STAGE CREW.

STAGE MANAGER
The Head of the Stage Management team comprising the deputy stage manager (DSM) and assistant stage manager (ASM). The DSM is normally "on the book" calling the cues from the prompt corner. The ASM supervises props. Depending on the needs of the production, there may be a team of stagehands, usually casual employees.
French: régisseur.
German: Inspizient (also Theatermeister or Bühnenmeister)

TD
Short for TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.

TECH
1) Short for Technical Rehearsal. (e.g. 'The Tech took 14 hours')
2) A member of (amateur) crew ('I'm the lighting tech for this show')

TECHIE
A stage technician. For more information, see The Techie Gospel. See also Lampy and Noise Boy. Many professional technicians don't particularly like this term.
The Techie Gospel

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Often shortened to 'TD' the exact role of the Technical Director changes according to the size of the theatre company, and also according to your location in the world.
In the US, the TD co-ordinates all technical aspects of the production, from organising crew calls to ensuring equipment is ordered, to liaising with the designers and sometimes adapting a design to fit the venue. In the UK, this person is usually called the PRODUCTION MANAGER.
The TD role sometimes overlaps with that of the UK Stage Manager also.

THEATRE CRITIC
See CRITIC.

UNDERSTUDY
Also known as a COVER. A member of the cast of a musical or play who understudies one (sometimes more) of the principal roles and is also in the chorus. [For his or her role in the chorus, an understudy might have a character name, or might not.] Some understudies have gone on to become stars by outshining the actors they replaced.
See also ALTERNATE, STANDBY, SWING.
Submitted by Pierce Peter Brandt

USHERS
Members of Front-of-House staff who guide audience members to their seats, and often sit in the auditorium during the show in case of emergency.

WHITE GLOVE
A role is said to be 'white glove' if the person is not required or expected to help with setting up equipment, only in the operation of it. 

WIGS
The provision of wigs is normally part of the WARDROBE department in smaller organisations. However, larger organisations (touring opera companies etc.) will have a separate wigs department.