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Job Photographs

  • Two men are standing on a theatre stage, building scenery.  One of the men is standing on a ladder.

    They set up scenery, furniture and other props before the show.

  • Two men are carrying a large table.

    Lifting and carrying is a big part of the job so fitness is essential.

  • A number of people are working behind the closed curtains of a theatre stage.

    Theatre stagehands work 'behind the scenes' in theatres and opera houses.

  • A man is standing on a theatre set, building an old fashioned gas street lamp.

    Props need to be maintained in good working condition.

  • A man is standing next to a large curtain, in a theatre.

    Raising the stage curtain at the start of a performance.

  • Stage Crew

  • Stage Crew

Stage Crew

Introduction

As a member of Stage Crew, you will work in a theatre. You will help to set up scenery, furniture and props before performances. You'll also change things around in between scenes and during the interval..

Also known as

  • Stagehand

Video: - Kevin: Technical Manager

Work Activities

As a member of the Stage Crew, you will work in theatres. You'll set up scenery, furniture and props before performances. You'll also change things around in between scenes and during the interval. Each time scenery is moved, you will have to make sure that it is positioned safely and securely.

Then, at the end of a performance, you will take down some of the scenery and store it, ready for the next show. Some of the scenery may stay in position.

Some of the crew help with building or painting stage sets, furniture and props, as well as keeping them clean and in good condition.

In touring productions, you will set up and secure scenery at each new location. The scenery will usually need to be taken down after a short period, sometimes after only one night. In this situation, you are likely to be involved in loading and unloading the scenery, and props.

While on tour, you will probably stay in temporary accommodation and you could spend weeks away from home.

In large theatre companies, Stage Crew work in teams.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a member of a Stage Crew, you need:

  • good general fitness, because of all the lifting, bending and climbing involved
  • patience - there could be long periods of time spent waiting for scene changes
  • the ability to work quickly at busy times
  • teamwork skills
  • flexibility
  • the ability to work unsocial hours

It is useful to have practical skills and perhaps some basic carpentry or DIY skills.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £14,500 - £15,500
  • With experience: £16,500 - £18,000
  • Senior Stage Crew earn £20,000

Freelance Stage Crew can earn around £50 per performance.

Hours of work

Stage Crew usually work 40 hours a week. However, long and irregular hours, including early starts, late finishes and work on weekends and public holidays, may be required.

Where could I work?

Opportunities for Stage Crew occur in towns and cities throughout the UK, and particularly in major theatre production centres such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Employers include theatre, opera and ballet companies. Most theatres employ a small group of resident Stage Crew to carry out general duties before, after and during performances.

Some companies are permanently based in certain areas, while others tour the country.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for Stage Crew to work on a self-employed, freelance basis.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

However, there is no strict entry route into this career. People from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of different qualifications enter. A relevant performing arts qualification would be useful, however.

Training

Training is normally on-the-job, working alongside more experienced staff.

Work Experience

Relevant skills and abilities, gained in amateur dramatics, community or children's theatre, repertory companies or student productions, can be useful.

Progression

With experience in the theatre environment, and the relevant skills and enthusiasm, it may be possible to progress to other theatre roles, such as technician work, stage management, or administration.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Experience

Relevant skills and abilities, gained in amateur dramatics, community or children's theatre, repertory companies or student productions, can be useful.

Previous practical work experience using your hands is helpful.

Further Information

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Get into Theatre

Email: info@getintotheatre.org

Website: www.getintotheatre.org

National Theatre

Tel: 020 7452 3400

Email: info@nationaltheatre.org.uk

Website: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

The Stage

Entertainment and performing arts news

Website: www.thestage.co.uk

Federation of Drama Schools (FDS)

Tel: 020 7529 8794

Email: info@dramauk.co.uk

Website: www.dramauk.co.uk

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)

Address: 55 Farringdon Road, London EC1M 3JB

Tel: 020 7242 9200

Email: info@abtt.org.uk

Website: www.abtt.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

National Theatre Wales (Welsh Enquiries)

Tel: 029 2035 3070

Email: info@nationaltheatrewales.org

Website: nationaltheatrewales.org

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