Backstage – What kind of roles can you play?
The four key roles on a creative team are: Director, Musical Director (MD), Choreographer and Producer. For some shows we may have an Assistant Director, or more than one Choreographer. Most commonly, shows are pitched by a Director, MD, Choreographer or a combination of those roles, and we add in other key production roles later on. The Producer however is key to the production and must be identified before auditions.
A Director leads the creative vision of the show from it’s inception all the way through to opening night including making casting decisions, developing a rehearsal schedule, running rehearsals, overall production design and working with the actors on and offstage to create a show everyone involved can be proud of. Working closing with the Producer to ensure the production comes in on budget, the Director is the creative figurehead of a production.
A Musical Director handles the music in a production, including casting decisions, teaching music to cast, running music rehearsals, finding a band for the production and running sitzprobe. A Musical Director works closely with the Director to ensure the creative vision of the production is met musically. They often also conduct and/or play in the band during Show Week.
A Choreographer handles the dance in a production, including casting decisions, running dance auditions and teaching cast dance throughout the rehearsal period. The Choreographer works closely with the Director to ensure the creative vision of the production is met through dance.
A Producer works closely with the Director, Creative Team and Centre Stage Creative Consultant to oversee all aspects of the production. Staying within the agreed budget as approved by the Centre Stage Business team, the Producer is responsible for budget control, tracking and spend during a production. They are also the first point of call for the cast during rehearsals by manning the show specific email address, ensuring the cast are kept informed, and working with the Centre Stage Creative Consultant and Artistic Director to ensure a successful production. Microsoft Excel, budget management and team leadership skills preferred.
Other Key Production Team Roles
A Wardrobe Manager works closely with the Director and Creative team to costume the production. Using a combination of the costumes Centre Stage has in storage, cast’s own clothing and new items, the Wardrobe Manager will costume each performer onstage - supporting the creative team’s vision and staying within the agreed budget as approved by the Centre Stage Business Team. Sewing skills are a bonus, but dependent on the production. Wardrobe will pop in to get measurements and discuss ideas rather than being present at every rehearsal, although will often watch runs to get a sense of the show, and will be heavily involved in the marketing process as we often take costumed shots early on for key cast. They do not have to be present at every performance but are expected to be at Get In and Get Out.
A Lighting Designer works closely with the Director and Creative Team to light the production. Staying within the agreed budget as approved by the Centre Stage Business team, a Lighting Designer will handle all aspects of lighting the production including design, but also hire, delivery and collection of equipment, rigging and de-rigging lamps and plotting the show with guidance from the Director. Previous experience preferred. If there is a separate Lighting Operator, they do not have to be present at every performance but are essential during Get-In and will often work with the Creative Team from quite early on in the process. They will attend rehearsals on an as-needed basis.
Often a Lighting Designer is unable to operate the lighting desk during a production due to the time commitment needed. The Lighting Operator attends Get-In, Tech, Dress, Get-Out and each performance; and operates the lighting desk during each performance. This is a good role if you’re learning the ropes on lighting design as you can work with the Lighting Designer during the run up and Tech of the show. They will attend rehearsals on an as-needed basis, often close to the show itself.
A Sound Designer works closely with the Director and Creative Team to make sure the cast, crew and band can all be heard during a performance. Staying within the agreed budget as approved by the Centre Stage Business team, a Sound Designer will handle all aspects of providing sound for the production including hire, delivery and collection of equipment, rigging and de-rigging and plotting the show with guidance from the Director. They may also be responsible for mic’ing performers, if the sound company used does not include on-site support. Previous experience preferred. They will attend rehearsals on an as-needed basis and may or may not be needed at every performance depending on the sound company used.
The Stage Manager works closely with the Director and Creative Team to ensure the smooth running of each performance. An authoritative figure within the theatre, the Stage Manager runs backstage during the performance including working with the backstage team (props, stage crew etc), calling the show and giving cast call times. The Stage Manager also works closely with the Producer to ensure a smooth Get-In and Get-Out during production week. Previous experience preferred.
Note: We often have an Assistant Stage Manager, which is a great way to learn the ropes from someone more experienced.
The Backstage Crew work closely with the Stage Manager to ensure the smooth running of each performance. Often moving set, props and costume around the theatre the Backstage Crew must be efficient and listen to the Stage Manager at all times. Sometimes Crew will act as Dressers to cast to assist with quick changes. They often watch rehearsals once we are in the run-up to the show to learn about the set and prop movements, and are a key part of Get-In, Get-Out and Tech. Crew is a really fun way to get experience behind the scenes and learn more about what you might be most interested in backstage.
A Props Manager works closely with the Director and Creative team to provide props for a production. Using a combination of props in Centre Stage storage, hired and new items, the Props Manager will source props supporting the creative team’s vision and staying within the agreed budget as approved by the Centre Stage Business Team. They are often present during show week, running the props table (although can be replaced by backstage crew if needed for performances).
Hair & Make-Up
A Hair & Make-Up artist leads these aspects in a production. Duties may include teaching cast to apply makeup and do their own hair, providing information for cast to purchase products, applying cast makeup and doing hair during show week. Hair & Make-Up work closely with the Director to ensure the creative vision for the production is met.
Each Centre Stage production has promo, head shot and dress photography shot. A photographer leads these shoots, providing their own equipment and working closely with the Director to ensure their creative vision is met for the promo shoot, ensuring head shots for the programme are uniform and shooting the dress rehearsal of each production. Photography is then sent through in an agreed timely manner to the Producer so Centre Stage can release as the production requires. Credit is given to the photographer online and in the show programme for all photography. Sometimes a photographer may do all of the headshot, promotional and dress rehearsal photography for a show - other times we may use a combination of photographers, depending on their availability and experience.
Musicians play the music as part of the band either onstage or ‘in the pit’ as required for each production. Centre Stage has a list of musicians we regularly use and the Musical Director of each production leads finding his band. If you would like to be considered for a specific production or added to this list, please get in touch with us. Please note that musicians are generally paid for show week.
Box Office/Front Of House
Centre Stage Trustees handle all aspects of Box Office and Front of House for each production. From time to time we need an extra pair of helping hands. When this need arises, we will reach out to our members via email or on our private Facebook members Group asking for volunteers.
We’re always busy and looking for volunteers to help with anything from fundraisers, to set building, to driving vehicles for Get-In. When this need arises, we will reach out to our members via email or on our private Facebook members Group asking for volunteers.
Become A Trustee
The Centre Stage London Trustees, look after the charity overall. There are many roles including marketing, fundraising and business management roles. If you’d like to join the Centre Stage London Board Of Trustees, please click here for more information.
If you are interested in any of these roles then our Backstage Membership is for you!
For current offstage opportunities please click here.