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Amateur Drama is all about having fun and taking part.

 

Most people are familiar with the idea of actors, onstage, pretending to be someone else. For some, it can be very challenging to stand in front of an audience, particularly if you know some of the people watching. But there are many other ways of getting involved during rehearsals and on the nights of the performance without having to act. Put simply, the performance is a team effort reliant on the backstage crew just as much as those out front.

Here is a far from complete list of the activities backstage and an outline on what they entail.

Creative team

Most amateur groups merge some of these roles, it would be remarkable if the team was this big!


Playwright                    The hint is in the title, the person who wrote the play, Shakespeare for example
Director                        In overall charge of the production and the person with the vision, how it should look
Assistant Director         Stand-in if the director is unavailable and sharing the management and decisions
Choreographer             Designs the dance and/or movement in a production
Set Designer                What the performance area looks like, how it is dressed and constructed
Costume Maker            What the actors wear, usually repurposing and adapting from second-hand clothes
Costume Designer        The vision and 'look' of the play, its date, style and colour
Lighting Designer         How the play is lit, colours, effects, light and shadow, spotlights and mood changes
Sound Designer            Sound effects, sound cues and also accessibility issues with sound-loops etc
Musical Director            In charge of the music, singing and approach to the performance of musical numbers
Composer                     The person that writes the music, often in partnership with the lyricist
Hair and Wig Designer  Usually merged into Costume for amateur productions
Performer                      The cast, those out front on the stage during the performance
Musician                       The people providing the musical accompaniment from a band or orchestra
Actor Musician              On stage and playing an instrument

Production team
These are the roles that ensure that the play goes ahead on the days promised and in line with the director's vision

Artistic Director           The person with overall responsibility for the selection and interpretation of the play      Producer                     Responsible for the financial aspects of the production
Production Manager    Often the Stage Manager, readying the stage for the performances
Casting Director          Usually the director and assistant director in an amateur production
Stage Manager            Responsible for all backstage aspects of the performances during the run
Head of Sound            Often the sound designer as well
Head of Lighting          Usually the lighting designer in our productions 

Technicians                  If we are lucky, an assistants to the Head of Sound and Lighting
Fight Director               Essential for safe sword fights and other violent physical interaction on stage
Head of Wardrobe        Responsible for the preparation and storage of wardrobe items, readiness for wear
Wardrobe Assistants    Vital in the successful running of the play where costumes are changed and moved
Prop Maker                  Responsible for props, puppets and anything used by the cast in the production
Make-up Artist             Responsible for bringing the characters to life with make-up
Carpenter                    Handyman or woman who builds the set and major props and furniture
Electrician                   Responsible for the safe wiring-up of the set, props and lighting
Stage Crew                 The team who help build the set, move furniture/ sets in the performance and get-out

Prompt                        Attends all rehearsals to help actors deliver their lines as they learn their lines

 

Customer service roles

Many of these roles are combined in small amateur groups, with cast and crew taking responsibility during the rehearsal period


House Manager             Liaises with the theatre owner, manages insurance and stands hire for the venue
Box Office Manager      Sells, distributes tickets, manages seating and cancellations and helpers on the night
Front of House               Manages the audience during the performance, responsible for everything not on the stage
Ushers                           Assists the front of house, conducts people to their seats, helps with accessibility issues

Administration team

A group of roles that work in the background to manage the drama group and to oversee the production teams these are often fulfilled by the committee of the club and many are roles into one
 

Chairman                      Leads the group committee and tries to maintain some kind of order and discipline
Treasurer                       Looks after the finances and works with the director to set a budget
Head of Sales                Is usually the box office manager in our group
Marketing                      Website and email campaigns, Social Media plus promotion of the productions
Licensing Manager       Usually the director, ensuring that the correct licences are purchased for the performances
Press and Publicity       Often undertaken by the marketing manager, and anyone with good press contacts

 

  We need your help - this long list needs names against job titles - and it is always fun and rewarding to take part