Open Forum

Novice Theatre Tech Advice.

  • 1.  Novice Theatre Tech Advice.

    Posted 22 days ago
    Edited by Ginny Butsch 21 days ago

    So I'm a theatre tech for my high school but I've only been there for less than a year. What things should I have already learned? And what things should I keep in my bag/kit?

    daya ghana
    Unit 2D Yonkers NY

  • 2.  RE: Novice Theatre Tech Advice.

    Posted 22 days ago
    This depends on a lot of factors. Everyone has a different starting point and the volume of events / productions available to work on dictate much of your learning opportunities. Get as familiar with as much of your facility and its equipment as possible. Realize that, although most people get into tech because they enjoy working on the equipment, it is ultimately about working WITH people to achieve a common goal. Be flexible, positive, and work safely. Ask questions, and research the things you do not know or wish to know more about. There is so much content and resources online these days, it really opens up things for individuals, even if they do not have a mentor or someone to provide great training.

    Best of luck to you. Keep trying to learn something new each day. Try to see things from the point of view of another team member or department. It can be eye-opening.


    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager
    East China Schools
    East China MI

  • 3.  RE: Novice Theatre Tech Advice.

    Posted 21 days ago
    Teaching Tech You Never Learned provides basic info, projects and rubrics for set, lighting, sound, publicity, makeup and costuming. Then there are plenty of books out there to lead you beyond the basics.
    Safety is your very first concern, of course, especially with teenagers not known for using good judgement, so be certain to create a culture of safe standard operating procedures (and to have the equipment, like a stocked first aid kit, goggles and cleaning tools, to do so). Running basic lights and sound to provide tech assistance to outside users has probably already shown up as a necessity, then keep upgrading your lighting design skills. Build flats and platforms (then doors, windows and stairs) to have stock units to reuse as part of your set designs. Learn and teach the principles and elements of design and note how they apply across the tech areas from costumes to publicity to set.
    Your kit might include a lighting swatch book, a crescent wrench, a "Leatherman" (if permitted!) multi-tool, spike and glo tape, a flashlight and of course black gaffers tape to fix a multitude of sins.
    Let us know how it goes!

    Douglas "Chip" Rome
    Theatre Consultant
    Educational Stages
    Burke VA

  • 4.  RE: Novice Theatre Tech Advice.

    Posted 20 days ago
    Daya- Congratulations on your interest in technical theater.  There are many career opportunities in this aspect of theatre production.  Once the entertainment industry  opens up again, post-COVID-19, competent and trained technicians will be in great demand.  Gaining experience and training these days is challenging, but there are several on-line sources you should check out.  The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, (USITT), has on-line learning programs.  I recommend you start with their eSET certificate program; there is a link at There are other training and learning opportunities on this webpage you might explore also.
    Best wishes as you create your future.  You are welcome to get in touch with me if I can help with other questions.
    Take care and stay well.

    Bill Reynolds (he.him.his)
    Lecturer in Theater Safety & Health
    Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre