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Joliet Drama Guild

Production Team

Roles & Responsibilities


 

 Table of Contents

 Introduction

Producer

Director

Director of the Musical

Assistant DirectorTeam collaboration

Choreographer

Music Director

Stage Manager

Assistant Stage Managers.

Technical Director

Set Designer

Costume Designer

Lighting Designer

Sound Designer

Props and/or Furnishings Coordinator

  

Introduction 

 Community Theater breathes life into a community.  Through this venue, participants have an opportunity to step outside themselves into a new world or set of life experiences.  Community Theater helps participants build competencies in a variety of areas, including: creative thinking, teamwork, spontaneity, conflict resolution, consensus building, project management, financial stewardship and so much more.  Participants come away from the experience with the satisfaction of having assisted in the creation of something greater than themselves.  Community Theater also satisfies relationship needs of many of its participants.  Throughout the rehearsal and production process, new friendships are formed.  For some people, the cast becomes a substitute family.  Like a family, the success of the production only occurs through people working together.

 

Theater in general is a collaborative art.  It isnt about the actor its about the team.  While the actors bring to life the playwrights words, behind the scenes is a team of people who have created synergy to make the production itself happen.  Often new members of a theater company or guild dont know how to get involved fully.  They see the role of the actor, but arent necessarily aware of the many other important people who drive the success of a show.  Unless a person has served in a particular role or been acquainted with such role, they arent sure of all the things that that role is supposed to do.  This guidebook, which has been adapted from Theater Ontarios Guide to Producing in Community Theater, introduces the reader to many of the key production team members and provides a concise description of what each role is, what they do and the desirable skills that can make a person successful in each particular role.  Most importantly, it serves as a subtle reminder of the many ways that someone can become involved in a production, even if they havent been cast as an actor.  The Joliet Drama Guild values its membership and invites each member to consider taking a more active role in future productions.


 

Table of Contents

Producer   hollywood

 The producer reports to the Board of Directors.

 Duties:

- Serves as liaison between production and Board of Directors

- Provides production budget to director

- In conjunction  with the director, creates a master production schedule

- Becomes familiar with the roles and responsibilities of other key players in the mounting of a production

- Coordinates and is responsible for all aspects of production, both technical and artistic

- Organizes, prioritizes and manages finances, personnel, and scheduling

- Keeps up to date on all developments from inception to final wrap- up of the project

- Ensures everyone has a clear job description and is able to do their job effectively

- Fosters team spirit

- Engages designers and department heads in consultation with the director

- Attends all production meetings, the first rehearsal, all of technical week, and opening night

- Oversees for transportation of technical items, costumes, props, furnishings, etc. to the theatre

- Ensures all departments have completed their cleanups and returns of borrowed or rented equipment

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Highly organized

- Financially responsible

- Strong communication skills

- Approachable and able to mediate disagreement

- Enthusiastic about the project

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Ability to delegate, motivate and encourage others

- Prepared to mediate a dispute, to solve the problem, and in extreme situations, inform the Board of Directors

 

Note:

In circumstances where a cast or crew member is consistently late, does not do an assigned job, or abuses membership privileges, the producer should be asked to explain to the volunteer how this behavior is affecting the others and offer an opportunity to change.  It is sometimes assumed in community theatre that one must put up with a disruptive volunteer.  This Is not true.  The producer, after consultation with the Board of Directors, may ask a volunteer to leave when their behavior puts a project at risk. The Board can replace any member of a production team if their behavior is detrimental to the production or disruptive to the overall cohesion of the production.

 


Notes on Musical Theatre

Musical theatre, in general, requires more money, people, time and organization. The first thing to remember is to extend the planning and rehearsal timelines.  How much?  How long? This all depends on the skill of the cast and crew. If a drama is rehearsed for 80 hours, then a musical would be rehearsed for 120 hours (approximately 50% more)provided that the musical performers are as accomplished as the actors. If there is any training involved dancing, singing, music t hen it is wise to begin the process a few months ahead, with weekly training/rehearsals in music and dance.    

 

Extra personnel with special skills will be needed choreographers, music directors, accompanists and musicians.   The stage manager will need assistants with clearly stated duties.  With large groups of people, maintaining discipline and focus can sometimes be difficult.  At least one of these assistant stage managers should be assigned to crowd control.  During the run, appoint one or two chorus members to liaise with the assistant stage manager.  If the chorus contains family groupings, make elder members responsible for the care of younger members.  

 

The primary artistic personnel in musical productions are the director, the choreographer and the music director. Both the choreographer and the music director support the directors artistic interpretation of the play while adding their special vision to their own area of expertise.  This is a close working relationship. Care should be taken that communication lines are always open.  This threesome is the core of the artistic team, and both the choreographer and the music director should attend any meetings attended by the director. This includes design and production meetings.  There is nothing worse than having to cut a wonderful piece of choreography because the designer was unaware of the choreographers needs.  Some set materials absorb or distort sound these kinds of details must be discussed and settled while ideas are still in the planning stage. Costuming is another area that requires communication. Can the actors dance, move and breathe?  When people are physically active, their costume needs must be clearly communicated to the designer by the choreographer.


 

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Director     director_chair

 The director is responsible to the producer and the Board.

 Duties:

- Reviews and provides feedback on the proposed production schedule

- Assesses and analyzes every aspect of the play: plot, character, mood, rhythm, style both literary and theatrical

- Brings together the many complex pieces of a production including script, actors, set, costuming, lights, sound and music into a unified whole

- Researches the playwright, the period, and the style

- Makes arrangements for the audition call

- Executes and interprets the artistic components of the show (what the show is really about)

- Rehearses and prepares the actors

- Communicates the artistic vision to the designers and all other departments

- Attends all production meetings

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Knowledgeable in all aspects of theatre, including design, lighting, sound, costume and acting technique

- At first production meeting, conveys general vision for the show

- Has read and can communicate a coherent understanding of the play

- Excellent communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Prepared to spend the necessary rehearsal and preparation time

- Strong intuition

- Clear artistic vision

- Willingness to work with many people with a range of experience and abilities

- Likes the play

- Collaborative working style

- Enthusiasm for the project

 

Notes:

It is particularly important that the director consciously communicate in a helpful, creative, supportive and constructive manner.  Directors should avoid negative communication methods such as: blaming, yelling, accusing, threatening, nagging, making others feel guilty, and not listening.

 

Table of Contentstheatre and dance

Director of the Musical   

 In general, the directors job description and responsibilities are the same as those described earlier with the addition of collaborating artistically with the choreographer and the music director.  Communicating the artistic vision to the large cast, crew and production team required in musical theatre is one of the largest challenges the director will meet.  The director should also define expectations with choreographer: which scenes requiring blocking and which scenes require choreography.

 

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Assistant Director     auditions clip art 1

 The assistant director is responsible to the producer and director.

 Duties:

- Prepares character descriptions for auditions

- Makes production copies of script for production team

- Runs rehearsal s in the absence of the director

- Creates production team and cast contact lists

- Responsible for the smooth flow of auditions

- Notes start time, break time and finish time of rehearsals

- Takes blocking notes, missed lines, entrances and exits

- Prepares and distribute production notes

- Coordinates auditions with producer and director

- Attends all production meetings

- Attends cue- to- cue rehearsal

- In accordance with directors vision, offers additional notes to actors with respect to lines, characterization, blocking and timing

- Be part of core production team

- Acts as a sounding board for the director to test ideas

- Works individually with actors as appropriate to maintain rehearsal flow

- In conjunction with director, sets up rehearsal schedule

- Performs other duties as assigned

 

Skills:

- Knowledgeable or has the aptitude to become knowledgeable in all aspects of theatre, including design, lighting, sound, costume and acting technique

- Ability to defer to directors vision for the production over their own

- Collaborate working style

- Excellent communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Prepared to spend the necessary rehearsal and preparation time

- Strong intuition

- Clear artistic vision

- Willingness to work with many people with a range of experience and abilities

- Likes the play

- Enthusiasm for the project

 

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Choreographer     dance

 The choreographer is responsible to the director for the creation of all dance movement for the production.

 Duties:

- Collaborates with director

- Auditions the dancers and may make recommendations to the director for casting

- Schedules dance rehearsals with the director, the music director and the stage manager

- Teaches the cast members how to execute the choreography

- Identifies and trains a dance captain, if appropriate for the show

- Leads choreography rehearsals

- With the director, blocks and directs those areas of the play that move into and out of the musical numbers

- Functions as a movement coach throughout the show, particularly if it is a period piece and a certain style of movement is required

- Attends production meetings

- Attends rehearsals

 

Skills:

- Strong visual sense

- Strong choreographic skill

- Patient teaching style

- Excellent movement skills and coordination

- Knowledge of dance styles and history

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

 

Note:

Resist the urge to direct the show. This is more difficult than it sounds because a large portion of the show will be the choreographers to share.  As a result, the choreographer may begin to see possibilities that lie outside the directors interpretation.  By all means, the choreographer may express ideas, but should be prepared to accept the directors final word.


 

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Music Director     musicnotes

 The music director is responsible to the director for all musical aspects of the production.

 Duties:

- Collaborates with director

- Auditions the singers and may make recommendations to the director for casting

- Schedules music rehearsals with the director, choreographer and stage manager

- Teaches the cast members the shows music

- Leads music rehearsals principals, chorus and musicians

- Serves as the conductor, or, in consultation with the producer and director, hires the conductor

- In consultation with the producer and director, hires the rehearsal pianist and the orchestra musicians

- Works with the sound designer

- Attends production meetings

- Attends rehearsals

 

Skills:

- Strong musical sense

- Strong conducting ability

- Ability to teach

- Knowledge of music styles, music theory and history

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

 

Note:

Resist the urge to direct the show. This is more difficult than it sounds because a large portion of the show will be the music directors to share. As a result, the music director may begin to see possibilities that lie outside the directors interpretation.  By all means, the music director may express ideas, but should be prepared to accept the directors final word.

If the musicians working in the orchestra belong to a union, any special arrangements should be settled well in advance.


 

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Stage Manager    megaphone_logo_hi02

 The stage manager is responsible to the producer and director.

 Duties:

- Consults with the producer on the selection of assistant stage managers

- Attends all production meetings

- Auditions:

-          Coordinates auditions with producer and director

-          Prepares audition sides

- Preparation:

-          Prepares lists and forms for distribution to the actors

-          Prepares a preliminarily list of props

-          Tapes out the set on the rehearsal hall floor

-          Prepares the green room area

- Rehearsals:

-          Ensures rehearsal props are available

-          Ensures rehearsal space is safe and useable

-          Ensures that rehearsal space is set up with props and set pieces for beginning of rehearsal

- Maintains a neat, orderly and easily understandable prompt book

- Tech Week:

-          Organizes cue to cue and all technical rehearsals

-          Responsible for calling all cues

-          Oversees all backstage activities

-          Ensures the show is running smoothly

- After Opening:

-          Responsible for maintaining the directors vision throughout the run

-          Oversees the entire show each time it is performed

-          All production personnel and actors report to the stage manager

-          Prepares and distributes performance reports 

- Health and Safety:

-          Ensures first aid kit is stocked

-          Liaises with front of house, calling fire/ambulance/police in case of emergency

-          Responsible for evacuation of actors and crew in case of emergency

-          Works closely with the director, producer and actors

 

Skills:

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong communication skills

- Calm and helpful manner under pressure

- Ability to multi- task

- Sense of humor

- Knowledge of lighting and sound equipment

- First Aid training if possible


 

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Assistant Stage Managers     drama masks

 

An assistant stage manager should be assigned specific stage management tasks under the supervision of the stage manager.  For example, in rehearsal the assistant stage manager may be responsible for assisting with paperwork, prompting, and the rehearsal props preset; during production, the assistant stage manager may coordinate backstage traffic while the stage manager is in the booth.  In emergency situations, the assistant stage managers familiarity with the play makes them an ideal pinch- hitter for lighting or sound operators.

 

The assistant stage manager should not be expected to conduct rehearsals or call a show, except in extreme emergencies.  Be clear about delegated tasks and resist the temptation of using the assistant stage manager as a productions gopher.


 

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Technical Director     Technical Difficulties

 The technical director is responsible to the producer and director.

 Duties:

- Organizes and costs technical needs of the show materials for the set, lights, costume materials and rentals, sound equipment and props

- Supervises, coordinates and balances technical needs of the director, designers and department heads

- Manages and directs the crew and technicians up to the final dress rehearsal

- Attends production meetings

- Attends first rehearsal

- Attends other rehearsals as available

- Attends cue- to- cue rehearsal

- Supervises load- in and set- up,

- Attends technical- only rehearsals, technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Strong background in technical aspects of production

- Appreciation for the design process

- Ability to interpret construction plans

- Strong knowledge of health and safety legislation, policies and practices 

- Strong inter- personal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible

 

Note:

The role of the technical director has developed over the past years to relieve the producer and stage manager of tasks related to the technical production.  The greater the technical demands and budget of the show, the greater the need for a technical director.


 

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Set Designer     menwork

 The set designer collaborates with the director, and is responsible to the producer and director.

 Duties:

- Collaborates with director on establishing a set design

- Collaborates with director, costume and lighting designers on a colour palette

- Creates a set of accurate drawings for the builders

- Creates drawings for props/furnishings coordinator

- Attends production meetings

- Attends first rehearsal and presents design concept to director

- Attends rehearsals as available

- Attends load- in and set- up, dress rehearsals, etc.

- Coordinates scenic artists and set painters

- Coordinates props and furnishings with the appropriate coordinator

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Strong visual sense

- Knowledge of architectural styles and history

- Strong inter- personal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible


 

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Costume Designer     costumedesigner

 The costume designer collaborates with the director, and is responsible to the producer and director.

 Duties:

- Researches time period to ensure period accuracy in costuming to the extent possible

- Collaborates with director on establishing a costume design

- Collaborates with director, set and lighting designers on a color palette

- Takes measurements of all cast members

- Buys, rents or borrows costumes and accessories (shoes, hats, gloves, jewelry, purses, etc.),

- Adapts clothing to suit a character, and the actors activities (safety, comfort and movability)

- Sews costumes if necessary

- Attends production meetings

- Supplies rehearsal costumes

- Attends rehearsals as available

- Attends dress rehearsals

- Coordinates dressers for costume changes

- Arranges to repair and clean costumes during the run

- Supervises returns of any borrowed costumes or accessories

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Strong visual sense

- Knowledge of clothing styles and history

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible

 

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Lighting Designer    Props_stage_lights

 The lighting designer collaborates with the director, and is responsible to the producer, director and technical director.

 Duties:

- Collaborates with director on establishing a lighting design

- Collaborates with director, set and costume designers on a colour palette

- Creates a lighting plot, ground and elevation plan

- Creates cue sheets

- Attends production meetings

- Attends rehearsals as available

- Attends cue- to- cue rehearsal and makes and necessary changes

- Coordinates rental of additional lighting equipment

- Attends load- in, lighting hang, lighting focus, level set, dress rehearsals, etc.

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Strong visual sense

- Understanding of the interaction of colour, light and shadow in three- dimensional spaces

- Understanding of lighting equipment (lamps, lighting boards, dimmers, wiring, etc.)

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible


 

Table of Contents

Sound Designer     Arrakis-mix-desk

 The sound designer collaborates with the director, and is responsible to the producer, director and technical director.  

Duties:

- Collaborates with director on establishing a sound design (effects, soundscapes, ambient music)

- Collaborates with other designers

- Creates a sound plot (speaker location, etc.)

- Creates cue sheets

- Attends production meetings

- Attends rehearsals as available

- Attend cue- to- cue rehearsal and make any necessary changes

- Coordinates rental of additional sound equipment

- Attends load- in, sound system set- up, level set, dress rehearsals, etc.

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Understanding of how different sounds and music create moods, tension, and a sense of place

- Understanding of acoustics

- Understanding of sound equipment (speakers, amplifiers, sound boards, microphones, playback equipment, etc.) 

- Ability to record and/or compile sound sources

- Strong inter- personal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible

 

Table of Contents

Props and/or Furnishings Coordinator     furniture

 NOTE: Different people often handle props and furnishings. In this description, they are placed together but the observations cover both departments. In a professional theatre, the set designer designs props and furnishings, and the costume designer designs hand props like hats, jewelry, accessories, etc. The head of props and/or furnishings is responsible to the designers for achieving their designs.

 Duties:

- Collaborates with set designer

- Researches time period to ensure period accuracy to the extent possible

- In accordance with the directors vision, builds, borrows, rents props or furnishings

- Attends production meetings

- Supplies rehearsal props and/or furnishings

- Attends rehearsals as available

- Attends load- in and set- up, dress rehearsals, etc.

- Arranges to replenish or repair props and/or furnishings during the run

- Works within a budget

 

Skills:

- Ability to build, repair props and/or furnishings

- Talent for scrounging and getting great bargains

- Strong interpersonal skills

- Strong communication skills

- Strong organizational skills

- Strong supervisory skills

- Financially responsible

 

Note:

Never underestimate the effectiveness of suitable props and furnishings for a production.  The aim of every department of theatre production should be attention to detail in decor, props and furnishings it is an absolute. The detail left unattended is what can pull the audience completely out of the moment.  The exactly right props and furnishings are sometimes hard to find, but absolutely worth the extra time and trouble.

 

Remember that set furnishings are subject to much more abuse than home furnishings and consequently need much more care.  Be prepared to repair and reupholster borrowed furniture if any damage is done.

 

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Contact us at 1-877-JDG-1933,

or mail to:Joliet Drama Guild
PO Box 2904
Joliet, IL 60435

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