Most theatres employ wardrobe professionals and sound and lighting engineers who attend every performance and make sure the technological and design elements of a show run smoothly. These people are tasked with making sure every performance is up to the standards set by the design team and director. Larger theatres may use the same design technology professionals on every show, and some are employed there full-time. Small or midsize theatres may hire people on a per-show contract basis. You may be required to join a union before you start working in one of these areas. Many people working in these areas studied theatre technology or design in college or graduate school. Hands-on opportunities, such as apprenticeships and internships, help people practice these skills and connect them to other professionals and to the unions they may need to join.
About the Video: Cambria Chichi, Wardrobe Supervisor
Wigs! Tattoos! Blood! You never know what you’re going to be working with when you’re a wardrobe supervisor and a new production arrives. Cambria Chichi, Kirk Douglas Theatre Wardrobe Supervisor, reveals how she makes a costume designer’s vision come to life from the beginning of technical rehearsals—when the actors are first onstage—through the final curtain call. It takes a unique set of skills that range from sewing and laundry to the ability to talk to just about anyone.
About the Video: Merrianne Nedreberg, Prop Director
How does Center Theatre Group Prop Director Merrianne Nedreberg know that she’s perfected a prop onstage? When no one notices it. Nedreberg, who heads the prop department at Center Theatre Group, shares this trade secret as well as the varied skillset necessary for a career in props, which runs from sewing and carpentry to crafting and electronics.
About the Video: Katie Polebaum, Scenic Lead
Katie Polebaum, Scenic Lead at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre, is the person who transforms the scenic designer's two-dimensional idea into three-dimensional, onstage reality. She discusses everything from paint, collaboration, and work flow to her big break.
About the Video: Kirk Douglas Theatre Head of Audio Adam Phalen and Light Board Operator Aaron Staubach
Adam Phalen and Aaron Staubach spend long hours in the booth at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, making sure every performance looks and sounds the way the sound designer and lighting designer intended. They talk about their jobs, their big breaks, and give advice to people who might want to enter the field.
Resources & More Information
- Theatrecrafts.com is a technical theatre resource for students, theatre technicians, designers and practitioners.
- Curious about majoring in technical theatre in college? Find some more information from the College Board.
- Get more information about the national union for theatre technicians from The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)'s official website.
If you’re curious about careers in theatre and wondering which ones might be right for you, we’ve created a quick quiz to help you think about the type of job you might want within the arts and what kind of lifestyle and education that career path requires.Take the Quiz