Upcoming Events

  • September 4
    TFMS Open House, 7:30-8:30 p.m.+, Bruce Davis Theater, MH. Come enjoy the party! Mandatory for declared and intended TFMS majors.
  • September 9-10
    Auditions, Much Ado About Nothing, 6:00-10:00 p.m., Bruce Davis Theater, MH. Contact the director, Michael Ellis-Tolaydo, for information.
  • September 22
    Eighth Annual TFMS Film Series, with filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer ("The Act of Killing"), 7:15 p.m., Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Free and open to the public. 
  • October 20
    Eighth Annual TFMS Film Series, with filmmaker Lynne Sachs ("Your Day Is My Night"), 8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Free and open to the public.
  • October 30-31
    Performances of "Falling Man, a dance-art project," with Leonard Cruz & Caitie Sullivan, 8:00 p.m. (Oct. 30) & 4:30 p.m. (Oct. 31), Boyden Gallery, MH. Free and open to the public.


TFMS Alumni
Where Are They Now?

Megan Rippey

Megan Rippey (class of 2008, B.A. women, gender, and sexuality studies, minor in theater studies) recently completed her M.F.A. in acting at the California Institute of the Arts (class of 2013).


Site maintained by:
Mark A. Rhoda
For comments about this site or suggestions for its improvement, contact: marhoda@smcm.edu

Theater Production and Shop Positions and Their Responsibilities

Following is a list of various positions routinely involved in theater production and an exemplification of their responsibilities. This list is not meant to be exhaustive; likewise, additional responsibilities may attend each position.

The MandrakeDirector: The director selects material for staging. He/she translates script to stage, transforming word into action, characters into stage life, theme or idea into stage pictures. The director coordinates and harmonizes the diverse elements of a production in order to create an artistic whole that complements his/her particular artistic vision, and provides the cohesive force to realize the production.

Designer: In consultation and collaboration with the director, the designer helps formulate the director's ideas for the particular "look" of a production, and translates these ideas into visual, tactile, or aural components. Following are types of designers and their responsibilities:
  • Scenic Designer: The scenic designer creates the settings (stage environments) for each production, and provides the director and/or stage manager with a working ground plan of all settings before a show enters rehearsals. Whenever appropriate or when requested by the director, he/she builds scale models of each setting and provides renderings, and drafts design elevations for the construction of the sets. At SMCM, the scenic designer oversees construction, supervises all painting of flats, platforms, and furniture pieces, and may often design properties.
  • Assistant Scenic Designer: The assistant scenic designer assists the designer in the creation and realization of designs. At the discretion of the designer, he/she may be requested to draft blueprints, do layouts, supervise crews, and oversee the painting of the set(s).
  • Costume Designer: The costume designer designs all clothing and accessories for use in a production, and provides color renderings of each costume. He/she is responsible for procuring fabrics and materials for costume construction, for pulling items from stock whenever possible, for renting costume pieces and accessories whenever appropriate or advisable, for returning these items in a timely fashion, and for maintaining and overseeing the costume shop facilities. The costume designer also contributes to the construction and alteration of all costume pieces and accessories, and is responsible for hair and make-up design for each main stage production.
  • Assistant Costume Designer: The assistant costume designer assists the costume designer in the research, organization, creation, and realization of all costume designs. He/she is responsible for pulling items from costume stock, for returning and/or restocking all pulled or rented pieces, and for shopping for fabrics, clothing, and accessories. The assistant costume designer also shares in the construction, dyeing, and distressing of costume pieces.
  • Lighting Designer: In consultation with the director and, at times, the technical director, the lighting designer designs the lighting for a production. He/she selects appropriate lighting instruments and gels, drafts working and legible lighting plots for the hanging of all instruments, originates all necessary paperwork in the design and plotting of lights, supervises the hanging and focusing of instruments, and helps set all lighting cues.
  • Assistant/Associate Lighting Designer: The assistant/associate lighting designer assists the lighting designer in the creation and realization of the lighting design and lighting plot and helps supervise light hang and focus sessions. He/she must attend all technical rehearsals and strike.
  • Sound Designer: The sound designer creates an aural environment for a production. If sound recordings or sound effects are not selected by the director, the sound designer chooses appropriate recordings or effects, and records each on tape or other appropriate medium. In consultation with the director and technical director, the sound designer sets all sound cues, and is responsible for setting up, operating, and maintaining all sound equipment.
Properties Designer/Manager: When properties for a production are not designed by the scenic designer, the properties designer assumes that responsibility. He/she designs individual properties, pulls them from stock or arranges for their borrowing, and supervises and/or contributes to their building, alteration, and painting. Likewise, he/she oversees the running of properties during all technical rehearsals and performances, and must attend strike. Ultimately, the properties designer/manager is responsible for the return of all properties to their appropriate storage areas or, if borrowed, to their appropriate owners.

Haroun and the Sea of StoriesTechnical Director: The technical director supervises all crews implementing scenic, properties, lighting, and sound designs. He/she consults with and advises each designer on the use of space, materials, and methods of construction, drafts construction elevations, procures supplies, and handles all scenic budgetary matters. The technical director attends all technical rehearsals and supervises strike.

Assistant Technical Director: The assistant technical director performs duties as assigned by the technical director, and often helps supervise production crews, build sets and furniture pieces, and, if necessary, properties. He/she must attend all technical rehearsals and strike.

Lead Carpenter: The lead carpenter assists the technical director in running scene shop activities and in constructing scenery/set pieces for all main stage productions. He/she oversees construction crews, assigns individual projects to crew members, and is responsible for following the construction schedule as set by the technical director (Note: the lead carpenter must be able to read and interpret draftings). The lead carpenter maintains and replenishes the stock of supplies and materials as needed, and ensures adequate supplies are available for each crew session. He/she must attend all technical rehearsals and strike.

Stage Manager: The stage manager is responsible for all technical aspects of a production, and supervises all rehearsals. He/she tapes the ground plan; acquires and sets up all necessary rehearsal furniture and props; takes blocking, business, lighting, sound, and production and technical notations during each rehearsal; maintains the rehearsal space; calls and supervises weekly production meetings; and, most importantly, acts as liaison between the director and performers and technical director/design staff. The stage manager calls all lighting and sound cues during performances, and supervises backstage crews, performers, and the house manager. The stage manager must attend a minimum of three rehearsals per week and must attend all technical rehearsals and strike.

Assistant Stage Manager(s): The assistant stage manager performs duties as assigned by the stage manager, and is often responsible for the supervision of stage crews and backstage activities during the run of a performance. He/she may be required to attend and/or supervise rehearsals, and must attend all technical rehearsals, performances, and strike.

Movement Coach: The movement coach collaborates with the director and actors in physicalizing character and objectives, and brings expertise to special movement challenges, such as mime, stylization, and combat.

Choreographer: The choreographer stages and rehearses any dance and/or movement numbers in musical or non-musical productions.

Vocal Coach: The vocal coach advises and instructs performers in proper vocal techniques in order to achieve fuller use of the vocal apparatus, and calls and/or supervises vocal warm-ups and rehearsals, or rehearsals when musical numbers are staged and singing is required.

Stage Crew: The stage crew shifts scenery and operates any backstage equipment during the run of a show, and must attend all technical rehearsals, performances, and strike.

Construction Crew: The construction crew builds each setting, including all platforms, flats, and furniture pieces, and loads in all components of the scenery. The construction crew must attend strike.

Paint Charge: Under the supervision of the scenic designer or technical director, the paint charge is responsible for painting all set pieces, flats, and platforms for use in main stage shows, and supervises his/her painting crew.

Paint Crew: The paint crew assists the paint charge, scenic designer, and technical director in the painting of all set pieces, flats, platforms, and, when appropriate, properties.

Wardrobe Supervisor/Costume Crew: The wardrobe supervisor is responsible for the proper care and maintenance of all costumes pieces and accessories during dress rehearsals, performances, and strike, and launders and/or repairs these items during the run of a show. The costume crew assists the costume designer and wardrobe supervisor in the construction of costumes and accessories, and may also be responsible for repairing and laundering these items during performances. The wardrobe supervisor and select members of the costume crew will be required to attend all technical rehearsals and performances, and all members must attend strike. On weekends during the run of a show, the wardrobe supervisor is responsible for arranging access to the shop prior to the performances for the laundering and repair of costume pieces.

Properties Crew: The properties crew assists the properties designer/manager in the location and construction of properties, and is responsible for setting up and shifting properties during performances and in striking and securely storing properties after performances. The crew must attend all technical rehearsals, performances, and strike.

Lighting Crew: Under the supervision of the lighting designer and lead electrician, the lighting crew is responsible for gelling, hanging, and focusing all lighting equipment. Select members of the crew may also hold titled positions. The lighting crew must attend technical rehearsals, as necessary, and must attend strike.

Lead Electrician: The lead electrician assumes responsibility for the proper care, maintenance, and repair of all lighting equipment and cable during the run of a show. He/she handles all paperwork generated by the lighting designer, oversees and advises the lighting crew in light hang and focus, attends all technical rehearsals and performances, and supervises and contributes to light strike. The lead electrician may also assume the responsibility of light board operator.

Assistant Lead Electrician: The assistant lead electrician performs duties as assigned by the lead electrician and lighting designer. Often, he/she shares supervision of light hang and focus with the lead electrician. The assistant lead electrician must attend all technical rehearsals, performances, and strike. He/she may also assume the responsibility of light board operator.

Light Board Operator: The light board operator maintains and operates the lighting control equipment during all technical rehearsals and performances, properly checks dimmers and instruments before the commencement of each show, and attends strike.

Follow Spot Operator: The follow spot operator runs follow spots during performances. He/she must attend all technical rehearsals, performances, and strike.

House Manager and Ushers: The house manager is responsible for all details in the management of the Theater and lobby during a show's run. He/she recruits and supervises ushers, and acts as liaison between front-of-house and the stage manager. The ushers take tickets, distribute programs, assist patrons to their seats, and, if necessary, maintain order in the Theater.


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