INDEX OF ROLES
When patrons arrive, we need Box Office staff to take their tickets, Ushers to hand out programs and help them find their seats, Concession staff to sell intermission snacks, and facilities staff to make repairs of the building, and a house manager to coordinate all this!
- House Manager
- Facilities Manager
- Box Office Manager
- Box Office Attendant
- Concession Attendants
A Theater Company also needs staff to advertise and market their productions – in order for people to know about the performances!
The Technical Director and Master Carpenter are positions appointed by the Board of Trustees, to set policy and help oversee lighting/sound/set builds for all shows. Producers handle the budget for a production and also ensure everything gets done. Directors are determined by the Play Selection Committee and they manage all creative aspects of a show. Musical Directors handle singing and orchestra, while Choreographers plan dancing, and a Stage Manager coordinates cast member schedules, calling places, and stage issues during rehearsals and a live production.
- Technical Director
- Master Carpenter
- Assistant Producer
- Musical Director
- Stage Manager
The Designers are the creative personnel who conceptualize and create the scenery, lighting, sound, costumes and properties for a show, under the supervision and guidance of the Director and with the goal of bringing his/her vision to life.
If you have an interest in helping to bring a production to life, that does not require being an on-stage actor, these positions may be for you!
- Assistant Director
- Assistant Stage Manager / Production Assistant
- Set Carpenter/Builder
- Set Dresser
- Lighting Board Operator
- Sound Board Operator
- Prop Coordinator – Master
- Costume Dresser/Wardrobe
- Hair/Makeup Artist
- Stage Hands
Aside from the Production Crew teams listed prior, the Performers are the Cast, or ensemble of Actors. If you’re interested in performing as one of our cast members, please see our Auditions section.
FULL DESCRIPTIONS OF ROLES
Villagers Theatre appoints a Front-of-House Manager, responsible for the care and well-being of the audience and the areas of the theatre that the audience uses. His/her responsibilities include:
- making sure the house (seating area and lobby) are ready for the audience
- supervising the taking of tickets, seating of audience
- informing the Stage Manager when the audience is in place
- overseeing the intermission, including concessions/refreshments, flashing the lights at the intermission and and informing the Stage Manager when the audience is reseated
- supervising the safe and efficient exiting of the audience when the show is over
- sometimes supervising the superficial clean-up of the house (picking up discarded playbills, tickets, cups and refreshment wrappers, etc.) after the audience has left
The House Manager is assisted by, and in charge of, Ushers and Concessions.
Villagers Theatre appoints a Facilities Manager, responsible for the general monitoring/upkeep of the public and cast/crew areas of the building. His/her responsibilities include:
- supervising the cleaning vendors and ensuring they are performing their responsibilities
- purchasing toiletry supplies (toilet paper, paper towels, misc cleaning products) for the public restrooms and cast restrooms
- making sure the public restrooms and dressing rooms are ready for the public and cast (vendor cleaned and toiletries are supplied)
- ensuring the air conditioners and heat are working, and HVAC filters are clean
- hiring repair crews, in an emergency, after confirming allowable budget with President
- informing the President of any facility issues or repairs that need to be made
The Box Office Manager supervises the Box Office Attendants and ticket sales. Specific responsibilities may include:
- becoming an expert at usage of the Arts People website (including ticket processing, reporting, etc)
- troubleshooting Arts People website issues
- troubleshooting refund issues
- determining policies for listening to the answering machine and answering the telephone and taking telephone orders/requests and reading boxoffice email
- training Box Office Attendants
The Box Office Attendants often help manage the box office over the course of several shows during a season. Specific responsibilities may include:
- taking prepaid tickets at the box office, and providing a playbill
- selling new tickets at the door, and answering general questions about times/seating, etc
- processing gift certificates and other discounts or coordinating complimentary admissions
- listening to the answering machine and answering the telephone and taking telephone orders/requests and answering general questions
- reading boxoffice email, to look for reservation requests as opposed to prepaid tickets
- using www.Arts-People.com online software to process the above, or running other reports at the request of the Executive Board or Producers
The Ushers, usually volunteers recruited on a show-by-show basis in exchange for the chance to see the show for free, assist the house manager. Specific responsibilities may include:
- ensuring proof of purchase is shows at the audience entrance to the stage
- greeting the audience at the doors, handing them playbills and showing them to their seats
- holding late-comers outside the doors until an appropriate moment to seat them and then unobtrusively showing them to their seats
- dealing with any audience disruptions including flash photography, disruptive audience members, sickness, fights, emergencies of any kind
- sometimes, helping the House Manager get the house ready before the performance and straighten up after the audience leaves
- sometimes helping with Concession preparation and sales
Concession Attendants volunteer behind the concession stand and in the lobby for special events. Specific responsibilities may include:
- handling purchase/delivery/setup of food/drink that will be sold at theater concession stands
- selling food/drink and handling cash transactions at the theater concession stand
- straighten up/clean the concession stand area before/during/after show
- sometimes, setting up tables and food/drink in the lobby for special events such as opening night wine/cheese parties
- sometimes, helping the House Manager and/or Ushers with other misc House tasks
A Theater Company also needs staff to advertise and market their productions – in order for people to know about the performances!
Contact print magazines and online services and negotiate advertising rates for print or banner ads to be placed in/on third party locations, relating to musicals and plays which will be performed at Villagers Theatre. Also coordinate vendors who will sponsor ads in Villagers Theatre Playvills.
Think of marketing gimmicks/ideas that will help to spread the word about Villagers Theatre and our productions.
Obtain free publicity for musicals and plays which will be performed at Villagers Theatre. by writing Press Releases and distributing them via PR Web and free online services and messages boards/blogs.
The Technical Director and Master Carpenter are positions appointed by the Board of Trustees, to help oversee theatre operations.
The Technical Director will be in charge of setting production policies and procedures as they pertain to all technical aspects of productions including lights, sound, and other technical elements. S/he supervises the purchasing, use/handling, hanging, striking and storage of supplies and equipment for lighting and sound. They also ensure that Lighting and Sound Designers and Board Ops, in their show specific production tasks, are following policy and procedures.
The Master Carpenter reports to the Technical Director and will be in charge of setting production policies and procedures as they pertain to all aspects of Workshop use and Set Building and Striking. S/he is responsible for supervising the material purchasing, building and subsequent strike of production sets. They also ensure that Set Builders, in their show specific production tasks, are following policy and procedures.
The Villagers Theatre Play Selection Committee selects Plays/Musicals and Directors for the season, and the Board of Trustees approves. The VP Production and Board of Trustees, then appoint a Producer and Assistant Producer (if applicable) for a specific production.
The Producer of a Villagers Theatre production is always a Villagers Theatre Board member, or is a combination of a Board Member and Volunteer – except in the case of Independent Productions who bring in their own Producer.
A Producer has been described as many things. Basically a Villagers Producer does whatever needs to be done except act, direct or design; the Producer ensures that others are hired to perform these tasks. The Producer works closely with the Director on ensuring the production’s success, communicating frequently. However a Producer does not interfere with the Director’s artistic interpretation, vision and direction of the production. The only exception may be if the Producer feels that there may be an issue with the artistic integrity of Villagers Theatre, in which case they would discuss their concerns with the Board of Trustees and then potentially the Director.
Practical jobs of a Producer include dealing with the business/administrative issues of a production, including establishing and managing a budget, booking the stage, rehearsal space, finding a Stage Manager, hiring any necessary crew, coordinating contracts and ensuring required resources are available (materials and human). If the production is a musical, the Producer will also be responsible for appointing a musical director and choreographer. The Director may approach the Producer about what she “needs” to make the show as good as it can be while the Producer must determine if the proper resources exist (money, materials, or human) to accomplish requests that the Director may have. A Director may request to have specific musical directors, choreographers, designers or a stage manager to work on the production. And although the Producer is primarily responsible for finding the crew, the Director is responsible for ensuring the crew understands and executes their vision. Sometimes the Producer and Director must work together on solving related issues.
The Producer collaborates with the Director and all staff to plan the production timeline and deadlines for various aspects of the production to ensure a successful show opening and run. The Producer and Director oversee this timeline, with periodic re-assessment and modifications as needed.
The Producer of a Villagers Theatre production is always a Villagers Theatre Board member, however Assistant Producers may be non-Board members. Assistant Producers are initially paired with an existing Producer for a particular show, to train them. Once trained, an Assistant Producer can manage portions of an actual Production.
At the direction of the Producer, the Assistant
- Assist with conducting the business/administrative issues of a production, including establishing and managing a budget, booking the stage, rehearsal space, finding a Stage Manager, hiring any necessary crew, coordinating contracts and ensuring required resources are available (materials and human).
- If the production is a musical, the primary Producer will also be responsible for appointing a musical director and choreographer. A Director may request to have specific musical directors, choreographers, designers or a stage manager to work on the production.
- The Director may approach the Producers about what she “needs” to make the show as good as it can be while the Producers must determine if the proper resources exist (money, materials, or human) to accomplish requests that the Director may have.
- Although the Producers are primarily responsible for finding the crew, the Director is responsible for ensuring the crew understands and executes their vision. Sometimes the Producers and Director must work together on solving related issues.
- The Producers collaborates with the Director and all staff to plan the production timeline and deadlines for various aspects of the production to ensure a successful show opening and run. The Producers and Director oversee this timeline, with periodic re-assessment and modifications as needed.
- Producers must consistently monitor rehearsals, set building and designers (lighting, sound, scenic, costumes) and ensure the show is progressing as necessary, and resolving any issues along the way.
The additional Leadership Staff listed below are then responsible for creative development and management of one individual production. Some of these roles may be combined by the Producer and Director, or new roles added, when necessary.
The Director is solely responsible for the artistic unity of the production, based on his/her overall concept or vision. His/hers is the final responsibility for every aspect of the show, including, but not limited to, the overall look, the specific characterizations and staging, the music, dance, set, props, costumes, lighting and sound – as long as costs are within a budget approved by the Producer. All design plans are created under his/her supervision, all actors are under his/her direction. The director’s work includes:
- when working on a new play, using his/her knowledge of theater to work with the playwright (and possibly composer and lyricist) to shape the play
- research and analysis of the play material
- interpreting the script through the use of actors and designers, defining the style, mood, pace and arc of the action
- holding auditions and casting the show with the advice of the musical director and choreographer, when appropriate, and the help of the stage manager
- coordinating and supervising the work of the musical director, choreographer, designers and performers
- planning the rehearsal schedule, with the help of the stage manager
- approving sets, lights, sound, costumes, props, make-up and hair styles
- rehearsing the performers, creating the blocking and musical staging, developing characterizations with the actors
The Director cannot be responsible for the administrative, financial and day to day workings of the production and still be expected to do his/her job well. It is the job of the Producers, Assistant Directors and Stage Manager to make sure these details are seen to, efficiently and without bother to the director or performers, in order to assure the best possible show.
The Musical Director is responsible for every note of music in a musical theatre production. His/her responsibilities include:
- recommending to the director the number and vocal range of singers needed
- holding singing auditions and advising the director on casting of singers
- deciding on the instrumental configuration of the orchestra
- assembling the orchestra
- supervising all singing and orchestra rehearsals, teaching the music, harmonies and dynamics to the singers
- may also act as rehearsal pianist and/or play, as well as conduct the orchestra for performances
The Choreographer is the heart and soul of the dance in any musical. S/he creates the style and form of the dance routines and teaches them to the cast. His/her responsibilities include:
- recommending to the director the number and type of dancers needed
- conducting dance auditions and advising the director on casting of dancers
- rehearsing everyone who dances
- assisting in additional musical staging at the director’s discretion
The Director appoints the Stage Manager (aka: Production Stage Manager) for a specific production, with the help of the Company Stage Manager; the Company Stage Manager may often be the same person as the Stage Manager. The Technical Staff is then responsible for implementing the Design Staff’s vision and are responsible for the technical management of one individual company production. Any of these roles may be combined by the Stage Manager, or new roles added, when necessary. The Stage Manager is the liaison between the Director, the Cast/Performers, and the Technical Production Crew.
The Stage Manager has complete responsibility for the coordination of everything that happens onstage and backstage in preproduction, during rehearsals, and in performance. In addition, s/he is the director’s right hand and the voice of the director in his/her absence, assisting him/her in preproduction planning (along with possibly an Assistant Director), auditions and rehearsal, and is the liaison between the director and the design staff and, often, between the director and the cast. All of the various technical staff including set design, lighting, sound, props and scenery, report directly to the stage manager. And once “tech week” is done and live performances begin, the directors job is done and it now becomes the stage manager’s show and they assume command.
In addition to the above summary, some of the Stage Manager’s specific responsibilities are defined below:
- assisting the director with research and all phases of pre-production planning
- organizing and running auditions, including preparing script samples, coordinating the audition location, posting audition notices, preparing audition registration forms, setting up an audition sign-in table, greeting performers at an audition, calling performers to the stage for their audition, etc.
- planning, preparing and distributing rehearsal schedules, cast lists, contact sheets, sign-in sheets and rehearsal reports, and maintaining contact with the cast and crew
- assembling and maintaining the Prompt Book, which is defined as the accurate playing text and stage business, together with such blocking, lighting, cue sheets, prop usage, costume changes and entrances of performers, etc. as are necessary for the actual technical operation of the production. Therefore, all script changes must go through the Stage Manager, as s/he is responsible for recording all technical and actors’ cue and line changes into the Prompt Book
- calling and running rehearsals, including taking blocking and technical notes; preparing the rehearsal areas; taping the floor (when necessary and possible) to indicate the scenery positions and playing areas and placing rehearsal chairs where furniture and props will be; prompting; taking and giving line and staging notes, and organizing and supervising any set changes, props tracking and technical cues
- ensuring that the cast has memorized their lines and are using correct grammar and are exacting with the lines (when necessary)
- assigning dressing rooms
- during performance, the Stage Manager is totally responsible for the running of the show, including lighting, sound and other technical cues; set changes; calling places and entrances, starting and intermission times and curtain calls
Generally during performance the SM inspects the preshow set-up for safety and accuracy, then watches the performance from the audience taking production notes for the cast and technical crew. In this way s/he acts as the director’s alter-ego while the show is in production, once the director has left to go on to his/her next job. The SM then calls the show and runs it during performance.
The Designers are the creative personnel who conceptualize and create the scenery, lighting, sound, costumes and properties for a show, under the supervision and guidance of the Director and with the goal of bringing his/her vision to life. They are assisted by, and their designs are built, operate and made practical by the Technical Staff.
The Set Designer creates the set concept and supplies the specifications for the construction and may also supply specs for paint colors, set properties and special effects. S/he is assisted by the Set Construction crew, who are responsible for actually building the set. At Villagers Theatre, our Master Carpenter sometimes performs the role of Set Designer and Set Construction.
The Lighting Designer plans the stage lighting, designs the gel colors and positions, acquires the lighting equipment, makes the lighting plots and instrument schedules, supervises placement and focusing of the lighting instruments, oversees the setting of the lighting cues and levels and then transitions the operational responsibilities to the Lighting Board operator.
The Sound Designer is responsible for amplifying the performers’ voices and musical instruments, creating or obtaining recorded music and sound effects, and then transitions the operational responsibilities to the Sound Board operator.
There is sometimes overlap between the Set Designer and Scenic Designer. The Scenic Designer works with the Director, Set Designer and Set Construction/Builder, to establish an overall visual concept for the production. Scenic designers sometimes create scale models of the scenery, renderings, paint elevations and scale construction drawings as part of their communication with other production staff.
Costume Designer / Coordinator
The Costume Designer or Coordinator creates the “look” of the show. S/he acquires all the costumes and accessories, either designing costumes to be made, or purchasing, renting, or borrowing ready-made items. S/he supervises the fitting of the costumes, organizes and runs the dress parade, and may be responsible for performers’ wigs, hairstyles, beards and mustaches.
The Assistant Director works with the director, who designates the AD’s duties. Every director works differently. However, in general, the Assistant Directors responsibilities may include the following:
- Research (historic periods, literature, playwrights, prisons, torture) – quite often the AD can become the ‘go-to’ person for any information pertaining to the text in question. On the plus side, you quickly become an expert on one or two topics.
- Character Development – after researching the script, discuss character background and motives and how that causes their actions in the script, with the Director and possibly direct with the cast.
- ‘A second pair of eyes’ – this is the biggest part of being an AD. To know and understand the vision of the Director for the production (obtained through discussion and attending as many preliminary meetings as possible) so that you can monitor the show in rehearsal and performance and help it remain true to that first idea. This can require questioning certain decisions in rehearsal, and it’s important to learn how to ‘take’ being shot down with an idea you may yourself think is really good – but isn’t liked by the main Director. An AD needs a thick skin!
- Taking notes during rehearsal – usually on such areas as specific problem areas, character and relationship problems, actor-related blocking and acting problems, line notes, and so on.
- Working with the ensemble or chorus on blocking or scene work, while the director works with the principals.
- The Assistant Director sometimes takes on some of the responsibilities of Stage Manager or ASM such as being on “on book” during rehearsals, taking blocking, or acting as liaison for the Director.
Fundamentally, the AD is the Director’s ally. The person they can turn to and say ‘this is crap, isn’t it?’ or ‘this is great, isn’t it?’ and receive positive, constructive feedback. You are utterly on the Director’s side.
Assistant Stage Manager / Production Assistant
The Stage Manager is assisted by the Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) and Production Assistant (PA). There may be several of these, as needed, and determined by the size and complexity of the show. They customarily take on such responsibilities as prompting in rehearsal, props tracking, assisting in set changes and technical cues backstage. In some cases, the First ASM may call the lighting and sound cues from the lighting booth while the SM runs the show from backstage with the assistance of the other ASM’s and PA’s . Or the SM will call the show and the ASM will run it from backstage. In most cases, it’s a decision that is made by the SM. ASM’s may also be asked to run the lighting or sound boards or take small onstage roles.
The set carpenter/builder is responsible for turning set designs into a physical set and deciding what materials will be used such as 2×4′s, luan, plywood, sheet rock, plaster, doors, etc and how they will be assembled, based on budget and time availability. They then perform set construction/building and subsequent strike, at the direction of the master carpenter. This may involve sawing, drilling, etc., in the construction and painting of the sets, acquisition or building of properties, shifting, repairing and striking of the scenery and props, and the work of all set build crews. The set carpenter is ultimately responsible for the budget relating to the set construction.
The Set Dresser may assist with implementing the Set and Scenic Designer’s visions and also works with Carpenters/Builders. They are responsible for bringing life to the Set & Scenic Design and actual constructed set. They may paint walls, panels, floors, etc. or implement scenes, textures, etc., and obtain and place furniture and household/set items, as per the Set and Scenic Designs.
After the Lighting Designer completes his/her plans and lighting setup, the Lighting Board Operator is then responsible for operation of the control board during Tech Week and the actual Performances. He or she may also be asked to help during Dress Rehearsals. The Lighting Board Operator may also function as Sound Board Operator.
After the Sound Designer completes his/her plans and sound setup, the Sound Board Operator is then responsible for operation of the control board during Tech Week and the actual Performances. He or she may also be asked to help during Dress Rehearsals. The Sound Board Operator may also function as Lighting Board Operator.
The Prop Master (or Properties Coordinator or Prop Mistress) supervises the acquisition or building of hand props. S/he may also run props backstage during rehearsals and performances, setting props on the prop table(s) and tracking their positions on and backstage during the show, or this job may be done by an ASM or Production Assistant.
The Costume Dresser/Wardrobe is responsible for being behind stage during technical rehearsals and during the performances – to ensure that costumes selected or created by the Costume Designer, are where they belong and that actors can find them. They may also help the actors change their costumes, during a performance. They also solve any issues relating to costumes, which may occur during the production (tears, stains, fitting issues, etc).
This person attends Dress Rehearsals and Live Performances and is responsible for determining what wigs and/or makeup each performer should wear. They may also assist the performer with applying the hair and makeup. The best makeup effects may be determined during dress rehearsals.
Stage hands wait on the sidelines, and perform any misc tasks asked by the Assistant Stage Manager or Production Assistants. This may include being responsible for or moving props, helping with lighting/sound issues, helping with wardrobe and changes, etc.
Aside from the Production Crew teams listed prior, the Performers are the Cast, or ensemble of Actors.
Many people aspire to be Actors. However they may not realize how difficult it can be to memorize all those lines, rehearse by yourself, attend rehearsals, and actually be able to deliver a performance in front of a live audience that is entertaining, not boring, and convincing.
If you’re interested in performing as one of our cast members, please see our Auditions section.
For those of you who have never acted, but always wanted to try, or at least audition, my best advice is to be yourself. Or rather an exaggerated version of yourself, as it pertains to the character you are auditioning for.
Often those who are cast for a role, were not trying to be someone who they are not, in the audition, but rather they were dramatizing themselves to fit the role. There must usually be a personality fit between the role and the actor’s actual personality.
Read this article to learn more:
How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love with You
A note about Understudies, who often go under-appreciated. Understudies are cast members who did not get a part in the production, but who have been asked to learn the lines and blocking of a particular character and also attend the rehearsals, in case the primary cast member is sick or unavailable for the performance.
The number one reason to say yes to an understudy role is to get your foot in the door. If you say yes to an understudy role and you work hard, people will notice and you may actually get the chance to make your first performance on stage. But if it doesn’t happen for your understudy role, perhaps you’ll be cast in the next production in a role that fits your personality type.
The second best reason to understudy is for the chance to work on a particular script you like, team with a director you admire, or to observe a seasoned actor who could teach you a thing or two. If you can learn from the experience, it’s worth it.