Stagehands are the beating heart of any theatre performance. All of the props, lighting, scenery, and sound is the result of the hard work of stagehands. These unseen members of the cast and crew often go unappreciated so here’s a look at the life of a stagehand.
The Show Must Go On
Long before the actors take the stage on opening night, the stagehands are hard at work. Stagehands are responsible for putting up scenery, setting up lighting and sound equipment, and staging areas for props, and for actors to change costumes. A stagehand has to be a master of all trades! They have to employ technical skill and creative spirit to ensure a smooth performance.
Stagehands help the stage manager in determining how the behind the scenes process should work during the performance. Stagehands help to create a smooth, seamless system that will ensure that the actors can do their jobs with as little chaos as possible.
During the Performance
Stagehands are the jack of all trades during a performance. They arrive hours before a performance to make sure that everything is set up and working perfectly. By the time the actors arrive to start warming up, the stagehands have been hard at work for awhile. Despite how hard they work, a good stagehand tries to make themself as unobtrusive as possible. If everything runs smoothly, then the stagehand may go unnoticed entirely!
There are stagehands available in the wings to take on whatever task is needed. They are responsible for scenery changes between scenes. Occasionally, a stagehand may need to move in the background of the stage to facilitate dynamic scenery changes during the scene itself.
Stagehands also troubleshoot lighting and sound problems. They help to fix costume malfunctions. They help to make sure that the right props are in the right hands at the right time. If any problem comes up during a performance, a stagehand is on hand to help fix it!
After the Final Curtain
After the final curtain is called and the actors have long since left the stage, the stagehands’ job is far from done. Just like they were responsible for setting up, they now have to take down scenery, lighting and sound equipment, and anything else on stage. They will gather up discarded costumes and props and return them to their rightful place.
Stagehands are also responsible for making sure the back of the theatre is as neat and clean as it was before the performance. This means picking up trash and refuse left behind and making sure that it gets into the trash. It can also mean sweeping and other cleaning.
A stagehand’s work is never done. So next time you are out and about enjoying your favorite productions in Oregon, think of the hard working stagehands operating behind the scenes and give them their own round of applause.