13 Amazing things about working backstage
No one truly understands just how much techies run the show. In a theatre production, techies become just as vital as the actors. They create the environment for the show. All of those light changes, music tracks and set pieces are due to some hard-working backstage crew.
To enter the entertainment industry as a backstage person, you need to develop some really important skills and there is a way you can do it, right here in Newcastle.
Are you ready to take your place as a leader backstage? Here's some great opportunities for training in 2021:
If you already have the above qualification, or a lot of industry experience, then you might like to consider the following:
Once you've crewed a couple of times, you'll find yourself learning many new things.
1. Coloured highlighters and sticky notes become your friend Whether it's to separate music cues from light cues or just to make sure you don't forget to grab that bench, colours will make sure the important scribbles stand out from the rest.
2. Seeing in the dark becomes no problem thanks to blackout scene changes. Scene changes during blackouts will give you great night vision so you know exactly how to get the job done without falling over the set.
3. Eventually you know the cue lines like the back of your hand. You'll even know all the lines around it so when someone inevitably misses some, your cues are still on point.
4. Being on headset brings a whole new meaning to "voices in your head." Between listening to what's on stage, all the chatter backstage and having at least five people talking in your ear, you're guaranteed to leave every show with a headache.
5. Nothing will always go right. Ever. Lines will be missed, cues will be off, props will fall, etc. Something will always go wrong
6. There will be singing backstage, even if it's not a musical. Whether you're at a play or musical, there will be singing backstage. Always. And half the time, you'll join in, even if you can't sing, because that's just how the show goes.
7. You will rerun scene changes for way longer than anyone wants to. There's always that one scene change that takes way too long and you run it no less than 20 times one night. Although, lifting those heavy set pieces on and off stage constantly is a great way to get a workout.
8. You will lose all track of time. Sitting backstage in the dark for hours on end will have you questioning just how much time has passed. Ten minutes or ten hours? Is it light outside or dark? How soon until you can leave?
9. You'll start keeping a pencil around for all those last minute cue changes. Cues will be moved constantly with every show, it just happens.
10. "Don't touch that," and "Move!" will be all said at least 50 times every show. Especially in shows with kids, prop tables are crew nightmares. Whether everyone wants to play with all the props or they decide to stand right in the way of the swarm of people about to come off stage, you gotta keep an eye on them all.
11. Always keep a pair of gloves handy for when you gotta work fly. Nothing sucks more than lowering one drop and suddenly there are 15 rope splinters in your hands.
12. You'll have a special set of black clothes to wear on show nights. Gotta stay hidden during those scene changes, and that's when you feel grateful to your goth phase for giving you black ninja clothes to work with.
13. Even though it drives you crazy, you know you'll still do it again for the next show. While it may give you a headache and the actors may drive you crazy, nothing is more satisfying than watching the show you've put weeks into run like a well-oiled machine.