Want to get involved, but not sure what role to try?
We need a huge variety of people and skills in our teams – if you’d like to try your hand at something new, just have a look down the details below and let us know! If you have any questions, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Production Manager, or just post on the Facebook group!
None of our roles have any set pre-requisites for them, but we do recommend that before applying for a more senior role (Design/Management) that you have worked with us on a show before to understand how we work. It is also advisable to have some prior knowledge before applying for roles in some of the more technical areas (Sound, Lighting, AV), do not worry if you don’t though because we can help you with this and provide training for you, again, just pop us an email on the committee email address and we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions and arrange something for you!
Management and Logistics
Production Manager (PM)
Each event or production is assigned a Production Manager (PM), who begins working with the performing group months in advance to plan their event, taking responsibility for scheduling and planning the production, recruiting and organising crew, and managing the overall budget for the technical elements. This position is recruited separately from the main crew call, usually at the end of the previous term, and involves working closely with the Committee.
Nearly all of our events involve collecting equipment or materials from around Yorkshire and transporting them to the Union, so we frequently need van drivers to help us out! This role is recruited via individual crew calls and is a great way to keep your driving skills fresh while at Uni, and you just need a full driving licence to help out – LUU provides insurance and we provide the van! If you’re interested, get in touch with the Committee on email@example.com
Load In/Load Out Crew
Load-in and load-out crew help with preparing the theatre for productions and taking them apart again. This is a great way to get involved with a little bit of everything without giving a large time commitment, as load-in and load-out usually take place on Sunday afternoons.
Some productions, such as dance and award shows, involve careful planning and logistical management to make sure the right people are in the right place to be on stage at the right time. To accomplish this we usually need a team of runners, who will be stationed around the theatre and the building with radios to make sure that the performers and presenters know where they’re meant to be and are managed in their movements around the building. This is a really fun role as you help coordinate the production and communications throughout the performance whilst getting to chat to the various performers in the show.
Front of House
House Manager (HM)
The House Manager (HM) heads the Front of House team. They’re responsible for both the health and safety of the venue in co-operation with the SM (Stage Manager), and also for the relationship between the performance and the audience, helped by the Front of House assistants. The House Manager is also directly involved in counting and monitoring audience attendance, keeping logs of timings and any issues each night, and coordinating our evacuation procedures.
Front of House Assistant (FoH)
Front of House Assistants help the House Manager with their responsibilities, and are usually responsible for checking tickets, keeping the hall clean and tidy and helping with queue management. They also provide general ushering and help with queries where possible. The Front of House team form the public face of Backstage and the performance in general, so we’re always looking for polite, helpful and professional assistants who can help out!
Stage Manager (SM)
The Stage Manager (SM) is the most senior member of the crew during the performance run, forming the main channel of communication between the crew and the performing group. The Stage Manager liaises with the other teams involved in the production, and manages the ASM, DSM and stage crew. They are responsible for making on-the-day decisions relating to the performances, and oversee health and safety throughout the venue in co-operation with the HM.
During a performance, the Stage Manager will coordinate movements of crew, set and scenery on stage with the assistance of the ASM and stage crew. They will also coordinate and help resolve any issues which arise during a performance.
Assistant Stage Manager (ASM)
The Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) assists the stage manager with any aspects the SM sees fit. This generally involves managing some of the stage crew, organising the movement of set and scenery from their wing, and taking on the duties of the stage manager if they are required to deal with emergency issues. Prior to the production, the ASM will often be charged with sourcing props, and coordinating and planning the movements of all props during performances. In dance and award shows, the ASM will usually oversee the logistics and coordinate the runners during performances.
Deputy Stage Manager (DSM)
The Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) operates separately from the Stage Manager-Assistant Stage Manager relationship and “calls the show” (usually from the lighting booth), providing cues and direction to the lighting and sound teams during the show, as well as any other members of the crew as required. They also oversee the use of cans during performances (our party-line communication system) as the DSM usually has the highest priority in communications. Prior to performances, the DSM is responsible for familiarising themselves with the production and show to ensure they can effectively follow the script or score (for some shows the ability to read music is required for this role), and must also attend the plot (prior to the technical rehearsal) to mark up their script or score (“the book”) with all prompts and cues necessary.
Stage crew are responsible for the movement of props, scenery and to some extent, while assisting the stage manager and assistant stage manager, the cast. Stage crew usually work on stage during black-outs (when there is no light on stage in between scenes) or behind scenery or tabs (curtains). Stage crew are required to wear all black clothing (“blacks”) so they are not seen by the audience. They may also be responsible for the operation of certain equipment on stage that cannot be remotely controlled by other members of the crew – for instance, some smoke machines, items of scenery or dry-ice machines.
Sound Designer (SD)
The Sound Designer is responsible for both the layout and spec of equipment used in audio reproduction and for obtaining the required sound effects for a given event. The audio equipment can range from speccing the microphones for a full 20 piece pit band with a variety of vocal and ambient microphones to editing backing tracks and creating soundbites for transitions during a dance show. They are also responsible for leading their team of sound engineers through a delicate combination of delegation, teaching and problem solving.
The Sound Engineer works with the Sound Designer during the get-in to rig and wire up the sound system. In some shows there is also the opportunity offer help during pre-production using audio editing techniques. During the performances, the sound engineer is often then responsible for the mixing of audio and sound checks pre-performance, using the equipment set-up and spec’d by the designer. They also will be in close discussion during the show with the DSM (Deputy Stage Manger), who will often call their cues for sound effects.
Lighting Designer (LD)
The Lighting Designer’s primary responsibility is the artistic, creative, and often technical, oversight of the lighting for an event or performance. The work of a Lighting Designer, or LD, starts with concepts and suggestions from the director and ultimately cumulates in the realisation of a programmed lighting rig that can create the desired lighting effects. They are also responsible for delegating areas of this work to the Lighting Assistant and ensuring that the LA gains experience in, for instance, selecting, rigging, focussing and programming lights.
Lighting Assistant (LA)
The Lighting Assistant works with the Lighting Designer to implement the lighting design. They work in tandem with the designer to rig, focus and program the lights ready for the tech and dress run. In the actual performances the Lighting Assistant is usually responsible for the control of the lighting system. This may range from acting on cues from the script, which are called by the DSM (Deputy Stage Manager), to live busking – which isn’t for the faint hearted! Sometimes we’ll also advertise for Followspot Operators, who are LAs who specifically operate spotlights to follow actors around the stage, following cues from the DSM or other LA.
The Set Designer is responsible for consulting the director and production team in order to achieve a satisfactory design for a production’s set. This role varies between productions, from planning and arranging decking on stage to planning, costing, purchasing and constructing large wooden sets.
A member of the crew involved in making the Set Designer’s design a reality. This role can involve construction of staging, using litedeck or steel deck, through to carpentry and painting. The role can span a whole range of construction techniques and areas of expertise as different materials and methods may be used.
AV (Audio Visual) Team
Video/Projections Designer and Assistants
The majority of shows that we work on are theatrical, however, every year we also work on dance shows and the prestigious ‘Rileys’ (annual awards evening for the societies and members of the union) both of which have fantastic opportunities to get to grips with AV equipment.
The Video/Projection Designer is responsible for the overall spec and design of the AV equipment for the show, ranging from the projectors, computers and software/s used to even building the screens for projection from scratch alongside the Set Designer. They also are then responsible for the content of the projections. The Assistants will assist the designer in realising their design, through helping create and edit the content and often operating the running software on the nights aswell.