Theatre technician

Theatre technician article illustration


Theatre technicians execute all technical tasks to support live performances. They build and break down stages and decors, install and operate sound, light, recording and video equipment and organise the transport of decors and technical equipment for performances on displacement.

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities of a theatre technician:

  • Operating technical equipment and systems in the performing arts and entertainment industry
  • Set construction and theatrical carpentry
  • Sound system configuration and operation
  • Lighting design and light board operation, followspot operation, hanging and maintenance of stage lighting instruments as well as various other electrical jobs
  • Flying of scenery and occasionally even actors by fly men
  • Rigging of moveable and stationary set pieces by riggers
  • Stage management
  • Costume and prop management

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to theatre technician:

lighting technician
stage technician
audio technician
theatrical technician
theatre tech
performance technician

Working conditions

Theatre technicians work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, often under tight deadlines and with multiple productions running simultaneously. They may work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, depending on the performance schedule. The work environment can vary from small community theatres to large professional venues. Theatre technicians often work backstage, in control booths, or in designated technical areas. They may be required to climb ladders, lift heavy equipment, and work at heights. Close collaboration and effective communication with the production team, performers, and other technicians are essential for a successful production.

Minimum qualifications

A formal education in theatre production or a related field is beneficial but not always required. Many theatre technicians acquire their skills through hands-on experience, apprenticeships, or technical training programs. Familiarity with theatre technology, lighting and sound systems, rigging, and stage machinery is crucial. Theatre technicians should have a good understanding of theatrical production processes, industry standards, and safety protocols. Strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure are important attributes. Effective communication and teamwork skills are also essential for collaborating with diverse production teams and managing technical cues during performances.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Theatre technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Theatre technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to theatre technician.

stage machinist
scenery technician
stage technician
followspot operator
automated fly bar operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of theatre technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of theatre technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

mask maker
technical director
puppet designer
video designer
lighting director

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of theatre technician.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of theatre technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3435 – Other artistic and cultural associate professionals

  1. Theatre technician – ESCO
  2. Stage Technician Careers | The Princeton Review
  3. Featured image: Photo by Rodrigo Ruiz on Unsplash
Last updated on July 3, 2023

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