If being behind-the-scenes is more your style, there are opportunities available for nearly every skill and commitment level. If you are new to technical theatre don't worry, our faculty and staff will teach you what you need to know. A desire to learn and a willingness to apply yourself are all that are required to help out.
If you are interested in helping backstage we highly recommend contacting or visiting us so that we can help you determine what would be the best fit for you within all the opportunities currently available.
Every production involves a team of collaborators that create and implement an artistic vision for how the story will be told. The production team commonly includes the director, dramaturg, stage manager, designers, props master, technical director, and master electrician. Other positions may be added depending on the show. Work is carried out by production team members on an extremely varied schedule that includes many meetings and rehearsals. Serving on a production team requires the highest level of commitment.
The scenery and costume shops function as educational studios and professional workplaces that are relied upon to create the scenery, props, and costumes envisioned by the production team. The shops are routinely in need of helpers. Most work in the shops is carried out Monday through Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
It is the responsibility of the run crew to ensure a show is consistently presented as the production team intended. Among other tasks, the run crew wrangles props, moves scenery, cues lights and sound, and operates rigging. The work of the run crew must be carried out during technical rehearsals and performances, which take place during evenings and weekends for about a two week period.
How to Help
Take A Class
In the Stagecraft and Stage Costuming classes, students receive hands-on experience in the shops. Students in Stagecraft also help out on the run crews for shows. Taking one of these classes is a great way to help out.
Earn Practicum Credit
Students may earn course credit in Theatre Practicum for time spent helping backstage. Students must apply for available positions in order to register for practicum.
Students may volunteer time without earning course credit if desired. Volunteers are especially helpful when weekend work calls are held to catch-up on scenery construction. Calls for weekend work are announced through the Mask & Hammer theatre club. Volunteered time may earn points toward active membership in Mask & Hammer. If you want to volunteer but are not able to participate in Mask & Hammer, contact the department technical office.
Both the scenery and costume shops employ students through SUNY Oneonta's federal work study and on-campus temporary service programs. If you qualify for work study, request placement with the scenery or costume shop.