What do Backstage Crew do?

Backstage Crew members are also referred to as Stagehands and/or Stage Technicians. They help backstage at theatre productions and prepare everything before the show which includes props, scenery, lighting and sound. Backstage Crew support the Designers and Performers with the running of the show. 

You can find backstage opportunities using The Stage Jobs website here.

What are the main responsibilities of a Stagehand?

  • Build and repair props and scenery
  • Building the set, including any mechanical or moving parts and making sure they work correctly
  • Loading, unloading and assembling scenery
  • Operating moving scenery alongside the Flypeople

You can find backstage opportunities on the Get Into Theatre website here. 

What qualifications do I need to be a Stagehand?

Formal qualifications are not essential for Backstage Crew roles. However it does help if you have one of the following qualifications:

  • BTEC national qualification in performing arts
  • Degree in stage management-related work
  • Carpentry
  • Welding

It is often the case that people train in another area of theatre and transition into the role of a member of the Backstage Crew. For example, you can train as a Set Designer or a Performer and over the course of your career you can learn new skills and gain experience and change your career path to backstage. 

You can find training opportunities for a career backstage here. 

What skills do I need to be a Stagehand?

  • Able to unload scenery, maintain and repair the ‘flying’ equipment and scenery
  • You don’t have to be strong, but you do have to be quick, quiet and calm
  • Good with heights
  • Strong problem solver if there are issues during a show

What does a career as a Stagehand look like?

Many crew members work on a freelance or part-time basis often combining it with other creative roles within the industry. Many theatres offer apprenticeships in this area of work and this is a good starting point. Apply for work experience positions and learn as much as you can. 

Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' for more information.

Find apprenticeships in backstage work on the Get Into Theatre website here. 

How much does a Stagehand earn?

A full-time Backstage Crew member can earn between £14k and £18k per year depending on the location of your employment. Some crew members work on a freelance or part-time basis. Freelance rates vary depending on the performances and the location of the theatre.

Find all careers advice here.



Photo: Alex Brenner

Published: 27 August 2019

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