What does a Flyperson do?

A Flyperson - also referred to as a Fly Operator - is someone who operates the permanent weighted systems in theatres which are used to raise and lower scenery on stage. To ‘fly something’ means to raise or lower an object via this system. Many theatres have automated flys which use motors and hoists, however some are manual and require someone to operate it known as a Flyperson.

Search opportunities in fly operation and other backstage roles here.

What are the main responsibilities of a Flyperson?

  • During a show, the Flyperson must stand at the rail to control the scenery and specifically timed cues called by the Stage Manager
  • A Flyperson must rehearse their cues repeatedly to ensure that the set pieces come in at the correct time
  • Perform rigging and safety checks to ensure the system is properly weighted and functioning correctly

What qualifications do I need to be a Flyperson?

There is no particular degree that is required for this career, though an education in theatrical design or show production is recommended. Flypeople must understand the proper use and maintenance of each component of the fly system, in addition to being experienced in the theatrical production process. 

What skills do I need to be a Flyperson?

  • Knowledge of basic concepts of mathematics and the physical component of fly operation are not only useful but also necessary
  • Attentive and able to notice detail
  • You must be extremely cautious in this role

You can also search The Stage Jobs for backstage roles in fly operation here.

What does a career in fly operation look like?

The physical demands of this job are some of the most challenging on any theatrical crew. A Flyperson must have the strength for this role and to lift heavy stage weights and this is not to say that the job is only suitable for men. Anyone who is capable of lifting at least 50 pounds comfortably and exceeds 100 pounds in body weight can perform these tasks if properly trained. A Flyperson must be able to work comfortably with heights. Employment opportunities are normally on a full-time basis with resident theatres, however, freelance work is also available. Read our blog ‘How to become a freelancer in theatre.’

Search all careers advice here.


Photo: Alex Brenner

Published: 12 August 2019

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