What does a Flyperson do?

A Flyperson, sometimes referred to as a "Flyman" or "Fly Operator", is a member of the technical crew responsible for operating the fly system. The fly system is a set of ropes, pulleys, and counterweights used to hoist and control scenery, curtains, and other elements above the stage.

What are the main responsibilities of a Flyperson?

  • Operating the fly rail, which controls the movement of the rigging system. This involves raising, lowering, and manoeuvring scenery, curtains, backdrops, and other elements as required by the production
  • Ensuring the safe operation of the fly system at all times. This includes following proper procedures for loading and unloading counterweights, securing rigging lines, and conducting regular inspections of equipment
  • Maintaining clear communication with other members of the technical crew, stage management, and performers to execute cues and changes in scenery smoothly and safely during performances
  • Performing routine maintenance and repairs on the fly system to keep it in good working condition. This may involve lubricating pulleys, replacing ropes, and checking for any signs of wear or damage
  • Collaborating with the rest of the technical team, including lighting, sound, and stage management, to ensure seamless integration of flying effects with other production elements

What qualifications do I need to work as a Flyperson?

Practical experience working in technical theatre, particularly in roles involving rigging and fly systems, is highly beneficial. This can include previous work as a Stagehand, Crew Member, or Assistant Flyperson. The below qualification areas may also help:

  • Technical Theatre
  • Engineering
  • Electronics
  • IT

Search for technical training opportunities to help you get into theatre here

What skills do I need to work as a Flyperson?

  • A solid understanding of rigging systems, including ropes, pulleys, counterweights, and fly rails, is essential. You should be comfortable operating and maintaining this equipment
  • Safety is paramount when working with rigging systems. You must have a keen awareness of safety procedures and protocols to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of yourself and others
  • Clear and effective communication is crucial when coordinating with other members of the technical crew, stage management, and performers. You need to convey instructions and cues accurately during performances
  • The ability to troubleshoot technical issues and make quick decisions under pressure is essential. You may encounter unexpected challenges during performances that require prompt resolution
  • Working as a Flyperson can be physically demanding, involving lifting, pulling, and manoeuvring heavy scenery and equipment. Good physical fitness and strength are important for performing these tasks safely
  • Precision is key when operating rigging systems to ensure smooth and accurate movement of scenery and props. Attention to detail is crucial for executing cues and changes effectively

What does a career as a Flyperson look like?

Many individuals start their careers as a Stagehand or Crew Member, gaining practical experience in various aspects of technical theatre, including rigging and fly systems. Entry-level positions or an apprenticeship may involve assisting an experienced Flyperson with operating the fly system, setting up rigging equipment, and performing maintenance tasks. This provides valuable hands-on experience and allows individuals to learn the ropes, so to speak, of working with rigging systems safely and effectively.

Search training, experience and funding opportunities from across the theatre industry here

How much do you earn working as a Flyperson?

Grade 5 or 6 rates for 2023-2025 as per the SOLT/BECTU Agreement suggests a minimum weekly rate of £557.48- £609.46. This would be for a 40 hour week. You could be freelance or on zero hour contracts with a variety of venues. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less. 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


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