What Goes on Behind the Scenes of Children Theatre Productions?
Could you name all the people working behind the scenes of a children’s theater production? You’ll never see these people on stage under the spotlight. Let’s see who works behind the scene of Children Theater productions.
Depending upon the production, sets can range from elaborate backgrounds to a couple of flats. The scenic construction crew can be typically be found holding a hammer and nails. Kids growing up building things with Legos, popsicle sticks, toothpicks and marshmallows might one day be a set builder.
Once the sets are done, the flats are ready for painting. In children’s community theater, backdrops are reused from past productions. The scenic paint team transforms the flats into the specific scene called for by reviewing the script and talking with the director for their vision. Talented artists enjoy creating designs and various illusions through simple use paint. From a distance the wall might look like it’s built out of brick but in reality, the painters created the illusion through their paint.
The prop master is responsible for purchasing, acquiring, manufacturing, properly placing, and/or overseeing any props needed for a production. This is fun position because it requires research and a DIY type person who can come up with creative props for the production. When Two Sisters in Stiches worked on Cats the Musical, they enjoyed seeing the creative props chose to help make the cat’s junkyard come alive.
With children theater productions involve another element, dance. A choreographer works with dancers to interpret and develop ideas and transform them into the finished performance. This person works under the director of a play or musical.
Spotlights come to mind when you think of a theater production lighting. First, the lighting designer creates the overall atmosphere and time of day for each scene. They work closely with the director, choreographer, sound designer and costume designer. The lighting crew arranges for the lights and make sure they are directed to the right spot on stage. When a feature actor gives their monologue, the lighting crew makes sure they are not left out in the dark.
In larger productions, you might have a costume designer, costume prep, and wardrobe crew. Typically, in community children’s theater, these positions fall on only a few paid people and volunteers. People are responsible for machine sewing and hand sewing costumes. The job entails selecting the right jewelry, shoes and costume props (such as purses) for each character in the production. Normally characters will have multiple costumes per show. For example, when Two Sisters in Stitches worked on Harriet’s Happiest Halloween, they were tasked with creating and/pulling over 75 costumes for the dance production.
Sound is crucial so that the audience in all parts of the theater can hear exactly what is being spoken or sung by the cast. The sound crew is responsible for providing all the sound equipment including microphones for the production. They make sure that the microphones work well with the sound board for each scene. Their other job is providing any necessary sound effects like the sound of telephone ringing.
Last, the stage manager is responsible for the production from opening night to strike. They ensure the show meets the vision of the director. If there’s a problem, they contact the appropriate person to fix it before opening night.
These are only a few of the essential people found behind the scenes of children productions. Learn more by watching this video by The Children’s Theatre Company.