2.5 People Involved in The Business
The most important thing about musical theatre company is creating extensive team members. The number and range of people who work in a theatre depends upon its size and type. Today, theatres can generally be divided into two types: a producing theatre or a presenting theatre, but some do both. Producing theatres have creative teams who develop productions, which will be the method for The People Stage. They include artistic directors, designers of sets, props, costume, lighting and audio-visual media, as well as musical directors and choreographers. Additional specialists are brought in when needed. In these theatres the performers are auditioned and rehearse under the artistic director.
Presenting theatres, sometimes referred to as ‘receiving houses’, host visiting companies whose productions have been developed elsewhere.
Both will have a core body of specialist staff, some with operational roles; others directly involved in presenting a show.
• Chief executive
The chief executive manages the theatre, ensuring everyone is focused on putting on shows, attracting and looking after audiences, and making the theatre a financial and artistic success. He or she oversees the planning of the theatre’s programmes and has overall responsibility for the theatre’s finances, staff and the building itself. They report to the theatre’s owners or trustees.
• Marketing manager
The marketing manager’s role is to promote and sell tickets. To do so, they manage all aspects of the theatre’s publicity and advertising.
• Development manager
The development manager creates fundraising strategies, writes grant applications, seeks sponsorship and looks for commercial partnerships. They set up and maintain membership schemes and develop initiatives that encourage people to visit the theatre more frequently.
• Finance and administration staff
They ensure the smooth running of the theatre’s finances and its business interests. As a business, a theatre has to attract enough income to cover its expenditure.
• Education and outreach staff
They are the interface between schools and communities and the theatre staff. They often explain the workings of the theatre to pre-booked groups as well as offering varied educational programmes.
• Box office staff
They sell tickets, either over the counter, phone or the internet, working during the day and early evening. Some larger theatres sell their tickets through an external agency which operates longer hours.
• Front of house and bar staff
They are the public face of a theatre, and work according to its performance times. All are trained in security and health and safety, including the safe and speedy evacuation of the theatre.
• Domestic staff
They maintain and clean the theatre each day and are required to work around performance times. Some work may be carried out during the night.
• Who produces and presents a show
Other than the performers and artists, a large, highly-skilled team is needed to produce and present a show. Most are never seen by the audience.
The producer is responsible for finding the money to finance a show and managing the financial risks. He or she will also source the performers and the team who will create and put on the show. If a theatre is not producing its own show, then an independent producer or production company will be responsible.
• Artistic director
The director develops the artistic vision of a production and often the overall programme to be presented by the theatre. If they work for a producing theatre or a production company they will direct productions.
• Stage management team
A team of stage managers directs the performances of each show – a stage manager (SM), a deputy stage manager (DSM) and one or more assistant stage managers (ASM). The SM has overall responsibility for the stage in performance.
• Company manager
The company manager is responsible for all aspects of the staff’s welfare, including dealing with pay. They travel with the touring company. They are the most senior member of management backstage during a performance and are the connecting person between performance staff and the producers’ office.
• Production team
The production manager is responsible for co-ordinating all the technical and staging requirements of a production. Some work with the creative team responsible for the sets, props, costume, lighting and audio-visual media. They will also work with the artistic director, the musical director, the choreographer and the engineering team who design and deliver the creative team’s vision.
• Technical department
This team manages all technical aspects of a show, including the safe and effective use of equipment. Technical staff include lighting and sound operators and crew responsible for special effects such as smoke and pyrotechnics.
• The orchestra
The orchestra provides the music for musicals, opera, ballet and pantomime.
• Stage crew
They are also known as stage hands and are responsible for shifting props and free-standing scenery during the show. They also operate moving stage machinery.
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