Ever wanted to get involved in theatre?

15 May 2009

TCS brings you the insiders’ guide to what goes on every week behind the scenes in the theatres of Cambridge


What we do: The Director is often the very first person on the team working on a show. Directors should have a vision for how they want the play to look and the atmosphere they want to create. It takes flair, skill and often experience to blend and balance tensions and emotions throughout the production, and seeing your results on stage is incredibly rewarding.

Do this if you enjoy: Taking rehearsals, getting your own way and creating beauty on a stage.


What we do: The Producer is usually next on board after the Director, and is responsible for making the show happen. They make most of the business decisions regarding the show and look after the admin side of things. Producers also deal with the marketing campaign whilst running the production team and making sure everything is happening when it should be.

Do this if you enjoy: Being in charge, organising people and being blamed for everything!

Technical Director:

What we do: The Technical Director organises the set, often building it themselves or as part of a team. They need to ensure everything is safe, and work out how to do complex scene changes that might involve sound, furniture lighting, and flying set in and out!

Do this if you enjoy: Hammering, banging, painting – and making snow, fire and explosions!


What we do: The Publicist is responsible for designing all aspects of publicity for the show. This is often creating gorgeous-looking posters and flyers but may also include press releases and launch parties. Working closely with the Producer, the Publicist will organise the printing of advertising materials, and ensure they end up plastering the railings around Cambridge!

Do this if you enjoy: Design, marketing and advertising.

Stage Manager:

What we do: The Stage Manager is the linchpin of the backstage crew. They ensure that every performance of a show runs smoothly and safely. They organise scene changes and the movement of costumes, props and actors. The Deputy Stage Manager sits at the side of the stage and co-ordinates the show; cueing lighting, sound and special effects at the right moments. More complicated shows may also have a number of assistant stage managers. The stage management team is normally responsible for buying or making all of the props for the show.

Do this if you enjoy: Working under pressure and having fun on the intercom system!

Lighting Designer:

What we do: Most people do not realise how many hours are spent scrutinising plans, devising wiring and typing in dark rooms before the we stand on ladders and rig the lights.

When the job is done well the audience should not notice the lighting. Given the precision involved in such a feat, people’s unawareness is indeed a compliment. Thankfully however, there are some occasions where that solemn rule can be tossed gleefully aside – for opera, fashion shows, musicals and horror, let Lighting Designers rejoice!

Do this if you enjoy: Visual design and technical experimentation. And if you have a head for heights!


What we do: Most shows have extra crew helping with moving set or props – every show is different! Often a low-committment way of getting involved in a show.

Do this if you enjoy: Having fun working behind the scenes!

Costume Designer:

What we do: Costume design requires flexibility, dirty dealing and perhaps a little bit of skill on the sewing machine. With shows often providing tight budgets for many many characters you may have to beg, borrow, rent and stitch with all your might in the weeks leading up to the D-day, that is, the Dress Rehearsal!

Do this if you enjoy: Playing dress-up, flexing your imagination and picking up all the backstage gossip!

Set Designer:

What we do: Set Design allows you to convert the stage into another world, from the completely abstract to the very lifelike. Often the designer comes up with a look, and the Technical Director works out how to build it, so imagination and creativity is more important than familiarity with a screwdriver. You have the opportunity – and the resources – to produce something unique and beautiful that the actors can interact with and will be seen by thousands.

Do this if you enjoy: Being creative and building sets.


What we do: There is no more glamorous role in theatre than acting. If the actors do not connect with the audience, then the work of all the other members of the team will have been in vain. Getting involved with acting in Cambridge is simple as there are plenty of opportunities to audition for a wide range of shows which vary in levels of commitment. Previous experience is by no means essential as not only is rehearsing and performing extremely rewarding but is also a great way to learn. The important thing is to have confidence and give it a go!

Do this if you enjoy: The limelight!

Get Involved

Find out how you can get involved in Cambridge Theatre at the ADC Re-Fresher’s Squash. Whether it’s acting, directing, producing, teching, designing or simply watching, you will find all the information you need.

ADC Re-Fresher’s Squash

2-4pm Sunday 18th January

ADC Theatre Bar