The running crews are the volunteers who run all the backstage equipment during a production. Playhouse productions run approximately four weeks, plus tech week. The Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre productions run Wednesday through Sunday with two shows on Sunday. The Howard Drew Theatre runs Thursday through Sunday with one matinee on Sunday. On the Hawks Mainstage, volunteers can work every night of a production or a minimum of three nights per week. In the Drew Theatre, two nights a week are the minimum. The running crews arrive approximately one hour before the performance begins to preset all stage pieces.
Each volunteer working a full time position on a running crew receives four complimentary tickets to opening weekend of the production they are working on. Those working part time receive two complimentary tickets. Listed below are the different running crew positions.
The lights are controlled by a computerized lighting system that is located in a booth directly behind the audience. The lightboard operator’s job is to follow the stage managers cues and execute the lighting cues. He/she also checks to see that all the lighting instruments are working. Other duties include the operation of the house and lobby lights plus chiming in the audience and checking to make sure the lobby is clear before starting the show.
The sound is controlled from the same booth as the lighting. The sound operator is responsible for all the taped effects that occur during a production. All taped effects are on a computer. The operation of fixed or wireless microphones are also the responsibility of the sound operator.
A spotlight is a lighting instrument that produces a concentrated beam of light. The spotlight operator changes the color and size of the light, and aims the light and follows the actors. Spotlights are located in the ceiling of the auditorium above the audience.
The fly crew are the technicians who pull the ropes that make the hanging scenery above the stage go up and down. The flyrail is located off stage right.
The shiftcrew is responsible for all the moving scenery on stage. Most scenery pieces will be on castered platforms called wagons. The shiftcrew also places and removes furniture and props during scene changes.
Properties are all the set dressings and small articles used in a production, such as furniture, books, dishes, lamps, tools, luggage, etc. The properties crew makes sure all the props are in the right place before the performance and between each scene.
Special Effects Crew
The Playhouse uses a wide variety of effects to create the theatre magic our audiences see on stage. The effects crew operates hydraulic, pneumatic and electronically-controlled stage machinery. Other special effects equipment generate fog, smoke, wind, snow, bubbles, confetti, pyrotechnic effects, etc.
The wardrobe people keep track of all the costumes during a performance and assist the actors during quick changes .
Set construction encompasses a wide variety of construction techniques and materials. Some of the materials used in scenery are wood, metal, foam, plastic and fabric. Projects in the scene shop depend on the degree of experience of the volunteer. The scene shop is a well stocked and well equipped facility and is responsible for building a wide variety of projects from small wooden rivets to computer-controlled moving scenery weighing thousands of pounds.
Volunteers interested in the lighting area can learn to hang, focus, patch and color the lighting instruments. The Playhouse uses a computerized lighting system to control all the instruments used in a production. Some other devices used in the electrics area are strobe lights, star curtains, rope light, black light, mirror balls, effects and slide projectors, pyrotechnics and electronically controlled effects and machinery. It is not necessary to have an electronics background to work in this area.
Props are anything that is used to dress up the set from furniture and curtains to books and food. Many of our props are pulled from our extensive stock or bought or borrowed from local businesses and antique stores. Some props are made from scratch at the Playhouse while others must be searched for. If you are interested in building, finding, gathering and returning props, we have a place for you in the properties department.
For more information about volunteering, please send an email by clicking HERE or calling at (402) 553-4890. Also, please click HERE for our OCP volunteer interest form.