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The Technical Theatre Educator’s Manual

As a high school technical theatre teacher or technical director, you are first and foremost an educator; much of your time and energy is focused on guiding the technical side of the creative process while growing young artists. However, you are also called upon to be a skilled technician with a broad scope of knowledge. Your duties are likely varied ones. In addition to teaching you may find yourself acting as a designer, managing a shop and running construction crews. Frequently you may be called upon to act as facility caretaker or event manager. The Technical Theatre Educator’s Manual hopes to offer a resource to support you in the many roles you take on as a part of being a technical theatre educator.

This Technical Theatre Educator’s Manual is intended to be specific to high school technical theatre needs. The goal of the writers was to create a basic digital resource, primarily for the beginning technical director, that can be used as the start of your personal technical theatre manual. All pages can be easily downloaded and saved or accessed online in the moment on any smart phone, tablet or other device. The manual is divided into sections, with each section containing a narrative about the topic, along with some illustrated common tasks.

About the Authors:

Kristi Ross-Clausen is an AV & Theatre tech writer, speaker and teacher as well as a theatre safety advocate.
William “Donny” Covington is the Technical Theatre Director for Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, and an instructor in the Technical Theatre Magnet Program.
Charles Crews is the Director of Technical Theatre at the Richardson Independent School District in Garland, Texas.
Mitchell Critel is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Design and Technology and Production Manager and Technical Director for the University of Evansville.
Weston Keifer is the Technical Director at the Robinson Fine Arts Center in the Plano Independent School District, Plano, Texas.
Dana Taylor is an adjunct faculty member for theatre and music at the University of Evansville.
Christopher Treviño is the Technical Services Associate, Arts and Humanities for the University of Texas, Dallas.

Technical Theatre Educator’s Manual - Index

Section 1: Carpentry

Section 2: Lighting and Electrics

Section 3: Rigging and Softgoods

EdTA's Technical Theatre Educator’s Manual - easy to use reference for technical theatre directors.

  • 00 The Role of the High School Technical Director
    This introductory article offers tips to support you in the many roles you take on as a part of being a technical theatre educator.
  • 01-A Common Carpentry Terms & Best Practices
    Learn about the differences between the fields of traditional carpentry and stage carpentry. Topics include common materials and joinery used, types of cuts, and best practices for measuring, marking, and cutting.
  • 01-B Stage Cubes
    At the most basic level, the rehearsal cube is a five- or six-sided box – not necessarily a perfect cube – built in dimensions that substitute for a chair, a table, couch, or other piece of furniture. There are many ways to assemble rehearsal cubes; this article concentrates on a method that is simple, sturdy, and uses joiner that can be adapted to other projects.
  • 01-C Building Theatrical Platforms
    Platforms provide a place for actors to stand where they can be seen by the audience by creating levels of playing spaces on the stage. This guide offers a method for constructing a theatrical platform in a way that maximizes structural integrity and resilience and ensures long-term usage if properly cared for.
  • 01-D Building Hollywood Scenic or Masking Flats
    The term “flat” refers to those pieces of theatrical scenery which are positioned on stage to create the scenic background for your production. Flats are also used as “masking” in order to hide the backstage areas from audience view. This guide offers a method for constructing a Hollywood style flat in a way that maximizes structural integrity and resilience.