A production team is the group of technical staff who produce the show. A team generally consists of the following roles but it may differ from show to show.
Finding a Production Team
To find people for your show's production team, create a show listing on Camdram. After it gets approved, go to the show page and click Edit/renew technical team advert or Edit producer/director advert. Let your funding body/society knows if you have trouble filling production team roles. The ADC's Production Manager may be able to offer further guidance.
Directors are the initial driving force behind almost every show in Cambridge, the people who pitch the ideas that become performances. The Director's function is to ensure the quality and completeness of theatre production and to lead the members of the creative team into realizing their artistic vision for it.
Producers are responsible for making sure that a show gets to the stage, and for managing the production team throughout that process. There is never a dull day for a producer: one day you will be liaising with actors to create rehearsal schedules, another day you will be ordering and distributing publicity materials. A producer needs to be organised, with good people skills and the ability to think on their feet.
For student-written shows, it is common for the Writer to be involved in the production of the show either as a recognised director, or in a more unofficial position if the script is being developed during the process. Some writers, however, are happy to leave the production entirely to others so if you are directing or producing a student-written show it is useful to gauge from the writer how much input they intend to have in the process early on.
The Technical Director is responsible for co-ordinating all technical aspects of the production, up to and including running the get-in and get-out for the show. This will include liaising with the theatre to ensure that everything is being planned in accordance with the theatre's rules, and that all necessary paperwork and risk assessments are completed.
Generally speaking, every show at the ADC Theatre will have a Technical Director whereas shows at the Corpus Playroom may not. It's helpful to have a Master Carpenter for shows with a huge set to help building the set, or to have many set builders and set painters involved casually.
The Stage Manager is responsible for co-ordinating scene changes and other technical effects that are controlled from the stage during all performances. On complex shows they may have any number of Assistant Stage Managers and a large team of Stage Crew who will actually execute the scene changes and effects, and the Stage Manager should plan not be doing anything themselves, but just to oversee this team of people, ready to step in should anything go wrong. On smaller shows, it may be appropriate for the Stage Manager to do some or all of this work themselves.
The Deputy Stage Manager will sit at the stage manager's desk during the show (and technical and dress rehearsals), following the script and calling every technical cue, ensuring that all other crew members perform the correct technical effects at the correct time, and that effects only happen if it is safe to do so. Shows at Corpus Playroom don't need a deputy stage manager in most cases.
A Lighting Designer works with the Director to create a design which is in keeping with the artistic direction of the show. Lighting designers are often assisted by a Chief Electrician and Production Electrician whose job it is to make sure that the technical aspects of the lighting design work, such as the patching of lanters & fixtures and making sure that the lighting desk is programmed correctly.
Some shows may also have Lighting Operator involved as a separate role to sit at the lighting desk and operate the console for each performance.
Sound Designers are responsible for all the sound effects in plays. For musicals, this job also includes organising all the microphones for the cast & band and creating the perfect audio mix. They are often assisted by a Mic Runner who takes care of the fragile face microphones that cast members wear and who makes sure they continue to work through every performance.
The Set Designer is one of the most exciting and creative roles that amateur theatre in Cambridge has to offer. The Set Designer’s role is to work with the Director and the Technical Director to turn a vision into a design. The sky really is the limit (even on a relatively low budget). There are so many opportunities to get involved with set design, from the lead role, to assisting, to helping out with painting. You absolutely do not need any prior experience and you will always be part of a production team that will support you along the way.
For ADC Mainshows, the Technical Director and Set Designer usually split up the job of building the set. For shows at the Corpus Playroom and at other venues, the Set Designer will be in charge of actually building the set.
The Welfare Officer looks after the wellbeing of the cast and crew and is a nominated person for any personal and welfare concerns during the rehearsal process and show run itself. Some funding bodies may also nominate a welfare representative to the production from their committee who is an assigned contact for the show.
The Publicity Designer or Officer is generally responsible for designing the poster, flyer and Facebook cover photo and editing the headshots for a show - essentially dealing with all things advertising for the production. For ADC Mainshows, the Publicity Designer may also design the programme if there's no Programme Designer as a separate role. Discussion with the rest of the production team will be essential for creating material that reflects the intended atmosphere and vibe of the show but at their heart, the publicity roles are incredible creative!
Every show needs a Production Photographer. The photos they take form the core of a good publicity campaign: most people want to know what a show will look like before they buy a ticket. Production photographers take photos of rehearsals for release in the weeks before a show, they take headshots of the cast and crew for Facebook, and they take photos of the dress run for use in review articles.
The Crew refers to people generally involved in the production but don't have a specific role and may come to the get-in/get-out to help other members of the production. Alternatively, it can be used to mean any non-cast members involved in the show.
The musical director is responsible for any live music in a show. This includes instrumental background music that may be played by musicians and/or singing by the cast. The MD will be expected at most rehearsals of a musical to teach parts and advise on the musical aspect but in a play the position may be much lower commitment. The MD will also normally lead the pit band in all performances of the show.
Many shows, especially musicals, will recruit a Choreographer help with directing dance and movement within scenes and in transitions. Required in many, but not all, rehearsals, the choreographer will coordinate between director(s) and other production team members to create and teach movement pieces and formations.