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Crew Description

As I've previously described, I've worked for various financially challenged organizations. During my 1st year at Theatre West Virginia I was assigned crew based on what they did the previous year(s). It did not account for run of show responsibilities. In the following years, I was able to use the previous years bottom line and hire enough crew to properly staff run of show and have a nice complement of build crew for production in all areas.

Hamlet required 1 over-hire for rigging. The Master Carpenter also served as a stage hand= winch operator and 2nd fly operator. The Props Master also ran the show as deck hand and trap elevator/fog operator. The control booth was small therefore the equity stage manager was also the light board op. The Master Electrician was also the sound operator.

Depending on the production needs, over-hire was planned for but people were not always available. The theatre was geographically located within a couple universities and it was a regionally renowned theatre. Emphases was on acting internships. Intern company was not required to do tech work, but we were able to acquire two tech interns 1/2 the time they were not being acting interns. We really didn't take advantage of volunteers either. 

To solve some of the staffing issues I proposed the following:

Attached is my proposal for employee staffing.

I have built in the down time we discussed that would negate Holiday request during the season.

They include:

1 week Winter break. (Christmas thru New Years)

1 week Spring Break (Once fall tour sits down the week of strike,return for strike)

2 week Summer Break. (end of summer contract and before fall contract)

Thus 48 weeks. This is time shop would be dark. Paychecks would not be issued.

If people need a personal day or a sick day they can be administered on an as needed basis.

Full time Contracts would therefore run:

2nd Week of September to

Thursday before Christmas/3rd Week of December

1 Week Dark

1st Weekday following New Years to

End of April/Beginning of May

1 Week Dark

End of August/Beginning of September

2 Weeks Dark

Notice the spreadsheet has production apprentices vs. internships of 1 per area.

I feel we should only commit an apprentice on a spring/summer/fall basis. We/they have the option stay or go as we/they see fit. They would have 1st option of filling a full time vacancy after successfully completing the apprenticeship program for the entire season.

I have left two Carpenter Positions as an Open Item on the sheet. I feel that show needs and shop needs beg these positions to be filled. I also feel that as a matter of Philanthropy, we could seek seasonal sponsorship for both the Carpentry Assistants and the Apprenticeship programs.

It is my experience that TD's and Crew come and go but facility requires continuity. I am making the recommendation for Jay Hogan to fill the position of Shop Foreman. This position would be charged with safety, inventory, tool and equipment maintenance including electrics and sound, and serve as a carpenter for builds. This position would be exempt from run of show duties.

*At the time, Jay was a life long resident with several years working with MMT. The rest of us were your typical migrant theatre staff. 

Shannon Miller,
Mar 16, 2012, 9:45 AM