Arts & crafts

Stagehand

Stagehands help to get things ready on set for performances in the theatre, at concerts and in TV and film studios.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £20,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; away from home

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • loading and unloading equipment
  • helping carpenters build and put up scenery
  • attending rehearsals
  • moving scenery, furniture and heavy equipment
  • opening and closing theatre screens and curtains between acts
  • operating manual and automated scenery-moving machinery
  • clearing the stage or studio and backstage area at the end of a performance

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or in a theatre.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, you'll travel often, cramped, noisy and at height.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You can do a foundation degree or degree in a subject like:

  • stage and production management
  • sound engineering and production
  • theatre and production arts

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You can take a college course, for example:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Technical Theatre Support
  • Level 3 Diploma in Production Arts

The skills you'll learn on these courses could help when you look for a trainee job with a stage or production company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through a creative technician or technical theatre advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You may be able to start in a theatre or venue as a member of the casual backstage staff and work your way up.

You can contact a theatre's resident stage manager or master carpenter to find out about possible opportunities.

Volunteering and work experience

Any backstage experience you have from school, college, amateur or fringe productions will be helpful.

More information

Career tips

You may have an advantage if you've got skills and experience in carpentry, electrical work, sound or lighting.

Further information

You can find out more about working and training as a stagehand from the Association of British Theatre Technicians.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

With experience, you could lead a crew of stagehands and scene builders. You could also take further training to become a production carpenter, sound or lighting engineer, or move into stage management.

You could also work freelance for theatre venues, TV or film studios, touring theatre companies and large-scale concert tours.

Creative Choices has more information about careers in the theatre and the performing arts.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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