THEY SAY IT TAKES A VILLAGE:
CREW PRESENCE AND COOPERATION
As a producer, you can hire an amazing cast and curate a kick ass show, but who is going to make sure performers get to stage on time, that all props are set correctly, and that every act gets quickly and safely cleaned up throughout the night? The crew, that’s who!
One of the greatest factors that distinguish a show as an actual production is the presence and cooperation of a well-trained crew. This (at a local level) includes a stage manager, sound and lighting tech, stage crew, pick up artists, and backstage liaison. Pending the size, set up and staffing of your venue, you may not require all of the above positions to be filled as part of your crew team, but this post centers more around events held at mid to large sized venues that include a backstage/staging area.
Because the audience should never notice the work of an effective stage crew, people (and novice producers) often overlook the importance of these very important people. The producer’s work may be the most intense before an event ever takes place, but is the crew that ensures the producer can enjoy the night of the show by putting in the elbow grease, organization and implementation it takes to allow the entertainment on stage to flow seamlessly throughout the night.
An organized and level headed stage manager is the crux of success during any live production. They are the puppet master that ensures all the moving parts of your entertainment machine are moving in pace throughout the evening. The stage manager coordinates and delegates to the rest of the crew throughout the night, and is the primary point of contact between the performers, crew and the producer. The stage manager is also there to coordinate with the venue throughout the event, in communication with security, the bar, and the front of house to ensure they are ready for the show to begin, come back from intermission, etc.
As I mentioned in The Big Six…A ‘Produced’ Event: The Importance Of Set Formulas: People tend to overlook the importance of a good emcee to frame the flow of live entertainment on stage, just as they forget the importance of a good crew to ensure the effective execution of the producer’s timeline and set formula. It takes more than performers to put on a show…your crew are part of the family just like your entertainers, and they deserve the appreciation and recognition that everyone involved in your production receives. If your emcee is the voice of your show, the crew is its backbone, and the performances flesh it all out – no element is any good without the other, and that cooperative dependency is what allows the sizzle to take flight and elevate the experience of your audience at any event.