Theatres, or performance spaces in one form or another, have long been part of many schools; recognising the importance of performing arts for developing pupils' confidence, communication and team-work. Some spaces are used solely for the teaching of drama; others for a wide range of school events and performances.
School theatres range from intimate studio venues to large professional auditoria. There are schools with traditional theatres, to those with state-of-the-art new buildings. There are school halls held together on the smallest budget, to theatres operating commercially which host visiting professional shows open to the local public. The theatre is often at the heart of the whole school; bringing together pupils, teachers, parents and external visitors as a meeting place and shared amenity; showcasing the school to the wider community, as well as providing facilities for the presentation and teaching of drama and performing arts.
The School Theatre Technician is a hard-working theatre professional who is responsible for managing and maintaining a working theatre within the demanding environment of a school; often single-handedly designing, coordinating, building and running several productions a year (including providing set, lighting, sound, props, costume and box office); as well as supporting the drama teaching department, managing external lettings, organising meetings, fixing broken equipment and ensuring everything is safe. All with endless enthusiasm and energy, whilst supporting and encouraging upcoming young technicians, designers and performers.
STSG was founded in 2005 as an organisation for professional theatre technicians working in school theatres. As theatre practitioners in a teaching environment, school technicians occupy a unique and isolated situation; outside of regular theatre but with the same products, rules and problems. For this reason, the founders felt that a network of school-based theatre technicians would be mutually beneficial.
The Group is open to all professionally-employed theatre support staff working in schools, colleges or other educational establishments; primarily technicians, designers and managers, but also anyone with an active interest, such as teachers with responsibility for the technical side of productions. The majority of our members work in secondary schools, but we also have a few members from primary/prep schools, colleges and universities.
We have around 100 members from a wide range of independent schools, state schools and other institutions around the country, allowing us to share ideas and problems specific to school theatres, as well as keeping in contact with those working in a similar situation. We are also an information resource for those teaching drama, or working with young people in other areas of theatre.
The Group is run by a voluntary committee, managed by the Group Administrator who is one of the founding members.
Since its inception, the Group has held meetings, venue visits, training courses, product demonstrations and a regular conference. All members are part of the network, which can be accessed on-line.
The Group's primary focus has become the popular one-day conference, which features workshops, seminars and a social evening. We often meet at the major trade shows (PLASA and ABTT ), as well as offering occasional training courses and meetings at member schools. Recently we have created the Performance Support Award as an aid for our members. The network can also be used to ask for advice and arrange local visits, as well as sharing best practice, training opportunities and job vacancies.
We have connections with other industry organisations, including the National Independent Schools' Drama Association (NISDA ) and the Stage Management Association (SMA ). As of June 2014, the Group became closely affiliated with the ABTT , gaining wider recognition of theatre work within schools.
If you work in a school or similar establishment, or have some other link with education and theatre, please visit the Join page. For general enquiries, further information or details of corporate support, please contact the Group Administrator. Please also take a moment to look at our Supporters.