ABTT

School Theatre Support Group

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Introduction

What is a School Theatre Technician?

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 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 other performing arts.

The School Theatre Technician is a hard-working theatre professional who is responsible for managing and maintaining a working performance space within the demanding environment of a school; often single-handedly designing, coordinating, building and running several productions a year (including set, lighting, sound, props, costume and box office); as well as supporting teaching departments, managing external lettings, organising meetings, fixing broken equipment and ensuring that everything is safe. All requiring endless enthusiasm and energy, whilst encouraging and training upcoming young technicians, designers and performers.

Background

Who are we?

STSG was founded in 2005 as a support and networking organisation for professional theatre technicians working in school theatres. Our focus is mainly on technical production, venue management and education. 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 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 a strong membership base from a wide range of independent schools, state schools and other institutions around the country, with all manner of facilities from professional theatres to drama classrooms; 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.

Membership

Why join us?

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 via our online Member Directory; offering support, advice and sharing opportunities amongst members. Over the last 15 years we have also seen an increasing awareness and acceptance of the professionalism of school theatres from our industry contacts and peers.

The highlight of our year is the popular annual 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. We have created the Performance Support Award as an aid for our members. The network can also be used to ask for advice or 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 ).

In June 2014, the Group became officially affiliated with the ABTT , gaining wider recognition of theatre work within schools, as well as providing access to important industry contacts and safety information. We are represented on the ABTT Council.

One of our regular supporters, RB Health & Safety , also provides free H&S advice to members, as well as discounts on training courses and audit services.

Join STSG »


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.