Technical Director

The Technical Director's Job
The basics

The Technical Director has the daily responsibility for the technical operations of a theatre or performing arts center, including lighting, sound, set design and construction, and coordinating necessary maintenance. 

Technical Director at work

The Technical Director (TD) works with a great deal of independence and exercises independent judgment in performing a wide variety of duties. Because of the operating hours of most facilities, close supervision is not normally required nor expected.

In general, a TD may do any or all of the following:

  • Operates, maintains and safeguards the technical assets of the theatre, including supervising the use of lighting, sound, communications equipment, and the use and maintenance of stage facilities.
  • Determines the necessary technical supports, such as lighting, sound, staging, and special needs, necessary for events and performances presented at the facility in advance of production dates.
  • Designs, sets up, maintains, and operates lighting and sound systems for theatre, dance, music, and other productions and projects; assists guest designers and arts with technical matters.
  • Advises production managers, lighting and sound designers, on the technical specifications, costs and usage of technical equipment required for the individual show, and supervises the implementations of approved technical designs. 
  • Supervises and assists with set and stage construction and management.
  • Assists in recruiting, training and assignment of volunteer or paid technical staff for individual shows.
  • Orients facility renters and visiting productions to safety, technical characteristics and other areas of facility operations; facilitates the use of the technical facilities by the resident company and others engaged by or renting the facility.
  • Monitors the condition of equipment including lighting, sound, and rigging equipment; arranges for the repair and replacement within budgetary constraints; performs preventive maintenance on equipment.
  • Assists with the preparation and control of production budgets; maintains inventory and orders specialized supplies.
  • Attends technical Week rehearsals, in order to supervise and assist in the technical aspects of the mounting the show.
  • Makes recommendations to the Board of Directors or theatre leadership regarding capital purchases of technical equipment.

Because a TD may be called upon to deal with a wide range of technical issues, he or she benefits from a working knowledge of techniques, methods and procedures of theatre, dance, and music productions and presentations including stage, set, sound and lighting design and implementation; stage management; computerized lighting systems; stage carpentry; appropriate safety precautions and procedures.

Theatres also look for an ability to analyze and evaluate the need for technical support for various events and performances; plan, develop, schedule and provide the technical supports required for each event or performance; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; design and construct sets; design lighting and sound systems appropriate to each performance or oversee stage crews and volunteers; perform minor repairs and preventative maintenance on equipment; maintain inventory of necessary supplies; assist in budget preparation; establish and maintain effective working relationships with representatives of various groups, vendors, co-workers , and others; maintain irregular and extended working hours; able to lift, push or pull objects up to 100 pounds using appropriate tools.

Crew Chief
The crew chief is intended to take the burden of finding a scheduling staff off of the TD and master carpenter's shoulders. The CC will find determine with the master carpenter what the build schedule is, and how many carpenters will be needed on any particular day (and then make sure that they show up).