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To Be a Good Stage Hand

Show up fifteen minutes early and check in with the steward immediately.

Show up fifteen minutes early and check in with the steward immediately.

♦ A stagehand is expected to bring at least a crescent wrench and work gloves. A multi-tool, a hammer (for outdoor gigs), a hardhat, steel-toe boots and a small flashlight or headlamp are also suggested. Other tools can be added as needed.

♦ Be at the work site fifteen minutes before the official "call time." This is to give you time to check in, take off your coat, grab your gear, use the restroom...etc. Call time is when you should be ready to start working, not the time you should be walking in the door. When working out of town or at a new venue, allow extra time to get lost or stuck in traffic!

♦ Check in with the job steward as soon as you arrive. Also, be sure to check out/sign out with the steward at the end of the day. Your pay may not be accurate if you don't.

♦ If you are 15 minutes or more late to a job, or you fail to show up at all, you are considered a NO CALL/NO SHOW.

         The consequence for a no call/no show is:

                   1st Offense:  $50 fine

                   2nd Offense: $150 fine

                   3rd Offense: Suspension

♦ If a situation that will cause you to be late or unable to come to work, contact one of the following or be subject to the fines as listed above:

  • First, CALL the job steward, if you know ahead of time who it will be.

  • Second, if unable to reach the steward, try the business agent.

  • Third, try a fellow stagehand you expect to be on the call. Ask this person to put you in contact with the steward.

  • Last, if all else fails, call the venue office and ask them to deliver a message to the stagehands.

♦ The infractions that will mean IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL from a gig are:

  1. Coming to work intoxicated/under the influence of drugs

  2. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs on the job

  3. Unsafe work practices

  4. Violent behavior

  5. Stealing

  6. Insubordination
    Any of these infractions can cause serious consequences with your local.

♦ Pay your dues and assessments on time. It is always wise to give highest priority to the bills that make you money.

♦ Turn your cell phone off!! You are there to work, not chat.

      - Any pictures taken of the show CANNOT  be posted to any social media.

♦ Ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

♦ Please maintain a professional demeanor at all times on the job. Even if you think you are talking just among yourselves, managers and roadies can easily overhear your comments. Save the gossip and complaints for times when the management and road crew are not around.

     - When working outside of the local (Chicago, Champaign, Decatur, Quad Cities, Springfield, Indianapolis, Rockford or anywhere outside our jurisdiction) refrain from comments and gossip about our local members and politics. Our business stays at home and it is important that we maintain an image of solidarity to other locals.

♦ Be very careful concerning the comments you make about the show. Save all opinions on the artistic merit of the show until the load-out is over and we have left the building. Some roadies will agree with your opinion of the show, some will get highly offended. Let's be professional and save the comments for later.

♦ "Up riggers" are 75 feet over your head. LEAVE THEIR ROPES ALONE!! If a rope coil or motor chain on the deck needs to be moved, ask the down rigger to do it. Never stand on a rigger's rope or motor chain, run a crate over it, pull it or tie it off for any reason.

♦ Don't assume meals are provided unless told by the Steward. Don't assume you will be cut for an hour to leave for meals. Don't expect to work all day; don't expect to work a short shift and then leave for other business. Don't assume. Come to work expecting to work hard.

♦ When you're released from your department at the end of a load-out you turn into a pusher unless told otherwise. Keep working until the load-out is over.


If a problem arises, locate the steward and allow them to resolve the situation.
Never try to resolve the matter without them.

Show Calls

Receiving a show call is a very big responsibility. It means you are in a position to affect the outcome of the performance and the audiences opinion of the show itself. It is important to remember that the audience came to see the performers do a good show, and we are all there to help them put on the best show.

     * On show calls, or any work during a performance, wear ALL black clothing. If you may be seen by the audience, wear respectable attire. Some people wear black all day, some change into it before a performance.

      * A flashlight or headlamp is always a good idea, it can be very dark backstage. On outdoor shows this is especially important.

      * In most of our contracts, a show call is a 4 hour minimum of pay. That minimum is set to start at 30 minutes prior to the curtain time, which is generally when the house opens and the audience starts seating.

But many show calls will require a Continuity hour, which is an Hour Before Half Hour, to prepare the show and get all presets done.

     * During pre-show, you will hear "30 minutes", "15 minutes", and so on. This is to tell everyone how much time is left until show start, and the right response is "Thank you 30" or "Thank you 15", or whatever the case may be. At the "Places" call, there is three minutes left to go and everyone should be in place for the top of the act.

     * The start of a play in which the orchestra plays before there is any action is called the Overture.

     * Don't expect to get a break at intermission, you may need to be doing more presets or striking during that time. Usually there will be a time somewhere in the performance to take a short break, but not guaranteed.

     * After the performance, you will have certain duties that are a part of your show call. Make sure your department head has released you before walking away. On a load-out day, a break is usually permitted between finishing your show call duties and joining the load-out.

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