Production Week

Production week is a busy time when the show finally gets to the theatre and comes to life.  Here are a few things you can expect to happen and how to be a part of it.

Get-ins and get-outs

Get-ins are where we assemble all the set, lighting, sound and special effects in a theatre before the start of a show. This normally happens all day on the Sunday before a show starts, and is sometimes followed by a technical rehearsal where the wrinkles in staging and running the show are ironed out by playing it out with cast and crew.

Get-outs are where we disassemble everything and leave the theatre fit for the next event and happens after the last performance from about 10pm on a Saturday night.

Most shows will advertise get-ins and get-outs on our mailing list around two weeks in advance, but if you want to keep your diary free you can normally find out the dates much earlier by looking at our shows page or the calendar. It can be helpful to let people know if you can make it, though it’s also perfectly fine to just turn up anyway – but make sure you know how to get into the building!

If you’re new to backstage get-ins and outs can sometimes seem like busy events, but never fear!  Most of our work necessitates that we work in pairs or teams so we can easily have someone on hand to explain what’s going on and help you get stuck in – just let us know you’re planning on coming along so we can organise a contact.  Asking questions is a great way to learn and pretty much everyone is happy to talk.

The length of time a get-in or out will take changes with the relative complexity of the show; times are estimated to the best of our knowledge. There’s no requirement to come to the whole get-in or out, and many people don’t – any help you can give is appreciated and useful.

Meal Breaks at Get-ins (The Hazel*)

Whenever a show calls for crew to be present in the theatre for a full day (typically if there is a get-in first thing on Sunday morning leading into a technical rehearsal on Sunday evening), the production team organise meal and rest breaks for the crew. 

For coffee time in both morning and afternoon the club has a tea break kit which comes in very handy – just add milk and biscuits!

At lunchtime we usually stop for an hour and visit a local pub where everyone pays for themselves. 

In the evening when time is a little more pressured the production team should organise some food that’s free to the crew in the theatre.  Many shows opt to provide bread and a variety of sandwich fillings for simplicity, sometimes it’s takeaway, or something more extravagant if you have a willing chef and facilities! The cost is usually covered by adding a flat fee of £20 to the show fee for the producing company and whoever buys the food is reimbursed the full amount through the treasurer.  The £20 is not a limit or target on what to spend for dinner –  a large show would expect to spend a little more, a small show maybe a little less. 

*named after Philip Hazel who instituted the practice!

Crewing shows

During performances of a show the production team will often a “crew” of people to help in a variety of roles. These can include operating lighting, sound or special effects like a smoke machine; moving scenery around backstage or flying set with the hemps or counterweights; or looking after costumes worn by the cast and helping them change between scenes.

You’ll need to respond to the crewing email sent out in advance if you want to help crew a show to allow rotas to be formed ahead of time. Crewing doesn’t mean you must give up your entire week (unless you want to!), as doing just one or two nights of a run is just as useful.  Most crew roles don’t need the consistency of the same person each night and the stage management team will always make sure you are fully briefed on what is needed before the curtain goes up. The team will also let you know exactly when you need to be at the theatre – usually no more than an hour before the show starts on your first night. As at a get-in, most of what we do is in pairs or teams so there will be someone close by to help you out. 

It’s best for crew to wear all black clothing, including long sleeves and shoes, so you are as invisible to the audience as possible.

Club property

The club owns a number of things that you can borrow for production week – see here.

Upcoming Events

Come meet us or help out at one of our get-in, get-out or social events!

  • Wednesday 7 August
    8:00 pm
    – 11:00 pm
    First Wednesday drinks

    Website link: http://penguinclub.org.uk/node/5852

    A regular monthly gathering for some drinks and theatre-related chat. An ideal opportunity for new members to meet other people in the club, and for everyone to catch up with the latest news about any upcoming shows and events.

  • Wednesday 4 September
    8:00 pm
    – 11:00 pm
    First Wednesday drinks

    Website link: http://penguinclub.org.uk/node/5853

    A regular monthly gathering for some drinks and theatre-related chat. An ideal opportunity for new members to meet other people in the club, and for everyone to catch up with the latest news about any upcoming shows and events.

  • Sunday 15 September
    9:00 am
    – 6:00 pm
    Get-in (The Vicar of Dibley)
    ADC Theatre
  • Sunday 15 September
    6:00 pm
    – 11:00 pm
    The Vicar of Dibley: Technical rehearsal
    ADC Theatre