Job Description:

Stagehands help to get things ready on set for performances in the theatre, at concerts and in TV and film studios.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • loading and unloading equipment
  • helping carpenters build and put up scenery
  • attending rehearsals
  • moving scenery, furniture and heavy equipment
  • opening and closing theatre curtains between acts
  • operating manual and automated scenery-moving machinery
  • clearing the stage or studio and backstage area at the end of the performance


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a stagehand, specific subjects are not typically required, but a well-rounded education is beneficial. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. Drama or Performing Arts: Taking courses related to drama or performing arts can provide a foundational understanding of the theatre and live performance, which is directly relevant to stagehand work.
  2. Art or Design and Technology: These subjects can be valuable for understanding set design, props, and construction, which are integral aspects of stagehand responsibilities.
  3. English: Good communication skills are important for understanding and following directions, as well as for collaborating with others on the production team.
  4. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be useful for tasks such as measurements, calculations, and understanding stage dimensions.

Post School

There are no set requirements. Backstage experience from school, college, amateur, or fringe productions will be helpful. It’ll also help if you have skills and experience in carpentry, electrical work, metalwork, painting and decorating, sound, or lighting.

You could start in a theatre or venue as a member of casual backstage staff.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

Your hours will vary according to the needs of the show. Most theatre performances take place in the evening, but you’ll also work in the afternoons during rehearsals or matinee shows. In film and TV most of the technical work is during the day.

You might work in one venue, or travel to different venues when on tour.

You’ll sometimes need to work at height.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could lead a crew of stagehands and scene builders. You could also take further training to become a production carpenter, sound or lighting engineer. You could do a creative industries production manager degree apprenticeship to become a stage manager.

You could also work freelance for theatre venues, TV or film studios, touring theatre companies and large-scale concert tours.