Technical Direction

The Tech Director (TD) is in charge of making constructing the set, organizing load-in and strike, making a build schedule (choose which pieces will be built when), building some props, figuring out his/her own budget, ordering his/her materials, making working drawings from the set design, and organizing the people who come in to help with construction. You lead the crew. More specifically, you will supervise shop staff, ensure all necessary materials are in stock, plan and supervise load-in and strike, as well as meet with staff to ensure all technical needs are met. You will also ensure that the shop is kept in good clean working order.

The technical director works most closely with the set designer and, on occasion, the lighting designer. While the TD’s main role is to take the designs as the designer draws them, there can be room to influence and suggest changes and alternatives. Often, the TD has a greater insight into materials and techniques than the designer, and so can see and correct issues and suggest artistic changes in collaboration. In addition, there may be a need to the set to accommodate specific lighting elements, such as practical lights (lamps, switches, wall lights, etc.) as well as lighting effects (reflection, scrims and so on). Ultimately, you must do your best to bring the designer’s ideas to life (and help them see whether their design can be practically built on the budget).

The TD can also end up working very closely with the director, depending on the director. The producers are also critical personalities, as they will control your budget and moderate any disputes between departments. The producers and the TD tend to represent the more practical side of the production, as opposed to the set designer and director, who are looking for the artistic. You will also be working with the Master Painter and Props person, and whoever is the head of the theatre you are working in (you’re a key liaison between this head of the theatre and the rest of your show).