Each orchestra will distribute the work of the Orchestra Operations department in slightly different ways depending on the size of the organization. All positions in the Operations department have an underlying responsibility to ensure compliance of the Collective Bargaining Agreement while each position usually focuses on one of two categories: concert production or personnel. In this post, we will discuss the positions associated with the concert production category: Director of Operations, Operations Manager, Operations Coordinator or Operations Assistant.
I have experienced two different structures of stage crew: union and staff. This is an important factor in determining the duties of the Operations staff as it relates to their involvement in concert production.
The stage crew are critical to production of a concert, and therefore need to know several pieces of information in order to do their jobs:
- Program order including all speaking and equipment moves
- Lighting and Audio needs of the program
- Technical schedule that includes piano tunings, equipment load-in and install, sound checks or anything else that needs to be accomplished inside the theater.
With union stage crew, the Operations staff will likely be tasked with finalizing all details before communicating instructions to the stage crew. Consultation with the stage crew to finalize stage, lighting and audio needs is very common, but the Operations staff often manages the written communication of the final details in a format to the whole production team. Staff stage crew are often more empowered to finalize all production details on their own and also be the ones to communicate the written or verbal instructions to additional stage crew.
Either way, I have found that the most effective way to keep all the details organized is in what can be called a Production Sheet for each program. A sample production sheet is included here: production-sheet-template