Theatre is not all acting!
Of our 130+ members, sometimes only 4 or 5 appear on stage. But behind them is a well-oiled team.
Working backstage and pre-production is a great way to get to know about the theatre and meet new people. The Zurich Comedy Club has been fortunate over the years to have wonderfully talented teams backstage. You could learn too. Offer to help out and at the same time learn the trade. Find out what it takes to make a play look and feel great! It's hard and creative work, but very rewarding.
The jobs are very briefly defined as follows, in no particular order of importance. These will vary with each production and venue. The areas where we need particular assistance are marked*.
The Director is responsible for the overall creative interpretation of the script. A director will primarily work with the cast, but will also be in contact with many of the others functions to achieve this creative effect. We like to have an Assistant Director too, who will be learning and at the same time may take over some of the Director's duties and deputise when necessary.
The SM takes over over from the Director when the public performances begin. The SM is responsible for the running of a production from opening and locking up the theatre, to ensuring everyone involved is in the right place at the right time. The SM may also "call the play", giving lights and sound their cues.
There is usually one person responsible for "sound design": the sourcing, processing and recording of sound effects and music. There are then small crews who operate the sound board during final rehearsals and the run. Full instruction is given and "apprentices" are overseen by a more experienced operator.
Like sound, there is a lighting designer and then small crews who run the lighting board during final rehearsals and the run. Full instruction is given and "apprentices" are overseen by a more experienced operator.
Stage make is essentially to compensate for the bleaching effect of the stage lights on actors' faces. There are also times when special make-up effects are needed. An experienced make-up artist in charge of a small team some of whom will be learning.
This will depend very much on the play, wigs and special hair styles are often called for.
[Short for 'properties'] This can mean sourcing furniture or simply supplying pictures, flowers or a telephone which need to be changed and repositioned between scenes. A small team work backstage during final rehearsals and the run.
This may be a separate function from either Set Design and/or Props and relates to the furniture and presentation of the stage.
This is the sourcing, maintenance and repair of costumes used on stage. We have an extensive wardrobe and also hire classic costumes as necessary.
FRONT OF HOUSE (FoH)*
Is the servicing of the area immediately outside the theatre which is accessible to audiences. This includes wardrobe, bar, tickets sales, programme distribution. Generally we have two heads of FoH and teams of 8 members at each performance. The heads are responsible for procuring the drinks and other refreshments and organising the rotas of the teams.
From the initial design concepts, through sourcing materials to the building of the stage set.
Working under the supervision of the set designer, teams are organised to build sets. As the sets have not been built before, their construction can be challenging and requires skill, patience and teamwork. Likewise when a run has ended, teams are needed to break (dismantle) the set. We store our set materials some 40kms out of Zurich and transport items by van. We often paint sets out there too.
From the point in rehearsals when the actors come 'off book' or 'books down', prompters are required. They not only prompt when lines are forgotten, they also ensure that the cast keep the original version of the script. Prompters are required for the last 5 to 6 weeks of rehearsals and at every performance. This work is usually spread between two or three members.
Only people with a clear and correct English diction without strong accent can expect to audition successfully. It is rare that there are parts for non-native speakers. Performing on stage requires total dedication and considerable time. Rehearsals usually start 10 to 12 weeks before opening night. Depending on the role, this can mean 3 nights a week rising to 4, then 5 and eventually every night during a run. We have no understudies and thus considerable responsibility is placed on all members of the cast.
See also the audition page.
We also need designers for flyers, programmes and publicity material - including this website.