A Weekly DIGEST for teachers and staff who want to level-up support and funding for MANAGEMENT OF their SCHOOL theatre. 

Issue 6, 2023


Come backstage, and you'll see:

  • Techie Tip of the Week (editorial)
  • What's Happening (courses)
  • Dear Techie (advice column)
  • Techie Travesties (funnies)

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Techie Tip of the Week


Part 6 of an 8-part series on ACTION STEPS you can take to level-up support and funding for your school theatre.


Are the events that come into your theatre often a free-for-all?  Are you informed of their technical needs ahead of time?  Do they allow enough time to prepare?  Are you about to tear your hair out?  Do you feel like you are alone!

The Theatre Manager’s raison d'etre is the success of each event that comes into their high school theatre, be it a school event, district event or outside event.

But, a Theatre Manager can’t do this if they know nothing about the incoming event.  Too often event organizers (from teachers to professionals) think Theatre Managers can read minds, and that technicians (and/or student crew) don’t need their own rehearsals. For this reason it’s imperative that the Theatre Manager obtain as much information as possible about each event before it comes into the theatre (particularly those that won’t be holding a tech rehearsal before their performance), and creates an environment whereby the technical aspects of each event can be optimized.


Completing this ACTION will help you discover tools to use for your own event support, and help you to know – you are not alone!

Arrange a visit a local high school theatre to interview the person in charge of theatre operations (it may be the TM, a technician, the Drama teacher, an administrator, etc. - preferably one in a different district, if possible).

Ask questions such as: 

  • Who is in charge of the school’s theatre? 
  • What staff support do you have, if any?
  • How many events do you have in your theatre each school-year?  What sort of events?
  • What sort of paperwork/forms/documents are required for events to fill out?
  • How is the success of the events supported?

Present your findings to your admin – they may be more willing to listen if they know what is standard procedures for other schools.

(For more useful ideas about event support, check out the Administrative Systems chapter of High School Theatre Operations. For more detailed guidance on advocating for your theatre’s management, check out the Theatre Management Training online course or tutorials.)

This editorial is the express opinion of Beth Rand, and is not intended for substitution for professional advice regarding your specific situation or circumstances.


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What's Happening

Courses to help you level-up support and funding

Only two spots left in this summer's TMT!   

Find out more about the tmt

Join the next Theatre Management Training course starting on May 31st!

This course is only taught 3 times a year (Summer, Fall, Winter/Spring).

Join a cohort of your fellow theatre teachers across the country, and learn the strategies you can take to level-up support and funding for your school theatre.


Dear Techie:

Dear Techie,

One of the musicians from my musical production just sent me his bill. I’m in shock. He charged me for the rehearsals and performances, fair enough, but he also charged for study and preparation hours, outside rehearsal time, in rehearsal time and performance.  His final bill was about 1/4 of my total budget.  What to do?

In Shock, MO

Dear In Shock,

Let’s look at the elephant in the room. The larger issue is not what your musician is paid for a show, the larger issue is why are Drama teachers given so little a budget for directing a show at a school that a musician's wages are 1/4 the whole budget.

What he’s asking to be paid doesn’t sound unreasonable. What is unreasonable is your budget.  When a cross country team (for instance) can hire a running coach, a jumping coach, a pole vault coach, a hurdles coach, even someone to be a timer for the students, at about $2000 per season each, why then can we not hire a singing coach, a band coach, a lighting coach, a set coach, a sound coach, musicians to play for the students, and so on?

When you go to your principal perhaps the conversation to have is how many students are ‘served’ by putting on a play (more than any sports team), how long the rehearsal process is (as long as some sports ‘seasons’), how many “coaches” it takes to serve/supervise/mentor/train the students and how many hours they put in. I know, all administrators say they don’t have money, but they do, it’s just where they chose to put it. It’s up to us to take the elephant to the principal’s office and have the conversation; not to lower someone’s wages to fit within our budget, but to raise our budgets to a reasonable share of the principal's budget, so that we can properly support the education of our students.

Submit your Dear Techie questions to [email protected].  


Techie Travesties

How do you find the shortest distance between two points on stage?

Follow the sound cables.

Submit your Bad Theatre Joke or Funnies to [email protected].

And finally, always remember...

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Why the name Cue3Go?  Because often times (not always, of course) in a show, Cue 1 is house-to-half, Cue 2 is blackout, and Cue 3 is lights up!  We hope this newsletter will light you up each week with ideas and actions for managing your high school theatre.

It is PRESETT's mission to provide information to assist in endeavors for safe and functional operations of school theatres. However, PRESETT is not a safety consultant or professional, and any information provided or advocated is not intended to supplement, not supersede, industry safety training. Always consult a theatre safety specialist about your specific situation or circumstances.

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