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

Issue 36, 2023


Come backstage, and you'll see:

  • Techie Tip of the Week (editorial)
  • Leveling-Up (essential online courses)
  • Dear Techie (advice column)
  • Techie Travesties (funnies)

Join in the conversation


Techie Tip of the Week


There are codes, recommendations, guidelines, and school district policies that your Theatre Manager should follow, so she should also have a pre-programmed preventative maintenance schedule.  If a serious incident or injury happens in your theatre, and she can prove that she has been diligent with theatre maintenance (as well as safety – see the Safety chapter), there’s less of a chance of the blame falling on her shoulders.  And most importantly, there’s less of a chance of someone getting hurt if your theatre is kept in the best condition possible.

Some inspections and tests I recommend your Theatre Manager have done periodically include (but are not limited to):

Flame test the drapes – every 2 years.
All drapes have a tab on the side.  Cut off a piece of this material from a random drape and send it in to be tested.

Fire Curtain – test annually.
The fire curtain separates the audience from the stage in case of a fire in either area of the theatre. Not all theatres have fire curtains and a high school theatre is least likely to have one because they are very expensive to install and maintain (for this reason, many high schools have ¾ fly towers which do not require a fire curtain).  But if you do have a fire curtain, there are NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) code requirements based on square footage.  Fire curtains usually reserved for larger prosceniums and are not always found in a high school theatre, however your main – or “grand” - curtain will at least be fire treated and can at least serve as a barrier for a period of time if it is closed at the time of a fire. Both fire curtains and main/grand curtains can at least stop smoke and some heat, and prevent property damage and people injury, such as smoke inhalation.  

Smoke vents – test after the first year, then every 2 years.
There are (there should be) large trap doors in the roof of your theatre, above the stage and above the audience, which function as smoke vents in the case of a fire.  You want to be sure that they are opening easily.

General fire inspection – annually.
This would include making sure exits aren’t blocked, recharging fire extinguishers, etc.  Some of this your school is required to do in general and your school custodial staff may take care of some items on your checklist, so be sure to coordinate with them. 

Counterweight System
This should be inspected every two to three years by a professional rigging company.

Disclaimer:  I am not a safety specialist.  This is just a general recommendation.  Your theatre’s requirements may differ.  Always consult a bona fide theatre inspector.  (Some are listed on the Resources page of the website: )

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


Send us your Tech Pix!

CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE 9 FREE Resources to help you level-up support and funding


Online courses for school theatre teachers and staff

Courses that leave you empowered with actionable strategies to level-up support and funding for your theatre operations and educating your students.

Check with your admin - many districts will pay for Professional Development!




please visit:

Theatre Management Training Course

Lighting and Safety Courses

Safety Webinar for Students


Dear Techie

Dear Techie,

My school superintendent does not seem to recognize the high level of responsibility that the role of the Performing Arts Center manager/tech director entails. For example, after our recent production closed, the superintendent said to our Tech Director, offhandedly but sincerely, ,"Just wanted to tell you good job! I hear you had a hand in it." 

Do you have any suggestions for helping our school superintendent and other administrators understand the PAC Manager position in the light they deserve? 

Undervalued in OH

Dear Undervalued,

Oh, ouch! An all-too-common problem. Administrators go to restaurants and cook in their own kitchen, and go to sporting events and have probably played sports at some time in their lives, so they ‘get’ how that all works, and they are more willing to pay attention to issues they ‘get’. But, when a “Muggle” goes to a performance, all they see is the finished ‘magic’. (BTW, “muggle is an old English term, meaning someone who is ignorant – in the ‘not knowing’ way, not the ‘unintelligent’ way.) And it doesn’t help our cause that if everything goes as planned technically, then the Muggles should only see the magic!

One great way to help your admin understand is to give them a cameo role in your next production.  Even if they can only appear one night, the process of going through a tech rehearsal is an eye opener for many Muggles. 

Submit your Dear Techie questions to [email protected].  


Techie Travesties

Theatre Terms

A drop shouldn't. 
Block and fall does neither.
A prop doesn't. 

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

And finally, always remember....

Visit Our Site

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.

Join the conversation in our Facebook group.  Be a part of the ACTION!