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

Issue 2, 2023


Come backstage, and you'll see:

  • Techie Tip of the Week (editorial)
  • Safety Stories (reader submissions)
  • Dear Techie (advice column)
  • Techie Travesties

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Techie Tip of the Week


Part 2 of an 8-part series on ACTION STEPS you can take to level-up support and funding for your school theatre.


Are you always begging for funds for supplies and equipment in your school theatre?

I’m a big advocate for compartmentalizing all spending, as a way to help admin understand that we can’t just run a one-person show - where funding comes out of the musical’s budget to support the community dance recital that rented the space.

Keeping track of theatre expenses is a great – empirical - way to help the admin understand the differentiation between the theatre facility operations budget (the Theatre Manager’s jurisdiction) and the Drama department budget  (the Drama Teacher’s jurisdiction) and the building budget (the administration’s jurisdiction).

For instance, all events use stage lighting, so all lamps should come out of the theatre facility budgetThe replacement lamps for any fixture that would be in a classroom – such as overhead lights for instance, in our case they’re called “house lights” – should come from the school’s building budget.  Or, if the Drama department wants a specific gel for their production then that comes out of their department’s production budget. Purchasing gels commonly used in the rep plot, which everyone uses, then those gels came out of the theatre facility budget


Create a separate Theatre Operations budget, which supports all productions and events using your theatre (this is separate from your department’s budget, which is only for your productions), and present it to your admin. 

If you are managing your theatre (as well as wearing the hat of a teacher) ask for a separate annual operating budget that you have control of.

(For more ideas about procuring  funding, check out the Financials chapter of High School Theatre Operations. For more detailed guidance on financing your theatre operations, 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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Safety Stories

Safety 'Horror Stories' and/or Solutions(!), submitted by readers.


STAGE FALL PROTECTION APPROVED, announced  by Karl Ruling, ESTA Technical Standards Manager, Technical Editor, Protocol

On February 29, 2016, the American National Standards Institute has accredited a fall protection standard developed by Entertainment Services Technology Association.  It is now available as ANSI E1.46-2016, Standard for the Prevention of Falls from Theatrical Stages and Raised Performance Platforms. The need for the standard was summarized in the text as follows:

Because a standard guardrail historically has not been installed across the front of a stage, and because a guardrail would be visibly obtrusive in most stage shows, there is the common perception that stages and raised performance platforms are special places where fall protection is not needed. The expectation is that people understand that the edge of a stage or raised platform, or an open trap in a stage floor, is a danger and will take appropriate action to protect themselves. This expectation is often proven to be unfounded, with expensive results.

The standard  “offers guidance to people working in the entertainment industry on preventing falls by performers, technicians, and members of the public from theatrical stages and raised performance platforms into orchestra pits, into audience areas, into stage traps, and from raised surfaces to surfaces that are lower.”  The requirements include a written fall protection standard such as OSHA already requires, but the standard provides guidance on how to assess the risks and set up this program.  One appendix also includes all applicable OSHA regulations.

ACTS strongly suggests all theatrical employers and technicians obtain a copy of this document and use it to institute a new, or upgrade an existing, fall protection program for their stages, sets, traps, and all non-routine stage effects that involve a potential fall.  We also have updated our Stage Fall Protection data sheet which is available without cost.  Request a copy at [email protected].

Reprinted with Permission from the April 2016 issue of ACTS FACTS newsletter of Arts, Crafts and Theatre Safety (ACTS).

Share your safety horror story or solution at [email protected]. (We only disclose which state or country you are in.)


Dear Techie:

Dear Techie,

I recently discovered that our local high school used unsupervised student stage crew to run the lights for an outside event in our theatre that was paying the school district rent the theatre.  Aren’t there child labor laws against this?  I’m a bit perturbed.

Dear Perturbed,

This doesn’t sound good. It sounds like the school district is in violation of child labor laws. The Department of Labor and Industries states:

All minors under 18 are prohibited from doing the following work in any industry

•                 Working at heights greater than 10 feet off the ground or floor level.

•                 Elevators, hoists and cranes.

•                 Power-driven woodworking machines.

Additional prohibited duties for minors under 16

•                 Any power-driven machinery.

•                 Construction.

•                 Loading or unloading trucks.

•                 Ladders and scaffolds, including window washing.

An exemption only applies if:

The student-learner is enrolled in a course of study and training in a cooperative vocational training program under a recognized State or local educational authority or in a course of study in a substantially similar program by a private school;

This information should also be reflected in your State’s Administrative Code.

PLEASE NOTE: These are PRESETT’s paraphrases of the regulations. Please contact the Department of Labor and Industries, and/or consult the Administrative Code, in your own state to see what the requirements are for your school.

Submit your Dear Techie questions to [email protected].  


Techie Travesties

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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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