As well as acting, writing, and directing, boys build or design the sets, design and operate the lighting and sound, and run the stage and front-of-house management for all productions at Eton. Most boys will do some kind of practical theatre work during their time at the school, even if it is only painting some flats or tearing tickets for their House Play. Boys with a special interest in the technical aspects of theatre production may join the Stage Crew.
The Stage Crew is an informal group of boys with an interest in stage management, design and technical work. They design the lighting and sound for all shows, rig and operate the theatre’s powerful technical systems, make and sometimes design properties and sets, and plan and manage the production and performances of plays. They gain a grounding in a whole range of design and craft skills, including the solving of complex computing and electronic problems; they begin to learn aspects of management; and they develop an understanding of the fundamentals of the technologies and creative practices of the media and entertainment worlds. Stage Crew work is creative, collaborative, and demanding. It takes place in an exciting and pressurized atmosphere and produces a highly public product. Stage Crew members have regular outings and social events.
The Stage Crew is led by three boys designated as ‘Keepers’, with the same privileges and status as are accorded to other holders of that title in the School. They take responsibility respectively for all the stage management, lighting, and sound in the Farrer Theatre. This means that they operate the major shows, design and plan House and Independent productions, help to train the younger boys, manage the provision of technical and backstage crews across the school, and help to oversee and maintain the various systems in all the performance spaces. They are assisted by Senior Technicians who are boys with wide technical theatre experience.
The Farrer Theatre offers a safe environment in which boys can enjoy this work. It is manned by two full-time theatre professionals as well as a number of part-time staff.