There are a variety of different backstage roles that are available on each of our productions:

Stage Management and Props

The Stage Management team ensure that all the backstage elements of the play work well. Training can be provided, and it is usual to start by working on properties (all the items dressing the stage or the things the actors take on with them) or acting as an assistant (ASM) or deputy (DSM) to the stage manager.

The SM team are involved right from the start of the production and it is a fascinating job.  They source period furniture for the set and dress the stage to look ‘lived in’.   Do give it a try if you would like to be involved but would rather not appear on the stage itself.

Scenic Design, Construction and Painting

The Set Designer works closely with the Director to create a vision and concept for the play.  They produce detailed plans and models for the Set Constructors (Working Party) to work from.  The Working Party meet on Wednesday nights, Thursday mornings and some Sundays to build and paint sets of high quality to create the right atmosphere for the play.  New volunteers, especially people with carpentry skills, are very much needed.

Lighting and Sound

The Lighting Designer liaises with the Director and Set Designer and creates the lighting effects for a production. A high level of creative and technical skill is required for this.

The Lighting Operator works closely with the Lighting Designer to program lighting cues into the lighting desk and then operates the desk during performances and the later stage of rehearsals.

The Sound Designer works closely with the Director and designs and records the effects and music cues. The Sound Operator works with the Sound Designer to plot the sound cues and then operates the playback machines and sound mixing desk during rehearsals and performances.

Costume Design and Wardrobe  

The costume coordinators are responsible for making or sourcing and adjusting costumes and accessories. On a historical show this can involve many period costumes, some of them hired from elsewhere.  Even on a more modern production in everyday dress, the coordinator will need to obtain the right clothes and adjust them to fit the actors.  A co-ordinator is appointed for each play. They have full access to our extensive wardrobe department.

The wardrobe helpers undertake running repairs and alterations so that costumes fit the actors, and they organise some of the washing and ironing.  They meet on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the sewing room.  Volunteers are also welcomed to work alongside our Wardrobe Mistress who runs our costume hire business on Wednesday nights and Friday mornings.

Hair and Make up

Many of our plays need specialised hair dressing or wigs and some need considerable make up skills.  Volunteers are welcomed.

If you are interested in any of the above areas of backstage work, please contact the Ilkley Playhouse Office at or call 01943 609539.