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7 Life Lessons Learned From Working Backstage

Whether on Broadway or beyond, working backstage can be fun, challenging, stressful and rewarding. Additionally, the skills you learn while working backstage can easily transition into real life in the seven following ways:

1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Wokring backstage theatre

Theatre is a collaborative art form, and it takes a cast of thousands onstage and offstage working together as a team to make a show go off without a hitch.

Life Lesson: Be sure to include teamwork in your real life, whether it’s in another career endeavor, playing a sport, relationships, family or even achieving life goals. There’s no need to go it alone. So much can be achieved with a little help from a friend, colleague or mentor.

2. Problem-Solving

Theatre tech, backstage theatre

If you can’t problem-solve, you certainly can’t work backstage. You must not be afraid to fix an issue quickly when sets, costumes and props break or something else goes amiss.

Life Lesson: Bring this type of problem-solving into your real life. Take initiative to act quickly to fix things when they go wrong, whether it be at home, at school or at a job.

3. Multitasking

Backstage theater, tech theater

Who says you can’t do two things at once? How about three or four? How about doing a quick change with an actor while presetting another change for a different actor and safety-pinning a rip in a third actor’s costume? Think this hasn’t happened? Think again!

Life Lesson: Multitasking not just backstage can help you achieve goals faster, use your time more wisely and get so many things done. Even your parents will be impressed!

4. Trust Your Instincts

Theatre tech

Trusting your instincts while you are problem-solving backstage is imperative when you only have 30 seconds for a quick change or a very short blackout. The show won’t stop to fix a mishap!

Life Lesson: Remembering to listen to your inner voice will always be the right choice, whether you’re choosing the right audition song, picking your future college/university or aiming to make a big life decision.

5. Be Nice to Everyone

Doing theatre means working closely with everyone onstage and backstage for long hours. Creating a positive working environment is a must and is the direct result of everyone being nice to one another despite individual idiosyncrasies.

Life Lesson: Remembering to be nice to everyone no matter your environment will bring you many friends, supportive teachers, mentors and colleagues who will help guide and support you throughout your life journey.

6. No One’s Job Is Easy

Looking at the other guy hooking up a microphone while you’re handling a costume emergency may make you think he has the easiest job in the world. Think again! What if that mic goes out or is positioned in such a way that the sound doesn’t work correctly?

Life Lesson: No one’s job is easy. Reminding yourself that everyone has challenges and obstacles to overcome can help you when you’re struggling. You are not alone.

7. Rest

working backstage tech theater

Theatre is exhausting, and rest is imperative to ensure you are at your best so the show can go off smoothly.

Life Lesson: If you don’t get enough sleep before that big test, upcoming audition or even a vacation, you won’t have as much fun or be able to fully enjoy the experience or carry it out with vigor. Take your time to treat yourself kindly and get some zzz’s to recharge your battery.

What life lessons have you learned from working backstage? Let us know in the comments below

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Written by Kimberly Faye Greenberg

Kimberly Faye Greenberg is the first and only actress to play Leading roles in 2 OFF-BROADWAY musicals at the same time. In addition, Kimberly's numerous portrayals of a FANNY BRICE have been critically acclaimed by the NY Times, Huffington Post and Associated Press and currently her solo show Fabulous Fanny Brice is touring the country. Kimberly has worked backstage as a Broadway wardrobe swing dresser on over 20 Broadway shows. As a Performing Arts Consultant Kimberly loves to inspire, educate and work with proactive Artists.


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  1. A crew member when on stage should never run. Always walk, while you walk, think about what you are going to do when you arrive at your position. During the tech rehearsal process you should have thought about what could go wrong and what you can do to address those problems. You establish the environment for the show. If you are unsettled, those around you will respond likewise, and situations can easily spin out of control.

  2. As a stage manager in college, I learned that people will listen and respond if you “ask” them, rather than “tell” them. As in, “will you be able to paint that set red?” Rather then “the set should be red” or “the director wants it to be red”. I am a physician in a big hospital and this rule has been my saving grace when communicating with other caregiviers like nurses and care managers.

  3. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances try to get the tea on ANYBODY. they will find out, especially showmances.
    (Not that I did but my castmate tried and caused this big drama)

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