Whether you’re thinking of pursuing a career backstage or are just currently helping out your school’s theatre department or community theatre company, here are eight awesome books that give you practical information you can start using right now:
1. ‘What We Do: Working in the Theatre,” by Bo Metzler
“What We Do: Working in the Theatre” provides background information on every backstage job in theatre, what goes into each one and how they all work together to create a perfect performance. Read this book to find out what interests you and which skills you need to develop to work in one of these areas. It also has advice about acting, so it’s great for performers, too!
2. ‘Technical Theatre for Nontechnical People,’ by Drew Campbell
“Technical Theatre for Nontechnical People” is great for people not usually involved in the technical process, such as actors, directors and producers. It gives a clear explanation of what and how technical elements work to facilitate better communication and understanding among all involved in a theatrical production.
3. ‘Stagecraft Fundamentals,’ by Rita Kogler Carver
Highlighting the history of stagecraft, career advice and how-to information on special effects, lighting and more, “Stagecraft Fundamentals” is a great addition to any backstage aficionado’s bookshelf.
4. ‘Basic Sewing for Costume Construction,’ by Rebecca Cunningham
Want to work in costumes but have no idea where to start? “Basic Sewing for Costume Construction” is great, no matter which area you want to pursue in the costuming field. This book gives you the lowdown on basic sewing skills and small projects to test your sewing skills. All in all, this book is a great building block toward a career in costume design or dressing.
5. ‘Out of Style,’ by Betty Kreisel Shubert
If you’re designing a show or planning on pursuing a career as a designer, “Out of Style” is the book for you. Its amazing color illustrations of garments in the 19th and 20th centuries will show you great examples of clothing/costuming ideas for the period you’re working on. It will remain a great reference for you for years to come.
6. ‘Stage Makeup,’ by Laura Thudium
“Stage Makeup” is great whether you want to pursue a career in makeup or are a performer looking to create your own magnificent look for the stage. This book gives you a step-by-step guide through many looks.
7. ‘The Stage Manager’s Toolkit,’ by Laurie Kincman
With insider tips, forms, processes and things to consider, “The Stage Manager’s Toolkit” has it all, for beginner or experienced stage managers.
8. ‘Tips, Ideas for Directors’ by Jon Jory
“Tips, Ideas for Directors” is great because it gives short, easy-to-follow tips that help budding directors streamline the rehearsal process.