Off Stage Roles

Just as important, if not as visible as the cast, are our Front of House and Backstage volunteers!

Why not come and be a small (or large) part of the show support team?

Roles include: Set Builder, Set Painter, Props Manager, Costume Manager, Make Up, Bar Manager, Publicity, Sound & Lighting, Box Office & Front of House, Photographer, Stage Manager

  • As with acting, preparation is half the work and a few hours shopping, or crafting is very valuable!
  • And on show nights we need a few people to sell or check tickets, serve at the bar or set the stage before the show.

So even if you are only interested in being an ordindary native American instead of a chief  just send us an email to find out more!

And most tasks are NOT needed during the performances, so you need not be there all evening  or you can watch the show.

So whether it’s stage crew, literally behind the scenes (or a lighting desk), making or locating  props or costumes in advance , or such straight forward tasks as setting out chairs or designing posters there are lots of way you can help!  Some do involve a little organisation, while others are easier to turn up and help. 

The Key Roles

Set Builder, Set Painter, Props Manager, Costume Manager, Make Up, Bar Manager, Publicity, Sound & Lighting, Box Office & Front of House, Photographer, Stage Manager

  • Pre-show tasks need be done before the curtain goes up, in many cases over the weekend before the show, or earlier,
  • Many are flexible in timing, that they can (or need to be) carried out well in advance in any few free hours.
  • Any for several it’s just organisation of a small team for one area which is most of the effort. That could be just checking tickets or finding or making a few props or part of a costume.

Here’s a brief of each area’s key role… those with a * we especially want to fill soon. But volunteers at all levels and availability is very welcome!

Set Constructor(s) – (pre-show, flexible)

  • Assemble pieces of the set in giant wood work – tools, wood, and workspace are all available and this time some of this work will be flexible in timing. (Provisionally filled for October, but more help is always useful!)
  • If you’ve ever made a cardboard fort this could be the perfect role for you!Anchor

*Set Painter (pre-show, flexible)

  • Can you handle a paint brush?   As well as painting some panels in a neutral colour or fake aged wood we also need some simple perspective “windows” (painted complete with frame). This means that they can be painted on a board to be hung on a wall when needed!
  • Royal Academy qualifications are not needed!  Views are representative rather than photo-realistic!Anchor

*Properties Manager (pre-show, very flexible)

  • Source “props” including small furniture to meet the directors’ requests as close as is practicable. Buy or build if you must but we find borrow and beg is often enough!
  • Most of the more difficult items have been located or budgeted for, so this is mainly search and checking item off a list. – and perhaps the odd trip to charity shops or boot fairs …Anchor

*Costume Manager (pre-show, flexible)

  • Since CDS is an equal opportunities non-employer we no longer say Wardrobe Mistress – but this role is to help source costumes for each play, both 1930s London and 1900s Russia.
  • We have some regular places to hire from, and adjustments are not usually necessary – but most CDS actors can usually dress themselves!Anchor

Make Up (pre-show)

  • A smaller role (but it can be easily combined with another) this role mainly needs to make sure that actors don’t look washed out under bright stage lights. Sometimes we need people to look older or younger, or occasionally even add a scar, or burns and so on!.  Unlike everyday make up – the audience are always at least 10-15 feet away!
  • In fact most female actors tend to do their own makeup, but the men seem to need a little more help!Anchor

*Bar Manager (mainly pre-show, fairly flexible!)

  • Is this the most vital job of all?  Someone needs to organise the bar!  We have usual sources for wine and beer as well as soft drink and nibbles, but we want offer audiences a decent drink at a good price!  Experience and advice on cost pricing is and bar stocks is available (sale or return helps greatly!) but can you make sure we have a decent white, red and fizz as well as ale, lager and cider?
  • You do not need to serve at the bar each night.. but you need to manage the nightly bar staff, and to manage float and takings.Anchor

*Publicity Manager(s) – (pre-show, very flexible!)

  • A vital role that can easily be split between two people. Physical, (managing flyer and poster distribution) and Online, such as sending out press releases, and generating website or social media posts. So whether you are a Bill Poster or a Social Influencer we have ways you can help get the word out to the public in Cuckfield and beyond!Anchor

*Sound and Lighting (both some pre-show and during performances)

  • This involves preparing and operating sound and lighting effects. For our upcoming  pair of short plays these are both fairly simple, so one person will be able to run both during the show.  However there is some preparation and rigging is needed – and so the lead manager will need some key assistants.
  • But you get a great view and can tell the actors that without them “you have marketable skills, whereas without you they’d be emoting in the dark!”Anchor

Box Office and Front of House (some pre-show and before each performance).

  • While we sell online with TicketSource and in person with the assistance of Marcus Grimes there is always the odd phone or email query to follow up.  Also we need to sell to walk-in customers immediately before the show. This role also makes sure we have a couple of ushers to check tickets and to sell ice creams is also important – and generally overseeing the audience.
  • Bring your own cattle prod and loud hailer!Anchor

Poster and Programme Designer (pre-show)

  • Sorry this role was filled early this time!  But there’s always the same need for the next show. 
  • It needs some basic idea of graphic design (self-taught is fine) and a willingness to understand the implications (and costs) of commercial printing and the how to make the most of previous CDS experience and brand assets.Anchor

Photographer (pre-show and during at least one performance).

  • We need someone to take publicity photos before the show, headshots for the programme and lobby area, and to make sure we have some quality records of the triumphant performances and crew.
  • So if you are a budding David Bailey and have some suitable equipment why not take up the challenge of portraits to action and publicity shots. Enjoy telling actors what to do without the rest of the of the job of directing!Anchor

Stage Manager: (some pre-show and during each performance).

  • We’ve all heard of this job! Once the audience are in place it’s no longer the producer or director who is in charge. Like an orchestra’s conductor a stage manager makes sure the actors and tech and stage crew are ready and in the right places, and essentially acts as the show’s behind the scenes coordinator.
  • But as things always run smoothly they often help the stage crew set the stage with props and scenery so that they are not too bored.Anchor

Other Crew Members (various)

  • And we will also need team members, people able to spare just an hour or two to help the above key folks in various ways, perhaps just one evening before the curtain rises, or at a weekend.
  • Even if you can only spare us a little time you can still help us put on a great show!
    • Send us an email to join the list of potential general helpers!