Aaaah, you’ve found yourself at tech week! That means it’s game-time – the moment when all the technical and creative elements of your show blend together as you run the entirety of your creation full-out. Typically, tech week runs the week before opening night, with the goals of smoothing out any kinks, ridding your cast and crew of pre-show jitters, and becoming a well-oiled machine before the curtain first opens.
It’s an exhilarating, wild time in a show’s life, but you may need a few pointers before you embark on the journey. On The Stage has you covered.
1. There will be changes; remain flexible.
Let’s be real – there’s probably never, in the history of theatre, been a first-time, full run-through that went off without a hitch. Combining the acting, singing, lighting and sound cues, props, costume changes, set pieces, and all other technical elements into your showcase will likely reveal a few problems – and that’s OK!
Be open to the idea that certain parts of your show may need to change in the home stretch, and prepare your cast and crew for that, too.
2. If you’ve been slacking, tech week will make it obvious; it’s time to tighten up.
Maybe you’ve been a bit distracted at rehearsals – missing cues, forgetting lines, or misplacing props. While small mistakes like this were likely not as noticeable early on, they will be apparent this week.
Mitigate the issue by coming to tech week completely prepared. If you’re the director, have your notes organized and your attitude positive. If you’re the lead, have the lines memorized. If you’re a techie, ensure you know every last cue. If you’re a member of the ensemble, get that choreography on lock. Mistakes are inescapable, but you can minimize them by bringing your A-game.
3. You will probably run over scheduled rehearsal time; don’t overbook yourself.
As unexpected issues inevitably arise, you’ll need to carve out time to trouble-shoot said problems. Solutions to tricky tech issues may not present themselves immediately, meaning you might have to run scenes a few times to get things right.
Ensure your cast, crew, and support staff are aware things might run longer than advertised. Encourage them to underbook themselves this week, meaning less social outings, appointments, and commitments outside rehearsal.
4. Prepare for some meltdowns; plan accordingly.
While we don’t want to manifest negativity in the process, it’s likely that you or someone else in the cast or crew will become overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. Don’t beat yourself up – tech week is arguably the most stressful part of the creative journey.
Avoid burnout by taking precious care of your mental health this week. A few ideas:
- Minimize distractions by staying off (or limiting) social media.
- Lead or participate in some grounding meditation or breathing exercises with your team before or after rehearsal to keep everyone energized and motivated.
- Work together to keep a positive energy throughout your run-throughs. If you see morale is waning, work to bring it up.
- Stay consistent in verbal affirmations, especially if you’ve got a lot of notes. People need to be told they’re doing a good job.
- Keep things in perspective. If you make a mistake during tech week or even during a show, we promise, it’s not the end of the world.
- Practice some self-care – take a bubble bath, get yourself some flowers, and keep that good energy flowing!
5. Your body will get tired; nourish it.
Just as you focus on mental wellbeing, your body absolutely needs to be in tip-top condition during tech week. Here are a few suggestions to keep your body as prepared as your mind:
- Don’t skip warm-ups and cool-downs before and after rehearsals – especially if you’re a featured singer or dancer.
- If you begin to feel sick or feel an old injury flare up, treat it immediately. In short, listen to your body before symptoms worsen.
- Drink water consistently.
- Have snacks ready to eat between scenes – the healthier the better!
- Remember the importance of getting major projects and assignments done before the week starts. Your brain and body will already be at maximum capacity.
- Prioritize sleep … even if that means taking naps between your scenes!
On The Stage presents: A Director’s Ultimate Guide to a Successful Tech Week
There’s a reason tech week is often called “hell week” in the world of theatre – it’s stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming – if you don’t have the right tools to manage.
Luckily, On The Stage has created the full-proof A Director's Ultimate Guide to a Successful Tech Week to get you through. The guide contains helpful check-lists, timelines, much-needed words of encouragement, and crucial advice for theatremakers – offering advice for long before tech week begins, right up until the curtain opens.
This guide will ensure all your hard work – and the work of your talented cast, crew, and support staff – pays off in the end, resulting in a magical theatrical experience for all involved.
Interested? Download your copy of the guide for free so you can access it anytime you need. Or, if you’re looking for even more help, book a personalized demo with On The Stage.
If your tech week is soon approaching, we say to you: keep calm, and break a leg!