Pay for Stagehands in the United States sits in the ballpark of $15.80 per hour. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, a majority are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by more than two-fifths and dental insurance is reported by just under one in three. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Stagehands. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Stagehand
Stagehands are laborers who work behind the scenes in playhouses, theaters, amphitheaters, and other settings where plays, musicals, and operas are performed. They are generally responsible for helping to build and place sets and scenery, as well as occasionally manufacturing props, and they are also tasked with changing out scenery during a performance and between particular acts. Stagehands are also found working in large music venues where they help to set up sound systems, instruments, and any stage props, and in the film and television industry they typically work on closed sets and sound stages in studio lots.Read More...
The main tasks of a stagehand typically involve a great deal of manual labor and building expertise, and they may need to have working knowledge of the basics of carpentry, electronics, and metalworking. They may work from anything from rough sketches from a set designer or art department to more involved blueprints and intricate layouts required for more elaborate sets. In addition to building sets for plays or filmed productions, stagehands also perform rehearsals of their own to practice changing sets and altering designs as required by production professionals.
Stagehands, especially those who work in dedicated music and play performance venues, may also help with more specialized disciplines in productions, such as sound and lighting. These stagehands are often expected to develop some expertise in how to best avoid shadows in lighting and dead spots and distortion in sound amplification for the theater.
Educational requirements are not strict for this position, though aspiring stagehands can benefit from a background in general contracting work and the performing arts. Stagehands should also be comfortable with lifting and carrying heavy weights and bulky set pieces. Some may be required to join a union, especially for film and television work, and most stagehands work in a theater or closed studio stage setting with irregular hours that change according to specific production schedules.
- Sweep, mop, clean, and organize stage, backstage and audience areas.
- Transport equipment, supplies, and boxes into and out of the theater.
- Follow designs to build, set up, store, and update sets and equipment.
- Design, set up, and install lighting and audio systems, operating them in tests and during events.
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Pay by Experience Level for Stagehand
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Stagehands, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $32K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $41K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Stagehands make a median salary of $48K. Stagehands who have spent more than 20 years on the job report earning a significantly higher median of $62K.