The Implementers

Each designer will normally assemble a team of people to implement the design that has been agreed with the director. If there is not much to be done in one category then that particular designer may work alone or with just an assistant. For example, Set Furnishing might be done by just one or two people.

Building the set, designed by the   late Ron Maslin, for the 1993's  Beyond Reasonable Doubt.

Set Builder and assistants

The Set Builder enlists a team of assistants and works closely with the Set Designer to create the set from sketches and working drawings. Sometimes, one person can be both Set Designer and Set Builder.

The crew builds an actual set from the design, using a combination of pre-built standard components (flats, risers, stairs, etc) and pieces built specially for the production. Our sets have ranged from simple sets simulating one scene, to complex, multi-level sets that have to roll on and off stage on wheels. Sets are usually screwed together with Robertson (square-socket) screws so that we can reuse pieces for other productions and so they can be put up and removed.

There is usually one production rehearsing or performing on stage while the set for the next production is being created in the workshop, so the set must be built in pieces and then assembled and finished on stage.

The set for Over the River and Through the Woods being re-assembled at Sault Ste. Marie.
Joints are being taped.

Set Painters, Set Dresser/Set Decor 

Set Painting is the basic painting of the walls and other surfaces of the set, much as one might paint the walls of a home. However, it is often easier to paint the components of the set in the workshop, before assembling them on stage. After assembly, the joints between components must be taped over and re-painted. Several people can work at once on a normal set.

The Set Dresser or Set Decor person is responsible for following the mood of the set, possibly adding some detail painting, trim, and non-working artifacts (flowers or curtains or pictures or stag's heads), which may be made especially for the play, taken from the theatre storeroom, or borrowed from stores or homes.

The fabric of this chair was painted dark green, and furniture nails were added, to make it appear as though it were covered in leather.

Set Furnishing

By talking to friends and members, and by going and looking in stores and in Kanata Theatre's small stock of furniture, the Set Furnishing people arrive at a list of furniture (which may include such things as carpets, cushions, and kitchen appliances) that have to be obtained and transported to the playhouse so they can be used during the later rehearsals. Some furniture may need repairs or repainting before it is used.

Very occasionally, a special piece of furniture has to be constructed.

Lighting assistants

The Lighting Designer and assistants must set the lights in place and select and install the gels that control the colour. Each light must be connected to the control circuitry, and the control console has to be programmed so that all the lights for each scene can be dimmed and brightened. The crew also has to rehearse the use of the console according to cues given by the stage manager.

 Sound assistants

The Sound Designer and assistants select the music and sound effects and assemble them onto one disc in the sequence in which they will be played, and then set up the sound console and rehearse their cues with the Stage Manager.

They may have to re-position loudspeakers to give the correct effects.

"Antique" camera built for use
as a prop


Props, or properties, are the bits and pieces actually handled by actors (if they aren't handled, they are part of Set Decor). The Properties person's job is to establish, in conjunction with the director, what properties are needed, and to obtain the properties.

Kanata Theatre has a small inventory of props and set decor items, some acquired for specific plays, some donated by KT members or people in the community. If props cannot be obtained, they must be made. This is especially true for historical artifacts.

Adjusting a pattern on the cutting board to fit a particular actor


The Costume Designer will assemble a team of assistants to obtain the needed costumes. She will try to re-use existing costumes (making alterations if needed), or borrow existing clothing. Only if a costume cannot be obtained from these sources will the designer create a new costume from scratch. Our costumes have been accumulated over a 30 year period and represent almost every era. The wardrobe mistress receives calls nearly every week from  people wanting to donate costumes and/or borrow them.

Even an existing costume may need modification for style or for size, and fitting sessions with each actor may be needed. If an existing costume cannot be obtained, then one must be made, and the designer will need cutters and seamstresses.

Rehearsing the 2000 production of Communicating Doors

Director and actors

While the implementers are working on their individual contributions, the actors are being rehearsed, initially in the Rehearsal Room, the foyer, or any space that can be found. If the director has an assistant, there may be simultaneous rehearsals for different groups of actors. For every hour of performance, cast and crew go through about 150 hours of rehearsal.

Later in the cycle, the rehearsals will move onto the stage, where the set will be taking shape and the "real" furniture and props will gradually replace the rehearsal items.

Stage Manager

During rehearsals, the Stage Manager will be following the script, marking up cues for actors, for lights and sound, and for special effects.

Depending on the size of the cast and on how the director and stage manager work together, the Stage Manager may keep rehearsal notes and ensure actors are at their entrances.

Affixing postage stamps when mailing out season tickets.


An often unsung but essential position, the Continuity persons keep track of what each actor says, comparing it word for word with the script, telling actors when they go wrong, and being able to jump in with a cue when an actor forgets the line during rehearsal.

Box Office

During the last two weeks of rehearsal, the Box Office will be selling tickets. And if it's season ticket purchasing time, they will be sending out renewal forms, filling the orders, and mailing season tickets to subscribers.