New members are always welcome! Whatever your nationality, an interest in English-speaking theatre, a good command of the English language and a willingness to get involved in club activities are the only qualifications needed to become a member. Please do not hesitate to contact us to find out more.
Roles in a production
Acting in an Upstage production is a lot of fun, but would not be possible without the immense efforts of the crew behind the scenes. Many of you have talents that could be channeled into one of the crew roles, and could bring you the fulfillment of being part of the team behind a production. Even if you feel you are totally void of any talent, we can assure you that there are jobs for you to do. Experience is valued but not essential; the learning process, with support from our guidelines and from other members, is part of the joy and sense of achievement.
Acting on stage in front of an audience is exciting, but can sometimes be nerve-wracking. Not to worry, as this is natural and should not deter you from taking the first step of the journey, which is to audition. Upstage auditions are open to everyone, whether or not you are a member, and regardless of experience – we have a mix of seasoned actors and beginners in almost every production. If you feel you have acting talent then take the opportunity to join the cast. The road from audition to stage is paved with commitment, reliability, and – last but not least – a good measure of fun.
Being a Director is not only for the bold and brave. The Director has the daunting and hugely rewarding task of creating a concept for what happens on stage, of which choosing and directing the actors is a major part. If you can see yourself in this role, then Upstage is a good place to launch and pursue your directing ambition. We have documented guidelines and some experienced members, to provide as much support as you need. The Upstage committee must approve the choice of play, but are reasonably flexible, putting high importance on the Director being fully behind ‘their’ production.
Working closely with the Director, the Production Manager is responsible for the organizational aspects of converting the Director’s concept into reality. The Production Manager is responsible for coordinating the crew, checking that they keep within budget, and generally ensuring that everything is provided and organized in time for the first public performance in the theatre.
Set Design and Construction
In line with the Director’s concept for the production, the set designer’s job is to design the physical surroundings in which the action on stage will take place, including furniture, scenery, and other items present on stage. The set designer also participates in the set construction, assisted by people willing and able to build, paint or do whatever is required in the Upstage workshop to construct the set as designed. The team’s responsibility includes building and striking the set in the theatre.
Props and Set Dressing
Short for ‘properties’, props are all objects which an actor carries on to and/or uses on stage, for example: keys, umbrella, wallet, basket, suitcase, etc. The set dressing props are the movable objects on stage that add to the look of the set design, for example: plants, clock, pictures, tablecloth, etc.
Upstage has a store of props, though nearly every production will require items not in our store. This is a job for people who like to rummage – for example in second hand shops – and who can reliably maintain a check list of requirements. Props Managers will also be needed backstage in the theatre.
The costumes team bring alive the characters, who are the heart and spirit of the play, and make them believable. Upstage has a costumes store, which is the first port of call for those responsible for costumes. Sewing skills are useful, but are not mandatory for everyone in the team. What cannot be reused or adapted from the costumes in store must be sourced elsewhere. This might mean acquiring material to sew new costumes, but can also mean asking around and borrowing, and/or visiting numerous second hand stores to purchase reasonably priced items.
If you are keen to take on a key role in the production of a play, but are unable to commit to regular participation over a period of months, then Stage Manager could be the job for you. The Director and Production Manager hand the show over to the Stage Manager on opening night. Their job is done, and usually they do not attend every performance. The Stage Manager will have attended one or two of the rehearsal run-throughs to familiarise with the play, and by now has the overview of every cue, every scene change, and every movement of the show. The Stage Manager is present at all performances to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Lighting and Sound
The lighting and sound technicians are a very important unit of any production. They need to work with the Production Manager and Director to understand the effects that they are to implement. Sound effects will need to be recorded, and any special lighting effects beyond the facilities of the theatre need to be sourced. A visit to the theatre can be arranged to familiarise with the equipment and facilities. The lighting and sound crew will be present and active at every theatre rehearsal and performance.
Hair and Makeup
The efforts required in these roles vary immensely, depending on the size of the cast, and the style and period of the setting of a play. For instance, a period costume play might require a lot of effort to create particular hairstyles of the time. If relatively little effort is required, helping the actors with hair and makeup can be done by the same person. Some knowledge and experience of stage makeup is required. Presence at the theatre is needed every evening before the show, and possibly throughout the evening.
This covers: poster and flyer design, ordering and pick up of printed materials, and their distribution. Creation of the program is also allocated to this role. Some of these tasks may be done by members of the Committee. The Production Manager and Secretary will need to agree who does what.
Front of House Manager (FOH)
The FOH Manager will organise a rota for two FOH people per performance (including dress rehearsal) to be in the theatre no later than half an hour before start of the show. They will collect donations for the programs, as per the instructions provided by the FOH manager.
The Transport Manager has the responsibility to hire a suitable vehicle for moving the sets, props, costumes etc. between the Upstage stores and the theatre. A driver must be arranged, and permission obtained from the police to park in front of the theatre during loading/unloading.
The Transport Manager organises the teams to do the loading, unloading, and building/striking the set in the theatre.
There are other roles which we sometimes fill, not described here. The nature of productions varies immensely, along with the imagination of the Directors. We are open for most ideas, and so might find ourselves looking for a musical director, choreographer, rehearsal prompt, photographer, voice coach, etc. There is a wonderful colourful spectrum of opportunities in the theatre.
Yearly membership fees are 40 CHF, reduced fees of 20 CHF for students, pensioners and unemployed. This will allow you to participate in club activities and also cover the insurance.