Whether you're a student just starting out, or a theatre pro practicing the craft on a daily basis, there's always more to learn about stage tech, as you're always guaranteed to come up against a new challenge or hurdle when you least expect it -- and can least afford it.
Luckily, there are some terrific websites out there that offer support ranging from excellent resources, databases and archives, to communities and forums of professionals who already know how to help you through your stickiest quandaries, shining the spotlight on the perfect answers to your questions with unfailing politeness and regularity.
Following are just a few resources on stage tech that you definitely need to bookmark for future use (and peace of mind!):ControlBooth
Offering news, articles, blogs, and some of the best and most knowledgeable lighting and stagecraft forums you'll find anywhere, ControlBooth (and most especially its online community) offers the perfect combination of knowledge, wit, information, and real insight into the everyday world of stage lighting, sound and tech. It's especially valuable for the way it seamlessly offers a wealth of information for students and trainees in stagecraft, while also including and supporting extensive and intelligent discussion on advanced professional equipment and scenarios as well.
USITT: The US Institute for Theatre Technology
315 South Crouse Avenue, Suite 200
Syracuse, NY 13210-1844
Telephone: 800-938-7488 or 315-463-6463
Fax: 866-398-7488 or 315-463-6525
General News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/usitt
Executive Director News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/USITTExec
Conference News on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/USITTConference
Created to support and assist the thousands of professionals, students and more who currently work in the performing arts design, tech and production fields, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) is a staggering resource for the amateur and stage tech pro alike. USITT not only offers access to a host of events, programs, workshops, symposiums, training opportunities, awards and scholarships, it also provides the invaluable opportunity for networking with nearly 4,000 other members across the globe. Its Annual Conference & Stage Expo is one of the year's top events for theatres and stage tech pros, and the more you explore its website and resources, the more help you'll be sure to find.
Theater Communications Group (TCG)
520 Eighth Ave., 24th Fl
New York, NY 10018-4156
Founded in 1961, Theatre Communications Group (or TCG) truly serves as the national organization for the American theatre for over 50 years now, working tirelessly to link, support and promote the theatrical world in the United States today, from community and student or university theatres and groups, to professional theatres and professionals nationwide. The organization is vast, and its participants now include nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations, and over 12,000 individual members nationwide.
In terms of resources, TCG offers a mammoth website along with access to its American Theatre magazine, with opportunities for professionals, amateurs and students in performance creation including networking and knowledge-building, and access to leadership, advice, mentoring and more, along with materials, scholarships, awards, conferences, forums, events, seminars, helpful forms and archives, and even a wealth of online videos. TCG is also a vital provider of approximately $2 million in grants per yeaer to worthy theatrical companies and individual artists, and also serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting participants in the U.S. theatre scene to their counterparts in the international theatre community worldwide.Stagelink
Chocolate Factory 2
4 Coburg Road
London N22 6UJ United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8819 9040
Fax: +44 (0)20 8819 9060
With an exhaustive (and only occasionally exhausting) array of links, resources and information, Stagelink provides technical consultancy, direction and design services and information to the live event industry. It isn't always pretty, and you'll definitely find the occasional typo or HTML error, but what it lacks in sexiness, Stagelink makes up for in sheer information.
Most importantly (at least when it comes to arming yourself with as much stage tech knowledge as possible), it also offers an impressive array of free online material and resources on stage tech, from a superb overview of the major vendors in lighting, sound, staging and more, to free CAD Blocks in both 2D and 3D. Just to give you fair warning, the writing on the web site is occasionally a bit idiosyncratic, but it's worth wading through, and absolutely worth the bookmark.Community Theatre Green Room
Whether you're trying to stretch your funding or find new ways to paint a set, The Community Theater Green Room is a wonderful place for networking, learning, or just plain commiseration. The site offers a series of superbly organized forums whose members are the real jewels - almost unfailingly helpful, supportive, smart, funny, insightful and knowledgeable about staging theatrical productions, and its discussion boards are truly what you'll want to bookmark.
However, the site also includes a fair assortment of articles, links, and about a dozen helpful "how-to" miscellaneous articles on everything from "Grey Hair without Spray" to how to "Stretch Your Paint Dollars" and how to achieve a "Fake Marble Paint Effect."
What are some of your favorite resources when it comes to stagecraft?