The technical director: the history, the legacy, and a glimpse behind the curtain
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The central purpose of this thesis is to explore and document the position of the technical director within the American theatre during the 20th century and into the present day. The research focuses more heavily on the earliest origins found in the existing literature and subsequently traces the position into more recent years and the manifestations of the job therein. The thesis also endeavors to lay a framework for bridging the origins of the job to its current incarnations. To this end, a significant amount of new research is contributed to the field of theatre history. To the author's knowledge, no such work previously existed in the historical canon of theatre literature prior to this thesis. Much of the information contained herein was assimilated from various technical manuals written throughout the 20th century. These manuals were not written to be historical source material, but were concerned with the pragmatic details of technical theatre. Much had to be ascertained by reading between the lines. The research is not merely concerned with numbers or statistical data, but also with what type of individuals are drawn to this position and how they got there. To this end personal interviews were utilized and incorporated as a significant part of this project. The information gleaned from the interviews offers a clear picture of who is currently performing this job, the career trajectory those individuals followed to arrive at their current positions, and presents unique insights into what draws people into this type of work and holds their interest throughout a career. The findings show that the role evolved significantly regarding aspects such as specific job functions within certain types of producing organizations. Other aspects such as attention to detail, organization, decision-making, and proficiency in a range of skills have existed virtually unchanged since the advent of the position, when it was often not acknowledged as a separate and specific role in the theatre. In light of ever-increasing technological demands the findings also demonstrate that, gradually, the position of technical director is being more widely recognized as critical and integral to the theatre as an industry.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Chapter I. What Does the Technical Director Do? -- Chapter II. Interviews â€“ Who is the Technical Director? -- Chapter III. History â€“ Part 1 -- Chapter IV. History â€“ Part 2 -- Chapter V. History â€“ Part 3 -- Chapter VI. History â€“ Part 4 -- Conclusion.