Belonging Backstage: “Us” and “Them” in Production 

Madeline Taylor

To cite this contribution: 
Taylor, Madeline. ‘Belonging Backstage: “Us” and “Them” in Production’. Currents Journal Issue One (2020),

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Course of study:
Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music (Theatre), University of Melbourne 

Belonging, collaboration, theatre, technical production, group entitativity, identity

Abstract: Theatre is regularly discussed as a collaborative medium, reliant on multiple people and skillsets to complete a production. Despite this requirement, theatre, and the hierarchies it commonly works within are strongly delineated and often fiercely patrolled.  Potentially in part due to the unstable and often precarious nature of work situation and teams, this process of inclusion and exclusion is used as a shorthand to identify belonging with “us”, an “us” that fluctuates and is always temporary. This article focuses on technical staff, as a critical yet often overlooked workforce in theatre, and explores how technicians use various behaviours to display and negotiate their belonging in the face of precarious employment. It then addresses the sometimes-contentious relationship between the technical and creative teams in theatre production. Employing ideas of sociology, it explores how this othering manifests in language and practices that surround theatre production and is perpetuated by learnt behaviours and attitudes. By drawing attention to the construction of these structures it hopes to address some of the very real issues that can arise from this divisive attitude present in the theatre community.

Ahnaf Saber, Backstage of Vienna State Opera  (2019). Accessed from Wikimedia Commons 26 August 2020: .


This article looks at a few of the ways belonging is negotiated and displayed in the live performance technical team of mainstage theatre, applying sociological theories to current practice. While the twenty first century has seen mounting academic interest in technical production, Gay McAuley’s statement that backstage is ‘the least documented, least analysed, least theorized area of theatre space’ remains accurate.1 However, as theatre historian Christin Essin argues, representation is important, giving ‘technicians a history they can tell about themselves (sometimes to themselves) validates their value in an industry that routinely keeps them in the dark’.2 This representation in both academy and industry is vital, for it validates the efforts of the myriad of people whose self-identity is intrinsically tied to their work. To work in theatre is to be theatre, and for many the job becomes synonymous with their identity. However, this identification is sometimes predicated on a process of inclusion and exclusion, in which divisive lines are drawn between the technical and creative teams. This hierarchy manifests not only in the reporting relationships and responsibilities, but also in aspects like payscales, crediting and social capital, with Ric Knowles positioning technicians as ‘theatre’s working class’.3 This division occurs in spite of the fact that theatre is consistently positioned as inherently collaborative, reliant on multiple people and skillsets.4

It is important to clarify that while I am focused on the way technicians negotiate their roles and relationships in the longstanding structured hierarchies of current mainstage practice, this article is not proposing an erasure of this model. Alternate approaches to theatre that employ a flattened collaborative model can mitigate some of the issues that arise from this negotiation, but presumably raises others, such as the out-grouping of non-collaborators, as well as more practical considerations of viability, scale and funding as identified by Newman and Phillips.5 Instead the article focuses on the benefits and issues that arise in the negotiation within these hierarchies, and what might be done by all working in theatre to resolve these issues. This article employs theories from sociology, which studies groups of people—their behaviour and interactions—to explore how these theories manifest, in both positive and negative ways, in interactions occurring ‘behind the scenes’. Writing from the perspective of a costume technician and sometime designer for theatre, I evidence these manifestations with what Hunt and Melrose term ‘Greenroom Tales’,6 examples taken from my own and others experiences as production technicians in Australia. As such the articles focuses on Western, particularly Australian, theatre practice and practitioners.

Terms and Theory

The language of this arena perpetuates the hierarchy that is negotiated via the performance of backstage labour, and it is important that the normative associations and ‘hidden assumptions’ of these phrases be considered.7 The technician’s role, and their position in the hierarchy of theatre has been increasingly problematised,8 and for Farthing, and Hunt and Melrose this is most evident in the term ‘technical’ which they argue does not convey the complexity, expertise and creativity in the role,9 an argument that is given further weight by the industry standard designation of ‘creative team’ for theatre artists such as directors, choreographers and designers. McAuley charts the increased use of the phrase in Australian theatre, which she suggests is ‘extremely problematic’ in its suggestion of a ‘hierarchy of creativity’,10 a point reiterated by Brennan in regard to UK theatre.11 It is within this divisive binary of terms and teams this article is operating, critiquing, and hopefully, mitigating against. While there have been various suggestions for alternate labels for technicians in both the academy and industry, for example ‘mastercraftsperson’,12 ‘technical artists’,13 or simply ‘artists’,14 technician remains prevalent theatre parlance. As such, it is the term I have used throughout this article. Rather than advocate here for a change in language, I argue for a new understanding of, and recognition for, the contributions—creative and otherwise—of technicians and a more holistic and integrated rethinking of the theatre team by all who work in the field.

It is also important to clarify that the term ‘technical team’, used in this discussion, is not used to specify the crew of a single production, but the wider professional network of interconnected individuals who work behind the scenes in live performance in many venues and festivals. This network is built over time as people move from production-to-production and venue-to-venue, as well as via social events, and often builds on connections established during training. While each production will have a specific technical team culture, there is a remarkably cohesive and stable group identity for this larger network.

This consistent collective identity is established by the technical team’s high level of group entitativity, a term coined by American social scientist Donald Campbell. Entitativity is what establishes a group as a cohesive and perceptible entity to both insiders and outsiders and is on a spectrum. For example, a group of people waiting for a bus is considered low, and a family is considered highly entitative. Further study of group dynamics by sociologists Hamilton & Sherman in 1996 defined the characteristics of entitativity as defined boundaries, internal homogeneity, social interaction, clear internal structure, common goals, and a common fate.15 The technical team typifies these criteria, with its well-defined membership associated with specific roles and tasks and a group focus on specific production outcomes. As the Entertainment Assist research has established, while the antisocial working hours are detrimental to family and external social relationships, this concurrently supports socialising and friendship within the team.16 Social rituals such as opening night parties, and ‘thirsty Thursdays’ build a culture of socialising within the group network, although the value, or otherwise, of this drinking culture within the arts is currently under scrutiny.17 Further, each member of the technical team is reliant on other members to accomplish their work, which creates a sense of commonality, and generally these teams are quite homogenous in both characteristics, often middle class and trained at a small number of institutions, and according to employment researchers Houser-Marko and Barsotti, aptitude.18 These structures and practices ensure a high level of entitativity for the ‘technical team’ as a group.

As a group establishes itself it creates a collective identity, binding people together through a joint sense of belonging to the same social category. Social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner established the vital importance group identity has on self-esteem and perception.19 One of the ways individuals bolster the group’s collective, and thus their individual, self-esteem, is by comparison to others outside the group. In this comparison of us vs them, or what Henri Tajfel termed ingroup vs outgroup, similarities within the group and differences outside the group are emphasised, as for the group, ‘who we are is partly defined by reference to who we are not’.20 For the technical team, one of the outcomes of high group entitativity is the increased likelihood of in-group social bias.21 Further, group entitativity and identification are strengthened by uncertainty, as in uncertain situations humans naturally seek out others for reassurance and support.22 I suggest that the precarious nature of technical employment, as discussed by Farthing,23 and the uncertainty it fosters, encourages identification with the group. Having established the technical team as a highly entitative group susceptible to ingroup bias, I want to now turn to how this manifests backstage as technicians evidence their belonging to the team.

Belonging Negotiated and Displayed

Social anthropologist Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka suggests belonging is an ‘emotionally-charged social location’.24  This nexus of feeling, place and community seems to connect with how we talk about theatre, as both a specific place meant to prompt reaction and reflection, and an amorphous activity entirely reliant on people. Belonging to theatre is individually felt and embodied while collectively negotiated and performed. Thus, each of the practices discussed next are simultaneously negotiating and displaying belonging within the technical team.

One of the first observable commonalities for this group is its uniform. To be a technician is to wear black, and the sense of belonging it confers is evident in the formative experience discussed by a stage manager here,

[A commercial musical production] asked me if I would be interested in going and doing the day’s work experience with them. I … spent a day with the stage management team and just immediately thought this is exactly what I want to do… I was 16. I just felt I associated with the people, with the stage managers… and they just took me in and they introduced me to all the cast on the stage but I was standing with them. Like I was standing with the people dressed in black and I was dressed in black and I felt a little affinity with them and I was like, ‘Wow’... I think that's really when, for me, I found my people.25

Ostensibly born out of practical considerations, this practice ensures that as little as possible of the technician is visible to the audience while they stand in the wings or in the grid. However, the history of this custom, the kinds of black clothes that make up this uniform and the way they are worn are dense with meaning.

One reason for a uniform of black is a literal desire to erase the body, and visible labour, of the technician. Performance theorist Alice Rayner suggests this appropriation of Kabuki’s sign of invisibility26 is due to the belief that the erasure perpetuates a theatrical illusion, or the “magic” of the theatre. While the practice of wearing all black is relatively recent, adherence and prior knowledge of this backstage norm is initial evidence of belonging for any new crew. Conformity not only establishes their understanding of current theatre practice, but also their tactic acceptance of conventions regarding hierarchy, role and professional aspiration.

Quite often, a venue or a production will provide a uniform shirt. This logo-ed black top is prized as a marker of belonging, demonstrating allegiance and a relationship to a performance space or company. If not supplied, a black t-shirt or polo will be worn by most crew, often from a previous gig. Evidence of longstanding belonging, career progress and veteran status can be marked by the repertoire of production t-shirts worn. Extra points are given for long past productions. A previous colleague of mine still owns and wears a very faded crew t-shirt from the 1998 Cats tour. In a world and workplace in which you are employed gig to gig, this manner of establishing your credentials not only exhibits the longevity of your career but also tacitly communicates your industry commitment and professional competence. Alongside production or venue shirts are the rest of the uniform items, which include long black trousers (cargo pants are popular), lanyards, cans or radios, utility belts and comfortable black footwear, usually steel cap boots or trainers, depending on role. These items support the work and physical requirements of the technical team, but also clearly demarcate the wearer as a “non” performer. Prizing utility and comfort over style and fit, these items evidence the group’s valuing of practicality and expedience, as well as their group relationship.

Another explicit way in which “belonging” is controlled and patrolled by the wider team is the policing behaviours that occur around job responsibilities. The concept of ‘slabbing’ is an example of this policing. This custom requires technicians who let the team down or transgress theatre norms in some way to buy a carton (a slab) of beer to be shared among the crew. Personally, I have been slabbed for a ringing mobile phone mid performance. Another large musical I worked on kept a running tally of crew slabs chalked on the side of some equipment backstage. This was clearly displayed in each venue, visible for all to see. Not only did it mark an individual’s history of belonging in that team and on that production, it also demonstrated it to venue staff, highlighting that the entire team was conversant with this wider group practice. This self-policing practice establishes explicit standards of group behaviour that may impact the perception of the technical team’s professional competence, and thus group esteem. It also displays that these are being monitored by the group, and thus do not need to be managed by external parties. This autonomy is an important aspect of the ingroup self-esteem. As discussed by veteran stage builder John Preston, being seen onstage during a performance is a slab-worthy transgression.27 This penalty clearly establishes the perceived locations the technical team do and do not belong, the next subject under focus.

Belonging backstage applies not only to the group, but also to the space. Patrice Pavis suggest that there is a cognitive ‘circle of attention’28 that divides onstage and backstage spaces. I suggest that backstage belonging is most apparent in its obverse—when technical staff are on stage, where they ‘don’t belong’. This is efficiently evidenced by the allowance paid to technical staff if required to be visible on stage. More conceptually many productions use technical staff on stage to experiment and play with theatre conventions. Making the crew part of the action or scenery in this way is considered problematic by Rayner, as it ‘others’ the technician, and all those off stage they represent, reiterating the in-group comparative divide between ‘technicians’ and ‘artists’. The consciousness that the stage is the ‘wrong place’29 for technicians is visible in the practices of dressers and other crew on the Phantom of the Opera, which sees them carefully choregraphing and contorting their bodies behind set pieces to ensure invisibility after scenery and costume changes. This contortion not only evidences the understanding that they do not ‘belong’ on stage, but also an adherence to a collective understanding of expected behaviour.  

Membership of the technical team is performed and negotiated through a variety of processes, just a few of which have been discussed in detail. Another is language, with Zezulka suggesting that intertextual references providing evidence of ingroup belonging,30 while for Essin ‘specialised language’ fulfills a similar function.31 What I want to turn to now is how these practices are important for individual esteem and feeling of belonging, and are both useful and detrimental to the theatrical product.

The Value, Problems and Outcomes of Belonging Backstage

There are multiple results that occur because of these performances of belonging backstage. Some of these are highly valuable, not only to the people involved, but also for the artworks being produced. Others, the negative problems and outcomes of the technical team’s high entitativity on the theatrical work, will be challenging for many to consider.

One important value of this team cohesiveness is the emotional and social connection it facilitates. The language surrounding working backstage is one of intimacy. We talk about the theatre community or family.32 McAuley expands, stating that ‘the experience of … theatre artists in Australia is one of the rapid formation of groups that work together at a level of physical and emotional intimacy shared by few other professions for relatively short periods’.33 While this passion and investment supports high production standards it is also problematic, as it becomes difficult to separate work from your sense of self, an issue identified by The Arts Wellbeing Collective.34 Working as a technician can be an all-encompassing life choice and identity. Therefore, to feel part of this group, even when not working becomes vital to emotional wellbeing. In Entertainment Assists’ research into the mental health of Australian entertainment workers, interviewees expressed that long after people had stopped working backstage, they identified with the people and the industry.35 For these technicians, belonging is not contingent on location and frequency of work, but from previously established and continuing group identification.

Looking first at the positives, part of the reason for the tight knit nature of the technical team is due to the structure of theatre work. Late nights, close quarters, adrenaline, and comradery in extreme situations create conditions of high entitativity. The resulting cohesive team dynamic usefully serves the production and this is evident in both long and short term show specific teams. Firstly, as technical teams for specific events fluctuate and exist for such short periods—often a few days or hours, the existence of a stable wider technical team culture provides a baseline for a relatively consistent understanding of what constitutes ‘professional practice’ or ‘good work’ across venues and sites, or what Banks terms craft worker’s ‘collective consciousness’.36 Further, individual technician’s ability to prove themselves a member of this collective via clothing, behaviour, language and other norms allows the group to quickly build trust and unity within a short timeframe. Secondly, it often would not be physically  possible to create the theatre work without collective ethos.

Backstage of a theatre can be a dangerous place in which heavy machinery and objects are moved around many people, often in strict sequence with exact timing. Manipulating these elements requires a great deal of trust in your team’s precision, coordination, and experience.37 This cohesiveness becomes instrumental in the artistic presentation of the work. One experienced flyman told the story of how he and his flying partner/best friend learned each other’s rhythms and could fly out an object with remarkable smoothness, developing a reputation as a duo which extended beyond the venue. This bodily experience is intellectualised by Essin, who states ‘“stagehands” communication and coordination with one another often exceeds verbalisation; they wordlessly take up slack in a rope, feed cable along a pipe, or adjust their grip to synchronise with a work partner’.38 In this example, social interaction and common goals overlap and what emerges is a technically valuable skill that furthers the artistry of the production. Other examples of the team cohesion and inter-reliance are evident in the choreography required in a quick change involving multiple dressers, or the interplay between a stage manager and all the board staff they cue.

Conversely, there are problems that can arise from group identification and resulting bias and othering. This is one of those conversations that usually happen in the quiet of the auditorium or backstage corridor, or after the third beer at the pub. However, there is value in having the hard conversations in public, as the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging there is one. Addressing the sometimes-contentious relationship between the technical and creative teams is Jordan Gibbs’ who suggests that ‘technical are as much responsible for perpetuating this relationship as artistic are in failing to realise its qualities’, employing ‘artistic’ as an alternative to what I term creative in this article.39 While these problems are often the product of creative differences, conflicting values and high-pressure situations, I suggest that it is exacerbated by what Castano and others term ‘in-group bias’, which prompts stereotyping, judgement and exclusion of the ‘out-group’.40 The ‘othering’ in this scenario probably best summed up by the exclamation ‘Bloody creative!’. While this might be justified as a way to let off steam in a stressful situation, evidencing belonging by highlighting the otherness of the outgroup, which can be patrons, creatives or performers, often manifest in exclusionary or obstructive practices. This process of inclusion and exclusion is used as a shorthand to identify belonging with “us”, and this attitude is discussed in detail by Alice Rayner, who states that the technician often holds,

at a minimum an ironic view of performance, of actors and directors, of audiences and critics, and especially of academics. That irony can also develop into outright contempt for those others, who may seem to know nothing and care nothing for the reality of the work.41

A recent example of this attitude, related to me by a designer, involved a production manager rudely refuse to offer a designer advice or a perspective on the position of a set item and he discouraged his staff from contributing their point of view, as ‘that was [the designers] responsibility’. This power play made use of the hierarchical relationships in theatre even as it undermined both the power of the designer, and the collaborative ideology that surrounds our industry. Through his discouragement he also further enforced the in-group identity of the technicians as a cohesive cohort, by positioning the designer as an out-group. This abrogation of responsibility for certain types of decisions or aid is something I have seen repeatedly throughout my career, as both a practitioner and as a theatre ethnographer. The undercurrent of this attitude is evident in much of the humour that surrounds the technical culture, visible in memes shared on Facebook or on printed on t-shirts. However, it must be said that not every technician is party to this mindset. Case studies in Zezulka42 and Hunt and Melrose43 demonstrate ways in which empathetic technical lighting staff ‘save’ lighting designers in deteriorating relationships with directors. In these scenarios the designers might be considered incorporated into the ‘in-group’ and the directors the ‘out-group’. In my discussion of the technical community as a homogenous identity, I am focused on the similarities rather than the differences in the humans that make up the group.

In another example UK lighting designer Andrew Bridge suggests that hesitation in responding to a technical design question is seen as weakness and is often tested by technical crews, a point that was supported by other designers I interviewed in Australia. Bridge further argues for a difference between cultures, stating that in the UK, a designer might explain delays in information while in the USA the better way to build confidence with the crew is to offer a firm answer to a question, even if it may change later.44 However, it is often these changes that provide the most frustration for technical staff. Here we can see that this division serves neither group, while absolute answers might provide certainty initially, changes add to the workload and ultimately diminish the trust in the relationship, a point emphasised by Newman and Phillips.45 This ultimately serves nobody.

The first step in resolving this division is talking about it, and the second is understanding that this ingroup bias is a learnt behaviour, and as such it can be changed. One method I suggest to help this change is the common in-group identity model.46 By emphasising the shared goals and values of the wider group, in this case theatre workers as a whole, bias and hostility is reduced. It further prompts recategorising by the in-group of the out-group. This mental shift is supported by the existing structures and aims of any theatre production, which requires teams to work together for the success of the show. Incorporating this idea into theatre practice builds on already existing collaborative concepts practiced by many technicians and creative personnel. I believe that leadership, explicit framing and emphasis on the larger team unity has the potential to improve the dynamic of the entire workforce, and the production experience.


In part, the high group entitativity of the technical team is a natural result of the conditions of work. As discussed this has positive benefits for both the people and the work they make, however the usual human progression to in-group bias is divisive and harmful. While I have outlined a strategy to resolve this tension I am aware that facing up to that darker element will be difficult. The responsibility for this improvement lies with all. I hope by drawing attention this divisive attitude present but unacknowledged in the dark of the theatre to improve the collaborative practices theatre prides itself on.


This paper was written before we had even heard of COVID-19. Since the virus has emerged theatres around Australia and across the world have shut indefinitely. Many, many technicians have lost their livelihoods, and the pandemic has starkly highlighted the problems of casual and contingent employment.

Amid this fear and uncertainty, I have been heartened by the way theatre workers of all types have drawn together. In online forums, across social media platforms and through Senate enquiries people have supported each other and shared knowledge and resources. I have also been encouraged by the fact that some COVID-19 related arts grants and financial assistance has been extended to technical staff.47 That this eligibility was met with some shock or surprise by technicians reaffirms the structural issues underpinning this article, but also points to a possible change in the way these roles are perceived in the industry and broader arts ecology.

My hope is that when we are able to return to work, that this camaraderie is carried forward. Building on the group perception of themselves as unified theatre workers might be one positive thing to be taken from this adversity.

  1. McAuley, Gay. 1999. Space in Performance: Making Meaning in the Theatre. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press., 26.

  2. Essin, Christin. 2011. ‘An Aesthetic of Backstage Labor’. Theatre Topics 21 (1): 33–48., 46.

  3. Knowles, Ric. 2004. Reading the Material Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 25.

  4. Outside of the technical team, which in itself can include sound, lighting, stage-management, costume, scenic, props, mechanical, automaton, visual effects and wigs and makeup staff, theatre workers include directors, designers, choreographers, writers, producers and performers such as  actors, musicians, dancers. Each is integral to the collaboration, but unfortunately there isn’t scope here to address their work with technical teams individually. Hammerstein II, Oscar. 1949. Lyrics. New York: Simon & Schuster. 47.Atkinson, Paul. 2010. ‘Making Opera Work: Bricolage and the Management of Dramaturgy’. Music and Arts in Action 3 (1): 3–19.  Collins, Jane, and Andrew Nisbet, eds. 2010. Theatre and Performance Design: A Reader in Scenography. London; New York: Routledge. 141.Curtis, Stephen. 2014. Staging Ideas: Set and Costume Design for Theatre. Sydney: Currency Press. 18.

  5. Newman, Renée, and Maggi Phillips. 2017. ‘You Are No Longer Creative When You Give up: Technical Theatre’s Creative Sleight of Hand.’ Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice 1 (1). 11-12.

  6. Hunt, Nick, and Susan Melrose. 2005. ‘Techne, Technology, Technician’. Performance Research 10 (4): 70–82. 70.

  7. Brennan, Clare. 2011. ‘Why Distinguish between “cast” and “Creatives” in Theatre Productions?’ The  Guardian, 21 March 2011, sec. Stage.

  8. Rayner, Alice. 2002. ‘Rude Mechanicals and the Specters of Marx’. Theatre Journal 54 (4): 535–54., 55. Knowles, Reading the Material Theatre, 25. Essin, Christin. 2011. ‘An Aesthetic of Backstage Labor’. Theatre Topics 21 (1): 33–48., 41. Monks, Aoife. 2014. ‘Virtuosity, Craft and Technique in the Work of Costume’. In Costume: Readings in Theatre Practice, edited by Alison Maclaurin and Aoife  Monks. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 74. Zezulka, Kelli. 2019. ‘The Lighting Programmer as Creative Collaborator’. Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice 2 (1): 15. 

  9. Farthing, Anna. 2012. ‘Mapping Technical Theatre Arts Training’. York, UK: Higher Education Authority, Arts and Humanities, UK., 6. Hunt, Melrose, ‘Techne, Technology, Technician’, 71.

  10. McAuley, Gay. 2012. Not Magic but Work: An Ethnographic Account of a Rehearsal Process. Theatre. Theory, Practice, Performance. Manchester: New York: Manchester University Press, 45.

  11. Brennan, ‘Why Distinguish between “cast” and “Creatives” in Theatre Productions?’.

  12. Hunt, Melrose, ‘Techne, Technology, Technician’, 70.

  13. Moran, Nick. 2016. The Right Light: Interviews with Contemporary Lighting Designers. Palgrave. 99

  14. Huntington, John. 2002. ‘Rethinking Entertainment Technology Education’. Theatre Design and Technology  38 (4): 10, 14.

  15. Hogg, Michael A., David K. Sherman, Joel Dierselhuis, Angela T. Maitner, and Graham Moffitt. 2007.  ‘Uncertainty, Entitativity, and Group Identification’. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43 (1): 135-42., 136.

  16. van de Eynde, Julie, Adrian Fisher, and Christopher Sonn. 2014. ‘Pride, Passion & Pitfalls: Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry’. Project report. Melbourne: Victoria University and Entertainment Assist., 4.

  17. Watts, Richard. 2017. ‘How Creatives Can Stop Drinking Themselves to Death’. Arts Hub, 24 March 2017.

  18. Houser-Marko, Linda, and Scott Barsotti. 2015. ‘Theatre Artists’ Aptitudes Study: Aptitudes of Theatre Professionals’. STATISTICAL BULLETIN 2015-6. Theatre Artists’ Aptitudes Study. Chicago: Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation.

  19. Turner, John C., and Henri Tajfel. 1986. ‘The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior’. In Psychology of Intergroup Relations, edited by Stephan Worchel and William  Austin, 7–24. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

  20. Reicher, Stephen, Russell Spears, and S. Alexander Haslam. 2010. ‘The Social Identity Approach in Social Psychology’. In The SAGE Handbook of Identities, 45–62. 1 Oliver’s  Yard,  55 City Road,  London    EC1Y 1SP  United Kingdom: SAGE Publications Ltd., 54.

  21. Castano, Emanuele, Vincent Yzerbyt, David Bourguignon, and Eléonore Seron. 2002. ‘Who May Enter? The Impact of In-Group Identification on In-Group/Out-Group Categorization’. Journal of Experimental Social  Psychology 38 (3): 315–22. 745.

  22. Hogg, Sherman, Dierselhuis, Maitner, Moffitt, ‘Uncertainty, Entitativity, and Group Identification’, 138.

  23. Farthing, ‘Mapping Technical Theatre Arts Training’, 25.

  24. Pfaff-Czarnecka, Joanna. 2011. ‘From “identity” to “belonging” in Social Research. Plurality, Social Boundaries, and the Politics of the Self’. In Ethnicity, citizenship and belonging: practices, theory and spatial dimensions, edited by Sarah Albiez, Nelly Castro, Lara Jüssen, and Eva Youkhana, 199–219. Madrid:  Iberoamericana., 199.

  25. O’Neill, Carly. 2017. ‘Exit Stage Left: Mid Career Transitions of Female Stage Managers in Australia’. Degree of Master of Arts (Research), Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology, 55-56.

  26. Rayner, ‘Rude Mechanicals and the Specters of Marx’, 537.

  27. Blake, Ellisa. 2017. ‘Sydney Theatre Company Legend John “JP” Preston Calls It Quits after 40 Years’. The  Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2017, sec. Entertainment - Stage. john-jp-preston-calls-it-quits-after-40-years-20170418-gvmprm.html.

  28. Pavis, Patrice. 2003. ‘Space, Time, Action’. In Analyzing Performance: Theater, Dance, and Film, translated by David Williams, 148–70. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 151.

  29. Rayner, ‘Rude Mechanicals and the Specters of Marx’, 538.

  30. Zezulka, Kelli. 2019. ‘The Lighting Programmer as Creative Collaborator’. Behind the Scenes: Journal of  Theatre Production Practice 2 (1): 15, 22.

  31. Essin ‘An Aesthetic of Backstage Labor’, 45.

  32. Sobb Ah Kin, Camilla. 2010. ‘A Chance Gathering of Strays: The Australian Theatre Family’. Masters, Sydney: University of Sydney. Http://, 7. Ramirez, Luis, and Shari Waterson Ellsworth. 2007. ‘Are We Really Working Ourselves to Death?’ Theatre  Design and Technology 43: 64‒74, 67.

  33. McAuley, Not Magic but Work: 212.

  34. The Arts Wellbeing Collective. 2019. ‘Your Pocket Guide to Post-Show De-Role’. The  Arts Wellbeing Collective (blog). February 2019.

  35. van de Eynde, Fisher, Sonn, ‘Pride, Passion & Pitfalls’, 42.

  36. Banks, Mark. 2010. ‘Craft Labour and Creative Industries’. International Journal of Cultural Policy 16 (3): 305–21., 311.

  37. Essin ‘An Aesthetic of Backstage Labor’, 41.

  38. Ibid, 38.

  39. Gibbs, Jordan. 2016. ‘The Best Friend You Haven’t Noticed’. Arts Hub, 5 October 2016. See also Banks, Mark. 2010. ‘Craft Labour and Creative Industries’. International Journal of Cultural Policy 16 (3): 305–21., 313.

  40. Castano, Yzerbyt, Bourguignon, Seron. ‘Who May Enter?’, 315.

  41. Rayner, ‘Rude Mechanicals and the Specters of Marx’,545.

  42. Zezulka, ‘The Lighting Programmer as Creative Collaborator’, 9.

  43. Hunt, Melrose, ‘Techne, Technology, Technician’, 72.

  44. Pilbrow, Richard. 1997. Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life / Foreword by Harold Prince ;  with Contributions by Dawn Chiang, John B. Read, and Robert Bryan ; Illustrations by Lucy Gaskell. New  York: By Design Press, 210.

  45. Newman, Phillips, ‘You Are No Longer Creative When You Give up’, 9.

  46. Gaertner, Samuel L, and John F Dovidio. 2014. Reducing Intergroup Bias: The Common Ingroup Identity  Model. Hoboken: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

  47. For example the Theatre Network Australian 1000x$1000 crisis cash for artists, and the Arts Queensland stART grants.  

About the author:
Madeline Taylor is a creator, researcher and teacher in the creative arts. A lecturer in Fashion at Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD candidate at University of Melbourne, her research focuses on contemporary costume practice, technical theatre’s interpersonal dynamics and fashion performance. During her 15 years’ experience as a practitioner she has worked on over 85 productions in theatre, dance, opera, circus, contemporary performance and film around Australia and the UK. Research career highlights include an internship at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She is a co-director of The Stitchery Collective, a Brisbane based ARI, and was Australian Editor for the World Scenography Project Vol II – 1990 - 2005.

Currents  is a collaboration between the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne and the School of Design, University of Western Australia, and is funded through the Schenberg International Arts Collaboration Program. The Advisory Board and Editorial Committee are comprised of staff and graduate students from across the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia.
Currents acknowledges the traditional owners and ongoing custodians of the land on which this journal is produced—the Boonwurung and Wurundjeri people of the Eastern Kulin Nation and Whadjuk people. We pay our respects to land, ancestors and Elders, and know that education involves working with their guidance to improve the lives of all.

ISSN 2652-8207