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How to Become a Broadway Stagehand

Broadway stagehands are responsible for things such as lighting, sound effects and stage setup for the productions put on in New York City. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One union represents Broadway stagehands. While Broadway productions are not closed shop contracts, which means the work is not open only to union members, becoming a union member is the key to a long career as a Broadway stagehand.

Volunteer to work as a stagehand at local community theater productions. Generally no experience is required, which means you can go and learn the stagehand skills that you need. Working as a volunteer also gives you some production credits to list on your resume.

Enroll in a theater production program at a local college, if you want to learn more about the craft. A degree in theater production is not required to be a Broadway stagehand. The College Prowler website maintains a list of schools that offer such a program.

Sign up to take the apprenticeship exam through the Local One. The test is only offered once every three years. It is an aptitude test that gauges if you are qualified to work as a stagehand. If you pass the test, you begin an 18-month apprenticeship where you learn the skills you need. Contact Local One at 800-745-0045 to find out when the next test takes place.

Work for an employer that has a collective bargaining agreement with the Local One union. If you have the skills and experience to work on Broadway in this manner and manage to earn $35,000 a year for three consecutive years, you can join the Local One union. Joining the union offers you more job stability as a stagehand.


Jamie Lisse has been writing professionally since 1997. She has published works with a number of online and print publishers. Her areas of expertise include finance and accounting, travel, entertainment, digital media and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.