What We Do
Local 2 stagehands work in a wide range of environments including theatres, television,
outdoor concerts, arena events, corporate trade shows, and craft shops that build
stage productions. The members of Local 2 are the backstage force in theatre, television,
performing arts, and outdoor and arena events in the Chicago metropolitan area.
We are the skilled technicians that make your live theatre experience of the highest
quality, while providing the safest possible environment for the talent and performers
on the stage as well as the audience.
Today's productions require the women and men of Local 2 to possess a diverse and
highly sophisticated set of skills to meet the needs of an entertainment industry
that utilizes materials and technology equal only to those used in Boeing’s latest
carbon fiber, fly-by-wire jet aircraft.
Our areas of expertise include:
- Computer controlled lighting, audio, and
video equipment: Local 2 stagehands have the extraordinary programming and
troubleshooting skills these systems require, including vast knowledge of many different
manufacturer systems and platforms. Our employers trust Local 2 stagehands to responsibly
care for the equipment they operate, which is often rented. These systems are very
sensitive and enormously expensive, some costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One wrong connection and the equipment are ruined and that evening’s show is at
- Rigging and hoisting: Local 2 riggers
are ETCP* certified which means they have the skills and training to ensure the
safety of the performers and audiences beneath the lighting, sound, and trusses
weighing tens of thousands of pounds. Local 2 members are credentialed in the temporary,
large scaffolding and stage installations commonly used in arena and outdoor events.
- Set construction: In addition to
master carpentry expertise, Local 2 members are skilled in the latest construction
materials technologies such as polymers, epoxies, and other synthetics used in set
- Welding and metal fabrication: For
many theatrical applications, steel and aluminum have become the standard in decking,
truss, and stage unit construction. Local 2 members with these skills have experience
in all types of welding processes and metal fabrication.
- Automation: The skills Local 2 members’
possess in this discipline can only be summed up in the following equation: Engineer
plus machinist plus computer programmer equals today’s stage automation operator.
- Electricians: Today’s productions
require power, and lots of it! Alternating Current has been a fundamental part of
theatre for more than 75 years. However, today’s portable power systems used in
lighting, audio, and other event applications are complex electronic power management
systems and not simple plug-and-play devices. Whether it’s protecting sensitive
electronic equipment from static electricity damage or handling 277 volt, 400 amp,
three-phase current, Local 2 electricians are ETCP* certified, meaning they have
the training and experience to connect and operate these complex power systems with
the highest degree of safety.
- Audio: One of the most challenging
areas in any production is providing audible, clear, high-quality, sound. Local
2 audio engineers continually update and advance their already unmatched skills
in operating dozens of different sound systems. Because we work in so many different
venues, Local 2 audio engineers are successful in bringing excellent sound into
the most challenging of environments.
- Large-scale temporary stage and scaffold
systems: Local 2 riggers have decades of accumulated knowledge and experience
in the construction and dismantlement of these installations. We can furnish OSHA
Safety is our paramount concern! As an audience member, you enjoy the performance
and its special effects. However, the theatre is a dangerous place and Local 2 stagehands
have the training and continuing education to ensure the safety of performers, backstage
personnel, and of course, you the patron.
In addition to the breadth and depth of their skills, Local 2 stagehands excel in
working in an environment of permanent impermanence and rigid timelines. That is,
much of our work involves one-day live events (live=no do-overs) in which the event
is built, the performance begins on time and proceeds without flaws, and then is
dismantled and loaded into trucks—the entire process taking about twenty hours.
Or more simply put, “the show must go on.” We make sure it does.
*ETCP is the Entertainment Technician Certification Program. This is the body that
tests and assesses individuals on industry-specific health and safety disciplines.
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