Dramat Master Electrician

Master Electrician

The Master Electrician (ME) works closely with the lighting designer and is responsible for coordinating the crew that will execute the design. The ME needs to have a working knowledge of lighting systems equipment and operation, including the ability to read and interpret a light plot. They will be responsible for ensuring that the equipment specified in the design is available, developing the circuit plot that most efficiently serves the design, and leading the crew that hangs, cables, circuits, and troubleshoots the plot, as well as striking the equipment after the run.   The ME will work with the Designer to focus the plot. The ME is also responsible for running a dimmer check on every day of tech and performance. The ME will be responsible for filing written weekly reports with the Producer, Production Officer, and UP Technical Director to keep them apprised of progress.

The ME will need to be familiar with the chosen venue, including its layout and equipment inventory. Familiarity with Vectorworks software is encouraged.

For An EX Production

An ME will have a demonstrated proficiency and understanding of the principles involved in the hanging, cabling, circuiting, and focusing of lighting equipment and a working knowledge of lighting control and operation. They will have a working knowledge of basic rigging and safely working on ladders and scaffolding. They will have attended workshops in lighting, light board operation, basic rigging, and ladder /scaffold safety. They will have worked on light crews and as an assistant ME on at least one production.

Asst. ME’s will have attended workshops in lighting, basic rigging, as well as ladder/scaffold safety. They will have worked as crew on previous shows.

For A Main Stage Production

A main stage ME, in addition to possessing the skills listed above for EX shows, will have a working knowledge of rigging and the UT fly system. They will demonstrate a working knowledge of the operation of the genie personnel lift and the materials lift in the YSD metal shop. They will have attended workshops in rigging and the UT fly system. They will have served as ME on at least one Ex show and as an assistant to the ME on at least one main stage production.

A main stage assistant ME, in addition to meeting the requirements for an “Ex” position, should have attended workshops in rigging and the UT fly system, be familiar with the use of a genie personnel lift, and have served in a similar capacity on an “Ex” show, though experience as an “Ex” show ME is preferable.

ME Production Timeline

Due to the nature of the Lighting Designer’s work, there will be less for you to do in the first few weeks of the production process than some other members of the team. You will generally not have the required plots and sections until about two weeks out from load-in. You should attend the early production meetings dealing with concept and design as much as possible so that you understand the design as it develops. Once the set design drawings are available you should spend time familiarizing yourself with the design so that you know what you will be working with/around. You should also be assembling a crew. It is crucial that at least some members of your crew are approved for the use of the fly system and the genie lift. All members of the crew are required to have taken the UPStart workshop offered by the UP. Review all of your planning as well as crew training needs with the Prod Off and UP Technical Director.

Six Weeks Out

Secure a copy of the complete set of design plans, including ground plan, sections, and elevations.

Familiarize yourself with all set elements.

Attend production meetings to keep current with design concerns as they develop.

Assemble crew, including Board Operators. Arrange for any training (ladder/scaffold, fly system, genie) as needed.

Five Weeks Out

Check with YSD regarding units that you may need that are limited (cyc units).

Assist Lighting Designer in checking availability/rental of special equipment being considered.

Four Weeks Out

Schedule training of staff as needed.

Continue assembling crew.

Three Weeks Out

Confirm crew availability.

Confirm that crew training has been accomplished.

Submit equipment needs to YSD as soon as available.

Acquire lighting plot by end of week. Contact the producer if plot is not available.

Develop budget estimate for both equipment and labor.

Confirm estimates with Producer and resolve any conflicts as needed.

Two Weeks Out

Review LX plot with UP TD.

Submit plot to YSD for review and approval.

Arrange for rental equipment as needed.

Arrange for Travel Requests and Driver Forms as needed.

Check Dramat gel stock.

Place gel order as needed.

Confirm lineset schedule and boom positions with TD, Head Rigger, and Sound Engineer. Resolve any conflicts with appropriate staff.

Check load-in supplies (gaff tape, markers, tie line, etc.).

Confirm availability of equipment – genie, scaffold, counter rake, etc.

One Week Out

Create light circuiting plan.

Make hang cards.

Plan your “ideal” order of priority for load-in work.

Attend load-in planning meeting prepared to modify your “ideal” order.


Give an overview of the electrics load-in process to crew.

Be sure crew is aware of general safety guidelines as well as any issues specific to current production.

Coordinate electrics crew work with other crews that may be in the production space.

Oversee the crew moving electrics units to production space.

Assign crewmembers to electrics projects.

Work with the Fly Captain, Prod Off and UP TD to coordinate weighting and flying electrics battens as needed.

Coordinate the rigging of any additional pipes, tail-downs, etc with the UP TD.

Coordinate the rigging of all booms with UP TD.

Coordinate the dropping of cable/picks from the grid with the UP TD.

Oversee crew work; be sure all crewmembers adhere to all safety practices.

Monitor progress of crew work in relation to projected schedule.

Be sure stage is cleaned completely by end of each work call.

Equipment that needs to stay on stage between work calls must be left in an orderly, secure fashion.

Discuss any load-in problems/delays with the Producer, Production Officer, and other staff as needed/appropriate.

Inspect all work with the UP TD as it is completed and test all moving elements.

Inform the Producer and Production Officer when work is complete.


Oversee focus call with designer.

Be sure adequate crew is available to keep process moving smoothly.

Be sure all necessary equipment is available and ready – genie, scaffold, counter rake, etc.

Technical Rehearsals

Do walk-though with Stage Manager to familiarize them with all elements of the installation.

Coordinate the training of light crew (spot ops, etc) with the Stage Mgr.

With the Stage Manager, supervise the integration of all electric elements into the rehearsal process.

Make note of any adjustments that may be required.

Electrics Note Calls

Call work sessions as needed to make required hang, focus adjustments.

Supervise all work as during load-in.

Notify the Producer and Production Officer when work is complete.


Attend strike meeting to coordinate load-out process.

Coordinate electrics crew work with other crew heads.

Pay special attention to all safety concerns.

Work with Production Officer to ensure adherence to all guidelines for return of equipment.

Coordinate with the Stage Manager and Production Officer to ensure all production spaces are clean and orderly.

Arrange for timely return of all rental equipment.