Back Stage Command and Control

Do you ever wonder who’s actually steering the ship when you go to a gig? Who’s actually in command? What are the expectations for everyone? Me too.

Most of my production woes fall to unclear positions in the heirarchy, dissemination of details, and delegation of duties. When we look to see who’s in charge, who we follow, and who we respond to, clarity and communication is key and it doesn’t need to take reinventing the wheel to get there.

Military command and control in democratic countries is where we find the best blueprints for successful comand and control systems. Yet, unknown to many people, theatrical production structure is older than military structure as we know it in the 21st century.

Here are the command and control breakdowns from the military, theatrical, and event perspective.

Military Breakdown

Theatre hierarchy for comparison. (Courtesy of Matt Kizer,

AV/Corporate Event equivalent structure. (Courtesy of

The titles and specific roles are vary between the specific industries but I’m sure you can translate and make the connections. General equates to Director, Captain to Master Electrician, etc. For our purposes in daily stage production, we generally manage teams less than 50 and more often less than 5.

The question is, how do we manage or lead?

Your comments are welcome.

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