Tech Week Glossary

Each tech week is going to look different, and have different needs, but these are basic concepts of what each part of tech on average looks like.


PAPER TECH (1 day, a few hours)

  • When the designers, directors, and stage managers go over when cues are called in the script. Most of these decisions were already made it's just now about consolidating the information This can take a few hours but still needs to be scheduled before tech week.

DRY TECH (1-2 full days)

  • Cue-to-Cue without actors, going through the show based on the cues established during paper tech. This is when lighting levels and timing are set. Sometimes scenic changes are practiced if they need to be timed carefully with cues.

  • This is a day that tends to be managed by the Stage Manager because they are the ones calling cues, but make sure to have a discussion with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page about who is running the time.

  • Historically, these have been 10 out of 12s, which means they are in the theatre for 12 hours with 2 one-hour breaks. These are being considered less ethical as it can be challenging to work for 12 hours days, so consider if you need an extra day of dry tech to make up for not doing a 12 hours day.

CUE TO CUE (1-2 full days)

  • Going through the show cue by cue. You might skip whole chunks of the show that don’t have cues, or you might run a song 15 times so the lighting board op can get it right. This includes actors, but normally they are not in costume.

  • Again historically a 10 out of 12, but try to be mindful of people's time so they are not sitting around all day when they could have been working, taking care of family, or taking care of themselves.

FULL TECH (1-2 full days)

This is about having the tech teams practice their cues and responsibilities. They will go through the whole show but might stop and start and re-do some moments


DRESS REHEARSAL (2-3 days, a few hours)

Running the show in its entirety without an audience.


PREVIEWS (1 or more shows)

Previews are a privilege, because sometimes you don't have the extra time or money, but they help fine-tune the show since your directors and designers can fix aspects of the show based on audience reactions. It also gives a chance for box office and ushers to practice their procedures and/or see the show, it helps them understand if intermission needs to be shorter/longer based on bathroom lines, or if there are moments that need to not be interrupted by late seating.


Some people will do an "invited dress rehearsal" for friends and family to help get that audience interaction without it being as pressure-filled as a preview. However, do not invite potential donors or reviewers to previews because you want them to see the polished final product!


You can sell discount tickets to previews or offer free tickets, but be mindful that you are selling an incomplete product. Don't sell tickets for 10% off if the show is only half done.