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Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information

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First published in 1988, Backstage Handbook is one of the most widely used stagecraft textbooks in the United States, with about 10,000 copies sold every year.

This handy reference book brings together under one cover an incredible variety of information useful to designers, technicians and students who work behind the scenes in theatre, film and television. Its sturdy leatherette binding will stand up to years of constant use.

The third edition updates this popular reference book with new terminology and materials, and adds dozens of new illustrations of grip hardware, film lighting equipment and painting tools. Backstage Handbook includes chapters on Tools, Hardware, Materials, Electrics, Shop Math, Architecture and Theatre. There are hundreds of illustrations, tables and charts which cover everything from the stock sizes and specs of wood screws, to safe working loads for several kinds of rope, to illustrations of twenty-two types of standard lamp bases.

309 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Paul Carter

134 books79 followers
Paul Carter was born in England in 1969. His father's military career had the family moving all over the world, re-locating every few years. Paul has lived, worked, gotten into trouble and been given a serious talking to in England, Scotland, Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Portugal, Tunisia, Australia, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo, Columbia, Vietnam, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, USA and Saudi Arabia. Today he lives in Perth with his wife, baby daughter and two motorbikes.

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5 stars
244 (59%)
4 stars
102 (24%)
3 stars
51 (12%)
2 stars
6 (1%)
1 star
8 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Erin.
23 reviews5 followers
August 3, 2007
The absolute go-to guide for ANYTHING backstage. This was so incredibly useful during my time in theatre. It's the boy scouts handbook for theatre techies.
1 review1 follower
March 22, 2009
This is one of the most useful books I have ever purchased. If you work in theatre in any capacity, you should own this book.
8 reviews
May 1, 2011
Great resource for anyone involved in theater. this book contains many illustrations, charts, tables and conversions that can be quite handy backstage.
Profile Image for Christine.
49 reviews3 followers
December 3, 2007
I would not have survived my internship without it. Also a really great random reference.
Profile Image for Kylie.
20 reviews
May 27, 2011
Not great reading but a valuable resource for a theatre techie
Profile Image for Justin Cramer.
71 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2023
This is a great general reference book. Everyone should own and read it. Even if you are not in theater production.

15 reviews
November 20, 2016
Backstage handbook: an illustrated almanac of technical information. (1994). Broadway Press.

Citation by: Carlie Crowe

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: Ref 792

Content/Scope: This handbook geared towards any high school students in theatre and is is one of the most widely used stagecraft textbooks. It houses a variety of information from terminology, materials, and illustrations.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: Broadway Press is known for books for theatre designers and technicians. Many thespians turn to this publication as a reliable source of information.

Arrangement/Presentation: Arrangement is classified. Included in the 310 pages are grip hardware illustrations, film lighting equipment illustrations, and chapters include topics over tools, materials, electric, shop math, architecture and theatre.

Relation to other works: There are many handbooks that cover stagecraft. This handbook meet requirements for libraries that need a comprehensive handbook at a high school level.

Accessibility/Diversity: This handbook will help aid the newly developing drama department at our school. It will be a great asset to the students on producing their first play.

Cost: $18.00

Professional Review: Theatre Crafts. May89, Vol. 23 Issue 5, p82. 2/3p. 4 Illustrations.
April 6, 2010
OK - so technically, it is a reference book (get it? technically...), but it is still one of my favorites. it has lots of handy conversions, shop math, and other assorted miscellany. It's not just useful on the set, but around the house, or for any tinkering or do-it-yourself type person.
Profile Image for Amanda.
336 reviews64 followers
June 19, 2008
Comes in handy if you're on your own working on a project. It's the staple of the technical theatre world. I'm thinking, though, that some if it should be labeled "Don't try this at home."
14 reviews2 followers
October 28, 2008
Incredibly useful and well illustrated manual regarding everything you need to know about being a stagehand.
Profile Image for Sean Evans.
294 reviews4 followers
October 9, 2009
The Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information by Paul Carter (1994)
Profile Image for Lawrence M..
66 reviews
February 25, 2022
I always keep this handbook nearby just in case my memory decides to fail me. This thing has kept me, my crew mates, and actors safe and out of all sorts of trouble.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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