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.

Local 2 also known as Chicago Stagehands 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 Chicago Stagehands 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: Chicago 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 risk.
  • 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 construction.
  • 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. Chicago Stagehands’ 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 credentialed stagehands.

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, Chicago 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. For more information click here.

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