A Flyman is responsible for moving scenery suspended above the stage, working to cues given by the Deputy Stage Manager. The most common thing that needs to be flown is the house tabs, but scenery, cloths, and other items more technical items such as mirrorballs may also need to be flown. In most cases, the Flyman can be a different person every night, but on some very complex shows, the Deputy Stage Manager may specifically request some continuity for safety reasons.

Most theatres have a standard counterweight system which means the Flyman doesn’t need inordinate strength to move the flown set. However, when a counterweight system cannot be used for all flown items, a separate Hemp Flyman will also be needed, where strength can be important.

The Flyman should always arrive at the theatre early enough to rehearse flying every piece of scenery, and take note of any special instructions that the Deputy Stage Manager may have for them.

Show-specific variations

Different theatres in Cambridge have different rules as to who is allowed to move flown scenery, and when. Situations you might encounter are:

  • Anybody is allowed to fly, subject to them being given verbal training on how to do so safely
  • Only people who have been formally signed off by the venue as being trained in that venue are allowed to fly
  • Anybody is allowed to fly, as long as technicians who work in the venue are also present on stage
  • Only technicians who work in the venue are allowed to fly (in this case, members of the Penguin Club will not be allowed to fly there)

Production teams should always check what their venue's rules are regarding flymen before attempting to recruit any from the Penguin Club.