Hemp Fly Crew

Hemp Fly Crew are responsible for moving scenery suspended above the stage, such as cloths and flown flats, working to cues given by the Deputy Stage Manager. There is generally no mechanical aid to hemp flying - the hemp fly crew must be physically strong enough to safely lift and control the items of set being flown. Hemp fly crew may be asked to perform some additional flying using a standard counterweight flying system.

In most cases, the hemp fly crew 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.

The hemp fly crew 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. These rules might be different for normal (counterweight) fly crew and hemp fly crew. Situations you might encounter are:

  • Anybody is allowed to fly hemps, 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 hemps
  • Anybody is allowed to fly hemps, 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 hemps (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 hemp fly crew before attempting to recruit any from the Penguin Club.