Once a show closes, there are a host of responsibilities, ranging from striking the set, returning any rental items, doing a full accounting of all monies--as well as the fun stuff like holding a cast party!
The best way to have a successful strike is to plan carefully—and the most common reasons strikes turn into nightmares is failure to do so. Here’s how I plan a strike:
1.) List every task that must be completed. (Strike lights and pack rentals for return, re-hang rep plot, strike set, repaint stage, strike costumes and pack rentals for return, etc.)
2.) Create 3 categories:
A. Tasks that MUST be completed immediately (such as packing rentals, and, depending on your situation, probably clearing and repainting the stage, etc.).
B. Tasks that will go much easier with a large number of bodies (such as cleaning the stage, auditorium and dressing rooms, possibly striking the set, returning props and set pieces to storage, etc.).
C. Tasks that can safely be left for another day (such as sorting makeup, possible—depending on your situation—rehanging the rep plot, etc.).
If possible, you want to schedule your strike so that, at a minimum, everything in categories A and B is done on the night of the strike.
3.) Note any tasks that cannot be done until other tasks are completed (for instance, you can't clean or paint the stage until the set is gone, you can't rehang the rep plot until any rented lighting equipment is gone, etc.). Include also any tasks that SHOULD follow others—you could strike lights before the set, but it's lot easier and safer to strike the set first.
4.) Note any tasks that should only be done by trained/experienced techies. (Anything involving power tools—or late at night, any tools—anything involving ladders, anything involving lighting or sound, etc.)
5.) Create a schedule/task list in which every person who will participate is assigned specific tasks and each team of more than two has a leader. DO NOT ASSIGN PEOPLE AT RANDOM. Assign tasks to the people best equipped to do them. (Technical tasks to techies, organizing tasks to people you know are organized, team leaders to folks who lead well, etc.) This will save a ton of time, and make everyone much safer. A sample task assignment list is below:
Bobby, Jack and Marie:
• FIRST strike all rental lighting instruments from front of house positions ONLY, and restore front of house rep plot. Stack rental equipment in loading dock.
• Once set has been struck and stage is clear, strike all rental instruments from stage positions and restore rest of rep plot.* Rental equipment in loading dock.
• Don't be sloppy! Coil all rental cables properly, pull all gels and shutters, etc.!
• Bobby is in charge.
Remainder of tech crew:
Jill, Marcie and Todd:
Dan and Tammy:
Mark, Matt and Sarah:
Remainder of Cast:
* You'll note that for safety I've scheduled strike so that no one is working under the lighting crew while they strike and rehang lights. That's not especially typical and it may not be possible but it's a good idea if you can do it.