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BACKstage Exam

The BACKstage Exam logo with EdTA and USITT sponsor logos

Assess. Advocate. Achieve.

The BACKstage technical theatre exam sets your students up for success in college or career, and helps you secure resources and recognition for your program.

By defining and assessing the basic knowledge and skills an entry-level entertainment technician should possess when entering the workforce or a higher education training program, the BACKstage exam and its resource materials are a game-changer for technical theatre students.

Whether at the high school, state CTE program, college/university, or professional technology industry level, BACKstage offers comprehensive assessment of basic technical theatre skills.

A female student technician learns proper fly rail and rigging practice backstage in a theater.


A student's hand leafs through the pages of a lighting plot in a binder.

The BACKstage exam consists of one hundred selected response questions, balanced across eight technical theatre areas: Audio, Lighting and Electrics, Venue, Safety, Personnel, Costume/Wardrobe, Rigging , and Scenic Construction.

The goal of the exam is to measure a student’s understanding and knowledge of each area of technical theatre at a particular point in their school career; therefore, it should be taken twice, ideally, at the outset of the school year and at its conclusion.     

As the questions are randomized, the second administration of the test is unlikely to repeat more than a few questions included in the first exam.  


Using the BACKstage exam as your program’s assessment tool can act as a tool for broader recognition of the value of technical theatre education. With BACKstage, you can:

  • Gain broader CTE recognition for technical theatre as a viable career path for students seeking to enter the workforce after graduation.
  • Have greater leverage for CTE funding from public and private agencies.
  • Gain a clearer understanding of instructional needs and resources necessary to ensure comprehensive learning in technical theatre (and advocate for them to your administrators).
  • Use results as an indicator of your program’s quality.
A male technical theatre teacher stands on stage and engages a group of technical theatre students.


TA Monday 138

With BACKstage, you can achieve increased confidence in your program’s viability, your students’ skills, and in their preparedness for hands-on application of technical theatre skills, whether in the job force or a higher education program of study.

Use BACKstage to:

  • Give students portfolio-ready acknowledgement of test completion and level of accomplishment.
  • Guide technical theatre award recognition and scholarships eligibility.
  • Reliably measure job readiness and guide future areas of study. 

The BACKstage exam is a joint endeavor of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).  Learn more about how you can begin using the BACKstage exam and register today!

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