Through the month of December a thread on the stagecraft mailing list revolved around the idea of what 25 skills are the most important. It started as 25 skills everyone should know, then went to technician, and it can easily then go into individual skill sets. So here is my rendition of 25 things a TD should know how to do: (not in a particular order)
1. Manage time efficiently (shop scheduling work flow through shop etc.)
2. Manage / maintain (and create) Budgets & finical records
3. Have a knowledge of structural engineering for the stage
4. be able to draft well (communication through graphics...)
5. Have a knowledge of welding & steel / alum construction techniques / and tool usage
6. Have a knowledge of wood construction techniques / and tool usage
7. Have a knowledge of fabric, plastics, and other random materials useful in theatre, and how to work with them. (and relevant tools)
8. Seek new Knowledge (be able to research)
9. Have an inner MacGyver (creativity, willingness to try new things, resourcefulness.....)
10. planning (shop, season, show.....)
11. problem solve - creativity, efficiently....
12. Communication & collaboration
13. how to have fun
14. How to have a life outside of theatre
15. Know how to rig safely
16. Safety issues (and MSDS, HAZmat, fire, life safety codes)
17. Know a little about every department (focus a light, run a mixer etc.)
18. know a variety of knots including a bowline, clove hitch and other common theatrical knots.
19. be computer literate
20. have a basic electrical knowledge
21. be able to make basic repairs
22. mechanical skill set (automation, maintenance)
23. Be able to drive large vehicles (and drive a manual transmission)
24. know theatrical flying (how to rig, hemp and counterweight systems, spot lines)
25. know when to get more information
The list is certainly open for input - comment if you have ideas.
Also I should say that I believe that the TD will not be the best carpenter or the best welder - and that the skill set that makes the best carpenter, welder or stage hand is not necessarily the same. The TD needs, in my opinion the knowledge behind those positions plus a great amount of knowledge about management and people and problem solving and so forth.