About the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Welcome to Local 26 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC. Or, the IATSE, or simply the IA, for short. What exactly does that mean?

We are stagehands, the men and women in black, working behind the scenes to ensure your entertainment experience is first-rate.

We represent the folks in live and recorded entertainment who take care of carpentry, lighting, props, video, sound, wardrobe, hair, rigging, cameras, and building operations (to name a few), and we can be found doing it in theatres, arenas, convention centers, stadiums, casinos, sound stages, and a wide variety of other venues as well as some one-time venues created for a specific event.

Local 26’s Jurisdiction is West Michigan

Encompassing Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, St. Joseph, and everywhere in between.

Whatever your production needs, rely on the professionals at Local 26, the West Michigan Stagehands.

  • Lighting

    We have the skills and knowledge to make your show shine. From hanging lights to operating a lighting console to running spotlights, we’ve got you covered however you need your show to be seen.

  • Audio

    Our audio technicians can mic, mix, and amplify whatever you have that needs to be heard. From meeting rooms to concerts and everything in between, count on us to get your message through.

  • Video

    From our beginnings as movie projectionists, Local 26 has provided video engineers and technicians. Now we operate cameras, page cables, oversee and assist meeting presentations, and provide support for almost anything else you can put on a screen.

  • Scenery & Staging

    On a stage or anywhere else it’s needed, Local 26 along with our scenic shop partners can provide whatever elements are needed to give your show the ambience it requires.

  • Rigging

    Whether a show requires hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment flown overhead or a championship banner hoisted over a winning hockey team, our riggers are there to make sure everything is hung safely and securely.

  • Hair & Makeup

    Our certified cosmetologists not only provide assistance for wig changes in productions, but they style and set wigs and hair and can create and apply makeup designs as well.

  • Wardrobe

    From laundry to repairs to lightning fast quick changes during a show, our wardrobe technicians do it all to ensure the audience sees nothing but the costumes as their designer intended on stage.

  • Major Motion Pictures

    The Road to Perdition, 30 Minutes or Less, Touchback, Setup, and The Steam Experiment (to name a few) have all been filmed at least in part in West Michigan, with labor provided by Local 26.

Executive Board

IATSE Local 26 Executive Board members serve three-year terms. When that term is up, an election is held in December and the newly elected officer is installed the following January. Click on each officer’s photo for a synopsis of their duties.

Our History

Local 26 is one of the most long-lived with a National Alliance charter signed November 15, 1894. Our International Charter was signed on July 24, 1902, after IATSE welcomed Canadian Locals into the Alliance. We also for a time were known as Local 291, with an International charter signed on July 10, 1913, before going back to our original Local No. 26.

The IA is one of the oldest labor alliances in the country, beginning as the National Alliance back in 1893 in New York.

Even though we have over 100 years serving West Michigan, many people aren’t aware of us… and that’s good! It means we’re doing our job. But if you’ve attended a concert, ballet, opera, Broadway show, corporate event, hockey game, basketball game, or political rally, we are there behind the scenes.

Originally chartered as Projectionists, Local 26 is now a mixed Local, meaning we represent all of the crafts covered by the IATSE. We assemble stages, build scenery, sew costumes, focus lights, mix sound, hang trusses, fabricate props, operate cameras, pull dollies, run generators, cue teleprompters, and of course… handle craft services (i.e.: feed the crew!).  Oh and by the way, we also do installation work, from movie houses to full theatrical stage systems. Working with our sister locals in Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and Detroit (Local No’s. 274, 201, 395, and 38, respectively,) you might find us working in virtually every corner of the state.

When you visit our office, you’ll find each of our charters proudly displayed on the wall, as well as several photographs taken throughout the Local’s history and the article with photos from the Grand Rapids Press the year we celebrated our 100th anniversary. We also have a copy of our charter surrounded by the signatures of all those who attended the celebration.