Tech Crew: Theater’s Unsung Heroes


Only 200 more! The crew works together to fold programs on opening night.

When people visit a theater, they see the actors and actresses, listen to the dialogue, but where would those actors and actresses be without costumes and set pieces? How would anyone hear or see what is going on without sound systems and lighting cues? How could the performers show their skills on the stage without stage managers to keep them organized?  Although these aspects of theater are often overlooked, the unsung heroes of theater are really who make the production happen.

Although rehearsals usually start 2-3 months before the production, the tech crew starts their planning much earlier.

“We start about 3-4 months in advance,” scenic artist and scenic designer Avery Piatt explained. “Rachel [Slupe] gives us the designs she’s looking for and how she wants it executed to find the most cost effective way to do it.”

Although some shows require less preparation, the recent production of Midsummer Nights Dream took more time and planning.

“For Midsummer Nights Dream, the crew got started especially early” added costume designer Phoebe Harris (‘23). “We had our first designer meeting before winter break. I started working on the fairies’ corsets in December. For Smokey Joe’s Café, we didn’t have to start as early because there was less that needed to be made from scratch.”

Not only do these designers start their planning months before the actors even audition, they also spend more time at the theater during rehearsals. Even though it might seem like a lot to the actors who attend tech week rehearsals from 5-10pm each night, the tech crew basically lives at the theater until the production closes.

“I like to be there early to help out the other designers, so I usually get there an hour and a half early, and I will usually also stay late to send out emails,” explained stage manager Molly Sobiechowski (‘23). “The tech stays a decent amount later than the actors do, and we do put in some pretty late nights but it’s fun because we’re doing what we enjoy.”

And they certainly enjoy what they do.  Although many crew members have also tried acting, they much prefer to work backstage rather than be onstage.

“I’ve really been thinking about set design and scenic artistry as a career,” explained Piatt.

And she’s not the only one thinking about pursuing a career in theater.

“I am going to study theater production and design, and specifically stage management at college next year,” added Sobiechowski. “I really enjoy working on the crew a lot, and there’s so many different things you can do on crew and so many opportunities for new learning and growth which make it a great environment to be in.”

Not only is theater a good place to improve your creative skills, it’s also a great place to hang out with the people you enjoy being around.

“For Midsummer Nights Dream especially, I really enjoyed the creative freedom I got, specifically with the fairies, so that was really fun,” explained Harris. “But the people are what makes it the most fun, when we’re all just sitting in the costume room listening to Disney music and screaming at each other in the best way possible. I love it.”