Lights, Camera, Tech: Behind the Scenes of Theatre Productions

The Air Academy High School theater tech works hard on building the set for their next production of Shakespeare's

The Air Academy High School theater tech works hard on building the set for their next production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Have you been looking for a place to fit in where you don’t have to be athletically gifted or artistically talented to join? Try theater tech!

Theater tech has become a second home to many of the Air Academy High School students. Whether they’re military, permanent Colorado residents, or teachers, everyone joins for a purpose. Many of the returning tech members come back for the people, the tech director, Glenn Hoit, or because they love to be apart of the productions without actually being on stage.

“I’ve been doing tech for three and a half years and I come back to spend time with the people I care about in an environment that I enjoy,” said senior backstage tech manager Emma Killion.

“It’s built a lot of my great friendships and it’s more enjoyable to do with friends,” said senior stage manager Marshall Breaux.

With members from each grade level helping out, new projects are always getting worked on. From glue-water and muslin covered walls, to box building and set moving, tech does it all.

Teachers also have taken the time to fit tech into their personal schedules, learning new skills and creating new bonds that also help them on their own time.

“It has given me so much more flexibility and ‘relax-ability,’ [so] not much really stresses me out,” said assistant tech director and english teacher Katie Klostermann.

Many of the students enjoy the company of their friends while others are interested in the construction. Students can also participate by shaping, painting, and taping pieces of the sets.

“I have built things in the past, but tech gave me the skill to build large things that can last through a lot for a long time,” said junior tech Sebastian Kirk.

Welcoming each member to tech, the first rule embedded in their brain is: “Safety First.” Hoit’s first rule states that if there’s a lack of comfort participating in a job or a lack of training, a student can opt out of it or ask for training on the job.

“Safety first is big because in the shop and onstage some of us put literal blood, sweat, and tears into the sets that are produced. But being safe helps with learning how to use equipment the correct way so nobody gets hurt and to make the whole experience more fun,” said Kirk.

“I quickly realized how important it was to slow down. It’s so much more important to do it right and do it safely than to do it fast,” said Klostermann.

Behind the scenes of theater productions, students and staff are hard at work to make sure that every student, sibling, parent, or friend that comes to see the show has a beautiful background to enjoy.

Another impacting detail for many of the technicians has been the long lasting friendships they’ve made from the safe environment and light-hearted vibe.

“The most significant part of tech for me is the friends and being able to make magic and imagination come alive with my hands,” said Kirk.

For others, it’s the magic of the show that brings tech to life.

“The most significant part is show night and letting the magic happen,” said Breaux.

Tech brings together the students of Air Academy High School regardless of their age, race, or gender. The students interact with everyone involved as they work.

Although it can be fun, tech can take up a lot of time between friends, schoolwork, family, and work outside of school. Many technicians think it’s hard to balance with aspects of life, but they come back to enjoy the time they can spend in tech.

“It definitely is hard to balance with late-night rehearsals, having a job, and doing homework,” said Breaux.

“Depends on how involved you want to be, but if you want to truly experience it and do it right [you have to put time in]. The show must go on. You are creating worlds, and people depend on you, and you can’t help but feel involved and invested in the best possible way,” said Klostermann.

It may seem that very little magic happens behind the scenes with bonding, but the friendships made in theater tech last for a long time. The bonds created have huge impacts on the technicians and others around them.

“I think my experience was most effected because I met my best friend and Mr. Hoit,” said Killion.

As the tech members learn from one another, learn from Hoit, and enjoy their time spent laughing and building, they all have one goal in mind: to make the next show look the best that they can with the time they’re given to create the magical essence of any theater production in high school.