Every spring, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre invites local teens to participate in a new works festival written, directed, designed, and performed by their peers. Unlike most opportunities for teens, recent college grads guide them through the production process, but the teens carry the bulk of the work. The process is exhilarating, exhausting, and inspiring to watch both onstage and off.
Every play is the culmination of a million little pieces made by many hands the audience will never meet. Just like films have crucial, but mysterious roles like best boy, key grip, or B location scout, theatre has its own lesser known heroes crucial to the performance’s success. Whether you just want to know more about your friends behind the scenes, or are looking for the right career in theatre arts, here are some key players to get you started.
There are so many avenues theatre artists can take behind the scenes. While many educational programs focus on directing, playwriting, and design, few focus on the technical side. Most programs include a sampling of electrician, costume construction, and scenic construction classes, but one profession in technical theater is rarely thought of: props design and technology. If you find yourself loving many crafts, working with your hands, hunting for the perfect object and contributing to the overall design of a project, prop design could be just the career path for you.
Whether you’re a chorus member or a principal in a show, going in for your first costume fitting is daunting. You’re vulnerable. This is the moment your interpretations of your character meet the designer’s. It’s the next step in character development, but can be challenging if you’re not prepared. Here are some tips to take you from fitting novice to rock star.
I learned the greatest life lessons in summer stock theater. For five summers, deep in the redwoods, I bounced between the costume shop, wig shop, and backstage running two to three exhilarating shows a season. My summers of outdoor theatre fueled my career faster than any class, seminar, or resume credit. I developed a breadth of skills in design, aesthetics, construction, hair, and makeup that I wouldn’t have experienced in college alone.