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All About Technical Theatre

All About Technical Theatre

NEYT’s Technical Theatre Program provides opportunities for students ages 13 and up to learn how to design and execute all elements of a theatre production: scenic design, construction, painting, lighting, costuming, sound effects and music. Stage managing and running shows is a key part of the program.
NEYT recognizes that acting is only one facet of theater and works to support students whose interests and strengths are more suited to technical work. The program functions as an apprenticeship in which students are able to progress and take on leadership roles as they develop their skills.

The Technical Theatre Program at NEYT, coordinated by Rick Barron, dovetails with our productions so that practical skills are developed through real experience. Depending on the show and the requirements of the directors, this can involve design, construction, painting, and installing of sets, individual set elements, backdrops, etc.

Get Involved: The Tech program is for students ages 13 and up. It is free of charge.


Training in technical theatre is a wonderful and exciting way to develop the young person’s inventive and problem solving skills as well as their manual dexterity. The program particularly aims to identify and encourage students from families of limited resources to take part. It is run in conjunction with major NEYT productions throughout the year. The goal of the faculty is that students will immerse themselves in the program over a multi-year span, experiencing different aspects of theatre production, selecting a specialty and getting more adept at it with each show. The intention is that the December 2008 production of It’s A Wonderful Life, will be, to a large extent, designed, constructed and run by students.
    

With the completion of its new theatre building, NEYT has the facilities to run a technical theatre program. The set shop located behind the stage is fully equipped with tools thanks to funding by various foundations and individuals. Equipment in the lighting booth, wiring and instruments in the lighting grid have been funded, in part, by the Vermont Arts Council.


Some History…
Students have always been involved with the technical aspects of putting on a production at NEYT. In fact, NEYT’s first technical theatre student, Justin Morris, was 10 years old when NEYT’s Lighting Director Jerry Stockman taught him to run the lights at the Landmark College theatre in NEYT’s very first production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. During his junior year in high school he interned on the Broadway production of Steel Magnolias with the renowned designer, Howell Binkley.  By the end of high school, Justin had designed, lit and run lights and sound for over 20 NEYT major productions and ushered several younger students into the backstage theatre world. Justin is now studying in the technical theatre program at SUNY Purchase.
    From its founding in 1998, Jerry Stockman has engaged young girls and boys in creating theatre magic at NEYT. He accompanied Justin, in rented tux, at the grand opening of Steel Magnolias and led his young charges on a grand tour of England with King Lear in 2004. In the winter of 2007 he offered NEYT’s first lighting class and has been the central figure in planning and funding NEYT’s new theatre and tech program.

A New Program Begins…
    In the summer of 2007, professional scenic designer Larry Lawlor was hired to help design and build roll-drops to provide scenery to accompany the four melodrama plays.  He began by building a “to-scale” model of NEYT’s theatre with interested students. Local mural artist Terry Sylvester was hired to work with a group of students to paint the roll-drops. The results were fantastic, completely amazing the audience. More importantly, a group of students who had beforehand been on the periphery of NEYT activities, found a place for themselves in the center of things as scenic painters and operators.

Guys and Dolls…
With the December production of Guys and Dolls the Technical Theatre Program became formalized. Larry Lawlor returned for a month to lead students in building a miniature of the “Dolls” set before the full-scale set was built and painted on the stage. Under the supervision of Larry, Jerry, newly hired NEYT Technical Director Rick Barron, NEYT Costumer Sandy Klein and local artist John Gurney, students learned all manner of tech theatre skills, from designing, measuring, drawing, cutting and nailing, to using power tools and giant scale painting. The results speak for themselves in the gorgeous set that was created. (See photo).

Get Involved…
The Technical Theatre Program at NEYT, coordinated by Rick Barron, dovetails with our productions so that practical skills are developed through real experience. Depending on the show and the requirements of the directors, this can involve design, construction, painting, and installing of sets, individual set elements, backdrops, etc. Also included are the hanging and focusing of lights, the running of light and soundboards for shows, and critical stagehand work during performances. Days and times of the course vary by production, depending on the rehearsal schedule. Please contact the NEYT office for more details of this exciting new program. Tuition is reasonable and generous financial aid is available to all families with tight budgets. Please don’t ever hesitate to ask for financial help. NEYT teaches everyone!

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