An Ode to the Backstage Crew


This year students in the theater tech class are building sets for the musical.

Olivia Moody, Newspaper Editor

Like the age old question, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, does it make a noise? If a musical or play does not have lights, props, backdrops or sound effects, can you even call it theater? 

While the actors in a production are always well recognized, often the backstage crew is overlooked. 

The backstage crew basically does everything except for acting or singing. They are the student directors, backstage managers, lights and sound technicians, props masters, artists, carpenters and heavy lifters. 

For the people that have had no experience in school theater, the backstage crew typically spends a lot more time out of the designated practice time than the average actor. 

Senior Aaliyah Greene, a veteran stage crew member, has been helping create sets for school plays since eighth grade. 

Greene noted that she spends, “I would say 4-5 hours for 2-3 days a week (whenever play practice was), but it really depended on how long the rehearsals went on. The practices usually went from around 6-6:30 pm to around 9-10 pm, but times usually varied.”

Typically, Greene is found painting the various set pieces in the play. She spends hours planning, sketching and finally painting the sets. 

Greene’s “favorite thing about being on crew is the people. I love working with the teachers, actors, actresses, and my fellow stage crew members. It’s always such a fun experience to be behind the scenes of the plays and musicals.”

Another Senior, Lydia Sandbulte has been a crew member since her sophomore year. 

Sandbulte also spends most of her time after school in the theater department, she stated, “I attend most of the practices, which are about 2-3 hours long, a few times a week. I probably spent about 6 hours a week at practices and another 4-6 hours outside of practice.”

Last year, Sandbulte was prop master for the play where she made sure that all of the props were in the correct location as well as the long task of finding props to fit in with each set. 

Sandbulte exclaimed,“my favorite parts of being on crew are seeing the hard work we’ve done pan out during the shows and the ideas coming to life.”

While the crew members love their jobs, they do wish their work was more recognized. Greene and Sandbulte both agree that the crew has equal importance and should be equally celebrated as the actors in their productions. 

Sandbulte further reiterated this fact by explaining how hard they work, “We are generally the first to show up and the last to leave. It is our duty to make everything run as smoothly as possible during the performances. We are responsible for everything from set building and placement to costuming to making sure the spotlights are angled just right.”

As crowd members, showing your equal support for the actors as well as the crew while applauding at the end of the performance would be greatly appreciated by all performers and crew members.