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Theater getting big, finally.

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by AYT93, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. AYT93

    AYT93 Member

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    This year my school got a new theater teacher. She had a theater business for 25 years. It was also my first year at the school although my brother was a junior their already. Before she was there, there was not too good of a theater program. We did have a few big shows a year, but none of them real shows, they were both student written and run shows, which did happen to make us really big in NYC because we were the first Staten island school to do them. Now this first year we did fiddler on the roof. And we also had the Metropolitan opera install a 7 or 8 thousand dollar projection system which they paid for. They are now able to project live shows to our school. Now my brother , one other kid and I basically do all of the lighting and sound and technical stuff in the theater there. And we really enjoy it, my brother and i spent 11 of our Saturdays there last year running the projection for the Met. Before this i had no interest in theater, but now i do, in fact i have it set as a major career choice. I do believe that it is because of the people i work with, staff and students alike. The theater group has grown as an almost family of such. Ive spent 16 hours in my school in weekends, doing 3 different shows. Unfortunately, my story isn't alike for a lot of the other students here. They don't have too much interest in the theater. Don't get me wrong we have a lot of students who do like doing things in the theater, but we have a school of more than 3000 students and maybe an 8th of them are interested. Not to mention that around 15 of them are interested in technical stuff (me being the only freshman/sophomore, but we are hoping to get some freshman who are interested this new year).Only 4 or 5 of who do more than one show a year (2 of which are my brother and i). We are trying our hardest to get kids interested, but because we don't get that much funding into our theater program, or even have a technical theater class, its hard to get kids involved.
     
  2. thenelsontwins

    thenelsontwins Member

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    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    At the school I was at there was an informal sort of meet and greet for all the various groups and clubs. For this we would drag it all out. Sound, lights, power tools whatever we could get our hands on. A continuous slide show of work being done, people working in the shop, before, during, and after shots of shows. Whatever.
    It wasn't really necessary for us, but we'd get in a couple of extra people.

    Generally, at theater I was at, of our student workers, we'd have 8-10 dedicated, daily, workers for all 4 years. Maybe, 5-10 who last about half that. Another 5-10 occasional (2 maybe 3 times per week), a handful of once a week types and stragglers.

    Of all of those, maybe 6 would be truly competent leaders and workers, capable of running a smaller crew, reading and understanding drawings, able to build on their own, etc. etc.

    For the big shows, we'd get our crew up to about 20 for the whole build and run. Not including the production staff types.

    I found that many times, people didn't even know that there was a theater on campus... much less one they could be involved in. But we never knew who would turn out to be interested or worthwhile, and those early school year meet and greets were a great way to track people down.

    Maybe we'd get 100 people's names on a mailing list, of that 100, 20 would show up once, and 1 would stay forever. Getting names on a list, emails, flyers, posters, anything just to show that you exist is the big step. Getting people to know what is going on and when.

    It is a strange thing, so many different activities for students, many don't know technical theater is out there.

    I found that reaching out and finding ONE made all the difference sometimes. Sometimes they are the key to more people, more talent, who knows. It is always a struggle.


    e
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    My first university did a similar event also. Usually held the first Friday of classes: the day before auditions for the first show. Speeches by the faculty, interspersed with musical numbers by the upper class-persons, and as much flashy lighting and sound as possible, as a way to orient freshperson theatre majors, as well as non-major students. The Theatre Dept. Recruiting Team presented a 7-minute multi-media slide show (two E-IIIs on a Dove and a third with a polarizing wheel) that introduced the program, showed off the building, etc. Punch and cookies in the greenroom after. It was nicknamed "Callout", and seemed a good way to start each academic year.
     
  4. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    Location:
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    Congratulations on getting your new teacher! :grin:

    When I went to high school, except for the production of Brigadoon that I went to in my junior year, the only reason I even knew we had a theater department was because at the start of the year, all of the theater newbies had to get down on their knees in the hallway during passing period and recite some self depricating spiel during passing period (and thus humiliate themselves in front of as many other students as possible).

    Everyone else pretty much ignored them.

    TheNelsonTwins and Derekleffew have it right. Had there been some sort of anything during my freshman year about the school's theater, I would have gone right out and signed up.

    If you have any kind of school assembly near the start of term, ask your theater teacher if there is a way a skit or some kind of awareness announcement can be made.

    The marketing department of any company will tell you that for every 100 or 1000 flyers you send out you will get two or three replies, but sometimes it only takes one. ;)
     
  5. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    Derek's Callout sounds pretty cool.
    Congrats on your new theater teacher, it sounds like you're having fun/really getting into it.

    In Junior High our drama department sold sodas after school to fund raise, which is the only reason why half the school knew it existed, so I think it's important to get the word out there.

    As for recruiting, my school is an arts magnet, and so we don't really need to make people aware of the theater programs. We don't have any sporting events, we have dance concerts or the yearly Shakespeare (although this year it's Medea, sorry Uncle Bill).
    I know on Arts Back to School night, the Music & Theater department (Drama, Musical Theater, Voice conservatories) fills up the large theater with multiple grade-level specific schpeals about donations, and how auditions work. My conservatory, Production & Design, uses the black box, and it's much more casual, where the parents meet the teachers, and the TD cracks some jokes about high school theater technicians.
    I've found that most people who've applied have gone and seen one of the performances after taking a tour, so they tend to be aware of our performances.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think you appear to be referring to Wm. Skakespear as "Uncle Bill"? Aside from dvsDave's Uncle Bill (R.I.P.), among technicians, the ONLY Uncle Bill is Uncle Bill Talks....

    He's as highly regarded as an expert in his field as Dr. Doom, and Dr. DMX. Still working on a catchy nickname for [user]STEVETERRY[/user].:)
     
  7. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

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    I don't have any suggestions yet for Mr. Terry.
    Yes, I was speaking of Wm Shakespeare, my old TD used to call him "Uncle Bill," so thanks for the correction! :D
     
  8. Clarkwg3

    Clarkwg3 Member

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    Currently my 2nd year as TD @ High School Theater. Finnaly found the Video program in Tech Ed Department, YEA! He's very willing to work with me, and me help him. I've got better equipment than him, he's got kids wanting to do better things. Lights and Sound side...well.....still working on it. 20 kids sign up for "sound & Light Crew'" about 4 ever show up for training, and maybe 1 come back for an hour of 'Light work day'
     
  9. misterm

    misterm Active Member

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    our high school has got one of the best broadcasting depts in the state (colleges included-they tour our facilities). they help us with all of our audio needs. unfortunately, neither of us can afford decent wireless mics. they don't use them enough and we don't have the money.
     
  10. Dovahkiin

    Dovahkiin Member

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    I go to a school of roughly 3500 people. Of that, I'd say we have close to a hundred people that would be considered full members of the department and probably about thirty more that come and go. We do six productions each year, the last one being a musical in the late spring. There is a club meet and greet at the beginning of the year and we've had a couple of people join from that, but the musical is what really draws people in. We're lucky enough to have a very talented Fine Arts department filled with directors who get along well. For musical, the theatre, choir, band, and orchestra all get together to pull it off so we end up sharing a lot of members with other areas of the department. From a technical standpoint, we generally have seven crews (lights, sound, paint, set, costumes, props, and house/publicity) each consisting of 3-5 crew members with another person as crew head (usually an upperclassman). Above that we have an ASM, SM, AD, and very rarely a TD.

    Almost everybody starts out wanting to be an actor, but ends up trying some tech work because the directors make it very clear that they won't cast somebody who refuses to work crew. Most just do it so they can make cast later, but sometimes we win people over.
     

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