High School Musicals: the Tech Side
Members of this class will be working, side by side with current public school teachers. Assisting them in the production process during the schools semester show.
The average High School Theater Teacher wears many hats; Director, teacher, producer, designer, technician and so much more. They are often the one person that holds the entire production together. Most public school drama teachers have training in acting, English, music, and or other performance areas.
Many have little training in the technical aspects of stage productions. This course aims to assist and/or train both the teacher and their students in many of the non-performance aspects of theater. The technical crew, often referred to any of the following: A/V Squad, Lighting Crew, Stage Crew, Techies, is called upon to figure much out for themselves. Our aim is to assist these unsung heroes of the high school theater.
Prerequisites: permission of instructor. (Experience with technical theater and/or management will be extremely helpful.
This course will cover a wide range of topics, including Management, Liability, Copyright, Rigging, Lighting, Scenery Construction, and Safety. Participants will be provided with the information they need to plan, design, and produce a dramatic or musical event in a safe and efficient environment.
Resources will include white papers written by Department Faculty, information from manufacturers, and leads to reliable information from the World Wide Web, textbooks, and regional and national vendors. As an AOK1 course, participants will explore the world of educational theater in the NYC public school system. What are the special problems and how to solve them will be explored. Each participant will team up with local public school and work with the drama teacher to mount the after school drama production.
Participants will discover the unique needs of each school and, through group discussion; we will create lists of viable solutions that will be brought back to the school during your next visit. On occasion, public school teachers will attend our sessions here at Pace and you will assist in their training on the use of technical theater equipment.
This particular list of books includes links to their respective pages on Amazon.com for informational purposes. Please note: you may purchase your books from any bookstore you wish, new or used. There is absolutely no obligation or expectation that they are purchased from Amazon.com.
- Napoli & Gloman, Scenic Design and Lighting Techniques: A Basic Guide for Theatre, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-80806-1
- Ionazzi, Daniel A. The Stage Management Handbook , Better Way Books, ISBN 1-55870-235-0
- Heathcote, Dorothy. Collected Writings on Education and Drama Aug. 1991 ISBN 0-8101-0999-9
- Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Oppressed . 1979 ISBN: 0-930452-49-6
- Field, Shelly. Career Opportunities in Theater and the Performing Arts . 2006 ISBN: 0816062897
- Trubitt, Rudy, Live Sound for Musicians , Hal-Leonard, 1997 ISBN 0793568528ï¿½ this book will be most viable for those who are going to be helping with any type of sound system in the school you are visiting.
- Tools: Safety glasses, work gloves, 16′ tape measure, pencils, scale ruler, 9×12 sketch pad, 30,60,90 triangle, 2″ D ring binder with section separation tabs.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Assist, communicate with and train public school teachers in the following areas…
- Use the proper terminology and nomenclature of theatrical facilities and equipment to uses, needs, procedures and problems to students, colleagues, and administrators.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the legal, managerial, technical, and safety issues involved in producing for the High School stage.
- Understand proper and safe working procedures in the use and maintenance of stage rigging systems.
- Understand proper and safe working procedures in the use and maintenance of stage lighting systems.
- Understand and be able to utilize basic scenic construction techniques.
- Equip themselves with a variety of printed, web-based, and institutional resources to enable them to continue to work in a safe, efficient, and comfortable environment.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if: you could learn from doing? Learn from your friends while doing something you’re interested in? Be allowed to make mistakes and then simply fix them to your satisfaction? I will be posing several questions during our time together. Few of them will I answer. I will, however, guide you to sources that will help you formulate your answers. Sometimes, you will find the best solutions. Sometimes you’ll need to be pushed a bit further.
Course Requirements and Grading
Your grade is based on a variety of factors: commitment to the responsibility given, quality and completeness of assignments, quality of presentations, proper adherence to safety guidelines, class participation, promptness, crew hour work, quizzes, exams and homework. Lateness is a problem! (So are absences). Repeated lateness will result in a lower grade. Simply, if you’re late too often, your grade will be lowered accordingly. If you have a conflict, I will gladly discuss the problem. Please come to class prepared to work and always bring your supplies.
The Pace University Writing Center offers tutorial services in writing as well as handouts and reference materials on writing for student use in person or via the web at www.pace.edu/dyson/writingcenter. The staff of instructor and student tutors can assist students in understanding writing assignments and criteria and can help students with any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming topics to revision of rough drafts.
Students may be referred to the Writing Center as part of this course, or students may seek assistance with course writing on their own via web-based tutoring or by visiting the Writing Center in person (NY-Birnbaum Library, 2nd Floor, 346-1085; PLV-Mortola Library, 3rd Floor, 773-3942). Please refer to the Writing Center’s website for information about polices and hours of operation.
Class web site: www.hstech.org/pace/mgt.htm Email will be sent to your Pace account only. Please be sure you have set up email forwarding as is available via Pace’s email service.
- Field, Shelly. Career Opportunities in Theater and the Performing Arts. 1999 ISBN: 081603799X
- Grippo, Charles, Business and Legal Forms for Theater /2004 ISBN: 1581153236
- Davidson, Dr. Randall. Practical Health and Safety Guidelines for School Theater Operations 2005
- Carter, Paul. Backstage Handbook 2002
- Gillette, J. Michael. Theatrical Design and Technical Production, Mayfield, 2000.
- Glerum, Jay. Stage Rigging Handbook, 1997.
- Holden, Alys and Ben Sammler, Structural Design for the Stage, 1999
- Holloway, John. Illustrated Theatre Production Guide, Focal, 2002
- Huntington,John, Control Systems for Live Entertainment, 2000
- Ionazzi, Daniel. Stagecraft Handbook. 1996.
- Lounsbury, Warren, Theater Backstage from A to Z, 3rd ed. 2000.
- Raoul, Bill. Stock Scenery Construction, 1998.
- Sweet, Harvey. Handbook of Scenery Properties, and Lighting, Volume I. 1996.
DETAILED COURSE OUTLINE subject to change:
- SESSION ONE – MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW
- A discussion of the standard organizational structures of various types of theatrical companies and how they might be adapted to various theatrical venues. Including community, repertory, professional, non-profit, elementary, secondary and higher educational theater programs.
- AOK1: discussion of organizational structure of the public school system. How does the funding work? Who is considered the producer? Who is the audience? Who is the client?
- SESSION TWO
- Preparation of the production management organizational binder. By the end of this course, this 1 ï¿½” binder will have all the necessary information and forms needed to supervise the day to day operations of a production.
- Investigate the current selection of technical theater books available. Create a wish list for a personal library
- AOK1: Add information on how binder materials can meet state dept. of education standards.
- AOK1: Create bibliography for recommendation to public school teachers and their school’s library.
- SESSION THREE
- Discussion of the legal aspects of theater – copyright laws, ADA compliance, purchasing rights and procedures, etc.
- AOK1: What are the legal aspects of working with minors in a school setting? What permissions are required from the schools system? What permissions are needed from parents?
- SESSION FOUR- STAGE RIGGING
- The vocabulary of stage rigging. The mechanical principles at work in a rigging system. The specifics of a properly installed, operated and maintained rigging system.
- AOK1: What equipment will we find in our school theaters? How has the school system maintained the equipment?
- SESSION FIVE- RIGGING IN PRACTICE
- A discussion of the numerous variations of rigging found in auditoriums today, the pros and cons of each, and the methods that might be employed to keep those systems safe and operable.
- AOK1: Participants will present a report on what their respective school’s equipment includes. What methods are appropriate to rig the needed scenery in each situation?
- SESSION SIX- STAGE LIGHTING
- The vocabulary of stage lighting and control systems. The electrical principles at work in a lighting system. Instrument and equipment types and their typical usage. Standard operating parameters and procedures.
- AOK1: Discussion of the current state of stage lighting equipment in the public schools. Who maintains the equipment? Who is, in fact, in charge of the equipment? How is funding obtained to maintain the equipment?
- SESSION SEVEN- LIGHTING IN PRACTICE
- A discussion of typical stage lighting methodology and variations of same. Specialized equipment and its usage – projectors, special effects machinery, etc.
- AOK1: Participants will present a report on what their respective school’s equipment includes. Discussions on how each school will be able to present their productions with the available equipment.
- SESSION EIGHT – TWO-DIMENSIONAL SCENERY
- The vocabulary and methods of traditional and contemporary scenic construction techniques. An overview of scenic systems – drapery as scenery, drops, projections, etc.
- AOK1: Discussion of methods to teach middle and high school scenery construction. What are the limits posed by the vast array of limits of working in the public school?
- SESSION NINE- SCENERY IN PRACTICE
- A discussion of the techniques used to build for stock – modularization, standardization of unit sizes, materials and construction methods for reuse, and adaptation of used scenery.
- AOK1: Working session. How can stock scenery benefit the school system in the long run? How to deal with the problems of storage? Can schools share stock scenery?
- SESSION TEN- THREE-DIMENSIONAL SCENERY
- Non-weight-bearing scenery – vocabulary, materials and techniques for the construction of set pieces and large props.
- AOK1: How can drama teachers team up with art teachers to build needed props?
- SESSION ELEVEN- SCENERY ON STAGE
- Weight-bearing scenery – vocabulary, materials and techniques for the construction of platforms, stairs, ramps, etc. Modularity and standard dimensioning. Safety and proper loading precautions.
- AOK1: Working session. Teaching the drama teacher how they can build/assemble platforming for school performances.
- SESSION TWELVE- BACKSTAGE VISIT
- We will visit a production in process. Date and location to be determined.
- SESSION THIRTEEN- SCENE SHOP VISIT
- We will visit a professional scene shop. During our tour, you will be exposed to the inner workings of set shop operations. Date and location to be determined.
- SESSION – SUMMARY SESSION
- A concluding discussion covering the term’s topics, in an open forum. Participants will be encouraged to open discussion on any topic that they are concerned about that was not covered, or re-open discussion on any topic that has been discussed.