What It Means To Be A Theatre Technician
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Student Life

What It Means To Be A Theatre Technician

It's time to break the stigma.

What It Means To Be A Theatre Technician
Jaden O'Berry

I remember reading a quote once from Joseph Chilton Pearce during my senior year of high school that said: "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

To most, this is just another quote. However, reading it set me back on my heels, made my breathing inhale sharper, and made my brain stop...even if just for a moment.

A creative life not caring about what society thought of them? To me, that was next to unheard of...at least from where I stood at the time.

As a theatre technician, the odds have never been in my favor for societal approval. I have fought tooth and nail to be respected, but even now as a theatre major in college I get that oh-so-famous "seriously, that is what you want to do with your life?" look when talking about pursuing lighting design.

My answer is always the same, "Yes. Without a doubt."

No, this doesn't change the stigma behind a career in the arts, whether it be theatre, music, visual art, dance, or any other branches. The idea of choosing to pursue an art degree in our 21st-century society is viewed as a one-way ticket to poverty just based on the competitive nature of the career field. And clearly, you are encouraged to have a "backup plan" if it "doesn't work out for you."

Because, let's be real here, how many of us were told we could be an artist or dancer over a scientist when we were growing up? As if becoming an astronaut or president seemed more realistic than pursuing a successful career in the arts.

Frankly, the stigma behind theatre, specifically technical theatre, is exhausting. There are times I think certain people believe technicians are not like every other human with the same human emotions that anyone else has.

After being told more than once that I wasn't an important asset to the development of my high school productions, I can honestly tell you that your self-confidence takes a plummeting nosedive.

Without the constant reassurance from my past directors and the personal choice to continue my technical journey outside of high school, chances are that I wouldn't be nearly as happy in my life without lighting design.

Don't get me wrong, within the theatre community, I have never ever experienced the amount of love and compassion for all areas of the arts that everyone in my major has shown me. Nearly every technician has experienced acting, and every actor has experienced technical work --- it is a fully accepting and caring environment because we know what it takes to be in one another's shoes.

Outside of my college's theatre program, I'm seen as just an "unsuccessful actor" that, more than likely, "isn't good enough" to be one.

Lots of people believe technical theatre is just a place to go if you failed at being in the spotlight, but nobody ever understands the love you feel when you're behind it.

Putting together a successful production is an absolutely wonderful feeling, regardless of what position you hold.

Why is someone's career choice, a choice that is highly successful and provides joy for everyone involved, including themselves, seen as anything but?

It is in finding technical theatre that I realized just how much I didn't care for what others thought of me, and I learned not to believe the stigma. I've found a passion I will continue to pursue for the rest of my life, and a job that is more than just a job to me.

Being a theatre technician means that not only are you responsible for helping produce a show; it means you're loved in a safe and equal space.

Being a theatre technician releases you from your fear of being society's idea of "wrong."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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