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This is an overview of what doing theater tech is like here at LWHS and about the application process.  If you have any specific questions let me know.


Because tech is potentially dangerous, complicated, and there is a lot of expensive equipment, I keep the size of the student crew small. A small crew allows me to work closely with the students, learn who I can trust, give more hands-on training, keep everyone safe, and keep the equipment safe. So there is an application process and you would need to be accepted.  I typically receive about double the number of applications I can accept onto the team each year so getting onto the crew is very competitive.


I primarily recruit 9th and 10th graders as it takes at least a year for a new tech student to really develop their skills and become a strong member of the team.  For this same reason, I prefer Juniors and Seniors to already have some previous experience doing tech at another school, church, community theater etc…

There are three initial training sessions which will happen on Wednesday September 20th, 27th and October 11th.  Training will run from 1:45 to about 5:15pm. These sessions cover basic safety and some basic equipment operations.  You must complete all three trainings.  Please clear your schedule to be here.  If you can’t attend the training, please do not apply.


Once you have completed the training you will be placed on the list of approved crew students.  We don't usually have "club meetings", instead we really are about working tech for shows.


Once approved you start getting emails from me about upcoming band concerts, choir concerts, parent information nights, talent shows, plays, musicals... everything that happens in the theater you could potentially be part of the crew running it. The little events only require a few student techs and we have about 20 on the crew.  The big shows require everyone.


The initial training sessions don't go much farther than how to turn things on and off without breaking something and keeping yourself safe. Working on the dozens of small single night events is where you really develop your skills, and you can choose your level of involvement at that point.  If you really want to get in deep and learn about sound and lighting, you need to show up for a lot of the small events. If this is going to be sort of a fun side hobby for you, and all you want to do is help build sets and do set changes on the musical, you don't have to come to as often.  The students who show up more to the little events develop new skills and get the more important positions on the crew in the big plays and musicals.

When it comes to plays, musicals, and larger Talent show type events I need everyone on the crew to participate.  We will build sets and props in the afternoons after school (you don’t have to come every time but you are encouraged to come often).  We install the set, we spend a week doing tech and dress rehearsals and then students run all the lighting, sound, fly system, follow spots, props, set changes, etc... for two weeks of performances.  For the Musical this typically amounts to 50-60 hours over three weeks, for the main play it’s about 40-50 hours, so tech is a big time commitment.

It's a lot of work, but we have a LOT of fun together doing the work and the crew becomes a close family as we spend many hours together.  Most of the crew stops in on Wednesday afternoons for “tech lunch” it’s a hangout time to eat lunch and chat with the family.  Many of my crew students are people who don't really feel like they fit in with the mainstream LW crowd for a variety of reasons.  Often, maybe they are not particularly athletic and haven't experienced what it's like to be a key player on a team.  Some love the idea of being part of a performance but don't like the idea of being out on stage in the spotlight.  Some are just nerds who love technology, building things with their hands, art, and “making” things.  If you are willing to commit to working hard to make the show look great, be a reliable, honest, kind, hard worker... we welcome you.


Tech is a team sport, and everyone plays a critical role in the show looking great.  Much of the hardest work we do, no one in the audience realizes we did, but when you hear them laugh, gasp, or jump in surprise and you know that it was your effect/prop/lighting/etc that made it possible, the extra work is all worth it to us.  We only go out on stage for a bow on closing night of the two main drama productions.  Occasionally we will have a few techs in costume so we can do a set change while the show is going, but most of the time we are ninjas working quietly in the dark to make everyone else look great.  If this sounds appealing to you, tech might be a great place for you to plug in at LW and be part of something bigger than yourself. 

Tech Crew at work

The application process for the 2023-2024 school year has been completed and no further new technicians will be accepted this year.  Applications will be accepted for the 2024-2025 school year shortly after school begins in September of 2024.  To make sure you don't miss the opportunity, contact me and request to be put on the application information list. I will let you know when applications first become available.

Let me know if you have any further questions.  

And thanks for considering joining our Theater Tech Family!

Mark Staiff,

Theater Manager

Lake Washington High School

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