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Theater Production and Stagecraft: Nonmajors Welcome

Written by Nicole Ogrysko

Students work on a set for a production in the Hoerner Theater

Eduardo Maguey Barrera ’13 never considered working on a stage crew until he discovered IC’s theater production classes freshman year. A television-radio major, Barrera says he wanted to learn skills that would help him with a future in television production.

Theater Production is a one-credit laboratory course within the Department of Theatre Arts. From building sets and painting scenery to hanging lights and creating props, both theater and non-theater majors gain hands-on experience by joining one of six crews: costumes, carpentry, props, electrics, painting, or sound.

Participants are assigned to work on one of the three major productions performed each semester. Backstage, some students are responsible for moving props, assisting with actors’ costume changes, or using spotlights during performances, while others assist in the building of actual sets and scenery.

“It’s useful to know scenery, lights, and sound so I can apply it to my own career,” Barrera says. “I can learn to create better sets and light people more dramatically.” This semester Barrera works on props crew and says he plans on taking the course again to learn more aspects of production.

Stagecraft is a two-credit lecture course in which students learn the basics of the physical production of a performance, the mechanics of a theater and stage, and duties of backstage, stage, and house personnel. Students who register for the course are required to take Theater Production simultaneously.

Johnny Kontogiannis, scene shop supervisor and functioning professor of both Theater Production and Stagecraft, says the classes are a great way to learn new skills and build on current interests.

“If you enjoy sewing, you can work in the costume shop and get credit for it,” Kontogiannis says. “A lot of people learn skills or a hobby they never knew they had: working with power tools or learning about amplification and sound equipment.”

Some students enjoy the class so much they repeat it every semester, Kontogiannis says.

Never worked with a power tool in your life? Theatrical production arts students and faculty who head each crew start with the basics of production. Kontogiannis says students are graded on attitude, attendance, and enthusiasm rather than their skill level.

“Being a performer, I never had to do any backstage work,” says musical theater major DeAnne Stewart ’13, who worked on a crew doing carpentry, lighting, and sound work. “It was interesting to see how to hang lights and make sound happen.”

So discover your inner artist with the theater arts department’s selection of one-credit courses open to all majors. 

1 Comment

As a History major, I always enjoyed selecting stagecraft and was on the Carpentry and Lighting crew for plays during my time at IC from fall 1998 to Spring 2002....it runs in my family as my father, Jeff Berger, class of 1971 was a music major!


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