Technical Theatre is the Secret Heart of APA


Technical theatre students making sets for APA’s upcoming show: Gypsy. Photo by Sarah Hart.

APA, short for the Academy of the Performing Arts, is a program based at Huntington Beach High School for students who have an interest or want a career in the performing arts. These students put their hearts and souls into their work, and the results are clearly shown throughout their performances. Departments such as musical theatre and acting have performances that draw in hundreds of people, but there is one department that does not get as much exposure for their hard work: technical theatre. Technical theatre majors have the responsibility of building sets, in addition to running the entire show. They have to control the lights, make sure all props and sets are on stage at the right time, as well as the performers themselves. Without the students in technical theatre, APA would lose the magic that makes the shows worth seeing.

The technical process of putting together a show can be extensive. Within APA, technical theatre has to help produce shows for five departments, each taking different amounts of time and using different supplies. A junior in technical theatre, Jackson Podgorski, noted that in an average musical theatre show, “it usually takes three weeks [just] to build and paint the entire set.”

Alice Farnsworth, a junior in technical theatre, explained that “tech week is when [they] start” actually “going through and running the sets… and it’s a bonding experience with everyone on [the] crew.” 

Despite their diligence, they receive little praise in comparison to other departments. Farnsworth thinks that technical theatre students don’t receive “as much recognition as [they] probably should… because without techies, the show wouldn’t happen.” 

Podgorski then sided with Farnsworth saying that, “techies are important too,” however, he then admitted that “techies are meant to be behind the scenes… and shouldn’t be the stars” because that may ruin the magic of performance.

Technical theatre majors are a very tight group of students who are passionate about leaving an everlasting effect on the audience with the brilliance of their work. Tech plays a large role in student’s lives and for teens like Alice Farnsworth and Jackson Podgorski. Although the process of putting a show together can be physically and mentally exhausting, it is worth the struggle because it gives students the ability to find a family in those they may never have even called friends. Technical theatre students will continue to be APA’s unsung heroes and put on beautiful shows. It never hurts to take a peek past the curtain to acknowledge the crew hiding behind the cast.