This year’s musical is Beauty and the Beast. The musical was performed four times for students, families, and elementary kids. While most people only see the production on the stage, many don’t realize the time and process of completing the stage sets that will be visually appealing.
William Palmer, the technical theater teacher, supervise the students who construct the set. However, he also has the technical director, Dean Packard, that helps develop the production calendar and ensure everything is on time.
While there is a lot of help from experienced adults, it takes a lot of effort from the students to create a good set. “With the musical, we had up to 30 students working on the set, but with the spring play, we have about 15 to 17 students working on the set,” Palmer said. With so few people working on the set, they have to keep a tight schedule and make sure they stick to it in order to have everything done by showtime,” Palmer said.
Sophomore, Molly Fox, is the stage manager for Battle Vocal Arts and for the musical. “I do a lot so it’s hard to sum up, but it’s a lot of paperwork, set building, and working with the cast,” Fox said. Despite the hard and stressful job, Fox loves what she does. “Painting sets is fun and I love seeing how it all turns out! The tech classes do most of the construction, but the cast and crew does a lot too,” Fox said.
Sophomore, Seairra Ferguson, explained that she loves helping with the set, but for a different reason than Fox. “My favorite part is making new friends and building something that will be out there on the stage. It may be a small part but it will be out there and it all adds to the bigger picture,” Ferguson explained. She has previous experience with tech, explaining that she helped a lot with that type of thing in middle school.
For many students, this is their first year helping with the behind the scenes of the musical. However, Fox has helped with the set construction both of her school years at Battle. “I am a stage manager this year and I was assistant stage manager last year. I have experience building things as a kid and other sets for shows, but mostly I just help because of my job as stage manager,” she explained.
“When we get together to build the set, it’s a lot of working together and collaboration. We get split up into groups and then each group will all work together to get one thing done, whether its a castle or something more simple like a table,” Ferguson said. Palmer said that he oversees set workdays. “When there are specifically challenging construction or painting aspects of the set, then either myself or our PAC Manager, Mr. Packard will complete that portion,” he explained.
While most of the construction is done by the theater tech students, the cast and crew play a big role in construction too. It is a team effort to ensure that everything is ready come showtime, and Fox and Ferguson both describe it as a fun and amazing process.