Footloose stage manager shares his behind the-scenes view


Shayden Jamison works in the booth during a tech rehearsal

by Natalie Roth, Reporter

Tech week spanned the last  days of the Footloose production schedule, which  means only one thing: complete and utter chaos. Techies and actors alike scramble across the auditorium to pull together every last line and note of the show and try to make each second as engaging as possible.  Footloose Stage Manager, Class of 2018 member Shayden Jamison, sheds a spotlight on his perspective of a stage show.

“The best part is seeing an audience who’s really engaged,” he said. “Then knowing that all of this work and stress and time that you dedicated to something that you really have a passion for is matched by an audience with passion.”

A stage manager is in charge of almost anything and everything on the tech side of a play. From lighting cues to sound cues, set design, prop management and even working with actors, the person in this position does it all.

After reading over a copy of the script, the stage manager will sketch out all of their ideas for the set design, communicate with actors and adult directors, attend tech meetings, and go to all practices to make sure that their visions work smoothly with the other components of the show.

Jamison thinks that creativity, for both him and the techies under him, is a very important factor in making any part of the show happen.

“What I think that I like to do differently from others is that I really try to give people more creative freedom. I’ll draw the set designs, and then they’ll build them, or I’ll say ideas for painting, and they’ll paint it and interpret it. It definitely helps people want to be more involved and stick with tech if they get to throw their own creativity in.”

Jamison says there isn’t that much to compare from musical to musical besides their aesthetics. However, there are some big hops in the lighting cues when comparing musicals and plays.

“Musicals are definitely more intense, so I think the lighting can definitely be more dramatic. Every time there are songs, you’re always gonna have shifts that you wouldn’t normally have.”  

One example of this is in the cast-favorite song, “Holding Out for a Hero.” The song has multiple lighting transitions, and fog streaming across the stage. 

The largest struggle during this show, as multiple run crew members have said, was moving the church pews in and out of sight lines. The tech crew made and painted the pews. Each of the six pews sits up to four people in the show.  The crew moves them all on and off stage, transitioning in seconds.

This proved a struggle to both the run crew and actors who occupy the narrow spaces framing the edge of the stage (wings). There is barely enough room for people in the wings (run crew, wing heads, and actors waiting on cues), let alone countless set pieces. Eventually, the crew got the timing together.

Jamison says the experience is worth it the extra time and effort. His favorite part of the whole production was meeting new people and getting to see his creative ideas come to life.

For incoming freshmen (or really anybody who has a desire to join the drama program), Jamison says, “Try and start right away, and definitely be respectful of everybody around you… You’re gonna go further if people have a better time working with you, so it’s not about fighting to be the dominant force at all. I think it’s being someone who’s trustworthy, and someone who listens. And whenever someone’s like, ‘Do you want to do this,’ you’ll want to always say, ‘Yes, I want to,’ so they know that you’re dedicated.”

Jamison is graduating, but the drama program will still thrive even after he is gone. For any student who is interested in participating in future productions, updates are constantly posted in-school and on the twitter or LHS teacher, Angela Smithhisler.


(Photo by Professional Photographer, Mike Miller)