Independent School Parent
BEHIND THE SCENES
There are a plethora of skills to be learned from putting on a school performance whether pupils take centre stage or prefer to be o it
Berkhamsted’s Centenary Theatre plays host to a number of student productions each year, some recent highlights including Little Shop of Horrors and Shrek the Musical. As well as performing on stage, pupils also play a significant role behind the scenes, whether it’s operating the follow spotlight, moving the set, assisting with costumes, organising the props or stage managing. Apart from sta supervising backstage to keep things safe, almost the entire show is student led.
Students have the chance to be involved in lighting, sound, set, costume and makeup which opens up a wide range of experiences and opportunities to learn across the course of a show. Working backstage gives pupils the opportunity to discover areas of theatre life they may not previously have known existed, as Little Shop of Horrors Props Manager Bryony explains: “Working in a theatre like this shows you that it isn’t only acting that you can do in a theatre. You can work in a variety of other departments.”
Students get the opportunity to take on a large amount of responsibility, in the case of stage managers having to oversee a team of their peers. They learn to be organised, thorough and quick-thinking.
This may sound daunting but, as Bryony points out, “it’s really exhilarating. You get to take charge and have a say in something and put ideas and voice into it”. For all the challenges it may present, working backstage in a student production is an enormous amount of fun too.
Experience of working backstage might also give pupils an insight into careers in theatre that they may not have previously considered. Regardless of this, the experience working backstage brings helps pupils to develop crucial skills – organisation, teamwork, creativity, adaptability, that they can carry forwards into wherever the future takes them.