Behind the Scenes Stage Crew


Lacy Nydegger

Stage crew manager Wendy Ferre, and student design manager Addy Allen, explain the months of prep work, tech week, funny/stressful stories, and the organized chaos that happens behind the curtains during Ridgeline’s productions.


Addy Allen, student design manager, explains that stage crew is a part of theater that most people don’t hear about, but is actually really important for any production’s success. Addy said that stage crew is basically in-charge of building, designing, and then moving sets during shows but, “there is a lot more that goes into it. There are a lot of aspects like painting, drawing, cutting things out, mixing colors, [and] different types of building…”


Stage crew members and managers spend months leading up to the show building and designing, but as soon as tech week hits, stage crew has to quickly learn how to organize and perfectly time moving set pieces. Stage crew manager, Wendy Ferre, has been helping with theater ever since she was in high school, and knows the ins and outs on just about everything.

“[Productions are] like this Swiss watch, that it’s just these little tiny pieces, that everyone has to know exactly what they’re doing, or else it can cause a lot of problems, because we are doing it in the dark.”

Without careful planning and practice during tech week, cues could be missed, stage crew members could be running into each other and actors, and sets could not make it on. “There’s so much [that happens backstage]. That’s what tech week really is. It’s all the pieces coming together and all the planning and work” said Wend Ferre.

In order to make sure everything is perfected during tech week, everyone involved in the production “will stay around till 6 or 7. So you have probably 12-hour school days [during tech week]” said Addy.

While stage crew requires a lot of time and effort, both Addy and Wendy say they love it. “What I love about it is that it’s constant problem solving,” said Wendy. Addy adds on saying her favorite part of being a part of stage crew has been “… all the friendships I’ve made, and just how I’ve been able to kind of establish myself in the theater department without having to have all these lead roles.”

Even with all the preparation before and during tech week, a lot of things can still go wrong during productions. “During Emma, when I was stage manager, the sound board wasn’t working. So, there was just chaos on the headset and they were trying to figure out what was wrong up there, which means they were relaying it to me, which means I had to relay it to the actors and Christa and tell everyone what was going on. Everything was delayed, and we had to close the curtain again. Everyone was so stressed,” said Addy.

When things go wrong, it can be stressful, but it also can lead to some funny moments. “Curious Savage, was a play that we did a few years ago. There was a sound effect for the telephone but they also had a sound effect for like a taxi honking outside. Somehow, the cues got mixed up. So, when the telephone was supposed to ring, it sounded like honking. And so, one of the actors said ‘I think your phone is broken.’ And it was the best,” said Wendy.