Wei-Hsuan (Vivien) is in her first year studying BA Digital Media at the University of Leeds.
“Touring the Riley Smith Theatre made me excited for shows I would crew on”
Backstage society is one of the few societies that caught my eye during the Freshers’ Fair. I wanted to join a society that would produce something and I came to realise Backstage suited me the most. I had no prior experience when I joined the society. I was also nervous during the Give it a Go because I had difficulty remembering all the new jargon (DMX, XLR, LX 1,2,3, flies, band pit, cans, etc.,), but watching the way lights are operated and touring the Riley Smith Theatre made me excited for shows I would crew on.
“I wanted to join a society that would produce something and I came to realise Backstage suited me the most.”
I’ve crewed as Front of House, Stage Crew, and Lighting Assistant. Front of House is a simple position, and it was perfect for me when I started because I could watch others and learn without responsibilities that directly affect the show. Despite that, I still had to work up the courage to queue a crowd of strangers and answer the questions that they have before the show.
“The excitement and energy of the cast could be felt in the wings”
Stage Crew was fun in its own way. The excitement and energy of the cast could be felt in the wings. Usually the cast moved the props on and off stage, but sometimes the stage crew did it too. Most of the time we prepared the props in the wings for them to bring on stage. The finales were one of my favorite parts of the show because that’s when you can relax and know your job is done (well, almost).
“I remember being really nervous and jumping some cues, but everyone was very forgiving and understanding”
The first time I crewed a show from the balcony was when I was the Lighting Assistant for Opera Soc’s Marriage of Figaro. This role helped me understand more about rigging lights and how daisy chains worked. On the show nights, I remember being really nervous and jumping some cues, but everyone was very forgiving and understanding. It was also my first time on cans, and it was a fun experience because I could hear what was happening from different locations in the theatre.
“Everyone I’ve met has been so friendly, patient, and strong”
Set building was one of the few things I was able to help with (especially when they were painting). Helping the set designer build their vision of the stage was extremely fun and the designers were really creative and skillful hands on. A lot of effort and time was put into making the set, but when it is completed and on stage, I get filled with satisfaction.
Everyone I’ve met has been so friendly, patient, and strong (and I mean it physically)! For the first few shows I crewed on, I did not know what I was supposed to be doing while everyone seemed to know what to do. Since I wasn’t very strong, I couldn’t do a lot of heavy lifting. While in the midst of the load outs I was only able to be helpful with coiling cables and moving small things.
Now being a bit more confident with how things worked, I’ve signed up as House Manager for 2018 Dance Show and Assistant Stage Manager for LAMMPS All Shook Up. I look forward to working with the rest of Backstage in the coming year!
By Vivien Yu
Posted on 27th February 2018