Largo Cultural Center Technical Summer Camp’s Backdrop Workshop
Summertime presents the theatrical community with the opportunity to pass along the tradition and know-how of the stage show to the next generation. In our neck of the woods, there are a number of summer theatrical camps geared towards the younger generations. These opportunities are good for more than just keeping young people focused during the summer. They also give kids a direct outlet to express themselves and hone in on their skills.
Recently, our team was fortunate enough to be able to take part in the Technical Theatre Production camp hosted by the Largo Cultural Center. We at TheatreWorld love this camp. Yes, camps that focus on acting and vocals are important. However, the stage crew needs time to develop their skills too! That is exactly what happens every summer at the Largo Cultural Center. The camp focuses on teaching kids everything from creating and arranging scenery to proper lighting. This year, the program culminated in the campers acting as stage crew for a production of THE LITTLE MERMAID JUNIOR.
The camp is organized and taught by Joe Ingrao, a veteran techie with years of experience teaching the craft. He ensures that the kids in his courses know the proper way to prepare a stage, to set lighting and audio, and, most importantly, how to do it all safely. Our team, headed by Creative Director Mike Mathews, packed up a selection of stage backdrops and headed down to Largo to work with the kids. Joe started the day with talks on how a backdrop is developed and the proper way to hang them. After that, the day quickly became a hands on experience.
All Hands on Deck
The kids did everything from unpacking the drops to installing them on the lift system. They steamed out any wrinkles that set in while the drops were folded. They even learned how to hang headers and legs, properly spacing them from the main drop to add depth to a staging area. The lesson didn’t stop there, though. The students learned how to use stage lighting to highlight aspects of a backdrop and to focus on particular portions of the stage.
As in any good training session, the children learned how to avoid mistakes. One of the most impactful demonstrations was the installation and review of one of TheatreWorld’s ROAD TO OZ backdrops. This backdrop had been damaged by a TheatreWorld client who put intense theatrical lighting too close to the backdrop while attempting to create a visual effect. Joe carefully explained how and why the damage had occured. Even more importantly, he explained that if our backdrop had not been properly treated with approved Flame Retardant materials, the entire backdrop could have ignited and caused serious issues for the facility and audience.
The Final Result
Prior to the conclusion of this day of learning, the youth team installed TheatreWorld backdrop’ THE LITTLE MERMAID JUNIOR show package. As you can see the students did a wonderful job hanging the drops. The performances were the result of a lot of hard work by the team at Largo Cultural Center and the kids who opted to spend a portion of their summer learning about the technical aspects of the theatrical arts. The day with the kids also let us reminisce about our summers spent at theatre camp. Camps like this one are a great opportunity for learning and creating lifelong memories. Rick and Terri of Stages Productions, the theatrical team that worked with the actors for the production, have once again done an excellent job with the camp’s annual production.