5 Questions with Camille Witt, a Crew Member Working Behind the Scenes on PlayMakers' Summer Youth Conservatory Production of "Cabaret"
Tonight, the high school students who have taken part in PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory will present Cabaret. These students, who work both on stage and behind the scenes, undergo a six week practicum filled with both teaching sessions and applied learning. The students get to work with professional directors, choreographers, musical directors, and theatre technicians to create a high-quality, professional production.
And, luckily for us here at Triangle Arts Review, we were able to interview Camille Witt, a recent graduate of East Chapel Hill High, who has an important role behind the scenes of the show, which she discussed with us for a true inside look.
What is your position in Cabaret, and what do you love most about it?
It’s rare that we get to interview a “behind the scenes” technician, so we were excited to hear what Camille had to say about her role, and she didn’t disappoint.
She explained that she was in her “second year on the scenic build crew for SYC” and that, “this means I help to build platforms, make props, and paint the set.”
She said that she enjoys “getting to work side by side with peers and professionals [because] I get to not only learn more about tech and design but also [about] what it is like to work in a professional theatre and how people get to where they are now.”
What is the most challenging thing about your position?
As much as Camille has enjoyed her time, she definitely admits that it’s hard work. She says the most challenging aspect is “working from nine to five in the shop.”
She continues to say, “Though most of us are glad to be doing what we love full time, we aren’t used to working on our feet and building all day. The long days can be tiring….but fulfilling.”
What are you most excited for the audience to see?
While Camille and her fellow crew members have been working hard, the hard work is about to pay off, and she’s definitely excited.
She says she can’t wait “for the audience to not only see the set, but to really feel it. There are so many layers to the design of this show, and I hope that when they walk into the theatre, audience members will be transported into the world and lives of the characters so that they can fully absorb all of the relevant messages of the show.”
What preparation have you done for your position?
Sets like the one Camille describes certainly aren’t built in a day…or without some experienced people working on them.
Camille explains the process of being selected for the crew: “As technicians, we interview and are placed onto crews, either scenic or costumes, with one student as stage manager. For the scenic crew students, we take the first few days to learn how to read drawings and how to use all of the tools in the shop. With that training behind us, we have 3 and a half weeks to build the set.”
And, if that sounds like a lot of stressful work, Camille takes it in stride. “We just have to be ready for whatever needs to be done that day,” she says.
How has this program helped you to grow as a young theatre artist?
Now that all the hard work is (mostly) behind her, Camille has had a chance to reflect on how much she’s learned this summer.
She says, “SYC has not only served as a place where I can do what I am passionate about for a whole summer without the stress of school, but it is also a place where I am always learning new things and can see how professional theatre is made. Working side-by-side with professional designers and technicians is not only a rare and valuable opportunity, but, for me, it allows me to see that I can follow my love and passion for making theatre and turn it into a career filled with hard work and creativity.”
Those who want to see the result of Camille’s efforts and the other SYC members’ efforts are encouraged to come out and see this sure-to-be-fabulous production.
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