April 14, 2020
One of the most heartening things happening during these challenging times is people reaching out to each other, offering to help in any way they can.
Kirk Keen, one of our project managers, watched as his professor friends were racing to bring their theatre courses online. Many were struggling to adapt their classes that are hands-on by nature—building scenery and props, sewing costumes, hanging lights—to work over video conference and were looking for additional content ideas.
So, Kirk did what Kirk does best and said, ‘I’m here for you, how can I help’. He reached out to his professor friends and offered to speak to their classes. He spoke with students at Colorado Mesa University about being a master electrician. “We went through a lighting designer’s package as if they were the lighting director or master electrician of a regional theatre,” Kirk said. “I believe that doing this work is not difficult if broken down into steps—as a master electrician, technical director, production manager, or any department head, your primary duty is managing a process and getting your team the resources to succeed in their jobs. While a large part of this position is learned from doing the work, I hope that the students learned that having a plan going into the work is just as important.”
And he’s lined up to speak with students at West Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, Angelo State University in Texas, and Houston Community College, where he’ll be providing some career guidance along with some much-needed positive perspective.
“The students are all really worried. Many had jobs lined up for after graduation and those jobs no longer exist. Summer festivals have been cancelled. They’re all wondering what to do next. So, I’m giving them tangible things to focus on, teaching them how to prep a resume and write a cover letter, talking with them about maybe exploring going to graduate school.”
“And more importantly, I’m offering them a bit of perspective. Before the pandemic, theatre was at an all time high, people were hiring, and the impact of the #MeToo movement meant a lot of regional theatres have become more inclusive and less toxic—it’s a great time to be working in live theatre and dance. We’ve been through significant downturns before in the arts and this will pass, as it always does. And the work that is going to come out of this will be amazing.”
If you’re a college professor looking for some class content, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help. We can cover subjects ranging from scenic and lighting design and technical theatre to theatre architecture and consulting.