Raising the curtain on a new program

By Seattle Central College

Students from all backgrounds will have an opportunity to learn technical theater skills

The field of technical theater has historically lacked people of color in its ranks. Seattle Central College (SCC) and Intiman Theatre are committed to creating an equitable and accessible pathway to paid jobs for these students.

SCC and Intiman Theatre and have formed a partnership that will offer a new associate degree program emphasis in Technical Theatre for Social Justice (TTSJ). The program includes a residency for the Tony-award winning theater, providing a home for Intiman’s professional productions at Broadway Performance Hall and The Erickson Theatre Off-Broadway. Intiman’s administrative offices, costume and scene shops, and rehearsals also will relocate to the SCC campus.

The new program begins in the fall quarter of 2021. Intiman worked closely with the faculty of Seattle Central College to develop the curriculum. It offers learning in technical theater elements including costumes and properties fabrication, stage lighting, electrics, projections, audio engineering and scenic carpentry and painting.

Up to 40 students will be accepted per year, where they will work alongside union professionals on Intiman’s mainstage productions during their practicum labs. In addition, students will have the chance to take a lead role in designing a SCC production during their final quarter in the program. The program provides graduates a direct transfer to a four-year institution.

The program is designed to provide a next step for the high school students in Intiman’s STARFISH Project, a free after school technical theater training program that has been offered in South Seattle high schools for the past five years. Graduates of Seattle Public Schools are eligible to enroll in the Seattle Promise initiative to receive free tuition and support services.

“We look forward to working with Intiman to provide students with a pathway into the world of technical theater. This partnership is a vivid model of how to better serve our students and how to close the opportunity gaps in our community,” SCC President Sheila Edwards Lange said.

Over half of students enrolled at SCC are students of color, and alum of the STARFISH Project are more than 70% percent students of color.

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is the labor union that represents technical workers for theater, film and television, concert venues and more. The TTSJ program will provide the necessary training and apprenticeship hours to apply to join IATSE upon graduation, leveling the playing field for people of color and eliminating one of the key barriers to access: getting the chance to apprentice.

This story originally appeared here.

Seattle Central College

is located in Seattle, Washington.