Interested in TEC?
Arriving at Westlake High School as a freshman can be pretty daunting. With new teachers, a seemingly endless campus, countless schedule possibilities, and over 2,500 students, finding your niche may seem almost impossible.
Maybe you haven't quite found that 'one thing' that you love to do. Maybe you're looking for a way to get involved with something a little out of the ordinary. If this is something that you've thought about, I have some good news for you. The Westlake Technical Theater department and Technical Entertainment Crew may be the perfect place for you.
The Westlake Technical Entertainment Crew is a group of students who support the day-to-day activities and special events at the Westlake Community Performing Arts Center. Be it lighting, rigging, set design, audio, or video, technical theater students are responsible for the operation of everything that happens on the stage of the PAC and the Black Box Theater. They also handle a host of other events around the district including all of the video production work for Chaparral football games.
Oh, and there's one more thing. I can tell you from personal experience that the Technical Entertainment Crew can make your transition from middle school to high school a breeze.
Some of the advantages of joining TEC include making friends from every grade level, working with student-led teams (or 'crews' as we call them), and gaining access to the latest in audio, lighting, and video equipment. Students in TEC are empowered to make decisions that directly impact the way they work and are responsible for some of the most challenging and widely-discussed events of the year.
Most people don't realize how many different events technical theater students are responsible for operating. Here are just a few of the things that TEC does:
TEC is involved in three 'major' productions each year including the Nutcracker Spectacular, the Westlake Choir's Musical, and Hyline's Zenith. These productions have running crews of 30 to 40 TEC students and involve 100 to 350 actors and dancers. In all of the major productions, TEC students are responsible for set construction, lighting, audio, video and stage management.
Throughout the Fall semester, the Westlake Football Television Broadcast Crew are at every varsity football game (home AND away) producing a live-to-tape television broadcast. They also control the end zone Daktronics video display (aka Jumbotron) at every home game. Whether you're pulling cable, running a camera, or operating an instant replay deck, you're working with the same gear that the pros use at ESPN.
Each year in December, TEC teams up with the talented Westlake Orchestra to produce the Nutcracker Spectacular. The show incorporates elements of the traditional holiday story with some extra touches of technology and backstage wizardry.
At the start of the Spring semester, the Westlake Choir presents their annual musical. Every year brings a new show to the PAC stage and it is always the hottest ticket in town.
Finally, the Westlake Hyline dance team returns to the stage each April to perform in their aptly-named Zenith dance performance. Showing off the sum of their work from the past year, the Hyline entertains with a magnificent variety of dance pieces while also inviting over a dozen outside groups to share the stage throughout the three nights of (often sold-out) performances. Zenith is the pinnacle of our work and combines the skills that we have all been developing throughout the year.
In addition to these and various other events, TEC members are also responsible for operating all technical positions at the PAC when it is rented by outside groups.
The Westlake Community Performing Arts Center is one of the most well respected special event venues in the Austin area. Because of our focus on outstanding customer service, unrelenting professionalism, and constant courtesy (not to mention our state-of-the-art facilities) the PAC has become a highly desirable venue for a variety of special events. Dance shows, karate showcases, and musical concerts are just a few of the rentals that you'll be a part of if you end up staffing these shows.
One of the cool advantages of being part of TEC is that you may have the opportunity to work in a paid position for one of these rentals. You'll take what you learned in class, practiced on stage, and used during a production and you'll be part of the paid crew for some of these rental events. Not a bad way to make a few extra bucks!
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about our program. We look forward to working with you in the near future.
PS - In case you weren't yet convinced, we also take an annual trip to meet and observe some of the most elite professionals in the live event industry. Be it New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Italy, Orlando, London, or Australia, you can bet we're already planning something pretty cool for next year's trip!
Tech Theater 1a & 1b
Tech Theater 1a & 1b are two combined classes (first and second semester), also known as just Tech Theater 1. Tech Theater 1 is where every member of the Westlake Technical Entertainment Crew starts. This class is the beginning level of the Tech Theater curriculum. In this class students learn about the basics of lighting, audio, the counterweight system and set construction, while also learning about safety in the theater. These classes result in one fine arts credit.
Tech Theater 2
Tech Theater 2 is the advanced class of the Tech Theater curriculum, this class follows Tech Theater 1 in the class progression. In this class students learn about the advanced side of lighting, audio, counterweight systems, and video as well as continuing to help with set construction. This class will result in one technical credit.
Tech Theater Production
In this class students delve deeper into the areas of lighting, audio, rigging, and video while continuing to help with set construction. This class will result in one technology credit.