The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Overworked and underappreciated: the life of the theater department’s crew

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lynch Photography
The crew for WHS’ fall play Antigone

For years, crews have hidden in the shadows while the cast has been deemed more important to the theater department due to it being a seemingly more difficult and stressful job. This statement is untrue. Crews deserve more recognition for their difficult work.

Crews in the theater make sure the cast can be seen and heard. They run all of the behind-the-scenes, make costumes, do hair and makeup for the cast and make and move sets and props. These actions are vital for the production of these performances, for without the crew, there would be no show.

At WHS, the crews are underappreciated. They have no showcased photos, are only recognized in very small print on the playbill and are only allowed to bow in the final performance. Since most audience members have no idea of the hardships, the workload is underestimated.

The head of the prop crew Olivia Bach agrees. “I definitely think there could be more recognition of the crew. Most people, when they think of WHS theater, think of the cast and don’t always realize how much the crew is involved with the process and how much the crew does to make the shows look great.”

Many cast members also do not understand the work of crew members as many have never been a part of the crews and do not think much about them. Charlotte Cotroneo, a cast member in the upcoming school play Antigone, said, “In terms of the cast, no one really understands what goes on in lighting or sound unless you’re close friends with someone in that crew who tells you everything, but you still don’t really know what goes into it and how it can be just as stressful for the crew.”

This underappreciation does not just stop at the high school level. In the professional world, Broadway actors make around $33 an hour, while stage crew usually make around $18 an hour according to and This immense difference should not be tolerated. Crew members do the same, if not more, work than cast members. 

At WHS, the cast is given more opportunities to bond which the crew is not invited to. For example, near Valentine’s Day, the cast has an amusing tradition in which, like Secret Santa, they draw the names of other people in the cast and get them gifts. This can make crew members feel left out and more separated from the cast.

Not only are many crew members not properly communicated with well, but members of the crews must come up with the money for their props and tools out of their own pockets and are not reimbursed, remarked Bach.

To solve these problems, the WHS theater department must hang up photos of the crew in the lobby, talk more about the crew and their impact on the shows to further eradicate the divide, and let them bow every performance just like the cast.

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