Category Archives: Tech workshop

Theater stuff on sale July 31, Aug. 1

Our St. Pat's tear-down as it looked on July 8. Photo by Josh Padgett

Our St. Pat’s tear-down as it looked on July 8. Photo by Josh Padgett

As we complete the tear-down of our 36-year home in the St. Pat’s Club Building, we’re ready to part with items that won’t make the trip to our new theater. We’re selling speakers, lights, monitors, a lighting console, tools, casters and more this Thursday, July 31, and Friday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3606 Bridge Ave., third floor. We can only accept cash and company checks, and you’ll need to take the items away with you when you buy them. All sales are final! Questions? Send an e-mail to Near West Theatre Technical Director Josh Padgett, padgett_josh@hotmail.com.

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.

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Building new experiences through dismantling past ones: summer tech work sessions in action

Kristin, Mary, and Hayden first pose for a photo before another day of packing away equipment.

Kristin, Mary and Hayden pose for a photo before another day of packing away equipment. Photos by Nathan Cole

Now that Near West Theatre has “moved on” from St. Pat’s, pieces from the last production linger in the space, along with equipment used in many years of shows. With the help of NWT’s technical staff, three area students are assisting in tearing it all down during the theater’s Summer Tech Work Sessions. On a recent Monday, Kristin Seastrand, Mary Halm, and Hayden Cook were deconstructing the theater’s risers.

Mary, a rising sophomore at Montessori High School, found dismantling the set odd. “There’s so much work that went into building the set,” she said. “It’s a long process to tear it down.” From now through Aug. 7, the students will be taking apart the theater’s technical equipment and set, recording an inventory, and organizing what’s being saved for a winter move to Near West Theatre’s new home.

Although this is Mary’s first time lending her hand in the technical work of theater, she does have stage experience with NWT. After watching her sister be so involved with the theater and the relationships she developed, Mary wanted the chance for herself. She performed in Once on This Island in 2009, and has been in several productions since – including Move On!, NWT’s last-ever production at St. Pat’s, which closed June 29.

Some Tech Work Session participants are experiencing NWT for the first time. Kristin, a rising senior at James Ford Rhodes High School, found out about the program on the last day of the application cycle. Her aunt encouraged her to apply after seeing Move On! Hayden found NWT through his involvement in a summer job program. He jumped right in. A rising senior at Euclid High School, Hayden has acting experience outside of NWT and hopes to pursue a theatre education after high school. Hayden noted this program is giving him a “huge respect” for set building.

Hayden taking apart the risers.

Hayden taking apart the risers.

Since Near West’s new theater in the Gordon Square Arts District will be finished early in 2015, Mary is eager to build a set at next year’s work sessions. Asked if it was a hard process leaving St. Pat’s, Mary replied, “Yes and no.” She added, “I have so many memories that will live on, but I will make new memories at the new space.”

All three students agree this experience is giving them a greater appreciation for theater and would recommend it to others. “Jump in where you can,” Hayden said. “You can’t be afraid to start.” Josh Padgett, Technical Director of NWT, said participants next year will build a set at the new theater.

Between now and the winter move to our new building, we’re also preparing for a big, transitional fall production of Jesus Christ Superstar across the street from St. Pat’s, at West Side United Church of Christ (auditions Sept. 2, 3 and 4; performances Nov. 21 through Dec. 7; watch for details at the Near West website).

Till then, this summer’s Technical Work Sessions are another step in moving on: preparing the physical parts of the St. Pat’s legacy that will live on at West 67th Street and Detroit Avenue. Like the community itself, the artifacts that make the trip will help create a continuing legacy of art and mission in a new space. – Nathan Cole

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


Join hands June 29 in a farewell circle of love around St. Pat’s

NWT-2013-14-Brochure-CoverThis is it. Our last week of performances at the St. Pat’s Club Building, our home of 36 years, has arrived. Will you join us in saying a communal goodbye to this grand old place? Sunday, June 29, at about 4:45 p.m., after the final matinée of Move On!, you’re invited to join an outdoor community circle around our beloved building at 3606 Bridge Avenue. Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr. is creating a brief farewell ritual in which we’ll join hands and raise voices to say goodbye to this place where so many lives have been touched, so many relationships formed, so much passion shared.

You’re encouraged to join the circle (it’s a free, public event) even if you’re not in the audience that day, though we do hope you’ll help us fill the house Thursday through Sunday. Tickets for shows at 7:30 p.m. June 26, 27 and 28, and 3 p.m. June 29, are available online anytime or by phoning 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

And what of the future?

First, the cast, crew and staff of Move On! will go back inside after MOVE ON poster 4the outdoor gathering and carry out an important Near West Theatre tradition. It’s almost unbearably emotional to think of the last potluck and gift circle — experienced by so many participants over the decades — taking place on those risers and that stage Sunday night.

Then the transition begins. Our Tech Work Session participants, led by Technical Director and Production Manager Josh Padgett, Assistant Technical Director Perren Hedderson, and Stage Manager Ryan Wolf, will spend the summer dismantling our set, risers and theatrical equipment, taking inventory, and storing much of it to await the move in early 2015 to our future home, still under construction in the Gordon Square Arts District. In this way, our equipment can be readied for transit as soon as the interior of our new theater becomes available, even as we put on a fall show elsewhere.

The familiar West 38th Street side door of West Side UCC, where our fall show will be. Photo by Hans Holznagel

The West 38th Street side door of West Side UCC, where we’ll be this fall. Photo by Hans Holznagel

And there will be a fall show! Auditions for a musical soon to be announced will be Sept. 2, 3 and 4. For cast members ages 7 through adult, the production will be rehearsed September through November and performed Nov. 21 through Dec. 7 in the sanctuary of West Side United Church of Christ, 3800 Bridge Avenue, right across West 38th Street from St. Pat’s. It’s a familiar place to past KLAMOR participants and audiences and a long-time rehearsal site for our Annual Benefit. We’re grateful to the folks at West Side UCC  for making room for us during what promises to be an exciting transitional half-season. — Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


Dance and power tools: two things that go hand in hand

From 10 a.m., when the youth arrive, till 4 p.m. when they leave, the energy is as high as can be in the round at Near West Theatre. Whenever there is a lull, they fix it by setting the power tools aside and having a 30 second “random dance party” (including their safety glasses of course) to bring the energy back up.

These seven teens are working hard and having fun at Near West Theatre’s summer youth tech workshops, where they’ve been working on constructing sets for our summer show.  The program, which started June 10, gives youth the opportunity to participate in the theater world in a way other than acting on stage.  They use power tools to construct set pieces, work on lighting, help with painting, and experience other aspects of the technical side of theater. Many of them have been involved in NWT productions in one way or another previously.  What they like about the tech workshop is that they can still be involved in the show without having such a large time commitment. The participants this year include both new and old faces. One thing that participant Katie Medvec likes about NWT as compared to other theaters she’s been involved with is that “it’s so family and community oriented.” “Here, we can crack jokes and have fun,” she says as she paints a prop brown with fellow participants. “It’s less about professionalism and rules and more about the process and how you get there together.”

They’re all excited for everyone to see the work they’ve been doing on July 19 when Side Show opens. Almost all of the participants will be there helping out with crew on many, if not all, of the eight performance nights. From building set pieces to painting, and even the occasional dance party, these teens picked a great way to spend their summer. — Devin Sweeney

Partcipant, Max Koch, poses with prop he's working on Photo by Josh Padgett

Participant, Max Koch, poses with prop he’s working on. Photo by Josh Padgett

Two participants work on a set piece together Photo by: Devin Sweeney

Roxy Reminick and Grace Kanary work on a set piece together. Photo by Devin Sweeney

Near West Theatre is grateful for regular program support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.


Kids, teens: we’ve still got room this summer

Looking for ways to fill summer days? Near West Theatre has ’em for kids 9 to 13, and youths 14 to 21, described blow.  Auditions and application deadlines have passed, but don’t worry: spaces are still available. If you’re interested, contact us!

Our summer youth tech workshop runs June 10 through July 17 at the theater, 3606 Bridge Ave. You’ll learn basic principles of stagecraft, including set building, construction of props, scenic painting and lighting, and the safe operation of various hand and power tools as they relate to the technical side of theater. You’ll help construct the set for our summer youth production of Side Show. The tech workshop is free; we only ask that you join the production crew of one or more of our productions between this summer and June 2014 in any of a variety of jobs (set crew, spotlight operator, props crew, costume crew or sound technician). Participants, ages 14 to 21, meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but flexibility can be arranged. To apply, contact the Near West Theatre office, 216-961-9750. Questions? Contact Technical Director Josh Padgett (440-915-5484; padgett_josh at hotmail dot com).

KLAMOR, our free theater workshop for 9- to 13-year-olds, runs Monday through Thursday mornings, June 19 through July 25, concluding with “showcase” performances on July 25, 27 and 28. This year’s theme is, “You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’!” Click here for info. Interested? Contact Program Director Kelcie Dugger (216-961-9750; kdugger at nearwesttheatre dot org).

Sanding and painting are just two of the skills you'll put to work in our teen summer theater tech workshop.

Sanding and painting, as these 2012 participants did, are just two of the skills you’ll put to work in our youth theater tech workshop. Photo by Sarah Burdette

Meet new friends and lMeet new friends and learn teamwork at KLAMOR. Our 2012 kids did! Photo by Christian Flaherty

Meet new friends and learn teamwork at KLAMOR. Our 2012 kids did! Photo by Christian Flaherty


Tech workshop participant Alexa Jones on NWT

Alexa Jones of Cleveland talks about her experience in set building and costume work in our summer technical workshop and describes the energy at Near West. She’s now onstage as a member of the cast of Ragtime, opening Friday, May 4, for a nine-show run through May 20, 2012.