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Let’s Hear It for the Stagehands


I loved your article about the Santa Barbara Bowl. It is such a beautiful and historic place, and certainly newsworthy.

Your article did leave out one factor. The Bowl stage is a concrete box before the acts arrive. There are no lights, sound, video walls, etc. Early in the morning, semis are backed into the backstage loading area and the work begins. Ramps are removed from the sides of these trucks, and every truss, chain motor, light, speaker, cable, video wall, sound board, drape, and flooring is rolled down these ramps to the stage. Riggers climb into the roof to rig chain motors to hold anything you see in the air. Cable is fed to the sound and light boards through a tunnel underground, lights are hung, screens are assembled, sound is lifted, dance floors are installed, risers are built, pianos are uncrated and lifted, B3 Organs, drums, guitars, etc. are placed, and wardrobe is prepared. When the show is in performance, over everyone’s heads are the spotlight operators. When the show is over, everything happens again except in reverse. The men and women who do all this are members of the Local 442 stagehand union.

Lauda Swan is president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 442

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