Theater production club perfects its backstage craft

by Alek Sanchez, Staff Writer

Moving in the background to make sure everything runs smoothly, the set designers and technical team behind stellar campus productions are the unsung heroes of the San Diego State theatre world.

Founded in 2013, Design and Technical Artists, or DATA, is a theatre organization which focuses on helping design and technical students prepare for life after school by networking and perfecting their craft.

DATA largely manages lighting calls and prepares stagehands in order to put on a production. On top of manning the productions, they also provide technical and design workshops to help students learn and hone their skills, host guest speakers from various entertainment industries and organize field trips to local venues and theaters.

DATA has also had the honor of holding its own student-run show. In February, DATA presented “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).” This show was put together by students and was free to the public.

DATA vice president Carmen Amon was very excited to put together the show.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of people who came out,” Amon said. “I (think) this semester was a great success. We raised awareness of our club, received new members and had a blast working together.”

With “The Drowsy Chaperone” finishing its run before spring break, DATA and the theatre department are now focusing on the next big SDSU production, “The BFG (Big Friendly Giant).” DATA is currently holding lighting calls April 15 all day.

DATA is open to all majors and students willing to teach those without experience. The organization practices a hands-on approach and accepts all those who want to help out.

Theatre design and technology junior Briana Anderson commended DATA and their willingness to help out all those involved.

“DATA is all about giving back, (and) if you want to learn, DATA will teach you,” she said.

In the midst of the current “The BFG (Big Friendly Giant)” production, DATA is staying busy. From constant work throughout the week, to all-day efforts on the weekends, a lot of time and care goes into productions. Every costume, set piece and lighting cue are thoughtfully planned out, and a lot of care goes into making everything run smoothly and effectively.

With around 100 members currently in DATA, Amon has big plans for the next year. She looks to continue the success of previous workshops by offering more opportunities for students to participate and learn.

“We’d like to see more shows done (with) DATA, and talks are in the works,” she said.