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Ricky McAllister

Staff Spotlight: Ricky McAllister, Run Crew/Spotlight Operator

Posted on December 7, 2023

We had a quick Q&A session with Run Crew and Spotlight Operator, Ricky McAllister, about his position at Children’s Theatre Company.

CTC: What is your role at CTC?
RM: I’m a member of the run crew/spotlight operator.

CTC: What does your job involve?
RM: My responsibilities can consist of sweeping and mopping the floor, presetting and organizing props and scenery. During performances, shifting scenery on stage and off, flying scenery in and out, puppeteering, operating automated traps, lifts and scenery, handing off props to the actors. For some productions I have flown actors using a ZFX rig. For other productions I sit in a booth above the audience running the spotlight in which I use a large lighting instrument to shine on actors highlighting them for musical numbers or important dialog.

CTC: What is your favorite thing about your job?
RM: Helping to create theatre magic. Flying actors over the stage for The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. Operating remote control presents, cars, and other special elements. For some performances the crew gets to be in costume as we appear onstage. My favorite onstage crew appearances were being a super hero for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a King’s Horseman for The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and an Ensign for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

CTC: What do you love most about CTC?
RM: Sharing the world of theatre by creating and telling familiar, new and important stories to children and families. I LOVE giving backstage tours when I can, sharing the behind the scene elements that many never see or even know exists.

CTC: How can someone prepare for a career like yours?
RM: Get experience anyway you can. Although I never followed the path of higher education, I have been doing behind the scenes work since my sophomore year in high school, 37 years ago. While in high school, not only did I appear on stage but I helped with several elements of theatre. I assisted with set builds, painting, setting and programming lights, setting up and running mics and sound and running spotlight. I recommend starting early. Get your experience at school, church and through community theatre. You should be able to take direction well and have a great eye for detail.