The captivating world of theatre enthralls audiences through a mesmerizing combination of storytelling and visual splendor. The technical director, a behind-the-scenes mastermind, orchestrates this magic to create unforgettable experiences. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the inspiring journey of a passionate and accomplished theatre technical director, uncovering the obstacles he overcame and the insights he gained along the way.
Meet Kyle Rainey, a technical director whose love for theatre and technology emerged during his senior year of high school. Initially uncertain about his future, Kyle opted to study performance in college. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Theatre, specializing in Acting and Directing, from Rockford University. Throughout his education, Kyle devoted equal time to both onstage and backstage pursuits, fostering a comprehensive understanding of theatre. After working with various theatre companies, he returned to Texas and assumed the role of Scene Shop Foreman at West Texas A&M.
As a technical director, Kyle's primary duties encompass managing a production's technical elements, including lighting, sound, set construction, and special effects. Collaborating with the director and designers, he ensures that their artistic vision materializes while adhering to budget and schedule constraints. Supported by a dedicated team, Kyle focuses on scenery, lighting, sound, special effects, and safety.
To remain at the forefront of theatre production, Kyle adopts innovative technologies and techniques. He attends industry conferences such as USITT, peruses industry publications and forums, networks with fellow professionals, and experiments with novel tools and methods. Additionally, Kyle gleans inspiration from other industries and relies on “internet research and YouTube tutorials” to broaden his knowledge.
Technical directors play a vital role in fostering open communication between creative and technical teams in theatre production, a collaborative art form. By participating in meetings, exchanging ideas with directors and designers, and ensuring that the technical crew comprehends and implements the artistic vision, Kyle helps bring productions to life.
Each production presents unique challenges that demand creative solutions and unconventional thinking. For instance, when tasked with constructing a rotating curved staircase for a production of Sweeney Todd, Kyle and his team employed a CNC machine to develop a surprisingly straightforward solution. It's this adaptability and ingenuity that sets him apart.
As a leader, Kyle underscores the importance of providing clear guidance, feedback, and learning from mistakes. By nurturing an atmosphere of growth and learning, he “encourages his team to exchange ideas and solutions,” forging a robust and collaborative unit.
Maintaining equilibrium between the artistic vision and practical constraints such as budget, time, and resources is crucial in theatre production. Kyle works closely with the artistic team to identify creative solutions that suit everyone, often employing trade secrets to achieve desired effects without jeopardizing the production's overall success.
For Kyle, the most gratifying aspect of his career is the chance to apply his skills, exercising creativity with each project: “Witnessing the fruit of his labor during a show, complete with stunning lighting and skilled performers, brings me immense satisfaction and pride.”
Kyle offers valuable advice for those aspiring to enter the field of theatre production:
Be as versatile as possible by engaging in various aspects of theatre. Ask questions, experiment, and don't fear learning from failures. Develop marketable and sought-after skills that pave the way for growth and success in the industry. Above all, be kind, assert yourself when necessary, and believe in your own capabilities.
Kyle Rainey's journey as a technical director is a testament to passion, dedication, and creative problem-solving. His unwavering commitment to collaboration, innovation, and mentorship has left an indelible mark on the world of theatre. We are thrilled he joined the community at Texas Tech. He reminds us that, as we continue to revel in the enchantment of theatre, we should remember and appreciate the relentless efforts of those working behind the scenes, who breathe life into the artistic vision that unfolds on stage.