It is easy to forget all of the backstage crew in Rock Challenge® teams as they are never seen by the audience, but they are key to the success of a Rock Challenge® piece. With so many marking criteria such as visual enhancement, soundtrack and set design & function relying on the efforts of the backstage team, they are just as important as the performers!
As we can appreciate, a lot of time behind the scenes goes into creating a Rock Challenge® piece, and this time is also used for those designing and making set, costumes, soundtracks, video plans and lighting cues as well as choreographing and rehearsing the performance elements.
At Rock Challenge®, having students as stage crew is a requirement, so already the students involved in creating and moving set are vital. The stage crew need to be able to set and strike their set in a 4-minute time slot, either side of the performance. With Rock Challenge® sets getting increasingly bigger and crazier, students can be working with extremely heavy, large, and complicated set pieces. Therefore, communication is key for the set to be put up in an efficient, but more importantly, safe manner. As well as getting the set on and off of stage before and after the performance, they are also key in moving pieces of set smoothly, safely and successfully during the piece, in a way that adds a unique element to the performance. At Rock Challenge®, we also look for teams that co-operate among themselves, but also with other crews. What performers may not know, is that at some venues, there is a scramble at the interval to move the first half set out of the venue and the second half set into the building, and often this is a huge team effort involving all stage crews. Without the hard work and determination of Rock Challenge® stage crews, the event would not run as seamlessly as it does.
More backstage team members with a role during the show that you may not notice are; the lighting designer, who calls the lighting cues during the performance to their lighting design they created that day; the follow spot operators, who move the follow spot lights to focus on certain performers on stage; and the video director, who instructs which camera shots they would like to be shown on the screens and on the DVD to highlight the most important elements of their Rock Challenge® piece.
Other backstage members at Rock Challenge® can include those who design and make the costumes, and those who design and apply make-up to the performers. At event days, time can be limited in terms of getting ready for shows, and schools are increasingly becoming more ambitious with the costuming character elements and the visual enhancement elements. Therefore, all help is much appreciated!
Somebody who may not even attend the event day could be the soundtrack designer. The soundtrack is important to tie a story or theme together and can really add that extra level of engagement to a piece.
To those of you in Rock Challenge® teams, please give a great pat on the back to your backstage team members. Also, if watching a performance, try to keep an eye out for a stage crew member – try to spot them if you can!