From the age of eight, North Carolina native Sean Jenkins knew he was destined for a life in theater — behind the scenes, that is.
His older brother was technical director at his high school, the same role Jenkins stepped into years later at the same school. After managing a crew that built theaters all over the country and working as a master electrician at the Durham Performing Arts Center, Jenkins joined the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio in 2014. As the center’s technical director, Jenkins juggles tech duties at almost nonstop events of every variety at the city’s premiere state-of-the-art venue.
With a floor in the 1,746-seat HEB Performance Hall that can fold flat, and dazzling custom lighting both there and in the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, tech at the Tobin extends far beyond the stage. “There’s no way to do this alone,” says Jenkins, acknowledging the three crew members he directly oversees: Hector Gutierrez, head carpenter; Eric Montoya, head of audio; and Travis Stampley, head swing.
“Then we have an overhire crew, and they can vary from two people to 60 depending on the show,” he says, ever mindful of the “smoke and mirrors” aspect of a show’s technical side. “My entire job and my crew’s entire job is not to be seen,” he says, adding that “everything that goes on backstage is a team effort. There’s no “I” in theater, that’s for sure.”