TOBIN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS: Backstage With Sean Jenkins

September 7, 2017 - 5:30pm

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.”

 

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