Technician Roster Member

Erin Birkenbergs

After graduating from York University’s Theatre and Production Design program, Erin has travelled Canada working in the technical side of theatre production.

Highlights of their exciting career have included stints as a Production Assistant and Technical Coordinator for Soulpepper; Production Manager at Factory Theatre and a Company and Tour Manager on a coast-to-coast National Tour for a Canada150 Signature Project with Confederation Centre for the Arts Young Company. These days they’re bringing their talents to the booth at Rapid Fire Theatre as one of our incredibly talented technical improvisers!

FAVOURITES

TV Shows: Baroness von Sketch, Stranger Things, Archer, Grey’s Anatomy, Letterkenny
Movies: High Fidelity, Almost Famous, The Crow, Empire Records, Newsies
Music: Nine Inch Nails, Lowest of the Low, Stars, Gaslight Anthem, Bruce Springsteen
Food: Breakfast

There’s a thrill to teching short form. It’s fleeting, you can play at a break-neck pace and make offers from the booth to heighten stakes more quickly.

Erin Birkenbergs

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THEATRE AS A TECH?

When I was finishing high school I didn’t have much of an idea of what I wanted to do, and theatre was the only thing I had much interest in. But my school didn’t have much tech of any kind so at the time, I didn’t even know you COULD have a career in production. I applied to York University and a few other schools and auditioned with monologues. I didn’t get in to any of those programs. But York accepted me as an undeclared student so I went and spent my first year there studying history and taking some theatre classes for non majors. At the advice of one of my professors, I reapplied to the theatre program but not with monologues, but with a presentation of a critique of some plays I had seen that year. The best part about that particular theatre program is that the first year is common to all students. Everyone has to take a production class and spend some time working backstage on the shows, everyone has to take an acting class and a theatre history class. At the end of your first year you get to apply into the stream (Acting, Production, Playwriting, Theatre Studies) you’d like to be in. I had such a great time working in production, that’s what I went for.

WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A TECH?

It’s different everyday depending on the project and/or venue you’re working on.
For Rapid Fire the job is to ensure the stage is clean and setup before performers get there. Once the show starts unlike most scripted plays where there’s a stage manager telling you when to GO on the next cue, you’re the one coming up with the lighting states, when you’re adding sound effects and when you’re ending the scene.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH RAPID FIRE?

My last summer working in Toronto I met Ben and Todd from Folk Lordz. I told them I was moving to YEG in a month and they told me to get in touch with Matt and the Citadel to get on the roster.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT TECHING SHORT FORM VS. LONG FORM IMPROV AND VICE VERSA?

There’s a thrill to teching short form. It’s fleeting, you can play at a break-neck pace and make offers from the booth to heighten stakes more quickly. I find long-form more difficult to tech, I can’t quite pinpoint why. I’m still learning how to make offers that work for a long form.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT TECHING AN IMPROV SHOW?

The very first Lumen show during Bonfire last year, watching the players play with a new interactive format and have so much fun with it.

WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF RFT?

Freelance technician around town working at the Arts Barns and for various outdoor Festivals
Watch baseball games, live music, hang with my cat

DESCRIBE WORKING FOR RAPID FIRE IN A SINGLE SENTENCE:

The very best part of my week when I get to do it.

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