The students behind the curtains

A look behind the scenes of “Radium Girls”


Jacob Stollberg

Sophomore Talia Yake helps with a set change at the dress rehearsal of “Radium Girls.” The play opens at 7:30 p.m., Thursday Nov. 16.

By Riley Young

There’s more to a play than just the actors and actresses you see performing up on stage. From lighting to lobby, approximately 90 students are working behind the scenes to create “Radium Girls”, the fall play Behind the scenes is made up of small crews of students that have a particular job to contribute to the show.


“I can’t say there is one job that’s more important than the others, that’s what’s so great about theater they all have to work together,” Director of Theater Arts Todd Hermanson said. “They’re all working together to create this thing and [they’re] in charge of different areas to make it all come together and become one great product.”


Each crew has an area of expertise that they are in charge of. The existing crews include scene, stage, props, costumes, lobby, sound, lights, etc. Talia Yake, a sophomore this year is on stage crew for the second time in her high school career.


“Stage mostly has a lot of painting, measuring, putting together flats, and making the walls. But for this show, we have attached a revolve to the stage so that we can have multiple settings with just a simple turn,” Yake said. All of the crews are important to the outcome of the show no matter what their job is.  


“The costume crew makes all the costumes. It would look a little embarrassing if you didn’t have the costumes to wear up on the stage,” Hermanson said. Basically, behind the scenes is in charge of the entire appearance of the show except for the actors/actresses themselves.


All the work that the behind the scenes crews as well as the cast have been putting in these last few months has been to bring the story of the Radium Girls to life. “Radium Girls,” a play written by D.W. Gregory, tells the story of the young women who worked in a watch factory in the 1920’s. Their job was to paint the numbers on watches with paint containing radium, which required them to lick the brushes to get a fine tip. However, this meant that they were consuming the radium every time they licked the brush.


“Nobody really knew [that radium is radioactive] these poor young women started developing horrible health problems and died from it and [the play is] their story essentially,” Hermanson said.


Sophomore Zoey Westby also works behind the scenes doing jobs like making posters to advertise the upcoming production and getting props. Her dream job, however; would be to work on the stage crew.

“I feel like you have a lot of control over stage and you put in a lot of effort for the show. You build stuff on the revolve you paint the revolve,” Westby said. Acting may be what many students aspire to do, but every job that each crew does greatly impacts the overall production.


“You could not do a show unless you had people behind the scenes helping and assisting; it just wouldn’t have happened,” Hermanson said.


Even though the rule out of sight out of mind usually accompanies the students working behind the scenes of a production, they are still vital to a show’s success.


“Behind the scenes is very important without a crew there wouldn’t be a set, sound, or anything, you would just be sending the actors on the stage with nothing,” Yake said. “There is always a balance between the crew and the cast and it’s important to have a working cast and crew.”


The crews behind the scenes are quite literally the people who make the productions enjoyed time and time again by the Tigard community possible. Every detail from the props to the music at intermission is carefully created or chosen  to make the best show possible. It’s time the very under-appreciated crews get a spotlight shown on the hard work they do to support the performers and put on the shows.


Come support everyone involved in Radium Girls from the people behind the scenes to those up on the stage. The production premieres Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. with three more shows following on Friday and Saturday, including a matinee. Tickets are available at and at the box office for $8-10.