Behind the scenes of the Black Box

Chris Saad working his magic (Megan Cooke/AQ)
Chris Saad working his magic (Megan Cooke/AQ)

Chris Saad has had an interest with the stage since 1988 and, although he has never made an acting appearance in front of the audience, he has been making performances come to light for 25 years.

Saad is the technical director for Theatre St. Thomas. He got his start when Theatre New Brunswick needed an extra set of hands with a show at the Playhouse.

“I totally came up through the ranks,” said Saad. “I knew nothing, but I just kind of started picking it up as I went.”

He has been working with TST for eight years as the technical director. He has the challenge of bringing a show to life.

“He has the ability to make something that seems so complicated, in fact so simple and easy to follow,”says Ilkay Silk, director of drama at STU.

Silk explains the patience and teaching ability Saad brings to the students involved with TST. She says it’s amazing to watch the technical aspect of a performance come together to make the show complete.

The Black Box Theatre allows audiences to have an intimate theatre experience. Black walls and a flat floor let the actors come face to face with spectators.

Saad sits in a small control space above the ground in the Black Box. This is where the magic happens, but he gives all the credit to those on the floor.

“I love seeing the students grow,” says Saad. “I mean I love doing the technical, but I really like working with the students and seeing that they really enjoy it.”

After working on multiple productions, Saad says he sometimes wants to be involved through a different role.

“It’s very inspiring to watch such talented students,” he says. “Sometimes I think that I may like to try acting. I don’t know.”

Hilary Ball has been performing with TST and working with Saad for the past four years. From an acting perspective, Ball said it’s a thrilling experience watching the tech side of a show.

“Working with Chris is always great and seeing the show come together during tech is always a magical experience,” says Ball. “Suddenly the whole show starts to feel more real, which I think brings everyone’s performances up a notch even just in rehearsal.”

During his time with TST Saad has watched many students discover a love for technical directing.

“We have seen graduates from STU that have been with TST go on to gain entrance into theatre and technical colleges, such as NTS, George Brown and schools in the States,” Saad said.

He encourages people to get involved behind the scenes and experience the stage from a different view.

“It’s great to see all the elements come together. Whether it’s directing or designing technically, it’s amazing to watch the final product.”

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • Katherine Coutts

    Always so impressed with the talent and professional quality of theatre in Fredericton. The Black Box is magic.

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