STAGE welcomes new tech director amid revolving doors


Photo by Ely Snow

New technical director Mae Mironer looks up at the system of microphones and lights that hang above the stage. Having done everything from carpentry to lights work in the past, Mironer is well-suited to lead and mentor STAGE crew students.

Another show for STAGE has come and gone, with another now just beginning production. With this new show also comes a new technical director – a seemingly recurrent pattern for STAGE in recent years. Now introducing their third TD in as many shows, and their fourth since 2019, has STAGE finally found the one to stay?

To begin, why is it that STAGE has faced such difficulties keeping their adult professionals? There are a multitude of reasons. For one, a tech director needs to be well-qualified. They generally have done theater work, often throughout high school and college. Most have also worked on multiple aspects of design backstage, though it is not required.

On top of this, the role requires long hours and hard work. In MCPS, this dedication is compensated by a tiny stipend of only a few thousand dollars for months of labor over both shows in a school year. This means a director must have some other way to support themselves.

“Most of the people who take these jobs have other jobs or they’re looking to supplement something. It’s not something you can live off of by any stretch of the imagination,” STAGE director and English teacher Colleen McAdory said.

The work a tech director at STAGE puts in is only furthered by the added responsibility of needing to train and mentor students who are completely or relatively new to the work. This is, of course, aside from building the sets and making sure every technical facet backstage is ready for the show.

Also, a TD in STAGE is often expected to aid with aspects like design, scheduling and directing the show – typically not duties a tech director has to fulfill.

“Some of these things came as a surprise to me or I just picked them up because I was happy to help in any area I could,” former STAGE tech director Clare Cawley, who served as TD for the 2022 fall production of “The Twilight Zone,” said. “It always felt like there should be more staff involved because unfortunately, I couldn’t be everywhere all the time to help the students and teach them.”

Student technical director Maria Cabrera-Martin and new tech director Mae Mironer discuss work for the upcoming show, “The Addams Family Musical.” The student TD and TD work closely together throughout the process of bringing the technical side of a show to life. (Photo by Ely Snow)

Besides the TD always being busy, these staff changes affect the students working on crew, too. It is something that, at least for the time being, most do not mind, but there can still be struggles.

“With each new TD comes new ways of doing things. So it’s just new things to get used to and a lot of change,” co-master carpenter senior Zoe Mills said. “But the recent TDs have been very good.”

On the topic of recent tech directors, new STAGE TD Mae Mironer has said they are excited to be working on “The Addams Family,” this year’s musical. Mironer attended high school and college in Minnesota, studying at Winona State University. Throughout both, Mironer worked on a variety of teams backstage, ranging from stage management to lighting design and carpentry.

Although Mironer only graduated college in December 2022, they have been doing professional theater gigs for three years before coming to STAGE.

In addition to working at STAGE, at least for this next show, Mironer is applying to work in MCPS as a paraprofessional, having studied it in college. They are also applying to work lighting and carpentry at some professional theaters in the area.

“Mae has been really good, they clearly know what they’re doing and they’re doing a really good job training everybody and listening to students’ ideas,” Mills said.