A! Magazine for the Arts

C J Freeman

C J Freeman

CJ Freeman works behind the scenes

February 21, 2022

C J Freeman loves working behind the scenes in the theater.

“If I’m doing my job right, no one is going to notice my work. I am one of the many collaborators in creating the magic of theater, which is actually a lot more math and science than most people realize. Collaboration is another reason why I love theater as a whole. Everyone comes together to create a cohesive final product.

“The most interesting thing about technical theater, to me, is the problem-solving aspect. Technical theater is a complex world; you have to both have an eye for detail and a sense of the big picture. I am specifically interested in the realm of technical direction, which basically means to take the set designer’s drawings of the final look and build it. Technical directors manage time, budget and labor to achieve the designer’s final vision for the show, and then they come up with and execute a plan for the build of the scenery to meet the demands of the show. This process requires a lot of creative problem solving along the way,” Freeman says.

Last year, Freeman worked as an assistant technical director for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Spring Awakening” at Emory & Henry College as well as working as a scenic artistry intern at Lees-McRae Summer Theatre.

This year, Freeman is working as the technical director for the entire Spring season for Emory & Henry College department of theater. This includes a play entitled “Look, We Are Breathing,” a dance concert entitled “Outer Turmoil, Inner Peace” and multiple cabarets, plays and a small musical for theater student’s senior projects in April.

Freeman’s approach relies on paperwork and organization including checklists, build drawings and cut lists. Freeman also has an interest in electrician work and lighting design for the theater.

“Theater, to me, means progress. Theater tells stories that are lesser known and can help to open your mind to different perspectives. In the world of theater, throughout a play, you get transported into someone else’s life, including their thoughts and feelings. You automatically find yourself trying to relate to characters and the positions that they’re in and in that way, theater can open your mind to fresh perspectives that you’ve never thought of before. It’s mind opening,” Freeman says.

Freeman, whose mother is Amanda Miller, plans to obtain a M.F.A. in technical production after graduating from Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia, in the spring. Freeman’s hometown is Bristol, Virginia.