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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

In the performing arts industry, the week leading up to the opening of a performance is known as tech week. 

This is because all the technical elements of the show come together with the performers for the first time during this week. This includes: costume fittings, testing out the lighting and sound effects as well as ensuring all set pieces and props on stage are safe for performers to use. 

Tech week is notorious for being overly hectic and physically grueling on cast and crew alike. With long stretches of rehearsal, late nights working on technical elements and scheduling nightmares as the hard deadline of opening night approaches, it’s clear why tech week is affectionately called ‘hell week.’ It can be compared to the week before exams when suddenly everything is due and you aren’t even sure which way is up anymore.

I’m writing this article from the comfort of the production office, which I have been sitting in for several hours as I am currently reaching the end of my tech week. My show opens tomorrow. 

Reflecting on this past week’s craziness, I realize there are a lot of components to make such a busy week go well. This goes for any busy week; there are a lot of factors to balancing life when there are high work demands.

For myself and my colleagues, we have the added disadvantage of being students during tech week. Not only do we have to manage the increasing technical demands of the show but we’re also trying to balance classes. 

Keeping up with everything is exhausting – your body is tired from hard labour in the theatre and your mind is exhausted from long hours in the classroom. Managing these chaotic weeks makes me rely heavily on my support system. I need my friends and family to understand my long days and longer nights and be understanding of when I can no longer take on more commitments. 

Learning how to say no to people you love is challenging but it’s so much nicer to see your loved ones when you’re not already exhausted.

During tech week, or any especially busy week, I find it difficult to stay on top of everything. This is exceptionally true when everyone around you is also giving in to unhealthy habits. As I look outside of the production office right now, there’s a garbage can piled high with take-out food bags and coffee cups, not to mention two production team members are sleeping in the hallway beside the theatre door. 

Being surrounded by people who are having trouble with their own work-life balance makes it hard for me to keep up with my own. I constantly remind myself that I don’t need to feel guilty for taking frequent breaks and I do not have to feel bad about prioritizing my personal needs over the needs of the show. 

During tech week, I have to spend extra time focusing on perpetuating my own healthy habits. That means packing a lunch (and sometimes dinner if it’s going to be a long day), drinking extra water to balance out the inevitable increase in caffeine consumption and taking the time to remind my friends and co-workers it’s okay to take a break because sometimes we all need to hear that. 

Most of all, during tech week, I need to hear it’s going to be okay. No matter how many times I tell myself it will be and no matter how many tech weeks I go through, I always get swallowed up in feeling that everything is going to crash and burn around me. 

I need a support system who can recognize when things are getting to be a little too much and know exactly how to make life easier for me. Sometimes, it can be as simple as listening to me vent on particularly rough days and others, I need someone who’s willing to help take a few things off my plate. 

I need to remind myself I’m capable to complete any task no matter how difficult and that it’s okay to take breaks. I need to know it’s okay. 

So, if you know someone, or if you are someone going through a tech week, or a week that feels a lot like a tech week, remember it’s okay and you’ll make it to the end – I promise.

Caroline Rodway

Toronto MU '21

Caroline is a fourth year student at Ryerson University studying Performance: Production & Design! She is a self-proclaimed Coke Zero Enthusiast, Proud Virgo, and INTJ. On her days off you can find her on her yoga mat, exploring the wilderness, or writing her next article. She is looking forward to the resurgence of all things theatre and until then will be patiently waiting to return to the backstage.
Sarah is a fourth-year journalism student at Ryerson University. As Ryerson's Campus Correspondent, Sarah is a self-proclaimed grammar nerd. In her spare time, Sarah is either buried in a book, trying to figure out how to be a functioning adult, or enjoying a glass of wine - hopefully all at once.