Technical Artisans Collective provides youth with theatre design and technical training so that students can gain academic and vocational skills while creating theatre. TAC education reinforces academic and artistic learning, leadership, collaboration and growth through in-school programs and apprenticeships. Each TAC educational experience is designed to challenge youth physically, emotionally and intellectually through applying concepts to hands-on projects, with the hope of creating lasting understanding through theatre tech and design.
Foundations of the TAC Mission
TAC has emerged from conversations between several professional designers and technicians about how our early schooling played, at best, a small part in how we learned the skills we now use professionally. We learned how to make things in the cracks of education; fitting theatre, music, dance, lighting shows, building sets, DJ-ing and making robots into the margins of what we had to do to pass our tests. It is common to hear us designers and stage hands say we had a hard time learning math and science as students because we weren’t building with book knowledge; we weren’t creating with what we were learning in class. Yet today we wield our crafts, make our money and keep everyone safe by how well we use the math and science skills we mastered on our feet. Lately, some of us have been wondering: “How can we help to bring skills we find essential in our profession to help make education stronger for youth today?”
Interestingly, American educational theory is coming to the same conclusions. Project based learning (PBL) and Arts integrated with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM to STEAM) are becoming the new leading methodologies in American education. This development, coupled with our own interest in giving back through teaching, has motivated a group of professional designers and stage technicians to form the teaching artist company known as Technical Artisans Collective (TAC). As teaching artists, we bring the skills and knowledge we use out in the field back into the classroom through educational projects that give youth the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to making things. As students learn through doing, they will create real applied understanding while developing practical and marketable skills, collaborative abilities, self-confidence and pride.
TAC’s strength lies in bringing oft-competitive production professionals from different companies together in a joint effort to create dynamic education that we hope will have great impact on youth, while providing them with lasting skills and a sense of accomplishment. We use our production skills in schools to reinforce academic and artistic education with a direct, hands-on approach garnered from years of production experience. TAC teachers are production professionals who wish to continue our work as designers and technicians, while applying our passion, knowledge and skills to teaching the next generation how to create with competence and joy.