The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Setting the stage: Winship plays an integral role in South productions

After school in the auditorium… a yelled command… the pounding of nails on wood. Auditorium manager Rich Winship descends the spiral staircase to face the hustle and bustle of an afternoon with stage crew, yet again. Winship directs the students on stage crew to build sets, fix lighting cues and manage all the shows that go on at GBS.

“Professionalism is an attitude,” Winship said.

In a regular week Winship works from about 50 to 60 hours. During tech week for a production, he works about 100 hours. According to Winship, he doesn’t settle for less than excellence.

“I tend to pay attention to stuff that the audience doesn’t see,” Winship said.

At the age of 10, Winship decided to become an actor. He acted until high school, where he realized that acting wasn’t for him. Because he still wanted to be involved with theater, he made the switch to stage crew.

Winship is responsible for everything that goes on in the auditorium. He does work from set design to lighting all the different acts and scenes in a show.  Winship also took part in creating the new auditorium.

Senior Tyler Ellis has been with Winship for three years.

“Rich was one of the first customers for ILC [Intelligent Lighting Creations], which is where we rent lights today,” Ellis said. “Those lighting rentals, next to Rich’s expertise in set design, are what make the productions at GBS so large-scale and special in their presentation… [Winship] has made a lot of effort to make it as professional a work environment as he can.”

According to Dr. Jim Shellard, assistant principal in charge of student activities, the addition of new seats, dimmers, a new sound system, scene shop, and rope riggings were all done by Winship.

Rope riggings are the devices that are capable of moving objects around on the ceiling. The scene shop is where stage crew stores materials they might use again in another show.

English teacher Beth Barber has been working with Winship for 28 years.

“We can count on him to do amazing work with the sets, with the lights, with the sound and make the show run smoothly,” Barber said.

According to band director Greg Wojcik, Winship is the best in the country at what he does.

“He does things for our Variety Show that no other high school does in the country,” Wojcik said.

Over the years Winship has being involved in many musicals, including Les Miserables and Chicago.  Winship paints the stage with light, according to Shellard.

“When we did Chicago he created a set that I could do almost anything I wanted,” choral director Stevi Marks said. “[…] Being creative doesn’t take money.”

Winship directs the students in stage crew in their duties and obligations.

“Everyone does construction, building sets, the like,” Ellis said. “From there one gets the preference to do whatever they want, from working on the backstage crew, helping the actors with their microphones, programming lights, engineering sound, anything!”

As an incoming freshman, Emily Horvath says that her first impression of Winship was that he was intimidating, but nice. In just a few months of being on GBS stage crew she said she has already gained friends and has also learned how to work in a group.

“I’ve gotten a whole new experience from working on something and seeing it from start to finish,” junior Olivia Bellair, one of Winship’s students, said.

According to Ellis, Winship and the GBS stage crew inspired him to consider majoring in lighting next year in college. According to Ellis, he learned everything he knows about lighting from Winship.

“He gives [stage crew kids] a lot of responsibility, and they take that and they run with that, and they learn a lot,” Barber said.

Shellard agrees that what is unique about Winship is his ability to get kids involved.

“Not only is he able to build incredible sets and do some great design work, but, more importantly, he is able to get our kids involved and feel really proud in what they’re doing,” Shellard said.

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