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Festival Feature: Meet 2023 Lighting Board Operator April Salazar

Photos courtesy of April Salazar

By Liz Armstrong

In theater, the lighting board operator’s main responsibility is to make sure that the lighting equipment is working and running smoothly throughout the run of the show. After all, what’s a play if you can’t see and experience it properly? Additionally, they run the cues from designers, making them an instrumental part in the success of a production.

Meet April Salazar, a light board operator for the 2023 season. From Laredo, Texas, Salazar is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. After graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in lighting design, Costume Crafts Supervisor Rosa Lazaro invited Salazar to come work at the Festival. 

Salazar’s Journey at the Festival 

In 2022, Salazar was the Technical Director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Educational Tour of Much Ado About Nothing, making her responsible for managing sound, lighting, props, scenery, and costumes. After the tour, Salazar took a position at the Festival as a spotlight operator for Clue and The Sound of Music

Salazar didn’t stop there, returning to the Festival for the 2023 Educational Tour of Othello as the Technical Director. For Salazar, the Festival is an “enchanting” place to work. 

“There’s something that brings me back,” Salazar said. “The work environment is high production, but the people here are [welcoming].”

 Now, for the 2023 season, she has landed the title of Board Operator for A Raisin in the Sun and Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. 

“I’m the person in the booth with the Stage Manager making sure everything works,” Salazar said. “I’m a part of the build crew, helping with lights and making them work during technical rehearsals. During the season, I’m essentially the designer’s fingers.” 

The Start of It All 

Salazar’s love for theatre started in middle school, when she began to act. Her transition into lighting, however, was where Salazar found her niche. 

“In high school, I was one of the only people that showed up to run a light board, and people kind of depended on me from then on,” Salazar said. 

Salazar was more than okay with that, voicing her love for the technology of lighting. 

“I like working behind-the-scenes and the software and programming,” Salazar said. “People just assume you plug in lights, but there’s much more to it. I love the math and build process––the troubleshooting.”

What’s kept Salazar in lighting is the problem-solving aspect. For some, the puzzle of it all would be dissuading, but for Salazar, it’s the career-niche she’s always wanted, combining computer-science with theatre.

“It’s one of those jobs that people don’t think you can have, running lights in theaters,” Salazar said. “So I decided to pursue it.” 

Eventually, Salazar plans to be a lead electrician and be able to work and manage shows as a leader. 

Salazar Voices Personal Connection to A Raisin in the Sun 

Salazar highly encourages patrons to come see A Raisin in the Sun this season. Personally, she didn’t expect to connect so fully to the show, but found herself in the character of Beneatha. 

“I resonate with Beneatha, because she tries to do something out of the ordinary. She wants to be a female doctor,” Salazar said. “I wanted to pursue a career in theatre––something those from my culture wouldn’t deem as a successful career path. But I am succeeding.” 

Salazar also connects to the racial themes in A Raisin in the Sun, having grown up in a bordertown in Texas. 

“I grew up in a [rougher] neighborhood,” Salazar said. “I like the exposure the play is bringing to that type of lifestyle.” 

To observe Salazar’s work at the Festival, purchase tickets to A Raisin in the Sun or Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical by calling 800-PLAYTIX or visit bard.org.

What's On

The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

RADA Production

July 30-August 3, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah