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Community Spotlight: Crit Fisher

By Ginny Butsch posted 11-08-2016 09:07


One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview.


Our latest Spotlight Member is Crit Fisher, the Resident Lighting/Sound Designer at New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana. He is an EdTA member, working with Troupe 4501. Crit is a particularly interesting addition to our Community, serving in the operating room during the day and working in the theatre at night.

Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is important?

Crit: To quote Lemony Snicket, “This is why theatre is important: because it presents a reflective vision of a life that is vastly more fascinating and alluring than the one in which we’re stuck.” Theatre is a way to escape our lives for a while and enter a new world. We find that inside the world of theatre, we use the plays to teach lessons, use our creative voices and entertain. Theatre is a group of people working in tandem to create something that is much bigger than them. Think about the many aspects that go into creating a production. You have acting, dancing, singing, music, design, lighting, sound and directing. Just these areas alone allow many different people, with very different skillsets, to participate, making it the most collaborative form of the arts. Theatre is the perfect outlet for people to be original and to express themselves.

“Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” 2015 (Lighting Design)

Ginny: What is your greatest challenge currently?

Crit: As a designer, it is staying relevant. With each show, some of which I have designed before, it is hard to come up with new ideas. This is why the creative team and a peer network are so important. Also, with the enhancements in technology, I constantly have to stay educated on the latest in lighting and sound.

Ginny: What does a typical day look like for you?

Crit: My day is probable atypical from most in educational theatre. I spend the bulk of the day working with surgeons, nurses and technicians in the operating room to make sure that their surgical instrumentation functions perfectly for every patient, every time. My evenings are spent in production meetings, set construction and lighting and sound design.

Ginny: Have you found a way to achieve a good work/life balance?

Crit: I have found that having a good partner is the most important piece to this equation. My wife, myself and our very busy kids, coordinate our calendars to make everything work. Rehearsals, practices, dance lessons and school activities all have their place. It helps that my kids are very interested in the arts. My daughter could run a light board at 6 years old. Currently, theatre is an extension of our family. Both kids act in our school, my wife is the box office manager and I’m the resident lighting and sound designer.

“Annie” 2014 (Lighting Design)

Ginny: What is the resource you most recommend to other teachers?

Crit: I would say each other. I collaborate with local designers both educational and professional. I also rely on our vendors to help us when making large dollar purchases or providing their experience to solve problems. Being part of EdTA has allowed me to network across the country.

Ginny: What was the most difficult element of a production you’ve ever had to manage?

Crit: Before joining the New Albany staff, I was at another local school where I did everything. I really don’t know how I did it all. Directing, designing and marketing were all my responsibilities and being a small school, with very little support for the arts, I worked countless hours to produce the art. While it was very difficult, it prepared me for the future.

Ginny: Everyone has at least one good theatre story. Tell us yours!

Crit: When I was in high school, we did a production of Camelot. We had a gymatorium and built out a trust stage that was about 3 feet off the ground. During the big Guinevere battle I was sword fighting and took one step to many backwards and fell off the set. I was not injured and the audience thought it was part of the show.

Ginny: What is unique about your theatre program?

Crit: New Albany High School Theatre is a dream come true. Growing up, and seeing their productions, I always wanted to work here. It is a nationally renowned program having brought multiple productions in the past to Festival. The theatre program was featured in the New York Times, was part of a Showtime documentary and has produced some famous alumni who are still performing. I work with a very talented director and producer, Amy Harpenau. She is a festival mainstage alum.  All this and we are a public high school, not a performing arts school.

“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” 2016 (Lighting Design)

Ginny: What is the weirdest stage food you’ve ever made or eaten?

Crit: It isn’t the weirdest but the hardest to eat, literally. When in college, I played the role of Norman in The Boys Next Door. There is a sweet scene where he invites a girl he likes, Sheila, over to the apartment. Norman loves doughnuts. So the props team created a pyramid of doughnuts as an appetizer. We would only replace the two that were supposed to be eaten each performance. As you can imagine, the others were quite stale by the second week of the run. Needless to say, the Saturday evening show, someone didn’t place the new doughnuts and I grabbed a two-week-old stale doughnut. Yummy!

Ginny: If you could have a different career, what would you choose?

Crit: I am very fortunate. I have a career outside of theatre that allows me to do theatre. I only wish that I had more time to act.

Ginny: How do you relax after a busy day?

Crit: I relax by spending time with the family going to practices, rehearsals or dance. I enjoy interacting with the other parents. I also relax by binge watching TV with my wife.

Ginny: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Crit: Seeing my kids enjoy the arts as much as I did growing up.

Ginny: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of theatre?

Crit: Photography. This comes in very handy related to theatre. I take all the headshots for the productions. I also take all the photos for the show archives.

Ginny: What is something we would be surprised to learn about you?

Crit: I have been involved with the production of The Wizard of Oz a few times. I have had the opportunity to direct, design and star in a production.

“A Piece of My Heart” 2016 (Scenic and Lighting Design)


With such a variety of handy skills, Crit is clearly a valuable addition to the New Albany theatre program. If you enjoyed Crit’s interview as much as I did, add him as a contact in the Community!


Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me their name and why at Want to read more Community Spotlights? You can find them here.