iPads in School Productions


Warner Crocker is the Artistic Director at Wayside Theatre in Virginia, USA. His article (below) discussed how his theatre’s policy on the use of phones and other ‘gadgets’ had changed as both backstage and front-of-house crew found themselves using the devices to streamline their jobs.

The iPad was certainly an indispensable part of our last school production. We used a soundboard app (called Soundboard!) which we loaded with all our sound effects and backing tracks. One student ran this with the app giving her independent control over sequence, volume and mixing. We fed the sound from the iPad into our mixing desk where another student balanced the audio with the multiple wireless microphones.

The soundboard was easier to control than a CD or a laptop and our app had a few bells and whistles (literally -they were an important sound effect!) that allowed us to colour code the songs and effects separately.

We did use a laptop for the PowerPoint slides in the background, as the iPad won’t play animations and transitions, but this may change in the future.

As a teacher, the best part of using the iPad is the ease with which students can master the apps we use. The one app, one function approach – or keeping it real simple mode – means children can focus on the task rather than the operation.

Forthe future, I’m hoping we can afford the iPad / lighting desk interface. I’d love to have our junior Primary students running our lights!

Changing our backstage gadget policy


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