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From Backstage to Beyond: Stagecraft CTE Programs Prepare for Success

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The Stagecraft CTE program isn't just about theatre; it's about developing valuable skills that are applicable in the real world, regardless of a student’s future career path. This comprehensive program goes beyond traditional classroom learning, offering students a unique opportunity to explore the world of theatrical and event production.

The Stagecraft CTE program is a two-year program designed to nurture creativity and equip students with the technical expertise needed to bring events to life. This comprehensive program teaches students the various facets of stagecraft, offering a well-rounded understanding of the many components that make live events possible. From the intricate details of set design and lighting to learning the value of teamwork and critical thinking, the Stagecraft program provides students with the knowledge and skills that set them up for future success.

The Stagecraft CTE program is a hands-on experience that immerses students in the practical realities of live event production. From theatrical and musical performances to speeches and discussions - if an event features individuals on stage, students in the Stagecraft CTE play a critical role in ensuring it runs smoothly. In this program, students learn to manipulate light and sound in a way that adds depth and emotion to the event, enhancing the overall audience experience. For theatrical productions, students additionally participate in set design and construction, building visually captivating sets that can range in size, sometimes reaching multiple stories in height. While honing their technical skills in various aspects of stagecraft, students also develop valuable "soft skills" crucial for success in diverse settings. They learn to work effectively in teams, hold each other accountable, think critically to solve problems and adapt to unexpected challenges.

"The Stagecraft program is more than just learning technical skills. It's a creative outlet for students who are looking to do something different from traditional classroom learning,” says Jenelle Riordan, the Stagecraft CTE teacher at Desert Ridge High School. “Students get to work on a lot of different tasks and they see the final product come together on stage. This hands-on experience is incredibly rewarding, and it reminds us why keeping arts programs in schools is so important for student development."

Student woodworkingAlthough this program does include some traditional coursework, students in the Stagecraft CTE program spend the majority of their time outside of the classroom working on numerous projects to ensure the school’s 8-10 events per quarter run smoothly. This allows students to embrace their creativity and problem-solving skills by tackling real-world challenges in event production. Students are also exposed to many different types of skills, which can open the door to numerous career paths including event production, woodworking, and more!

Students at Desert Ridge High School shared their experiences in the Stagecraft CTE program, including highlights of the skills they’ve developed.

“This program teaches a lot of valuable skills about communication and teamwork. You’re able to take charge in projects and learn from your mistakes,” said Neva Ratkovich, a Junior at Desert Ridge High. “I’ve refound what I want to do in my career and it’s opened my eyes to so many possibilities.”

“You won’t find more understanding people than in this program,” added a Freshman at Desert Ridge High. “ Some of the tasks may seem daunting at first, but it gets really fun and we get to use a lot of cool equipment.”

A Sophomore at Desert Ridge, added, “This class is like a fine art that’s not an instrument. You’re always on your feet, you work a lot with your hands, and you really learn to problem solve.”

The Stagecraft CTE program offers a unique opportunity for students to combine their creativity with technical expertise while fostering essential skills that benefit them both on and off the stage. To learn more about the Stagecraft CTE program, including information about which schools this program is offered at, visit


Story by Tristan Chavez, Photos by Jenelle Riordan