Mr. Melton: The Technicalities

Get to know Bishops’ new Theater Tech Director Mr. Kyle Melton!


The Bishop's School

Mr. Melton is returning to Bishop’s this year after 5 years of working at the Old Globe.

Isadora Blatt, Editor-in-Chief

Every show you’ve seen in the TPAC is a result of countless hours of work by the theater tech crew to transport you into a story where the magic of theater takes place. This year, Mr. Kyle Melton is taking over as the new Director of Theater Tech, and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the stage.

Q: What is your history in the tech department?

A: I was actually the tech director here for the ‘16 to ‘17 school year, so I was here for a year, and then I went to the Old Globe in Balboa Park where I was the lead properties carpenter for the last 5 years.

Q: What drew you back to Bishops?

A: I’ve always loved the Bishop’s community. COVID-19 was the only time I’ve been told I couldn’t come to work, so that was personally a hard thing to swallow. It was this whole world that I cared about and supported, and they basically said, “there’s the door.” I didn’t think I could do that again. So when the previous tech director Mr. [AJ] Paulin decided to move on, [Performing Arts Chair] Ms. [Lara] Korneychuk called me instantly, and it happened to be the perfect time in my life to come back.

Q: What do you like about the Bishop’s community in specific?

A: I love the fact that everyone wants to be here. What I like is that the arts classes here are somewhat elective, so if you’re in that class, it’s because you want to be there.

Q: What do you think is the importance of teaching students about theater?

A: For me, it’s about a good work ethic. And on our theme of integrity, it’s about doing the right thing when it comes to doing the work, meeting a deadline, and getting to it in a very respectful and healthy way for yourself and for everyone else. I find a lot of the joy in doing the actual work, and I could try to do this by myself all day long, but I’d be burnt out and tired. If I have a bunch of people helping me out, it’s a lot more fun.

Q: What are your goals for this upcoming year?

A: Our goal is to get the theater cleaned up and running in an efficient and safe manner. What COVID-19 did was create a lot of chaos for everyone, everywhere. In doing so, lots of things got spread out, like our materials and equipment. So I want to make sure when the kids go into the performances they’re not stressed out because they don’t know things. I’d rather them be stressed out and know things – productive stress is good.

Q: A lot of people are saying this is the first full regular year back from COVID-19. Do you feel like that’s true for the tech department?

A: Not necessarily. Because of COVID, our ATP class is pretty small, since there wasn’t this type of interaction during COVID. We have to build those numbers back up and get more people involved. Plus, [Theater Arts Teacher] Dr. [Kristen] Tregar and I are coming back as the new folks, so we’re still figuring a lot of things out. I’m super excited for next year, because I think by then I’ll really be hitting my stride in terms of having good content in classes and making the best use of people’s time. I want to be very intentional with the time I have with [my students].

Q: Do you have any specific ideas for outreach and getting more people involved?

A: I want to make theater tech more accessible. I can’t send the theater home with someone, or tell them to do the lighting design at home. So I want to find ways to use technology to make tech theater more accessible to people, using more computer drafting and visualization programs. Personally, if I didn’t have to touch a computer again I would be perfectly fine, but that isn’t necessarily the best way to teach [students]. For example, [some of] you guys learn Photoshop in school, and I don’t know Photoshop, so you’re already that much farther ahead. So asking myself how do I catch up to make it more accessible to you, that’s my goal.

Q: What are you working on in MT8 right now? How has it been working with 8th graders?

A: So, right now we’re learning about design and how we approach that at Bishop’s versus a professional theater. One thing that [Costume Design Director] Ms. [Jean] Moroney is good about is that zero cost idea, altering and using what we already have. So right now they’re going through plays they get to select, researching it online, then going downstairs and figuring out what it would be in real life. We’re trying to build that fundamental groundwork so when we get to the show, they can work a little faster. I kind of really like [working with 8th graders]. They still have that little bit of innocence, so they’re not afraid to say something or be a little goofy. It’s a lot of fun, and I try to foster that love [for tech] so hopefully they become tech people in the future.

Q: What is the set like for the upcoming fall play?

A: The fall play, Enemy of the People, is an ibsen play, or we call it a straight play – it’s just regular action, there’s no song and dance. It deals with a community that is trying to create a natural spring to bring tourists in, but they find [out that the water is] poisoned. So this set can be the inside of a house, a newspaper shop, or a couple of other places. We change location with lighting and furniture, and the trees on the outside are supposed to represent the nature and past newspaper industry that used to be there. The branches on top are straight from landscaping, and the ones on the bottom are just PVC. The floor will get painted blues and grays to be very cold, while the main play space will be a more warm woods and factory floor kind of feel. So we have that contrast of the outside versus the inside. By the set being simple, it allows for more creativity.