It’s not an exaggeration to say that for Alyssa Jaffe ’16, La Jolla Country Day School’s theater tech program changed her life. Toward the end of seventh grade, when it was time to pick electives for the following year, a friend encouraged her to join theater tech, and the rest is history.
“I had no idea that the decision to write down theater tech as my first choice of electives would absolutely change my life,” she shares. “I continued in it for all four years of high school, but it became so much more than an elective for me. I won one of the Theater Tech Art Awards in my freshman year, and at that moment, I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life. I had found what I was genuinely passionate about. I crewed every show possible from freshman year to senior year.”
As a stage manager, Alyssa learned to be a confident and strong leader. “I was pushed outside my comfort zone and shown the endless potential I had in this industry,” she says. “The Technical Theater program at LJCDS, without a doubt, set me up for success in my future in theater and live events.”
In addition to her hands-on role in the theater, Alyssa fondly remembered two unique opportunities, backstage tours at the La Jolla Playhouse and Universal Studios, which offered a glimpse of future career possibilities.
After LJCDS, she attended Syracuse University and earned a bachelor of fine arts in stage management in 2020. “La Jolla Country Day was a relatively smaller school than my peers at Syracuse went to. My classes were small, which worked better for me and to my advantage because I worked on at least a small piece of every element of an upcoming show. My classes were always exciting as we were the ones who hung the lights, found sound cues, built and painted the sets, picked out props, and so much more. I learned the basics of all the different departments like lighting, sound, costumes, scenery, and of course, stage management.”
Alyssa recently served as a stage manager for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day event series through Event360, where she was responsible for ensuring the successful execution of all stage productions and programs.
Currently, Alyssa works with Red Bull Theater, an Off-Broadway theater in New York City where she is on the production team as the company manager for their two upcoming shows. As such, she acts as the link between the theater company and the show they are currently producing. She works closely with the cast, director and designers to support the show, relays information from the administrative staff to those working on the show, and ensures rehearsals or performances are running smoothly.
“I knew the path I was choosing was not a typical one, nor would it be easy, but LJCDS helped me continue my work in theater further by helping me find the right college with the right theater program for me,” she shares.
Alyssa is thankful the arts was and continues to be a valued priority at LJCDS. “I can’t imagine what my life would be if I hadn’t had the opportunity to try theater tech as an elective. I am so grateful that LJCDS offers a wide variety of art and theater classes. Technology and the arts are constantly changing and evolving, so I encourage LJCDS and donors to continue looking forward to supporting the arts.”