Maria Sperl works as a stage technician at the Theater of the University of the Arts. What the trained carpenter appreciates about her work is that she can fully contribute the various manual and technical skills that she has acquired in her professional life to the diverse world of theatre. The portrait represents the project We empower girls of the German Children and Youth Foundation (DKJS) as an addendum for the zdi heroines October.
When, after many rehearsals and production processes of a play, the curtain rises on the evening of the premiere and everything is quiet for a brief moment, that is the moment that the stage technician loves most about her job: "I know, now everything is just right, everyone can do it rely on each other and in the community of the many employees of a company with their respective tasks, we work together like cogs and create a special moment.
Maria Sperl ensures that the technical processes and work run smoothly during and after rehearsals and performances. As a stage technician, she sets up the stage decoration, such as scenery and curtains, ensures safe use of stairs and ladders and operates the stage machinery. Among other things, this moves the curtains and spotlights and makes the stage elements rotate.
Great variety of professions and employment opportunities in the theater
When someone finds out that she works in theatre, the first thing most people think is that she is an actress or a singer. This is mainly due to the fact that many have no idea that complex technical support is required in addition to the artistic staff, such as direction/dramaturgy, the administration and the staff of make-up, costumes and props. Technology that is not immediately visible and audible like light and sound. Many of these behind-the-scenes jobs (such as sound, lighting, stage machinery, workshops and stage technicians) tend to have relatively few women. "Therefore, I think it is very important to create transparency about the existing variety of professions and employment opportunities behind the scenes with the help of open house days and internships," says Maria Sperl.
She also hopes that the specific needs of women in the design and execution of work processes and the necessary important framework conditions will be taken into account more. This means, among other things, providing adequate changing rooms and sanitary facilities for everyone and bringing suitable workwear for women onto the market.
Trained as a carpenter and restorer
After high school, the stage technician trained as a carpenter because she noticed early on that she liked working with her hands. In order to expand her basic knowledge, she later completed an apprenticeship as a state-certified restorer for furniture and wooden objects and also worked in this area for a while as a freelance restorer with her own workshop.
When she realized after a few years that she missed interacting with other people, a friend who herself works as an exhibition technician in a museum gave her the idea of starting at the theatre: "It's a good place to meet a wide variety of people
to work with people on an artistic project.”