You’ve heard his sounds in productions, now hear his story


Leland Hanewall

Henry Heyden, sophomore, working the soundboard. Heyden has been a part of tech since 7th grade, and has worked on all different types of productions.

If you’ve ever been to a Shorewood Drama production, it’s likely that you’ve seen the student working behind the soundboard in the back of the theatre. He wears glasses and a pink beanie with multiple buttons on it. You may ask yourself, “I see that kid every time I see a show. Who is he?” Well, his name is Henry Heyden. He sat down for an interview in the library to talk about technical theatre, friends and his hat. 

Heyden started doing technical theatre in 2016 through Drama Junior, and he started working on high school shows right away. 

“That was the summer going into my 7th grade year … I met a lot of good people that have since graduated,” Heyden said. “And it really opened my eyes to the fact that tech is more like a family setting. [Tech is] a really tight knit group, and then we also build stuff.”

Heyden speaks about the friendships produced through tech, and the elements at play that make it possible.

“You get to know people while you work. Because it’s not the most thought intensive work, it’s more manual work, which lets you talk to people and meet people you wouldn’t have met before.”

It’s not the most thought intensive work, it’s more manual work, which lets you talk to people and meet people you wouldn’t have met before.

Whether it be during a drama show, or the Showcase, Heyden—along with the rest of tech—is always busy working in the theatre. Heyden says that some of these students have become leaders of the backstage operations.

“There’s a subgroup of leaders in tech who come every day, who lead the people who don’t come everyday,” Heyden said. “The leadership group changes from show to show, but me and Gage [Parmentier] and Vivien [Janairo] are solid leaders.”

While the leaders work every day, Brad Brist, the tech director, organizes all other members of tech to come on specific days, as Heyden explains.

“People that are just joining tech, that aren’t leaders, Brad has a schedule, so you’ll get an email Sunday night … so when you get there on Tuesday, Brad already knows that you’re gonna be there, and you’re working with this leader, and this is what you’re going to be building,” Heyden said.

Heyden works the soundboard for most productions in the auditorium, spanning from band concerts to Midsummer Night’s Dream, and everything in between. 

“Once you do tech for awhile and Brad starts to trust you with expensive things, you can start doing stuff like sound and lighting work,” he said. “You know the system if you do sound for the shows, because that’s a lot more intensive than just a talent show. So Brad [can] call on you for the talent show.”

To be clear, Heyden is only a sophomore. In his second semester of senior year, if he does every show, he will have worked on 17 productions in the theatre, each of which he thoroughly enjoys. 

“It just goes to show how much fun it can be to do tech,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll get bored because every show is a little bit different, which is pretty cool.”

“I don’t think I’ll get bored because every show is a little bit different, which is pretty cool.

Heyden emphasized that the time commitment isn’t a problem, in case anyone is deciding whether to join tech or not. 

“It’s about as much commitment as any other club, so if you’re busy during lunches, tech is the place for you,” he said.

A staple of Heyden known to many—even outside of tech—is Heyden’s pink beanie. The buttons and the pink-ness are both his trademark and a reminder of the fellowship of tech. His hat has multiple buttons on it, all made by Shorewood alumna Ari Cobb, class of 2018

“I met [Ari] in the summer, in Drama Jr, and we were really close for the next 2 years, she moved to college and we’re still close,” he said. “Tech builds really close friendships, cause you work together every day.”

Though he was aware it may seem corny, the meaning of the story still rings true.

“The hat symbolizes how tech is a really good friendship building atmosphere,” he said. 

Heyden doesn’t know how much time he’s spent in the auditorium after all of these years of tech. It’d be a lot of math, he says. Hopefully one day he undertakes that challenge. In the meantime, we can only imagine.