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Lighting the stage for the UTEP Theatre Department

“Cue the Miners,” an online media platform started in January 2024, spotlights design, technology and stage management students, the voices who bring UTEP theatre productions to life. Photo courtesy of @cue_the_miners on Instagram.

A group of theatre students have fostered a new sense of community and belonging in the UTEP Theatre department that celebrates and highlights students who bring their unique talent to the world of theater at UTEP. “Cue the Miners,” an online media platform started in January 2024, spotlights design, technology and stage management students, the voices who bring UTEP theatre productions to life.   

Genesis Tanner, a senior majoring in theatre arts at UTEP, who also works in scenic design and helped launch the online platform, says she felt the need for a community that celebrates design, technology, and management students at UTEP. 

“People we see in the audience have no idea how many hours it takes to produce the sets, the sound and lights, the management, and it’s important for us to highlight that,” Tanner said. “The amount of dedication and passion that goes into the process is sometimes overshadowed by the performance. We don’t want to put down the performance; we want to highlight our design, technology and management students just as much as those on stage.” 

Nurturing young talent through every level of the diverse programs that the theatre department offers, the social media platform also highlights job opportunities and awareness that careers in the theater field are accessible locally and nationally.   

“There are so many opportunities in design, technology, and stage management, and a good majority of our students have and will go on to summer internships,” Tanner said. “We (also) highlight the career paths we are on because careers in this field are very lucrative and accessible.” 

Tanner and seven fellow theatre students, like UTEP senior Maya Lavin, also had the opportunity to go to the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival last month in Abilene, Texas, where they got to showcase their work. 

The festival aims to recognize and celebrate the finest and diverse work produced in college theater programs in the country. These UTEP students participated in workshops, watched productions, and presented their work among judges to earn scholarships and a spot for the national festival in Washington, D.C., where Tanner and Lavin will attend. 

“I enjoyed the Kennedy Center Festival because we were there to highlight and celebrate all student’s work because there is so much stellar work that is produced all over the nation, and being able to witness what our peers are creating is important in the theatre world,” Tanner said. “Cause it shows what other regions are capable of, so the festival was such a positive and beautiful experience.” 

Lavin, who also helped begin “Cue the Miners” along with Tanner, had to advocate for themselves and the students who wanted to attend the festival. They both had to ask the UTEP Student Government Association (SGA) for funds and create proposals, a process that was unknown territory for them.   

“The reason we started this online platform was to advocate and help us get those fundraisers,” Lavin said. “I wanted to showcase our students and show the work that we do because I think they get overshadowed, and I wanted us to have somewhere to show them that we support them and their work.” 

UTEP student’s work did not go unnoticed at the festival. Lavin was an ASPIRE Arts Leadership Finalist and National Fellow, Tanner won a Region Choice Award for Scenic Design, an award for undergraduate design excellence, and UTEP junior Reggie Garcia was a national runner-up and received a Region 6 Mertious achievement.   

“I learned a lot from all the workshops, and it helped reinforce what I want to do when I graduate, and arts administration was something I never looked into, but it wasn’t when I went to the festival it opened my eyes to other opportunities that I could have,” Lavin said. “I talked to schools that offer master’s programs in art administration and sharing my background as a stage manager, there were so many doors that opened up for me.” 

Tanner and Lavin welcome all theatre majors and anyone as “Cue the Miners” continues to highlight the artists behind the curtains and their talent that makes the UTEP productions more special and captivating. For more information or questions students can follow @cue_the_miners on Instagram.  

Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta
Erik Acosta, Editor-in-Chief
Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in theatre. He plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and print with hopes of working at LA times, Washington Post and ABC News.
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