Truckee teens working behind the scenes to propel community theater |

Truckee teens working behind the scenes to propel community theater

Johan Sotelo, seated, and Taylor Johns have volunteered many hours to give back to the community.
Courtesy Danielle Hankinson |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee Community Theater is very proud of two local teens boys who are making a positive impact on performing arts in Truckee.

Meet Johan Sotelo, who attends Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, and Taylor Johns, who is a student at Alder Creek Middle School. Both young men are seventh graders.

Johan’s first experience with a TCT play was a year ago, when his class and teacher attended a free “school days” performance of The King and I. He was intrigued by all the special effects, and fascinated by the digital light and sound boards, both manned by middle school kids.

He quickly volunteered, and jumped right in as sound assistant on “Broadway at the Park,” light board operator on “Into the Woods, Jr.” and the Christmas show, and sound board operator for “The Crucible.”

For the upcoming spring musical, “Bye, Bye Birdie,” Johan is stepping into the role of Tech Director, and will be calling all tech cues from backstage.

Johan is a truly amazing young man, in charge of yearbook and marketing events for SELS, playing clarinet, volunteering in a music program to work with younger kids at Truckee Elementary School, and working for Sierra Watershed Education Partnership.

He aspires to become an event planner or a professional tech director when he grows up.

Johan remarks, “I enjoy a lot of things about working with TCT, but my favorite things are meeting new people, getting to do things I love, and learning life skills like planning and organization by working with our director, Courtney Simson.”

Taylor is equally enthusiastic about his experiences with TCT. He loves the rehearsals, the quality of the shows, and the chance to learn all about technical theater by actually doing it!

Taylor first ran the light board for “The King and I,” went on to work the follow spot for “Broadway at the Park,” backstage crew on “The Crucible,” and running the sound board for the Christmas show.

In his spare time, he loves to design sets and lights, and has models in his bedroom at home. He is in the band at ACMS, and would like to become either a professional musician in the future, or, like Johan, work as a tech expert for a professional theater company.

Truckee Community Theater encourages middle and high school students who have an interest in learning backstage and front of the house tech skills to become involved.

TCT is currently seeking teens to run follow spots, work backstage, and assist on the light board and sound board for “Bye Bye Birdie” — with performances set for May 27-29 and June 3-5 in Truckee.

This article was provide by the Truckee Community Theater. For more, visit or contact director Courtney Simson at

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