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Class of 2024 graduate pursues dream at renowned theatre program

Class of 2024 graduate Andrew HillseJune 7, 2024


The future for senior Andrew Hille is as bright as the lights on Broadway.

The Class of 2024 graduate will attend the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) this fall to major in Theatre Design and Production, specializing in stage management. The highly selective program trains the next generation of technical theatre professionals who work behind the scenes in productions on Broadway and across the globe.

Hille’s introduction to technical theatre and stage management began in the most unassuming way possible as a seventh grader.

“I was just looking for something to do,” Hille stated. “I wasn’t involved in a ton of afterschool activities, and I wasn’t into sports or anything. I saw information about being on crew for ‘Tony and Tina’s Wedding,’ so I went to the information meeting. I’ve been on crew ever since.”

Over the next five years, Hille worked on the Stagecrafters crew in various backstage roles, earning recognition from staff and older students in the program along the way. He challenged himself to learn the required tools and techniques of technical theatre and stage management but also improved on additional skills needed for success.

“In middle school, I was more on the shy side,” Hille expressed. "I was definitely interested in theatre, but I wasn’t super vocal. As I grew through some leadership positions, I learned more about communicating with other people and being a leader and became more outgoing throughout the years.”

At the beginning of his senior year, his sixth year in Stagecrafters, Hille completed a months-long Eagle Scout project by permanently installing footlights on the Frank W. Barr Auditorium stage. He not only secured funding through donations, including being a perennial “top seller” from popcorn fundraisers, but he coordinated a crew of nearly 20 for installation. He also designed the sets for the fall play “Dracula,”  managed a crew of 80 for that production, and was an integral component of the highly successful spring musical “Mamma Mia!”

“It was definitely during ‘Sister Act’ when we started to realize that Andrew understood the ‘more’ of theatre,” Director of Stagecrafters Jessica Atwood expressed. “He got the whole picture and the experience, too…we just started to see him understand what theatre can do for people beyond just being a fun show.”

“I have never, in my entire life, met a leader who is so adept at telling you to change what you’re doing with a smile and making you feel good about it,” Stagecrafters Advisor Andy Bruening added. “He is always pleasant and makes you want to work with him and for him.”

“His dedication and drive have hopefully rubbed off on the other kids in Stagecrafters when you see the time and effort that he puts in,” English Teacher and Director Craig Cohan said. “And not just the crew, but the other cast members as well. He puts his drive behind it. If you love it, go for it; I think he has.”

The stage management program at CCM allows students to learn skills in various aspects of technical theatre, from scenic and lighting design to sound, costumes, and more. Students are also encouraged to learn about directing, script analysis, and arts administration. 

“I know it sounds kind of silly, but I’m excited to be back at the bottom of the ladder again,” Hille said. “The nice thing about Fairview is that you can start in the seventh grade and be involved all six years. I’m excited to be on the bottom rung again, work with some of the older students at CCM, see what they have to teach me, and go through that learning process again.”  

Hille noted that one of his goals is to work on a Broadway tour, traveling around the country or world.

“We’re not just here doing fun and silly plays,” Atwood added. “This is real, and people make this their living. [Fairview] has a program that gives a child an opportunity to succeed and get into a program like this. You look at stage managers on Broadway and on national tours, and they are CCM stage managers. For the past seven years, that program has had 100 percent job placement for its stage management students upon graduation.”

“Not everyone is as hard-working as Andrew,” Bruening expressed. “But here you can make your own path; you can find out what you want to do. He’s the product of Jess’s awesome program that has made theatre fantastic and excellent. And he’s the product of a school system that champions students finding their ‘thing.’ What is your thing?”

Hille encourages younger students with similar stories to continue to learn and explore during their years at Fairview.

“I would just let them know it’s okay to make mistakes,” Hille said. “I know that sometimes people look at the upperclassmen and think they are perfect and they know everything. I’ve broken several drill bits this year, much to Mr. Bruening’s dismay. But I would show them it’s okay to make those mistakes. We’re here to learn, try new things, and learn about theatre. It’s about just showing them and giving them that space to hone their craft.”