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Model AME Pathways: Live Events

Santa Susana High School

Santa Susana High School is a suburban high school, located just north of Los Angeles. Julia Pinhey is the Technical Theatre teacher and the Director of the Live Events Pathway.

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Industry Partners

Alex Choate is a set and lighting designer who has been involved with this program for four years. Alex Johnson, who works in set construction, has also supported students in our pathway. Costume mentor, Ryan Rodgers from IATSE Local 728, mentors students. And 5 Star Theatricals has provided internships for the past four years. Ryan Marsh, lighting professional, and Arnon Manor, film director and producer, have also provided valuable support.

Industry Partner Engagement

Many of my industry advisors work with students directly to implement designs for our productions on campus. They also teach students industry related skills as we are building our productions. For example, Alex Choate recently worked with one of our students to design the lights for a black box production of The Tempest. 


5 Star Theatricals and Arnon Manor have offered our students opportunities to learn on the job. Our students have received internships in sound, wardrobe, set and production crew.

Work Based Learning

Santa Susana Live Events students are responsible for staffing 25+ shows each year. This season includes six theatre productions, choir concerts, instrumental concerts, dance concerts, and a guest speaker series. They construct the sets, program the lighting console, and hang/patch lights as needed. Our venue acts as a road house, and the students make it all happen with the assistance of our industry partners.


Building the set for our six theatre productions is  probably one of our biggest work-based learning opportunities. Students learn different paint and building techniques alongside professionals. And they learn how to properly hang set pieces with our counterweight rigging system. 


Students build on the learning they get at Santa Susana to become interns for local theatres, sound and lighting companies.  We have been doing this since 2002!

Student Success

Ryan Rodgers is a partner in Melendez & Rodgers Lighting Solutions, LLC. primarily focusing on business operations for the company. In addition to his work at M & R Lighting Ryan also maintains membership in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 728 Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians and works on everything from feature films to music videos. Ryan also freelances as a lighting designer for live productions, reality TV and game shows. Ryan Rodgers and Franklin Melendez were able to join local 728 as a direct result of an internship they experienced while in high school at Santa Susana. 


Santa Susana has started a webpage that celebrates alumni who have turned their high school learning into a career. Check it out here:

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