Yes, Calling Someone a "Techie" Can Be Offensive
OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Sometimes, even with the best intentions, certain terms, labels and names you have for various people can be offensive to them. One term that is commonly used in theatre is to describe the technical crew, technicians, etc as "techies". And while this term is often used with the best intentions, at the end of the day, it's offensive.
As an actor, I learned this the hard way. I had always called my technical crew, "techies", never thinking whether or not they wanted to be called that in the first place. Finally one day, one of my friends who was on the crew finally replied,
"How would you like it if we called you Actie!?!?!?"
Needless to say I was equally taken aback and embarrassed. But she was right. By calling someone a "techie", it cute-ifies their title to the point that it becomes belittling. And while most other people in a production are often referred to as their proper titles(Actor, Director, Producer), it makes little sense nor is it fair to change the role of the crew and technicians to something that sounds inferior to the rest of the production.
Now not every crew member feels this way. Some don't mind being called a techie. I've spoken to many that seem to enjoy it. However I learned this because I asked, which is what you should do. Don't hesitate to ask crew members how they would like to be referred to. This way it clears everything up from the beginning and leads to less issues. There are often plenty of other issues to worry about in a production before who refers to who as what.
I'll be the first to admit that this blog has been guilty of using the term in the past but we've made our best effort to not use it now.
Working on a production is a team effort and an increased level of respect and communication goes a long way. So next time, before you call someone backstage a "techie", stop and ask yourself what would you want them to call you?
Photo: Laker Theatre Company tech crew