#CYPossible: Theodore A. Abdelmaseh, Technical Theatre

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Alumnus Theodore Abdelmaseh stands in Gateway Plaza on a green lawn in front of the admissions and records building at Cypress College.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, and moved to Southern California in 2016. I have always had a passion for tech and behind-the-scenes footage from movie sets. I remember the earliest one that stuck with me, the animated “Sindbad” movie, where the voice actors were recorded, and the animation team used lasers to scan the characters’ models.

I started working at Live Sound in Egypt in 2009. Back then, there weren’t audio/live sound schools, and you just used the old school method: becoming a tech, wrapping cables, pushing cases, and working your way up.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College, and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

When I moved to Anaheim, Cypress College was the closest school with programs that matched what I was looking for. At the time, the financial aid department really helped a lot by allowing me to join and take more classes and guiding me to the proper grants. At the time, it was called the California Dream Act/Governor Waiver. I started with the Recording Arts Certificate.

Also, being a sister college to Fullerton College helped me attend classes on both campuses and expedite my journey.

Working shows as a student helped me gain some United States experience, which helped me get my first position after finishing my certificates.

Alumus Theodore Abdelmaseh sits by the Cypress College pond.

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold, and who were the faculty and staff who helped you along that path?

Slowly, I got more involved with the theatre department. Top of the list was and still is Donny Jackson, who provided a lot of insight into how productions work, gave us behind-the-scenes tours to prominent production companies such as Disney, and gave us student tickets to see different shows as well as Ray Gibson, who taught me a lot of different audio techniques for live theatre while we worked on the college productions of “Toxic Avenger” and “Celebration of Dance.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.), and where are you now?

After finishing my certificates, I found a job as Head Audio/ FOH mixer with the REV Theatre Co. in Auburn, New York, where I worked on that season’s productions of “42nd Street,” “Footloose,” and “Almost Heaven.”

Currently, I am assistant Audio on the firs national tour of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

My professional bucket list is to mix and design on Broadway, eventually starting a production company.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I find that I am really passionate about creating/ designing immersive experiences utilizing multiple effects and techniques. Personally, good-sounding shows where all the notes hit right give me goosebumps, and I enjoy thinking about providing similar experiences to audiences.

What are you most proud of?

There were days when things were somewhat hard, trying to figure out financials and working a lot of hours while being a full-time student. I was juggling multiple jobs along with the school schedule.
I used to work as a cashier, an Uber driver, security, and a delivery driver with Amazon.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have started some general ed classes alongside tech-driven classes, as it would have helped me get my associate degree. But, also, I am lucky enough to be in a field that is mainly about experience rather than degrees, which allowed me to start my career ASAP.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Try getting your first job even during college, whether it’s an internship or a low-paying position, especially with bigger productions, in order to gain the most experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am always looking forward to a way to help or guide current students with any career advice or a piece of information, as I feel it’s a way to pay it forward toward the people who have helped me get where I am at right now.

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