By JORDI FAXON
The CUSD board has chosen a candidate to fill a full-time theater manager position who will run every facet of the Carmel High performing arts center, from booking events for the school and outside organizations to running sound and lights during performances to maintaining the theater’s cleanliness.
“It was something we envisioned for the theater from the very beginning,” CHS music teacher Brian Handley says. “So those of us in the know have been waiting for this to happen now for a number of years.”
Since the theater’s opening nine years ago, CHS teachers have had to fill the managerial roles as an alternative to having a full-time manager. Photography teacher Holly Lederle was in charge of making reservations and scheduling for all of the performances, and now-retired Industrial Arts teacher Paul McFarlin was in charge of the tech and sound during performances.
“I did front-of-house for the performing arts center for five years when it first opened,” Lederle says. “I would teach a full day of classes, then we’d have performances in the evening, and they would be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee, and I’d go back to teaching again and repeat it the next weekend.”
Lederle backed out of her role when the time commitment became too great, and Jack Clifford, a theater major, was hired part-time to fill her role, also filling some of the technical roles when McFarlin was too swamped. Clifford will soon be continuing his theater studies.
“My responsibilities have been to book the theater,” Clifford says. “Essentially, I was just approving or denying requests to use it. Once I was hired, I took over most of Paul McFarlin’s responsibilities. I would focus on lights, sound and running shows where he would build the sets.”
When McFarlin retired last school year, the situation became more dire for the theater’s future because newly hired Industrial Arts teacher Michael Brewer has minimal experience working in a theater. Now the need for a theater manager has become crucial, so the posting has finally been listed, and someone has been chosen.
As for why the board has waited nine years to post this job, CHS Principal Rick Lopez acknowledges that even though there was support for the position from the inception of the theater, there was uncertainty regarding what the job would entail. The district leadership instead decided to hold out on creating this position until they were more sure of how the theater would be used and what the theater would demand from its manager.
Lopez notes that now the opening of this position is opportune and that he has been a supporter for this full-time position for the entire span of the theater’s existence.
“I think the district got their head around now that it was time, it was necessary, and they could see the need,” Lopez says. “They could see the way in which we interact with the facility, and finally we were able to make the commitment.”
Lopez hopes that the theater manager can start working on the first day of the second semester.