When asked what it is like coming back to campus after graduation, 2019 graduate Jonah Yoder said that, “the biggest difference is no homework!”Yoder, who graduated last May with an interdisciplinary major with concentrations in music, theater, and business, was hired this spring to work in the Umble Center as the Interim Technical Director.
Yoder, Aaron Kaufmann and Jerry Peters are sharing the responsibilities of a full time Technical Director. While Kaufmann handles matters of lighting and power and Peters manages the shop, Yoder runs the Umble performance spaces.
He arrives on campus every day in the early afternoon and is then responsible for any number of Umble tasks, including supervising rehearsals, managing the Umble schedule and corresponding with directors and professors. After all of this he can go home, whether that is at three in the afternoon or eleven at night.
In addition to his role as Interim Technical Director, Yoder is also the stage manager for Cymbeline, the Shakespearean comedy selected as this year’s spring mainstage. Cymbeline is being directed by Michelle Milne, who previously directed the spring 2016 mainstage, Julius Caesar, and is the instructor for one of Goshen’s Inside Out May Term courses, Borders, Boundaries, and Bridges.
When Milne is not in Goshen, she spends her time in several other states, and is currently living and directing a show in Arizona. Until she returns, Yoder manages rehearsals alone, with nothing but his wit, extensive stage managing experience, and Skype calls with Milne to guide him.
In Yoder’s four years at Goshen College he stage managed and acted in several shows, served as a manager of Java Junction, and worked in the Music Center Events Office. This experience, along with general familiarity with the Umble staff and facilities, has come in handy in his new role.
Still, this is Yoder’s first technical directing position, and he is learning on his feet. Yoder enjoys learning from the students he supervises, including Assistant Technical Director and sophomore theater major, Jacob Claassen.
Yoder is the fourth person to take on the responsibilities of technical director since the fall of 2018, and he too is only temporary. He is grateful for this opportunity to get his feet wet in the field of professional theater tech to help him decide if he might want to invest more time and education into the field.
When asked about his favorite part of the job, Yoder said “I love that it is different every day… It keeps me on my toes.”
If you are interested in seeing Yoder’s work in the Umble Theater, upcoming events include The Musical Cabaret of Love and Light, a selection of scenes from musicals and operas, directed by Scott Hochstetler and Marcia Yost, on February 14 and 15 at 7:30 pm, as well as February 16 at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $5, general seating.
The C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest will also be held on the Umble stage on February 18 at 7:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Finally, Cymbeline will open March 27 at 7:30 pm and continue March 28 and April 3 at 7:30 pm and March 29 and April 5 at 2:30 pm. For those interested in attending, tickets are available at https://gcmusiccenter.secure.force.com/ticket/