Name: JD Stallings
Hometown: Burnsville, North Carolina
Education: B.A., elementary education, Wake Forest University; M.F.A., scenic design and technology, University of Virginia
Job title: Technical Director for the Department of Theatre and Dance
How long have you worked at the College? 2 years. I started in July 2019.
What are your job responsibilities? Generally, I’m responsible for planning and executing the technical elements of department productions (except costumes☺︎). I work on budgets, drafting, scheduling and managing the student workforce on every step between the end of the design process and opening night of the show. To that end, I spend most of my time in the scene shop and onstage, supervising and working alongside students to make sure the scenery, lighting, sound and props are completed as designed, on time, within budget, and safely. I also teach Stagecraft, which covers all of the basic skills required for this process: carpentry, painting, AV, rigging, metalwork and much more.
What do you like most about your job? Working with students who are excited to learn and practice new hands-on skills that they can use for the rest of their lives, whether they stay in theater or not.
What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer?
Q: “Do you have to work a lot of nights?”
A: A good number, but hopefully only when it’s time for technical and dress rehearsals. If I’m painting a set in the middle of the night, I probably did something wrong in the planning process. I am definitely not a morning person, regardless.
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? The roof above the Emmett Robinson Theatre fly loft. I’ve only had to go up once for maintenance reasons, but the view is quite nice.
What are your hobbies? I haven’t had much time for hobbies lately, but I enjoy hiking (especially in national parks), sitting in an inner tube on a river, photography, mini-golf, tennis, looking for fossils and playing on the playground with my wife and daughter.
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? The year before I stopped teaching high school theater to get my M.F.A., I did a production of RENT for which I was the designer, director and technical director. It was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever worked on (topically and technically), but also the most rewarding on a number of levels. I feel like I grew exponentially as a teacher and human over the course of that production.
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why? Ted Lasso. How often do you find something on TV (other than Mr. Rogers reruns) that makes you feel that just being a good person is a totally worthwhile endeavor?
What was your favorite TV show growing up? I didn’t have a way to watch it until I was in high school, but I did spend four years binge-watching The Simpsons.
What’s next on your bucket list? Going to Europe next summer with my family for the once-a-decade Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany.
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? I’m not really into watching live theater and never have been. I just like making it happen for other people to enjoy.
What was your first job? I worked for a sculptor when I was in middle school. Looking back on it, I have no idea why he thought an adolescent boy was the ideal candidate to carefully place clay into molds for female nudes. Come to think of it, I have no idea why my parents agreed to it ….
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? I’m a big fan of Vicious Biscuit.
Describe your perfect day: Sleep in, play with my daughter, chicken supremes with sweet tea for lunch, look for fossil shark teeth, go on a sunset hike with family, read bedtime stories, eat crab cakes, play a board game, watch a movie, read a little, thank God for an amazing day, go to bed.
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