Seaman High School Theatre Alumni Spotlight

November- Dakota Mumford

Posted by Katie Murphy on 11/1/2017

Dakota Mumford

Name: Dakota Mumford

Years active in SHS theatre: 3

Year graduated: 2013

Current professional title/major: Art Education with a Minor in Theatre

International Thespian Society Member? Yes

What made you choose to do theatre at Seaman High School?

My cousin had been part of it and she told me how great it was and I had done theatre at my former high school so I decided to try it.

What roles did you play/crew positions did you have while a part of SHS theatre?

I was a crew member. I was stage manager; I was president of Its club. I was properties coordinator. Set construction. I helped get costumes. Assistant stage manager.

Dakota TCTWhat is one of your favorite memories, roles or activities while you were a part of SHS theatre?

I think my favorite part was all the friends I made while doing theatre it was like a family. Also getting to meet Sara Myer as she got me involved with TCT which I now do a lot of volunteering for.

How have your experiences as a part of SHS theatre influenced or helped you in your life and career?

It helped me to love theatre and want to continue with it as I continue my career.

What are you currently doing as a part of the theatre community?

Right now I am a stage managing Hunchback of Notre Dame at Topeka Civic Theatre. I volunteer a lot there. From crewing to stage managing, even helping in the office. I am also the properties coordinator for Hellen Hocker Theatre. I'm also assistant director for the Jeff West High School's theatre department.

Dakota International Thespian FestivalWhat theatre experiences have you since graduating from SHS?

I have attended International Thespian Festival and plan on attending Kansas thespian festival with Seaman this winter.

I have also volunteered on many crews at Topeka Civic Theatre and Helen Hocker Theatre over the years.

What piece of theatrical advice would you give your fellow SHS theatre alumni?

Keep doing what you love and follow your dreams and if at first you don't succeed try again. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise

Brett Broadbent
Brett Broadbent

Years Active in SHS Theatre: 4

Graduated: 2016

Studying: Light Design and Theatre Performance with a minor in Vocal Music

Why did you decide to try SHS theatre?

I had been hooked on theatre in middle school, and I remember going to see the high school performances in 6th and 8th grade and being so awestruck by how fun and cool it looked. So I knew that I had to be a part of that when I got there.

U/s BusinessmanWhat roles did you play?

Freshman Year:
Radio Announcer Louder I Can't Hear You
U/S Businessman Tracks
Travis/Cop Footloose

Sophomore Year:
Tony Out of the Frying Pan
Mr.Mayor Seussical

Junior Year:
Juror 4 12 Angry Men 
Schroeder You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
Algernon Importance of Being Earnest

Senior Year:
Cronos/Jason Greek Mythology Olympiaganza
Prince Topher Cinderella

Favorite Roles you played at SHS? My two favorite memories from SHS Theatre were:

Seussical1. Playing Mr. Mayor in Seussical. It was so fun to do a children's show and get to play such an over the top character. Marissa Nunley and I made matching giant red and white striped bows; mine to go with my suit, hers in her hair.

2. My other favorite memory was after a show of 12 Angry Men. This older woman had come to the show and afterward, she came up to the cast and told us that she used to live in New York City and she cared for her young nephew there. One day in the winter, her nephew was playing in the snow and met this man that lived on the same street. The two became friends, and later so did the woman. She comes to find out that he is Reginald Rose, the playwright for 12 Angry Men. They became good friends up until his death. She told us that we should be proud of the production we had put on because she knew that he would have loved each of our performances. It was so cool to hear her story.

How have your experiences as a part of SHS theatre influenced or helped you in your life and career?

Theatre has given me so much in life. Its given me some of my best friends, and shaped who I am as a person. At Seaman, I got such an amazing groundwork and foundation, that once I got to college and started to study there, I felt much more prepared and comfortable with acting. Theatre at Seaman also helped reinforce that this was something I could and wanted to do for the rest of my life. It kept the spark alive and thriving.

Kansas State University What are you doing now?

I am majoring in theatre at Kansas State University (Go Cats!) While I am not currently involved in a production, I am involved in two performance groups in the theatre department. Purple Readers Project, which takes scripts from plays, tv shows, and movies, and does stage readings of them. I am also involved in The Writer's Room, a club where we write our own scripts and perform them as stage reading every month. I am also a member of On The Spot Improv, the improv team at K-State. We have made it to nationals the past 4 years, this past year getting 10thin the nation. Over the summer, I worked as a camp counselor for Topeka Civic Theatre, teaching kids tech theatre.

Have you received any theatre scholarships? 

I have been a recipient of the Green Room Guild Scholarship for the past two years.

What shows have you been in since you left SHS Since graduating, I have been in two shows Heathers the Musical at Topeka Civic Theatre, and Unity 1918 at Kansas State. I have also been on running crew for two shows, Little Mermaid and It's a Wonderful Life, both at Topeka Civic Theatre. I have worked as an usher for many shows at Kansas State University, and I am applying to work the box office there as well.

Do you have any advice for current theatre students?

My advice to anyone that is involved in the theatre world, or wants to be is to learn everything you can. Run spotlights, do sound booth, assist with costumes or sets. Learn how to be a versatile worker. Going along with that, say yes to everything. If you are asked to do a job, say yes. Be dependable. It is really true when they say you are always auditioning. If you can build a network of people that know you are reliable and a hard worker, then your life will be so much easier. And the biggest piece of advice. Be nice. Nobody likes a jerk, and its not going to help you in any way be being rude to people. It's the simplest, yet most effective and important piece of advice i've ever been given.

Sara (Martin) Myer
Sara (Martin) Myer

Years active in SHS theater: 2002-2004

Year graduated: 2004

Current professional title/major: Resident Set & Lighting Designer/Technical Director for the Oldfather Theatre, and Resident Sound Engineer for Topeka Civic Theatre.


What made you choose to do theater at Seaman High School?

It happened by chance! I needed an extra few credits and my counselor put me in Into to Tech Theatre. I had NO idea what it entailed or that it even existed! I learned that it was the perfect class for me - it encompassed all of my favorite things - Art/Painting, Woodworking/Building, Drafting/Design, and using tools. The rest is history - I was hooked from the first day!

What roles did you play/crew positions did you have while a part of SHS theater?

I held the positions of running crew/stage crew, stage manager, crew chief, prop mistress, set construction crew, strike crew, and guest set designer.

What is one of your favorite memories, roles or activities while you were a part of SHS theater?

My favorite role was as Stage Manager for 4 productions my junior and senior years (Murder's Bad, but Monday Can Kill You, The Music Man, Little Shop of Horrors, Arsenic and Old Lace).

I also enjoyed being the lead designer for the sets of Little Shop and Arsenic. My favorite memory would be meeting my (soon-to-be) husband for the first time, at rehearsal forMurder's Bad, But Monday Can Kill You. You could say we met thanks to the theater (and thanks to Diva Diane!!). We have been together since that show in 2003, and are now married and have three kids - the oldest two of them are now starting to show an interest in theater. A passion for theater is something my husband and I have shared from the start of our relationship. We have the "opposites attract" scenario - he is comfortable on stage under the lights, and I am comfortable backstage, making sure he's lit. We are never competing for the spotlight, haha.

How have your experiences as a part of SHS theater influenced or helped you in your life and career?

Sara at Topeka Civic TheatreI was taught the basics of stagecraft and design, how to work simultaneously as a team and individually to accomplish one goal (the show!)also how the importance of my one responsibility can affect the entire show. SHS theater taught me how to problem solve on the fly and make quick decisions. I learned that Theatre encompasses a wide variety of people - many of which I would not normally interact or socialize with. It has deepened my understanding of working with all types of people in our society. My only regret is that I didn't get introduced to theater sooner!

What are you currently doing as a part of the theater community?

I am currently employed by Topeka Civic Theatre, and design the set, lights, sound, and props for 8 shows a year on the Oldfather stage. I also balance the sound, manage the orchestra equipment, and program the soundboard for 3 shows on our Sheffel main stage each year. I have been employed with TCT for almost 5 years, and prior to that was a volunteer there from 2005-2013, in which I spent time painting sets, making props, operating the soundboard, spotlight, and running crew for shows. From time to time I take on side projects around town - currently, I am refinishing a small outdoor stage at the Topeka Zoo.

What theatre experiences have you had since graduating from SHS?

I have designed and built sets for Topeka Civic Theatre and Baldwin City Community Theatre. I have sound engineered and lighting designed for numerous cabaret shows and fundraisers throughout the Topeka area. I was employed by Seaman High in 2012-2013 as the Technical Theatre Activity Sponsor - in which time I assisted the Tech Theatre class in designing and building the sets for the two school productions that year (Tracks/Louder, I Can't Hear You, and Footloose). In addition to the info in question 5, as a volunteer at TCT, I have received a handful of Outstanding Volunteer Awards over my time as a volunteer there, as well as the Carmie Wolfe Volunteer of the Year Award (2009). My husband, Greg, also volunteers as an actor at TCT (since approx. 2001?). Our children are starting to reach the age in which they are also interested in theater, so it is becoming a family affair - which is very fulfilling. Seeing your children light up when learning about something you are passionate about is a very heartwarming experience.

What piece of theatrical advice would you give your fellow SHS theater alumni?

Never forget your theatrical roots! The place where you begin your theater experience will stick with you forever!

August 2017 Spotlight Andrew Ralston

Posted by Katie Murphy on 8/1/2017

Andrew Ralston

Name: Andrew Ralston

Years active in SHS theater: 4 years

Year graduated: 2015

Current Major: Theatre with an emphasis in Costume Design

University: Emporia State University

What roles did you play/crew positions did you have while a part of SHS theater?

Andrew in Seussical2011-Jerry/Soc, The Outsiders
2012-Detective O'Farrell/Ensemble, Curtains
2012-Doctor Phillips, Louder I Can't Hear You
2013-Chuck Cranston, Footloose
2013-Norman Reese, Out of the Frying Pan
2014-Cat in the Hat, Seussical
2014-Juror 8,12 Angry Jurors
2015-Charlie Brown, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
2015- Jack Worthing, The Importance of Being Earnest

Andrew as Jack WorthingWhat made you choose to do theater at Seaman High School?

I've had a major interest in theater. When I was in the fourth grade, I was in the high school's production of The Sound of Music. So I was already familiar with Mrs. Payne and I really enjoyed working with her and my peers in the department.

What is one of your favorite memories, roles or activities while you were a part of SHS theater?

I really had a lot of fun being a part of the process of getting the school to allow us to add a third show to our season during the school year. We then had the idea to only use the costume, set pieces, and props we had stored in our department. The money we earned from tickets was a profit for the department and that was nice to know we were making money.

How have your experiences as a part of SHS theater influenced or helped you in your life and career?

Being a part of the SHS theater department was always filled with learning experiences.

Specifically, with my senior year, I began to work more with our technical director, Ms. Murphy, and I got more interested in costuming as well as making decisions on what the shows for our next season will be. Costume design was never a career path I wanted to pursue until entering college. Once I began looking further into the technical theater I found myself in the costume shop more often and I started to find a bigger passion for creating and working with costumes.

Andrew in Letterman JacketWhat are you currently doing as a part of the theater community?

I am currently attending Emporia State University majoring in theater with an emphasis in costume design.
I am also employed by my Department in the costume shop where I construct and repair all of our costumes during the entire school theater season.
Locally, I just finished a production of Heathers the Musical where I played Kurt Kelly at Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy. I also had the opportunity to assistant costume design which was such an amazing learning experience.

If you are currently or did previously major in theater, did you receive any theatrical scholarships?

At Emporia State, I received the Frank L. Gilson Scholarship. I also received the Emporia Theatre Guild Scholarship.
This current year, I am the first recipient of the Herb Wyrick and Elwood P. Doud Scholarship.

What theater experiences have you had since graduating from SHS?

2015- Lucas, bare a pop opera- Topeka Civic Theatre

2015-Nicely Nicely, Guys and Dolls- Helen Hocker Theatre

2015- James Hayes/Ensemble, South Pacific- Emporia State University Theater

2016- Costume Crew, The Birds- Emporia State University Theater

2016-Ambrose Biardi-Coming to America-Emporia State University Summer TheaterAndrew as Edward Ferrars

2016-Costume Crew, The Dinner Party-Emporia State University Summer Theater

2016-Robert, Don't Dress for Dinner -Emporia State University Summer Theater

2016-Assistant Stage Manager, The Stinky Cheese Man-Emporia State University Summer Theater

2016-Costume Construction-Big River-Emporia State University Theater

2016-Assistant Stage Manager, The 39 Steps-Emporia State University Theater

2017-Costume Construction, Six Characters in Search of an Author-Emporia State University Theater

2017- Edward Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility- Emporia State University Theater

2017 - Kurt Kelly, Heathers the Musical Topeka Civic Theater

2017 - Assistant Costume Designer, Heathers the Musical Topeka Civic Theater

What piece of theatrical advice would you give your fellow SHS theater alumni?

When entering college or just post-high school, please stay involved in theater. Most colleges allow non-majors to still participate and stay involved in their season shows. The arts always need support and the more we have involved the better we keep the arts well represented.