As a student at Andover, the first theatrical production Brad Seymour ’00 ever worked on was a schoolwide performance of “The Nutcracker” in 1998. After graduating from Andover in 2000, Seymour went on to receive a masters degree in theatrical production and performance, with a focus on lighting and set construction. He returned to Andover as a teacher in 2018 and now serves as the Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department.
“My favorite part about teaching is working directly with students, and I think my favorite part of being the department chair is having the opportunity to look at all the different things we’re doing in theater and dance and figuring out ‘what are we really good at?’ and ‘where are we having a positive impact on our students?’ and ‘how do we focus on that?’” Said Seymour.
In addition to the administrative responsibilities of being a department chair, Seymour’s theater-specific roles include working as producer and technical director for performances. He also teaches several courses regarding theatrical production—Lighting Design (THD320), Scene Design (THD325), and Stage Craft (THD380). Seymour feels that while department leadership is important, the collaborative nature of theater and dance should also be emphasized.
“It’s exciting to be the chair, but one of things that’s most important about theater and dance is how collaborative of an art form it is—to put on a show requires a large amount of people to work together…. We are a collaborative department so whoever is at the head of it is only a part of that. It’s really a full team effort for running our program,” said Seymour.
According to Seymour, there will be no significant changes to the Theatre and Dance department this year. The Theatre and Dance course offerings will remain mostly consistent from last year with a few new design-related courses. Overall, the department will continue to focus on ensuring that all students feel supported and have adequate resources in their theater and dance endeavors.
“I think planning wise, there’s a number of things we’re looking at making sure [of]: working on aligning all of our courses around a common set of goals, developing those goals, focusing on what we do really well and making sure that we have a lot of student impact. Other than that, it’s a lot of the day-to-day planning about when our shows happen…. We try to plan at the end of the year before the next school year,” said Seymour.
Looking forwards, one anticipated change coming to the Theater and Dance department will be the opening of the Pan Athletic Center next year, a new athletics and dance building. Seymour hopes that Pan Center will allow the theater and dance program to offer more performance opportunities to dancers, as well as expand the department in ways that were previously not possible.
“I think [the Pan Center is] going to give a lot of opportunities to celebrate the work that our dancers are doing— in their sport, in their classes and their clubs…. In a similar way to, in the theater classroom, there’s always DramaLabs going on throughout the year and I’m hoping we get a similar cadence and vibe going around dance,” said Seymour.