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"Wicked Local" featured Pace University students Griffyd Cole and Willy Kinch in "A college degree in technical theater? WHS tech graduates answer a resounding ‘Yes'"

06/04/2018

"Wicked Local" featured Pace University students Griffyd Cole and Willy Kinch in "A college degree in technical theater? WHS tech graduates answer a resounding ‘Yes'"

WHS Bradford writer Olivia Ong ’20 spoke to some of the Wellesley High School alumni who have studied under WHS Technical Director and Production Manager Brian McManimon. Thanks to the inspiration and expertise of this devoted teacher, who in a mere five years has turned theater tech into a central performing arts program at Wellesley High, these students became so passionate about stagecraft they decided to pursue it as a career. The sky’s the limit and they are reaching for the stars!

Griffyd Cole ’16

Sophomore at Pace University, NYC

Majoring in Design and Production for Theater and Film

During my time in WMS and WHS I worked as a stagehand, sound designer, lighting designer, stage manager, electrician, carpenter and crew chief, in various capacities.

Brian McManimon is invested in his students’ success and that is an admirable trait in an educator. He helps students pursue their individual interests while simultaneously leading the group as a whole.

Manimon is extremely approachable because he is such a genuine and nice person. A little bit of kindness can go a long way. He isn’t just interested in handing out grades but wants to help his students grow within their own learning style and skill set.

The best piece of advice I ever received from Manimon is to always backup your arguments, designs and ideas. Even outside of the realm of design this advice is important because it is essential to have conviction in everything we do.

Manimon is a Pace alumnus and without him introducing me to the school I never would have thought about applying, so his guidance continues to influence me to this day. I’m also happy to call him my friend.

Willy Kinch ’15

Pace University

Majoring in Stage Management

I joined tech when I was a freshman, so I had two years at WHS before Manimon came on board. At the time I had a lot of friends involved, and joined mainly for them. However, after working on a few shows, I found that I really loved working backstage. At the beginning, I was a carpenter and in junior year I began to focus more on stage management.

Before Manimon, the high school really never had a professional technical director. Drama specialist Stephen “Wro” Wrobleski and the students had pretty much been on their own when it came to the logistics of creating and executing designs. Manimon played a big role in helping the techies realize their full potential and put up production designs we never would have thought possible.

Manimon treats his students with respect and is willing to give them challenging responsibilities when they exhibit the skills to carry them out. However, he always remains available as a mentor to help when things get difficult. It can be stressful for a student to be under the pressure of putting your work in front of an audience, or to be in a leadership position over so many of your fellow classmates. Manimon understands that it is an important experience for students to be given this level of responsibility, but that they need guidance and support along the way.

One important thing Manimon taught me was to adapt to change and keep moving forward. When working on a new production, there are bound to be large changes made in short periods of time and the best thing you can do in that situation is to drop whatever isn’t working and push on.

Manimon helped me understand as a high schooler that I could be a leader among my peers, and helped me fully realize it. Today I still hold onto this confidence, which has helped me find success in my time here in New York. I recently took a semester off to work as a Production Assistant on the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield.

POPS Note: The WHS Theater Tech program has been a recipient of some major POPS grants, enabling Brian McManimon to purchase necessary equipment and expand educational opportunities for students. We thank our annual donors for making this possible.

Read the full article.