Will Davis, Dibden Technical Director, and his partner, Kacy Hope, JSC’s Campus Visit and Outreach Coordinator, are leaving their respective positions in May after two years at JSC for new opportunities further south.
Before coming to JSC, Davis and Hope first met in Kentucky where they were both doing theatre work. The couple admit they were initially hesitant to move to Vermont, but when longtime Kentucky friend and Administrative Assistant to the Academic Dean Susan Nichols contacted them with job offers, Hope says they were northern-bound.
Davis understood what his new job would entail in succeeding former director Jan Herder; however, he never expected the bond he would form over the next two years. “I knew it was big when I learned about this position,” he said. “What I didn’t realize was how much of a gel that would make for them and with me… to make that team.”
As technical director of Dibden, Davis oversees all aspects of Dibden dance performances, plays and concerts from lighting, communications and stage crews of both students and professionals.
After one particularly hard time while working with a dance company, Davis remembers when several students thanked him for his work a day after the show with a card and a bottle of maple syrup.
“I will never forget that because it’s just one of those things where I’m thanking them,” said Davis. “For them to thank me was really special because it’s my job and that’s what I’m here to do. That really tugged at the heart strings.”
When she arrived at JSC, Hope became the fine arts administrative assistant before getting a full-time job in admissions.
“I worked on the Marketing Task Force because I really like to be busy and have my hands in a lot of things and that allowed me to do that and allowed me to make a lot of friends on campus,” said Hope, who designed the fine and performing arts newsletter, “JSC Creative ARTicles” that began in fall of 2015.
As summer approaches, Davis and Hope admit their futures are unclear at the moment, though they are excited to see what challenges lay ahead. Davis and Hope both say the desire to be more accessible to family has been a factor in their decision to leave JSC. “Will’s parents are in Mississippi and my parents and all of my family are in Kentucky,” said Hope. “We like this area, but it’s very inaccessible and expensive to fly in and out of everywhere. That’s a little hard.”
“If we could take this and just shove it down about 400 miles [that’d be great] because we both love the mountains, the outdoors and the people here,” Davis adds.
Davis also says he wants to pursue a full-time faculty position as a self-proclaimed “nerd” for all things theatre-specific.
Their next destination? Davis says Florida is a strong possibility with friends and potential job opportunities awaiting him and Hope.
“I’ll probably start with some adjunct work around [Florida] and just get some more teaching classroom experience and maybe do some directing with different companies,” said Davis. “[At JSC], it’s been exciting and wonderful to work with concerts, classical work and modern work and dance, but I hope to funnel that into theatre a bit because that’s my love.”
As for Hope, she says her English background coupled with 10 years of theatre work and two years in admissions gives her a variety of job opportunities. “I would love to possibly work in a theatre again in that aspect – a nonprofit,” she said. “Whatever [I go into] I want to be busy and challenged.”
On April 12, JSC posted an ad to the college’s job openings on its website and recently formed a search committee to fill the tech director role for the fall semester according to Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Bethany Plissey, who says JSC will miss both Davis and Hope.
“I don’t necessarily know how to put a thumb on it because I don’t know what will happen with the person who comes in, but Will has done a lot to organize and streamline the management of the student work staff in the theatre,” said Plissey. “Kacy was our administrative assistant here for a year and we’ve missed her desperately already. She was very efficient and able to bring in new projects that we’ve been wanting to do for a while.”
Part of Davis’ fondness for theatre within academia also comes with taking risks and giving students opportunities to develop their ideas and abilities.
Despite lacking any experience, JSC studio arts major Kalob Gabree says Davis welcomed him as part of the team for his production of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” in February 2017. “I worked with Will throughout the show, and he taught me along the way about designing a set for the show, how to do it,” said Gabree.
“He knew I had that artistic perspective and he [helped me out],” Gabree continued. “He’s just a really hard-working and dedicated-to-his-job kind of guy who’s really personable and works well with other people.”
Come fall of 2017, both Davis and Hope will have left JSC, though they say the bonds they have made with students, staff and faculty have created fond memories that will stick with them wherever they land.
“I just hope that, from when I came in to when I’m leaving, it’s become more of a team and that these guys know that they’re fighting together and the better they do, the better their colleagues do,” said Davis. “It’s my first real university gig and that’s why it will always stick with me, that’s why I will always be a Badger.”