The Huntington University Theatre Company will have three full shows in 2014-2015 rather than the usual four because Jonathan Hicks, assistant professor of theatre, is leaving at the end of the year.
Jay Duffer, chair of the theatre department, said Hicks is not leaving under any “sour circumstance.”
“He just had a great opportunity to work in his home state [of California], back at [Westmont College] and his children are young and the grandparents are close by,” he said. “There’s no scandal or ill-will. This was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up, and we support him in his decision. I’m happy and excited for him.”
Hicks handled most of the set construction and designing for the HUTC as well as helping out with lighting and sound for the shows. He also teaches the design curriculum at the university.
“For me personally, it has been an honor working with Professor Hicks,” Duffer said. “Our design work has just continued to grow and especially in terms of teaching students. They have learned so much about the area of technical theatre and design. He has had a remarkable impact on the students and on the program.”
Duffer is working with Del Doughty, Ph.D., interim vice president of academic affairs, on a job posting that will go out in a few weeks. President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., agreed to fill the position as well.
Duffer said they will hire a visiting professor for a year so they can have more time to do a full, complete search to find someone on a tenured track position.
“We are going to try and find a candidate who can at least handle the set designing and then hopefully we’ll find someone who has a specialty in lighting or sound,” he said.
The shortened season next year will reduce the workload on the new person, he said.
“Bringing someone into a new position and then throwing a huge amount of work at them … is just a huge expectation,” Duffer said. “I wouldn’t want to put that kind of expectation on someone I haven’t met yet, until I learn their skill set; it’s just cautionary. I don’t think it will have any kind of impact on the quality of the program that we have. If anything, it will give us a little more time to produce even better quality.”
The HUTC will announce next year’s shows in May.