Open Forum

Community Spotlight: David Simpson

By Ginny Butsch posted 04-02-2019 15:57


One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview.

Our next spotlight is David Simpson, an EdTA affiliate professional member of Troupes 8027 at Marine City High School and 5613 at St.Clair High School in East China, Michigan. David is the Performing Arts Center Manager for the East China School District and advises other Community members on a variety of technical and facility management issues. He’s also a Thespian Alum from Eisenhower High School, clearly one who is still “acting well their part!”


Why do you believe theatre is important?


Theatre is important for so many reasons. In an educational setting, it offers students a vehicle to engage and collaborate on a production. This incorporates all sorts of great skills. Not only is it a creative outlet, but it involves project management skills, communication, applied mechanical skills, and physical abilities. It often provides a place of belonging and purpose to students who are not active in other academic areas. The ability to have this type of an outlet and connection to a group is more important than ever these days. In a broader sense, theatre is a wonderful way to connect with your community. It offers us a way to look at culture and the world around us in a different manner. Theatre serves as a catalyst for conversations that we might not have otherwise.


What does a typical day look like for you?


One of the aspects about my job that I enjoy the most is that there is no “typical” day. Each day is a new adventure, depending on which production or event we are working on at that time. My day could be 10 hours spent in the Scene Shop working on a set, or 12 hours in my office dealing with the administrative part of my position; working on advancing shows, securing supplies and repair parts, and scheduling staff and the facility. Each component requires a different skill set. I like that variety and enjoy the challenge of wearing many hats and juggling so many different obligations at once.


What was the first role you ever played?


When I was in junior high, I played Mr. De Pinna in You Can’t Take It With You. Over the years, I have been involved in three productions of this show. It still holds a special place in my memories.


What playwright would you love to have lunch with? Tell us a question you’d ask them.


I would love to have lunch with Martin McDonagh. I have all kinds of questions regarding his process of writing and how he comes up with his stories.


 What is unique about your program?


I manage a performing arts center that supports two separate high schools, and is not attached to either school. We produce about 250 events each year; including between 6-8 theatre productions. Scheduling is very difficult, and resources are often spread thin. But, the shared facility allows our school district and students many opportunities that we would not have had in another arrangement. It is wonderful to see how all of our arts programs support one another. We are blessed to have such great students, staff, and families that are endlessly supportive of our programs.

Name something on your bucket list.


I would love to visit all 50 states. There is so much to enjoy and explore in our country.


If you enjoyed David’s interview as much as we did, add him as a contact in the Community.

Do you know someone who deserves a moment in the Spotlight? Tell me their name and why at Want to read more Community Spotlights? You can find them here.