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Amherst Works is looking for your news items and article ideas. Please send suggestions and questions to hr@amherst.edu.

WHO'S WHO

IN THE theater and dance DEPARTMENT

Kathy Couch| Linda Celi|Ron Bashford|Gina Siepel|Jon Doyle|


Kathy Couch ’95

couch

Brief bio: Stayed in the area after graduation and live in Northampton. Worked at Sylvester’s and late nights at Jake’s. Freelances in lighting design and just earned an MFA.

Date started at Amherst: May 2004.

Current position: Hand and focus supervisor.

Various positions held at Amherst: Build scenes in the carpentry shop, train students to be stage managers, train stage crews in managing all stage equipment.

Funniest experience at the College: Had a student who requested a sign saying, “Jippee.” Jon Doyle spent 3 days soldering tiny lights on the sign. When we went to test it and turned on the lights the whole thing blew up. Now, whenever we have anything crazy happen, we all call out, “Jippee!”

What do you splurge on? I love to cook so I splurge on food.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: I have a studio in my home so I do a lot of my visual arts work.

Little-known fact about you: When I was young I lived in Texas.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst: Jason Alexander.

Your coworkers think you are: Friendly, collaborative, interested in them as people outside of work.

What sideline or hobby do you have? Gardening.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d be more confident.

What really sets you off? When people are bored and they tell me so. When asked to take on a responsibility and then it’s taken away to be done their own way, anyway.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: Baggy, comfy pants.

People in high school thought you were: Funny.

Strangest job you ever held: I had to travel to Serbia and do a festival in 2009. There are no code regulations plus I had to find my own way around.

Dumbest thing you ever did: Doing a show at John M. Green Hall at Smith College, I had to crawl out onto a platform that was about 80 feet in the air with no railings.

Proudest moment: I was asked by my master’s graduating class to give the commencement speech.

Closing comment: It’s nice to be included in this newsletter and have others get to know us.


Linda Celi      

celi

Brief bio: Grew up in Holyoke, husband and son are public school teachers in Holyoke. Have two grandchildren, 8-year-old Trent and 4-year-old Paige.

Date started at Amherst: August 2002

Current position: Academic department coordinator, business manager of theater and dance

Funniest experience at the College: At an event, the Holden Theater had an odor of open sewer. The audience started arriving and there were quite a few eyebrows raised over the odor. We had to call facilities, which came in and fortunately fixed the problem.

What do you splurge on? Pocketbooks. I have more than 100 and don’t throw any away.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: Travel, primarily to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Florida.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst: Jason Alexander (George from Seinfeld). He came here with his son and they sat in on Connie Congdon’s class.

Your coworkers think you are: Probably annoying since I have to ask for things. I’m kind of the “mother” around here.

What sideline or hobby do you have? Crossword puzzles. I took this up when I gave up smoking.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d stop worrying so much.

What really sets you off? When I see someone treating someone else rudely or in a way that you wouldn’t want to be treated.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: If you wait long enough it comes back.

People in high school thought you were: Too social.

Strangest job you ever held: I worked for an alarm company from 4 p.m. to midnight and did I get some strange calls.

Dumbest thing you ever did: Backed out of my garage and knocked my side mirror off my car.

Proudest moment: When my son got his master’s degree from Smith College.

Closing comment: I wish everyone would come to a show at least once to see how hard these kids work. It’s only two hours, it’s free and you’ll have an enjoyable evening.


Ron Bashford ’88

bashford

Brief bio: Grew up in Reading, Mass. After graduating moved to London for a short stint. Spent 18 years in New York City, directing plays. Was involved with the Chester Theater Co. Member, Actors Equity Association.

Date started at Amherst: July 2010

Current position: Assistant professor of theater and dance

Various positions held at Amherst: Work-study during college, music major. Worked for Bob Shea in building and grounds. Dislocated a knee mowing back in the day.

Funniest experience at the College: Founded Marsh House and was invited back by current students. Had to hold my tongue about the escapades we were involved with.

What do you splurge on? Theater tickets

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: I love to cook. Chicken gumbo is a favorite.

Little known fact about you: I still own my very first car, a 1993 Honda Accord with 165,000 miles.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst: Ray Fiennes. (Sir Ian McKellan and I stood chatting together on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City observing the events of the day unfold.)

Your coworkers think you are: They think that I’m calm and that I stay calm under stressful situations.

What sideline or hobby do you have? I’m too wrapped up in my occupation to have other hobbies.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d be more gregarious outside of work.

What really sets you off? People who think they know better.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: Cassette tapes.

People in high school thought you were: Outspoken.

Strangest job you ever held: I worked security at a theater in London. We had to make sure that everything was safe when the Queen attended.

Dumbest thing you ever did: Tripped on a front stoop in New York City and broke my nose

Proudest moment: Opening night of production of Hamlet in North Carolina. I had produced, directed and designed everything but the lights. The actor who played Hamlet and I really connected. It was a profound experience.

Closing comment: The faculty and staff work as a family, as a small theater production company. All of a student’s work must be approved and run by the staff, and this ensures the success of senior projects (a requirement of all theater and dance majors).


Gina Siepel

siepel

Brief bio: Grew up in New York. Studied painting at SUNY Purchase. Stayed in New York City after graduation and lived in Brooklyn for 10 years. Was the technical director at Sarah Lawrence for five years. Graduated with an MFA in studio art.

Date started at Amherst: August 2010

Current position: Assistant technical director, master carpenter.

What do you splurge on? Woodworking tools.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: Working on my art work (sculptures).

Little known fact about you: My fifth grade teacher taught me Polish. I can still read it but, unfortunately, can’t speak it. I also built my own boat, a 14-foot cedar row boat, Bateau. I launched in on the Kennebec River in Maine in 2010.

Your coworkers think you are: Creative and obsessive.

What sidelines or hobbies do you have? Boat-building, cycling and bird-watching.

What really sets you off? Apathy.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: More amateur music.

People in high school thought you were: Creative, artistic and a bit nerdy.

Strangest job you ever held: I worked as a freelance art handler and was hired to inventory a huge warehouse that was filled with hundreds of boxes. I had to include the height, width and length of every box that was in the warehouse. Turned out they were all empty.

Dumbest thing you ever did: Early in my career, I worked at Studio 54, Cabaret in a historic theater as a scenic artist. I was painting crown molding and left a full gallon of black paint on a ladder while I was called away. When I returned I forgot that the paint was still on top of the ladder and when I tried to move it, the paint fell all over me and this beautiful, historic place.

Proudest moment: A solo exhibit of my work at the Colby College Museum of Art in the summer of 2010.

Closing comment: I am excited to be here and am really impressed by the program and the students. Everyone has been welcoming.


Jon Doyle ’91

doyle

Brief bio: I live in Amherst with my wife and two sons, ages 8 and 10. I was a double major in theater and dance and English. I have done freelance technical director work in the area for the last 20 years.

Date started at Amherst: June 1994.

Current position: Technical director/production coordinator.

Various positions held at Amherst: Assistant technical director, production manager.

Funniest experience at the College: Placing 200 tires outside on the Observatory lawn for the show Purgatory. We then had to pull the tires out of the frozen ground two weeks later. It took a college dump truck 20 loads to get the right number of tires needed. When we got the tires we were told we could return them for free. When we tried returning them they wanted to charge us $5 per tire. They eventually took them back for free.

What do you splurge on? High-quality food for my family and pets. We have two dogs, three cats, a guinea pig, a bearded dragon lizard and a saltwater fish.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: Ride my bicycle.

Little known facts about you: I am a gourmet chef. I started watching Julia Child when I was little and made my first cheese omelet at 5 years old. I’ve been doing Tai Chi since 2000.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst College: Ken Howard at an alumni event. Jason Alexander, who gave a nice presentation to the students.

Your coworkers think you are: Conscientious, kind, available and creative.

What sideline or hobby do you have? Raising two boys and a menagerie of animals. Carving wooden practice Tai Chi swords.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d be more relaxed.

What really sets you off? When my son says he can’t find something and I know that he hasn’t even looked for it.

People in high school thought you were: A jock and a good character reference.

Strangest job you ever held: I picked peanuts in Texas in the summer of 1989. I learned to chew tobacco there and got very sick from the experience.

Dumbest thing you ever did: I went to Admiralty Island in Alaska to look for grizzly bears with my brother. Almost got a little too close to a mother grizzly and her cubs.

Proudest moment: The births of my boys.

Closing comment: I continually enjoy the company and creativity of students with whom we work.

 

Submit Your Ideas

Submit Your Ideas

Amherst Works is looking for your news items and article ideas. Please send suggestions and questions to hr@amherst.edu.