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Faculty Spotlight: David Sheehy, Music Man

Alexandra Molloy
Hampton, New Hampshire native and first-year faculty member David Sheehy exudes an infectious optimism felt immediately by anyone he comes into contact with. Whether he is working with students on complex math problems in a classroom or delivering lines on stage, he is enthusiastic and energetic no matter the topic. Everyone on campus knows Sheehy is deeply involved in theatre and loves performing. This summer, the company he co-directs, One Light Theater, is taking up residency in Tilton's Rome Theater. One Light will also be assisting with the Tilton School Summer Institute's theater program.

We decided to do some digging and get to know David Sheehy better.
When did you join Tilton School?
Fall of 2017.
 
You had a non-traditional joining process. How did you find Tilton School?
I was looking for theater space to rent during the summer for One Light Theatre. As co-executive director of One Light Theatre, along with co-executive director Jason Roy, we were exploring rental options in the Lakes Region and asked if Tilton School would be willing to rent out their theater to us for the summer. We did rent the theater for our first full-summer repertory theater. I applied for the mathematics teaching position and joined the teaching faculty in the fall of 2017.
 
That relationship expanded into One Light working with Tilton theater’s department on a long-term basis.
 
What is One Light Theater?
One Light is a non-profit theatre company I started with Jason Roy in 2016. It started as a summer community program with The Wizard of Oz and is enjoying the second summer of repertory theater.
 
How do you choose which productions to take on?
Jason and I find shows that appeal to a specific audience but still challenge the actors, technicians, directors, etc. We like theater that makes you think.
 
How many productions do you do per summer?
We have six shows this summer. All of the productions are two weeks and require the actors to show up music familiar and with their lines memorized. This summer, we are also producing the Lion King and Charlotte’s Web with the Tilton School Summer Institute
 
Where do your actors come from?
We have local community members ranging in age from elementary school age to retirement age. We also have some local Tilton School students, faculty and staff as well as students from Keene State College.
 
What do you enjoy most about the summer programs?
I love directing the music! For our first production this summer, A Chorus Line, I compiled a band.
 
So, you’re interested in music. Do you play any instruments?
I’ve played piano for 18 years. I also play the saxophone, clarinet, organ and violin but mostly piano.
 
What got you into theater?
I started acting in 7th grade at school up until I graduated high-school. I also had a backyard magic show when I was 12. I took a break from theatre in college up until the capstone for my senior year at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Pennsylvania. I put together and performed a parody of my college career.
 
What do you do in your free time?
Ha ha, free time! Broadway. I play piano to relax, do puzzles. I recently got into The Office, and visit with family (Hampton Beach, NH).
 
What your favorite part about Tilton?
It’s different living with your co-workers and students. I like getting to know everyone more than just professionally, you get to know the person on a deeper level and understand who they are. As an on-campus faculty member, I like teaching the whole person. I’m not just a “classroom teacher”. I’m an advisor, a teacher, a member of this community.
 
What are your goals for next year?
I will be taking over Tilton's music program and doing a little restructuring. In my classroom I will be running a flipped classroom. This is when the students watch my lessons as homework and then come in and practice skills. In my theater practice, I want to have students understand how hard and cut-throat theater is, more of a “behind the scenes” look at theater.
 
How was first year?
Wonderful, overwhelming, and new.
 
Ok, last question. What is the best play you’ve ever seen?
Oh, there are too many. This is too hard. It has to be Miss Saigon on Broadway. The music and plot are fantastic...there was a helicopter on-stage!
 
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