Michael J Barnes, Voice & Text Coach

Have you ever worked at the Festival before?

I worked here in the 2003 and 2004 seasons as a Voice & Text Coach for the Randall shows.

Where's your home base?

I live in Royal Oak, Michigan and am a professor at Wayne State University

What's your education/training background?

BFA in Performance - University of Oklahoma

MFA in Theatre Voice Coaching and Training - the National Theatre Conservatory

Post-Grad studies - Cambridge University

Certified teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework

What brought you to your field and what keeps you doing your craft?

I think that often people who choose voice coaching as a field do it because they had a moment in their performance career where things didn't work quite right. I had a moment early in my life, in college, when I was performing a rock musical and strained my voice, having to be put on steroids.  That caused me to become interested in learning how to use it properly and expanded out into speech, dialects, and text work. 

I love the fact that I have found a way to express myself as an artist that helps others expand their artistic expression.  Also, there is a part of me that is a bit of a science nerd. Voice and speech coaching lets me combine that part of myself with my artistic side.

How will you spend your time off while here?

I will absolutely explore the gorgeous terrain of Southern Utah. The many national and state parks around the area provide a sense of grounding and re-connecting with the wonder that is our planet. Those days off, I will be hopefully climbing as many mountains as I can.

What does the Festival Experience mean to you?

USF provides an environment that really allows people to express themselves and grow as artists. The full time staff here help everyone feel welcome so that they end up having a sense of family.  This allows everyone to feel free to take risks and, ultimately, create really good theatre. I've made some long-lasting friendships at USF that have become very important in my life.  It's also connected me to artists that I've chosen to re-connect with later in life.  It truly becomes a community and I appreciate it.

Do you have a favorite memory of working in the Adams Theatre?

This is my first season to work in the Adams Theatre, so I'm building my memories.  I'm excited that I get to be a part of The Taming of the Shrew, with Fred Adams directing in the Adams Theatre's final season.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

Wow, that's a real tough one.  I can't say that this is an idea of a "traditional" super power--like Superman or the X-men, but I think it would be some type of mental ability where I could (OK, this may be a bit like Dr. X) understand people's thoughts and ultimately influence them to treat others with respect and empathy, to ultimately help others.

If you had a time machine, where would you like to visit?

Another tough one, there are so many eras throughout history that I'd like to peak in on.  I guess, if I have to choose one, I would like to go back to ancient Egypt as I've always had a fascination with that era.  I have to put in the caveat that I wouldn't want to be a slave during the era, though. I wouldn't have to be royalty, but I certainly wouldn't want to be lugging those massive stones up a pyramid.  I would love to see those massive monuments being erected and coming to life, understand the people who chose to build them, and really unravel the secrets in how they were built.

Brian Swanson, Adams Technical Director

Have you ever worked at the Festival before? If so, for how many years and in what roles/capacity?

Yes, This is my fifth year with the festival.  3 years as Randall Technical Director and now my 2nd year as Adams Technical Director.

Where's your home base?

Cedar City

What's your education/training background?

MFA- Yale School of Drama

BA- Iowa State

What brought you to your field and what keeps you doing your craft?

The process of creation and developing new and better ways to do things.  This job is always new in interesting ways.

How will you spend your time off while here?

Family, Hiking, Camping

What does the Festival Experience mean to you?

The Festival Experience means that you are coming together with a group of artists to create work that will impact many others in various ways as they come to see the productions.

Do you have a favorite memory of working in the Adams Theatre?

I remember shoveling off the Adams Theatre stage during the Mother's Day snowstorm in 2014.  We had just finished laying the main floor for the season and didn't want it to be soaked clear through before sealers and paint got to it.  So there I am at about 6am in the morning by myself shoveling off the 12 inches of snow on the tarp.  The snow was blowing and the trees all around where cracking but there was a beauty standing there working watching the snow fall on what in a short 6 weeks would be the start of previews for an audience in much warmer weather.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

The ability to pause time for everyone but me.

If you had a time machine, where would you like to visit?

I would travel back to the birth of our nation.