skidmore theater faculty

James Varkala

James VarkalaAssistant Technical Director

James returned to Skidmore’s Theater department in the fall of 2015 as a “professional” after attending the college and living and working in the Capital Region for many years.  Joining with the Fovea Floods company in 1999, his eyes were opened and passion solidified for what theater could accomplish when a group of creative and determined individuals assemble.  In 2002 he began working as a Carpenter for Capital Repertory Theater and in the summers for Lake George Opera (now Opera Saratoga).

He then moved to Brooklyn and started teaching at Five Towns College during the school year while returning to work for Opera Saratoga a total of six summer seasons, where he rose to the post of Technical Director in 2007.

As the world of technical theater is quite small, he answered the call to work at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival in 2005, fulfilling a Master Carpenter Role.  Returning to the Southwest for the construction of two more of their Fall seasons and then as Scenery Shopper/Buyer in the summer of 2008, the area and company drew him out where he earned a year-round position as Scenery Director.

Remaining with the Festival until 2011, he decided to move back east and accepted a job at another renowned company, Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut.  Weary of a managerial role and missing getting his hands dirty, he wished to increase his skill set with steel construction, unique rigging, and automation for the stage; James was very happy with a Carpenter title through 2013.

When the opportunity came for another move back to New York, he accepted a Lead Carpenter position at the Juilliard School in Manhattan.  While the prolific institution was a wonderful opportunity to fabricate scenery at the best set construction shop in the city, the lifestyle and surroundings were not suited to his tastes and those of his dogs.

Now at home with old friends, colleagues, and former mentors, he has settled back into Saratoga Springs and adores the energy from the students and the opportunity to share his experience.  Fond of encouraging the students to take the reigns and supporting their curiosity, he is grateful and humble to grow, and build along side them and the faculty.

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