SHUMATE DIVES INTO THEATRICAL SOUND
In 2014, when Margaret Shumate’s Dallas–Fort Worth middle school produced the rock musical Next to Normal, Shumate was introduced to the student sound designer, Declan Kunkel, in preparation for running sound for the school’s upcoming production of Cinderella Meets the Wolfman. She was blown away by the rock musical about a suburban family struggling with a mother’s worsening bipolar disorder, and today, it is still one of her favorites. Shumate, called to fill in for the regular sound engineer, was blown away by what she describes as “all the pretty lights and switches on the sound board.” Shumate knew then that she wanted to work in theater, and since that time, she continued to develop a unique skill set that combines theater with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Shumate’s father, an audiophile who works in the electronics industry, has been a big influence. As Shumate delved further into the world of theatrical sound, he taught her the technical side of things—the physics of sound and how waves and acoustics work—that would serve to set her apart from her peers. This practical background was invaluable, especially in an environment where the show must go on. When something—say, a piano amplifier—breaks, she can fix it.
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