Alumni Spotlight: David Grindle (93C)

David Grindle

Note: David Grindle was the 2015 recipient of the Berry Alumni Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Here’s a glimpse at his impressive achievements in theatre.

Rapid Rise: 

  • At 26, Atlanta Opera production stage manager and orchestra manager
  • At 27, supervising production stage manager for the Van Andel Arena (Michigan) opening-event presentation of Aida with 24 horses, 18 elephants, three chariots, a tiger, and a multilingual cast of 500
  • At 29, named first production manager of the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama, managing schedules and budgets for a 14-show season that included 165 performances in three theatres
  • At 38, appointed first executive director of the 3,800-member United States Institute for Theatre Technology, a professional organization of design, production and technology professionals and academics in the performing arts and entertainment fields

Industry leadership

  • Developed guidelines for the use of live flame at the Atlanta Opera that serve as the textbook standard
  • Initiated and led a committee of educators and industry leaders to develop certified standards for teaching stage management at the undergraduate level
  • Guest director of five operas for the Summer Opera Theatre in Washington, D.C.

International influence

  • Worked with the Czech National Opera on the premiere of Shostakovich’s Ekaterina Ismailova, a work banned under the former communist regime
  • Invited speaker at entertainment technology conferences in Beijing and London
  • Established an educational partnership between the USITT and the Deutsche Theatretechnologie Gesellschaft and developed industry-first stage-management internships at London’s Royal Opera House-Covent Garden and with Opera Australia for Indiana University Students
  • Keynote speaker for an Entertainment New Zealand conference

In his own words

“Providing people the opportunity to do the best they can in the entertainment world has been my passion. From managing the show, to teaching, to leading one of the world’s most active organizations dedicated to technical theatre, it is all about the other people. That focus on serving others has been, and will continue to be, what drives me.”