Theater experiences changes after director leaves


Photo by Yasmin Haq

Junior Michelle Arriaga helps coordinate a scene for the musical, “The Little Mermaid.” Head director Ramina Mirmortazavi chose to direct the musical this year instead of Heitzman because of her love for “The Little Mermaid.”

Theater will fill the technical director role with a long-term substitute next semester due to former head director Ryan Heitzman’s departure on Dec. 6. 

Heitzman took an admin position in Dallas Independent School District to help with fine arts related updates. 

“He’s going to be helping them with finding equipment, updating their auditoriums [and] their art classrooms — all the elementary, middle and high schools,” director Ramina Mirmortazavi said. ”It was a really awesome opportunity.”

 Mirmortazavi has transitioned from the position of technical director to head director due to the opening created by Heitzman. She said the major difference has been taking on the paperwork that comes with the position as well as becoming the lead director for the one-act play. 

“One of the things that the three of us, [director Jami] Sauls as well, kind of tag-teamed everything, so that will remain the same. We’re all going to help out wherever is necessary and pitch in, and that’s just the way things have always been.”

The week before winter break, it was confirmed Sarah Kouba from Deer Field ISD in Houston will fill the role of technical director for the next semester. After the school year ends, the department will begin hiring for the next school year. 

“She’s actually a good friend of mine,” Mirmortazavi said. “She’s an eight-year theater teacher. Her husband got a new job, so she and her husband are moving up to this area, which is really exciting. They’ve been hoping to move back to the Dallas area for a while. So, if it all works out, she’ll be great, because she’s very smart and really great with students.”

Senior Rachel Sells said Heitzman encouraged her to join theater this year, and with him gone, it will be harder for her to stay motivated. Heitzman is the only director that the current senior class has had every year. 

“It’s our last semester, and we just want a consistent director, and with him leaving, it’s going to be just another change,” Sells said. “He’s really made deep connections with a lot of our seniors because I think we’re the first class that’s had him for four years, so it’s just going to be really weird not having him.”

Mirmortazavi said despite the change, the students have stayed focused on preparing for upcoming shows. 

“They’re definitely missing him,” Mirmortazavi said. “The kids really loved him, and he loved them. They’re also really understanding of what a great opportunity this was for him career-wise. So, although leaving mid-year is never the ideal situation, they’ve been real troopers about it and have been really supportive.”