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New Geyer management team assumes posts

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer
Tyler Handford (left) is the new theater manager at the Geyer Performing Arts Center and Mandy Onder will serve as the Education Manager.

The Geyer Performing Arts Center is getting ready for another big year, and along with the new performance schedule there will be new faces to run the theater and an expansion of the educational programming.

Joining the theater are Mandy Onder, 24, of Scottdale and Tyler Handford, 28, of Connellsville who began their new duties Monday.

Onder's title will be education manager and Handford will now carry the title of theater manager.

“For the educational aspects that we are developing at the theater, it just made sense,” said Brad Geyer, Geyer Performing Arts Theater board president, of the hiring of two replacements for outgoing theater manager Kristen Tunney. Tunney completed her job as manager at the end of 2013.

“We can have Mandy focus on the educational end and Tyler can focus now more on the production and scheduling,” Geyer said. “They will each have different duties, but will still work together.”

The pair each applied for the open position of theater manager, but were each pleasantly surprised when they were notified that they both would start the new year at new posts.

“I actually just met her,” Handford said of Onder, who he was introduced to in late November. “She seems just as passionate as I am and we both want to see the theater move on and grow. I think we will make a great team.”

Onder also is thrilled at the aspect of working side by side with Handford.

“I was really, really excited when I heard that there was going to be two people,” Onder said. “Education is really my forte, so knowing that he will be taking care of the production end is exciting to me.”

Onder is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan University with a dual major in theater and elementary education and has performed at the Geyer for several years.

Handford said he has been involved in theater for more than two decades, and although he took off a few years, is excited to be returning to the life of the theater.

He added he seems to have found a new love for it.

Each said they admire the other for their strengths and the knowledge and enthusiasm that they will each bring to their perspective positions.

“I think it's great to see that he is as enthusiastic as I am about this,” Onder said, adding she is grateful to be given the chance to see what the pair can accomplish. “I am thankful for the opportunity to look towards the future. To move towards the future.”

Handford echoed his thanks.

“I am thankful to the board for having the faith in me,” Handford said. “I am glad that they are giving me this opportunity.”

The pair will now man the offices of the Geyer theater from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

“They both gave great interviews and we know that both are talented performers,” Geyer said. “Both of them came across as excited and enthusiastic and ready to go. I think that they are ready to take the ball and run with it.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.