A jar of pistachios sits on the desk of David Holmes, slowly getting emptier and emptier as he counts down the days to his retirement.
Originally from Napa Valley and a graduate from the UCSB Theatre Department’s directing program, Holmes never intended to stay in Santa Barbara; but he was able to make a career out of doing what he loved—both theatre and teaching—at San Marcos High School. After 30 years of teaching and producing over 60 productions of full-length plays, evenings of one acts, and spring musicals, Holmes will finally be taking his final bow and retiring.
Throughout the years, Holmes has been driven by one goal: to prepare high school graduates with the knowledge and confidence to walk into any performing arts program and succeed.
“When I was 18 years old, I thought I knew everything about theater. But when I got to college, I realized that I knew so little! I want to give students a sense of where theater started, different techniques in acting, a strong work ethic, and tips on knowing their role in storytelling to give them a leg up against the other kids,” says Holmes.
Many students, in fact, were able to take this knowledge with them not only into the entertainment business but into other career fields, as well. 1988 San Marcos alumni student Tamara Jensen says she applied these skills when creating her own business, I.D.O. Events, Inc.
“Event planning is similar to putting on a stage production: there’s music, costumes, set, crew, and a timeline. My heart lies in thematic events, where I can bring the stage to life while collaborating with nonprofits in Santa Barbara. I really credit Mr. Holmes for setting that foundation,” says Jensen.
The Theater Department will be taken over by Holmes’ student teacher of the past year, Riley Barris. But before he leaves for good, Holmes is going out with a bang—as all theatre stars should—with a full-out fundraiser for the San Marcos Performing Arts Department in his last production.
“I want to leave with my head held high, but also with great gratitude or a tremendous career, fantastic colleagues, and amazing students. I have made so many lasting relationships with my students,” says Holmes.
These students never let their passion for the theatre die. In fact, when Holmes posted a Facebook status asking what his retirement show should be, over 40 people in 30 minutes commented with, “Rocky Horror Show!” While the idea of putting on the risque and inappropriate cult classic started off as a joke over 10 years ago, his students and his colleagues—who had already planned set and costumes designs for the production—wouldn’t let him get out of it.
And better yet, all of these students still wanted to be a part of Rocky. So 84 alumni members of the Performing Arts Department from 1984-2014 will return to Santa Barbara to put together the show in only one week’s time. This will form the biggest drama reunion to take place in the community with an all-alumni, self-casted cast, crew, band, and support staff.
Some notable San Marcos alumni now in the performing arts industry include:
Toad the Wet Sprocket (Band Members Include: Glen Phillips, Lead Vocals/Guitar; Todd Nichols, Lead Guitar/Vocals; Dean Dinning, Bass/Vocals; Randy Guss, Drums)
Brian Wankum (Producer on Once Upon a Time and Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Dishwalla (Band Members Include: Justin Fox, Lead Vocals; Rodney Browning Cravens, Guitar; Scot Alexander, Bass; George Pendergast, Drums; Jim Wood, Keyboards)
Anna Wilborn (Sound Technician, Nashville)
Garrett Swann (Actor, Milk, Fashion House, etc.)
Tariqh Akoni (Guitar/Musical Director for multi-platinum recording artist Josh Groban; Tariqh will be Musical Director for the band inThe Rocky Horror Show and acting the part of “Eddie.”)
Make sure to catch one of the two performances in the San Marcos High School Auditorium (4750 Hollister Ave.) on Thursday, June 12 at midnight and Friday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. Audience participation is required, so get ready to be a part of Holmes’ legacy as he closes the curtain on this chapter of his life!
For more information on the show, visit shopsmroyals.org or call 805/967-4581.