SALEM—Chris Benham will be the new technical director at Pentacle Theatre, replacing Tony Zandol who retires at the end of the year.

Benham, who has a degree in communications arts and theater from George Fox College, brings to Pentacle Theatre more than 20 years’ experience in theater as a performer, director, producer, scenic designer, set construction coordinator, scenic consultant and sound designer.

“Chris has the broad skills and direct practical experience we were looking for in a technical director,” said Pentacle Theatre Executive Director Lisa Joyce. “Best of all, Chris understands and has a passion for community theater. Community is the foundation of Pentacle Theatre’s 63-year success.”

Benham’s responsibilities at Pentacle Theatre will include set and lighting design, set construction and working with a wide variety of volunteers involved in the theater’s nine productions per year, said Joyce.

Benham is an accomplished set designer and builder whose recent works were seen at Gallery Theatre in McMinnville, where he created sets for large-cast productions on the theater’s main stage in addition to detailed, intimate sets in Gallery’s small black-box theater. Previously, Benham ran the theater scene shop at George Fox University in Newberg for several years.

“Chris has lots of experience working with volunteers in community theater productions, and that’s a key skill the Pentacle Theatre Governing Board sought,” said Joyce. “He balances that with his professional training and experience working at a university theater that will help enhance Pentacle Theatre’s productions.”

Pentacle Theatre’s longtime technical director, Tony Zandol, will retire at the end of 2017. Benham will start his new job Oct. 2 so Zandol can orient him to Pentacle Theatre’s traditions, resources, workspace and volunteers.

“Chris has some very big shoes to fill, considering Tony Zandol’s decades of excellent work at the theater,” said Joyce. “We’re confident that the Pentacle Theatre community will welcome Chris with open arms.”

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