A man of many hats and talents, creating things for himself and others through his skills of stitchery and song, senior Duncan Michael has a knack for design and uses that talent to weave his way into the hearts of both faculty and friends here at Harding.
The Ulrey Performing Arts Center and its staff are no strangers to Michael, a theatre major from Lavon, Texas, as he has worked there with head costume designer McKay Murray, assistant costume designer Katy White and others since the spring of his freshman year.
“I began by painting shoes and stitching buttons,” Michael said. “Now I am creating and completing whole costumes. I am even altering my own suits.”
He recently designed the costumes for the Department of Theatre’s production of “Doubt: A Parable” by John Patrick Shanley. He also designed the set and lighting for the show.
In 2016, the College of Business Administration (COBA) took notice of Michael’s skills and offered him a job designing what is now the Waldron Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business, located in the Mabee building. In May of 2016 he began designing, and the space was available to students upon arriving back to school in August. It was completed in September.
The newly renovated space features a conference room and modern furniture pieces, with additional space for informal meetings. The center reflects COBA’s emphasis on young entrepreneurs and family business ownership, but it is more than a space for these students.
“It was made for getting work done,” Dr. Allen Frazier, dean of the COBA said. “It isn’t a waiting room, and it doesn’t look like one. That is my favorite part. It was made for collaboration.”
Michael said it was a privilege to get to be so involved with a renovation project from start to finish, and he plans to go into set and lighting design in the future.
While at Harding, he has been cast in productions such as “Pirates,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Crazy for You,” and several one-act plays and will be one of four hosts in this year’s Spring Sing show. He will be performing alongside junior host Ross Smith and senior hostesses Victoria Deboef and Renee Maynard.
“You can see how much he loves being a part of the theatre,” Smith said. “He lights up the stage and energizes the performers around him.”
Michael plans to further his academic career by studying scenography at Virginia Tech upon completing his bachelor’s at Harding.