Julia Aubrey, associate professor, is Director of the Ford Center and serves as Director of Opera Theatre in the Department of Music. She earned a master of music in vocal performance and a master of arts in theatre from the University of Missouri – Columbia. In January 2012, Julia was elected president of the National Opera Association. She served as NOA president-elect from 2010-2012, vice-president of regions from 2008 – 2010 and governor for the Southeast Region from 2001 to 2007. The award-winning UM Opera Theatre placed first in the NOA Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition in 2011 and first place in 1999 in the NOA Opera Production Competition. Professor Aubrey’s research project Living Masterpieces: An Improvised Opera Exercise has been featured on tours, festivals, and was selected for presentations at national conventions in Philadelphia in 2001, Kansas City in 2004, and was one of three programs invited to perform at the Mid-West Opera Festival in 2003. Professor Aubrey served as the Guest Artist Opera Stage Director for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in Alaska from 2003 to 2005. Before her tenure at the University of Mississippi, she staged operas for the Quad City Mozart Festival and opera and operetta productions at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ms. Aubrey is also a member of APAP, PAE, and NATS.
In 2015, Julia served as Artistic Director and Stage Director for the world premiere (Ford Center) and European premiere (Prague, Czech Republic) of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Written by alumna, Dr. Nancy Van de Vate, this new work included professional guest artists, faculty, and graduate students in leading roles and in the orchestra, undergraduates, and a professional staff of designers. The process of producing this new American opera was featured in two documentaries produced by MPB and Southern Documentary.
Professor Aubrey was associate artistic director of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival, serving as stage and musical director for The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, Iolanthe, The King and I, Camelot, and The Sound of Music. She has also served as musical director for the UM Department of Theatre, assisting in productions of West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, How to Succeed in Business, The Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Chicago, Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show, Footloose (as conductor and musical director), Company, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Julia and her husband, Dr. Robert H. Aubrey, have offered a Youth Music Theatre Workshop each summer since 1996, designed for students age 8 to 17 to encourage skill development in singing, acting, and movement for music theatre. The performances of the group include original works written by professor Aubrey and children’s versions of operetta and musicals.
Matt earned a BFA in Performing Arts with a focus on Theater Design and Technology from the University of Louisiana, in 1999. Matt is Cum Laude graduate. While a student at UL, Matt served as the Theaters Scene Shop Forman and Assistant Technical Director.
Prior to coming the Ford Center in September 2004, Matt was the Technical Director for the Angelle Hall, The University of Louisiana’s Concert Hall. He is a scenic and lighting designer. His work includes several seasons with Oxford Shakespeare Festival, Ole Miss Opera, UL Opera and UL State of La Danse and Lafayette Ballet Theatre.
He is an U.S. Army Veteran. Having served four years of active duty and four years in the Louisiana National Guard, Matt worked as a Medical Specialist. Duties performed during his enlistment ranged from Medical Assistant on the Organ Transplant Ward of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to the Treatment Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Forward Aid Station for Louisiana’s Mechanized Infantry Battalion. Awards and recognitions during service include the Expert Field Medical Badge, Soldier of the Year recognition twice awarded, and several Army Achievement Medals.
Kate joined the Ford Center staff in March 2008. She is responsible for all marketing and publicity for the Ford Center. She is a graduate of Clemson University with a BA in History and a minor in Theatre.
She previously worked in development for YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities and Marymount School of New York in New York City. Kate has also worked in customer relations with Advanced Drainage Systems and in store management for Kirkland’s, Inc. before moving to Oxford.
Box Office Supervisor
Jennifer began her association with the Ford Center as Senior Staff Assistant when it opened in 2003. From 1998 to 2001, she worked for the University of Mississippi Department of Human Resources and then moved to St. Petersburg, FL as an employee of End2End, Inc. In September 2011, Jennifer moved to the UM Box Office as Supervisor. Here she oversees all aspects of the box office on a day-to-day basis, including supervising student workers, maintaining contracts for ticket sales, setting up web sites, and ticket processing.
One of the largest projects Jennifer instituted since coming to the Box Office is the mobile ticket system that utilizes Wi-Fi. This has been done successfully at the Jackson Avenue Center, Overby, and North Oxford Baptist. Jennifer has served on Staff Council and volunteered with the Green Grove Initiative.
Jennifer holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi.
Senior Administrative Secretary
Janie joined the Ford Center staff as Senior Administrative Secretary in June 2007. Her responsibilities include management of committees, sponsors, and stewardship records; agent and staff correspondence, awards and recognitions; and liaison for visitors, donors, and patrons. In addition to assisting the Director with administrative clerical tasks, Janie has also served on the Staff Council at Ole Miss.
A native of East Tennessee, Janie attended Berry College in Rome, Georgia where she studied Art and Design, before moving to Oxford in 1972. After relocating to Corinth, Mississippi in 1993, Janie spent 13 years working in the administrative division of manufacturing operations for the Kimberly Clark Corporation. She held positions as Systems Coordinator, Document Control Coordinator, and Administrator, as well as, Administrative Assistant for several production managers. Janie also worked in the Aerospace Industry for two years in Quality Control Records and Publications.
Senior Staff Assistant
At the Ford Center since 2011, Leah is responsible for payroll, travel, accounts payable and receivable, reservations, contract compliance, and maintaining the Ford Center’s calendar. Leah has previously held positions on campus in the Psychological Services Center, National Center for Computational Hydroscience & Engineering, and the Mathematics Department.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Ole Miss and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Personnel. Leah also serves as the Municipal Clerk for Abbeville.
Assistant Technical Director
Max joined the Ford Center as the Assistant Technical Director in January 2008. He is a certified pyrotechnican who has worked NBA games, major concerts, and large fireworks displays.
Max’s primary focus is the Ford Center’s audio systems. He also coordinates with local and traveling crews supervising setup and strike of events. As a professional pyrotechnician, Max has experience with large aerial displays and close proximity pyrotechnics. He freelances as a sound designer and engineer, and with his work in local movies, and has been able to add fire-breathing performer to his resume.
Performing Arts Technician
Whitley has been the Master Electrician for the Ford Center since August 2015. Her duties include overseeing the installation of light plots in the venue, serving as a liaison between lighting designers and the facility for touring shows and other events, supervising stage crews, and the maintenance and repair of lighting equipment.
She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where she earned a degree in Linguistics and Classics. Whitley has previously worked in the Ole Miss Theatre costume shop. She has also been involved with various local projects as a makeup artist, including the Oxford Film Festival’s Community Film and Theatre Oxford’s Ten Minute Plays festival.
Front of House Manager
At the Ford Center, Lyndsay is responsible for scheduling and supervising volunteers, managing the House for all events, and is liaison between Ford Center staff and event supervisors. She coordinates logistics with touring stage managers, campus event sponsors, and the Technical Director.
Lyndsay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language from Saginaw Valley State University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice from Ole Miss.