YPG test officer leads local theater group
Having served as a Munitions and Weapons Division test officer at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) for nearly 30 years, Yuma native Kevin Irr has learned a lot about leadership.
In his spare time, he applies the same principals to his service on the board of directors for the venerable Yuma Community Theater group.
For the last 10 years, he has volunteered for the organization. Elected to the board of directors four years ago, last year he was elected to a three-year term as the board’s president.
It was his then-teenage son
Jason’s love of acting that first brought Irr into the group’s orbit.
“He was involved in several shows with the community theater, and in high school theater as well. If he wasn’t doing something at the high school, he got into the cast of several shows at Yuma Community Theater. I would go in at times if they needed help with stages or sets.”
Since the group lacks a permanent theater of its own, as president of the board Irr must help coordinate venues for their performances, and try to pick engaging, crowd-pleasing plays to stage.
“It’s a tough endeavor. We have to come up with the type of shows that will draw in a crowd.”
Most recently, the group performed a musical called Monstersongs, a modern musical. Up next is the Into the Woods, a Tony award-winning musical in its Broadway heyday in the 1980s with a large cast and music by Stephen Sondheim.
“There are a lot of artists in the Yuma community, in all varieties of arts and entertainment. There’s a lot of great talent in singing in this town.”
The Yuma Community
Theater is entirely reliant on fundraisers and the generosity of frequent contributors. The actors are all volunteers who receive no money for their performances. The reward for the time-consuming work of learning lines and rehearsing,
Irr says, comes from the thrill of performing in front of an audience.
“It takes a lot of time, so you’re just hoping they have the commitment to come in and do those shows. It’s usually just for the love of theater.”
Additionally, Irr has also lent a hand building and maintain exhibits for the nascent Yuma Children’s Museum over the years, from its beginnings as a recurring temporary summer exhibit at the Yuma Art
Center to its nearly-completed permanent home in downtown Yuma.
“My wife is the executive director of the children’s museum, and as they are approaching the date to get the museum open, there is a lot of work on the front end to prep the museum. The exhibit set-up is quite an undertaking.”