Faculty and Staff
Margaret Baldwin Pendergrass
Margaret Baldwin (Senior Lecturer, Coordinator of General Education)
M.F.A. Theatre Arts (Playwriting), University of Iowa
B.A. English/Modern Studies, University of Virginia
Areas of Emphasis: General Education, Script Analysis, Performance Composition, Adaption, Ensemble Performance
Margaret Baldwin Pendergrass is a Senior Lecturer for the KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, where she has taught since 2007. Margaret received her MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and her BA in English and Modern Studies from the University of Virginia. As a professional playwright, Margaret has had plays and ensemble works produced throughout the US and abroad. Her play Night Blooms received its world premiere at Horizon Theatre in Atlanta (2010) and its mid-Atlantic premiere at Virginia Repertory (2012). Margaret earned the 2011 Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting for Night Blooms (2011) and a National AT&T Onstage Award for the premiere of her play Her Little House at Horizon Theatre in (2004). Recent adaptations include The Followers: A Retelling of The Bacchae, which will premiere at 7 Stages Theatre in February 2018, and In the Twilight: Chekhov’s Stories Retold, produced by the KSU Department of Theatre and Performance Stories (2013). Her play Coyote Hour, was a finalist for the 2015 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Margaret is the winner of the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award for Kennesaw State University and the 2016 University of Georgia Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Ming Chen (Professor, Resident Designer)
M.F.A. Stage Design/Theory, Shanghai Theatre Academy
M.A. Theatrical Production, University of Pittsburgh
B.F.A. Stage Design, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Areas of Emphasis: Scenic Design; Costume Design
Ming Chen is a tenured full professor and resident theatrical designer with 27 years of university teaching experience and three years of full time professional theatre experience. Born in Shanghai, China, she worked at Shanghai Youth Theatre Company in Shanghai and the Shakespeare Theatre at Folger in Washington, D.C.; and taught at SUNY at Buffalo in New York as well as Shanghai Theatre Academy in Shanghai before moving to Kennesaw, Georgia.
As a scenic designer, Ming Chen's table works have been displayed at the Prague Quadrennial (co-design), Czechoslovakia, the USITT Design Expo in Long Beach, California, and China's National Stage Design Exhibition in Beijing and Tokyo. Her designs were seen at Atlanta Ballet, the national gala performances of the American College Dance Festivals at Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Miller Theatre in New York City, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, U.K., the Shanghai International Arts Festival and Shanghai Theatre Festival in China. In addition, her works were commissioned by many professional theatres in Atlanta including the Alliance Theatre Company, the Horizon Theatre Company, 7 Stages and Theatre in the Square, as well as university theatres such as SUNY at Buffalo and Cornell University in New York.
As a scholar, Ming Chen is the author of Visual Literacy for Theatre, a 565-page textbook on design (published in 2011). She is also a major contributor for ArtsTrends USA, a 347-page Chinese-English bilingual book on current topics in performance and design (published in 2017). Her other publications include essays and translations in top peer-reviewed professional journals such as Theatre Topics (co-author), TD&/T, Theatre Arts, and EPerformance. She has frequently presented papers at national and international theatre conferences and guest-lectured internationally. Drawing from her cross-cultural experiences, she has directed and co-directed a number of cultural exchange projects that garnered grants and funds from government and private funding agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cultural Services of French Embassy, the Georgia Humanities Council, the French Consulate in Atlanta, the Confucius Institute, and the Coca Cola Foundation.
Jim Davis (Associate Professor, Jointly Appointed with the Department of First Year Programs)
Ph.D. Theatre, Bowling Green State University
M.A. Theatre, University of Northern Iowa
B.A. Drama/Speech, Clarke College
Areas of Emphasis: American Dramatic Literature, Directing, Theatre History, Popular Culture Performance, Puppet Theatre
Dr. Jim Davis is jointly appointed in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies and KSU's nationally recognized Department of First-Year and Transition Studies, where he teaches the First-Year Seminar as part of the World of the Scholar Artist Learning Community specifically for first-year TPS majors. He is privileged to work with theatre artists who are early in their academic careers.
Dr. Davis has been at Kennesaw State University since 2007. He has worked as a director, dramaturg, performer, deviser, designer, builder, and critic both on-campus and at numerous professional theatres in Atlanta and beyond, including The Center for Puppetry Arts, The Atlanta Lyric Theatre, the Chicago Historical Society, the Mississippi River Museum (Dubuque, Iowa), Blackhawk Children's Theatre (Cedar Falls, Iowa), and Horizon Youth Theatre (Bowling Green, Ohio). He has directed Feathers and Teeth, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Bash: Latterday Plays, Pinocchio, Picasso at the Lapine Agile, and Tough Choices For The New Century: A Seminar For Responsible Living; and acted in Jane: Abortion in the Underground, Auction Today!, and Annie. He has also created numerous solo and ensemble works for puppet theatre.
Jim's research focuses on traditional theatre practice as well as the intersections between performance and popular culture. He has published work on professional wrestling, superhero comics, and the "theatricalization" of Major League Baseball.
Cristina Dinella (Interim Instructor of Musical Theatre Vocal Technique and Accompanist)
B.M. Music, Eastman School of Music
Graduate work in Piano, New York University
Areas of Emphasis: Musical Theatre Vocal Technique, Musical Direction, Accompaniment, Composition, Arrangement, Classical Piano
Cristina Dinella is in demand as a musical theater musical director, pianist, and arranger in both NYC and regional theatre. She brings extensive experience with Off-Broadway, regional, and touring productions, along with her background as a music educator and training in both classical and musical theater vocal technique. Recent credits include Music Director at Shawnee Summer Theatre in Indiana, Pianist for Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in NYC, and Music Director and Arranger for the first full production of Giovanni The Fearless at Theatre for the New City.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ms. Dinella trained as a classical pianist and accompanist. Upon graduation, Cristina spent two years as Director of Bands at Hancock Central School district in Hancock, NY. She is also an experienced arranger and composer, having arranged music for Off-Broadway shows and cabarets at the world-famous Feinstein’s/54 Below. She is the composer for Summer’s Child, an original musical which was performed in NY in January 2017. When not otherwise occupied with pianist and musical director duties, Ms. Dinella is an avid writer of silly songs, which detail mundane observations of daily life.
John Gentile (Professor)
Ph.D. Performance Studies, Northwestern University
M.A. Mythological Studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute
M.A. Performance Studies, Northwestern University
B.A. Dramatic Arts and English, State University of New York Geneseo Areas of Emphasis: Solo Performance; Performance History; Chautauqua Movement; Storytelling; Myth; Adapting Literary and Folkloric Texts for the Stage
John S. Gentile, Professor, (Ph.D. and M.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University; M.A. in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute; B.A. in Dramatic Arts and English from S.U.N.Y. Geneseo) served on the faculty of the University of Northern Iowa before assuming a faculty appointment at Kennesaw State University.
John Gentile's theatre credits include his original adaptations of major works of folk and literary narrative such as: Over Nine Waves: Myths of Ancient Ireland, Jack of Beech Mountain: Folktales from Southern Appalachia, Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice Told-Tales, The Bell Witch and Other Legends: Ghostly Stories from the American South, American Gothic: Stories by American Masters of the Macabre, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Redwing: Voices from 1888, Dark Forest: Tales and Poems from the Brothers Grimm, The Hero's Journey (which was featured as a plenary session at the international Mythic Journeys conference celebrating the centennial of Joseph Campbell's birth) and Red Hanrahan (which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival). His adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick was presented at the Casablanca Theatre Festival in 2009, where it won the major award for Best Performance. Moby-Dick was re-staged for an experimental immersion production by Saiah Arts International at the Lifecyle Building Center in Atlanta in the spring of 2013 and was named Best Play by Creative Loafing and earned a nomination for the Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award from Atlanta's Suzi Awards. His most recent theatrical adaptations are The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which was produced at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, where it enjoyed a sold-out run in December 2015. He is currently working on a new version of his adaptation of Moby-Dick for Smock Alley Theatre.
As an actor and storyteller, Gentile has performed throughout the metro-Atlanta area. He has performed at the Jung Society of Atlanta, Théâtre du Rêve, Aris Theatre, Theatre Gael, the Roswell Magnolia Storytelling Festival, the Winter Storytelling Festival, Theatre in the Square, and 7 Stages. The City of Roswell presented him with The President's Award in 1999 for his service to the community in establishing the annual Roswell Magnolia Storytelling Festival. He has led study-tours to Ireland's mythic and early sacred sites and currently serves as the faculty director for the summer study abroad program Acting in Irish Drama in partnership with the Gaiety School of Acting, the National Theatre School of Ireland. Gentile has served as a scholar-performer with the Wyoming Chautauqua, Rocky Mountain Chautauqua and Tulsa Chautauqua public humanities programs. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award and Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award from the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University. In 2004, he received the College of the Arts Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award for a second time and was named a finalist for the University's Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award. In 2010, he received the University's Foundation Prize for his adaptation of Moby-Dick. In 2011, he received the National Storytelling Network's Oracle Award for the Southeast Region for Leadership and Service in Storytelling. In 2017, he received the Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies from the National Communication Association for his essay “Shape-Shifter in the Green: Performing Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”
Gentile is the author of Cast of One: One-Person Shows from the Chautauqua Platform to the Broadway Stage (University of Illinois Press), a history of American solo performance. His articles have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Studies in Popular Culture, On the Culture of the American South, The Future of Performance Studies: Visions and Revisions, Storytelling, Self, Society, Queers in American Popular Culture, and Eighteenth-Century British and American Rhetorics and Rhetoricians. He has presented his research at conferences for the National Communication Association, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Chautauqua Network, Popular Culture Association, Performance Studies International, Southeastern Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, American Humanists Association, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Georgia Communication Association, and has served as the keynote speaker and performer at national performance festivals. He has served on the executive boards of the Performance Studies Division of the National Communication Association, Storytelling in Higher Education Special Interest Group of the National Storytelling Network, Southern Order of Storytellers, and on the faculty for the Leadership Institute of the Executive M.B.A. Program at the University of Chicago. He is the founding co-editor with Joseph Sobol of Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies, for which he currently serves as the book reviews editor and served as the guest editor of that journal's 2011 special issue on Storytelling and Myth. He is an associate editor of the National Communication Association journal Text and Performance Quarterly.
Gentile teaches classes at Kennesaw State University in performing literature, storytelling, performance art, and adapting literary texts for the stage, which is his area of emphasis as an artist, and he developed the department's distinctive curriculum in storytelling studies. Additionally, Gentile served for twelve years as chair of the department. Under his leadership, the department's student enrollment more than tripled, the number of its faculty more than doubled, and its innovative curriculum and ambitious production season recognized for excellence. During his term as chair, the department opened the Onyx Theatre, the first new theatre space at the University in twenty years. Gentile moved the department from one focused on solely on drama to a broader vision that integrates theatre and performance studies approaches and that emphasizes a wide range of performance styles and texts. His vision established the department's mission to nurture scholar-artists, students and faculty whose accomplishments reflect achievement as both creative artists and articulate, informed scholars of their chosen area of emphasis.
Harrison Long (Professor and Associate Dean, College of the Arts)
Email: email@example.comHarrison Long has over twenty-five years of experience as a director, actor, writer, administrator, and teacher. His professional acting career began in 1986 and includes material ranging from contemporary drama to musical comedy to Shakespeare. New York acting credits include the title role in Henry V (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), Athol Fugard’s A Lesson From Aloes (78th Street Theatre Lab) and Bloomsday On Broadway (Symphony Space). Long’s directing credits include the first site-specific production of Lee Blessing’s cold war drama, A Walk in the Woods at Serenbe Playhouse, and the NEA-sponsored Splittin’ the Raft, which toured seven Georgia communities ranging from inner-city schools to rural mountain towns. In 2015, his production of Parade commemorated the centennial of Leo Frank’s tragic death in Marietta, Georgia, the town where it occurred. Publications include The Journal of Global Initiatives, The International Journal of Arts Education and The Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement. Long is the 2013 recipient of the Kennesaw State University, Foundation Prize for Publication and the 2014 winner of KSU’s Distinguished Professor Award. He received a B.F.A. from Florida State University and an M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University. Long is a proud member of The Actor’s Equity Association.
M.F.A. Theatre (Acting), Southern Methodist University
B.F.A Theatre (Acting), Florida State University
Areas of Emphasis: Contemporary Scene Study, Period Styles
Teaching credits include:
Marymount Manhattan College
University of Tennessee
St. John’s University
Southern Methodist University
Georgia State University
Clayton College and State University
Virginia Governor’s School of the Arts
Summer Theatre Institute at Columbia University
In addition, Professor Long was Dialogue Coach for the CBS series, Dangerous Curves
Recent publications include articles in The International Journal of Arts Education and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement.
Harrison is a proud member of The Actor's Equity Association.
Rebecca Makus (Interim Chair)
Rebecca Makus (Interim Chair)
M.F.A. California Institute for the Arts
B.A. Smith College
Areas of Emphasis: Lighting Design, DIY Lighting/Media, Experimental Performance
Rebecca Makus holds an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts and is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies and the Coordinator of the Design Tech Concentration at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, GA. Her lighting and visual design for dance and theatre includes custom designed and built interactive light objects, transforming alternative performance spaces, embedded media design, and site-responsive work as well as designing in traditional venues. Her international portfolio includes work at Lyon Opera Ballet, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Tramway in Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts (LICA). Her NY dance work includes designs for Bill Young, Colleen Thomas and Dancers (A Place in France, Life In Progress, and For Want). She recently created the set and lighting design for Colleen Thomas Dance’s site-specific piece Welcome Home on Governor’s Island in NYC.
Rebecca's Atlanta-based work includes designs for choreographer Ivan Pulinkala (Lighting: Pyromania, Rhizome, Road Kill, Cocoon,1.0, and Rinpoche and Embedded Media Design: Metamorphosis), Lauri Stallings of gloATL (Lighting: Hippodrome, Vanguard and I May Just) and John McFall with Atlanta Ballet (Lighting and Set: Three). Her lighting designs for KSU dance include: Accelerate by Daniel Gwirtzman, Refraction by Mara Mandrajieff, Moon Dust by Lisa K. Lock, and Hyperselves by Ella Ben-Aharon. She was honored to receive a Suzi Bass Award in 2015 for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet at Actors Express). Other Atlanta theatre designs include Threepenny Opera and Inside, I (Dir. Michael Haverty) at 7 Stages, Cardboard Piano (Dir. Karen Robinson) and Serial Black Face (Dir. Freddie Ashley) at Actor’s Express; and Dinosaur with the Alliance Theatre’s Theatre for the Very Young. Her design work at KSU includes designs for As You Like It, A Man of No Importance, Three Sisters, Bloody Pulp, Falsettos, Red Hanrahan, Secret Garden, Dark Forest, and The Good Person of Szechuan. She received an NEA Artworks grant for her interactive installation Ipomoea: The Urban Garden Within which recently premiered in Atlanta. In 2016, she received the KSU Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award and the College of the Arts Rising Star Award.
Pamela Rodriguez-Montero (Assistant Professor & Assistant Professor of Costume Design)
Pamela is a theatrical designer, educator, and visual artist. She earned her BFA degree in Arts and Visual Communications from the National University of Costa Rica. She received her MFA in Scenography from the University of Kansas, graduating with honors.
Her formal education and design production reflect the ability to develop a comprehensive and global visual environment for theatre and dance shows and a mastery of visual representation techniques. She is the proud recipient of the Ethel Hinds Burch Outstanding New GTA in Theatre Award (2014) and the Ethel Hinds Burch Outstanding GTA in Theatre Award (2015) in recognition of her excellence in teaching.
After receiving a Tinker Field Research Grant, Pamela visited Guatemala to develop a contextual research and collect reference materials for her thesis project about the Mayan dance/drama of Rabinal Achí. This project has consolidated her research interests at the intersections of costume design, arts, and the Latinamerican - Indigenous identity, particularly in the Mesoamerican ceremonial garments.
Amanda Wansa Morgan
Amanda Wansa Morgan (Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Musical Theatre)
M.F.A. Acting, The University of Central Florida
B.A., Music/BA, Florida State University
Areas of Emphasis: Acting, Musical Theatre Performance and Literature, Musical Direction, Vocal Pedagogy, Voice and Speech
Amanda Wansa Morgan serves as Coordinator of Musical Theatre & Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University. She teaches classes in musical theatre performance, musical theatre voice, acting, and musical theatre history and literature. At KSU, she has directed productions of Heathers The Musical and A Man of No Importance and has worked on numerous productions and projects as vocal coach and mentor. She joins the KSU faculty after serving on the faculty at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) for three years, where she directed productions of Marisol, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Time Stands Still; as well as music directed Hairspray and The Spitfire Grill. Prior to joining the Ole Miss faculty, she spent three years as the Director of Music Education at Charleston Stage, South Carolina's largest professional theater, serving as music director, director, sound designer, dialect coach, music arranger, and/or composer for 28 productions. Additionally, she has music directed at The Alliance Theater, The Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Actor’s Express, Six Flags Over Georgia, Playhouse on the Square (TN), Post Playhouse (NE), and Osceola Center for the Arts (FL). In 2016, Amanda was proud to serve on the music team for the world premiere of the Broadway-bound musical The Prom, with music by Matthew Sklar, at The Alliance Theater.
Amanda has an MFA in Acting from The University of Central Florida and undergraduate degrees in Music (Voice) and Theatre from the Florida State University. She has worked as a professional actor at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Seaside Music Theater, Oxford Shakespeare Festival, Tony and Tina's Wedding (Orlando), and Theatre Southeast (FL). Amanda has composed original music for productions which include A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, The Little Mermaid, The Velveteen Rabbit, and August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. She is currently adapting a children’s book called Mary Had a Little Ham into a children’s musical, in partnership with the book’s original author, Margie Palatini.
Amanda is an “integrative practitioner” with the One Voice Integrative Studies Centre, run by Joan Melton and Jennie Morton. She maintains a Certificate of Figure Proficiency from the Estill Voice System® as well as memberships with the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), Musical Theatre Educators Alliance (MTEA), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), ASCAP, and The Dramatists Guild. Amanda has also served as an improvisational pianist for Theatre99 Improv Theatre (SC), as well as a freelance private voice coach, music arranger/orchestrator, and a jazz pianist/vocalist.
Visit www.amandawansamorgan.com to check out projects as well as music & media samples.
Charles Parrott (Associate Professor & Director of The KSU Tellers)
Ph.D Performance Studies and Speech Communication, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
M.A. Ball State University
B.A Speech Communication and Sociology, Hastings College
Areas of Emphasis: Performance Art, Solo Performance, Phenomenology, Performance Criticism and Popular Entertainment
Dr. Charles Parrott’s teaching and research focus on Performance Studies with an emphasis on performance theory, devised performance, and storytelling. He is the Director of the KSU Tellers storytelling troupe, housed in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Under his direction, the KSU Tellers have performed widely: at national and international conferences, fringe and storytelling festivals, and in partnership with schools and community organizations. In addition to his work with the KSU Tellers, he has produced and devised original theatrical productions including Frankenstein’d, Don Quixote Ugly, and Bloody Pulp: Crisis in the American Comic Book.
Dr. Parrott regularly presents his research at the National Communication Association Annual Convention and he has published articles and reviews in the American Communication Journal, Text & Performance Quarterly, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, and Storytelling, Self, and Society. He is the recipient of a KSU Diversity Fellowship and the Rising Star Award, recognizing outstanding junior faculty in the College of the Arts. Dr. Parrott has a PhD in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with an emphasis in Performance Studies and Philosophy of Communication.
Elizabeth Rasmusson (Interim Assistant Professor of Costume Design and Production)
M.F.A. Costume Design and Technology, University of Florida
B.A. Theatre (Costume Design Concentration), Berry College
Areas of Emphasis: Costume Design, Costume Technology, Production
Elizabeth Rasmusson has been teaching production classes and designing costumes at Kennesaw State University since 2009. She has also served on the faculty at Berry College, and worked as Design Assistant/ Buyer at the Alliance Theatre. Her design credits include Synchronicity Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Theatre in the Square (Red, White, and Tuna, "Suzi nominated”), Actor's Express (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Best Design, Atlanta Theatre Fans), Aurora Theatre (Into the Woods and The Explorer’s Club, “Suzi nominated”), Alliance Theatre Education, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Theatrical Outfit (Silent Sky, “Suzi nominated”).
Karen Robinson (Assistant Chair)
Karen Robinson (Assistant Chair, Professor and Coordinator of Internships)
M.F.A. Directing, New York University
B.A. Theatre, University of Colorado, Boulder
B.A. English Literature, University of Colorado, Boulder
Areas of Emphasis: Directing; Performance; Dramaturgy (new plays and classical texts); Theatre Appreciation; Audition Techniques; African American Theatre
Karen Robinson holds an M.F.A. in Directing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and B.A.'s in Theatre and English Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to her arrival at KSU in January of 2000, she taught at University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Wake Forest University. She teaches courses in directing, performance studies, dramatic literature, theatre history, auditioning, and theatre appreciation in addition to directing for the Department's production season. She served as Interim Chair for the Department from 2013-2015.
Karen’s production work includes chamber theatre, performance ethnography, contemporary and period classics, and new play development. KSU productions include Peter and the Starcatcher, In the Blood, Ruined, Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet, The Good Person of Szechuan, Fences, and the regional premiere of Karin Coonrod’s chamber theatre adaptations of Flannery O’Connor’s “A View of the Woods,” and “Everything that Rises Must Converge.”
At the heart of Karen's teaching philosophy are collaboration with colleagues and students and integration of the theoretical and practical; most vividly reflected in the profile of the scholar artist. As a scholar artist, she balances creative work with research and scholarship of teaching and learning, and frequently authors/co-authors essays reflecting upon her production work. Examples include "O'Connor Onstage: Embodiment and Polyphonic Narration," published in the "Flannery O'Connor Review" and "Polyphonic Dynamics as Educational Practice" co-authored with colleagues Ming Chen and Ivan Pulinkala (Theatre Topics); her writing is also included in ArtsTrends USA, a 347-page Chinese-English bilingual book on current topics in performance and design.
A passionate advocate for global learning and intercultural performance, Karen served as Global Learning Coordinator for KSU's College of the Arts from 2006-2013. Her global projects have included education abroad programs in Germany and Morocco; student performances of Metamorphoses in Paderborn, Germany; The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party and John Gentile's adaptation of Moby-Dick at the International University Theatre Festival in Casablanca in which she performed French narration 2009; the direction of Margaret Baldwin’s world premier adaptation of the Chinese folk novel Monkey King that was presented at Kennesaw State University and subsequently toured to Shanghai; and the co-direction (with playwright Margaret Baldwin) of a performance ethnography entitled You Always Go Home that focused on Kenyans living and studying in the KSU community. The production was also presented as part of an international conference: The Role of the Kenyan Diaspora in Kenya's Development. Inspired by a visit to Shangilia's Kenyan residence school that uses the performing arts to rehabilitate street children and orphans, Karen designed and coordinated a 5-day residency and performance at KSU featuring the Shangilia Youth Choir in collaboration with Micocci Productions of New York City, director Lee Breuer (The Gospel of Colonus), singer/music director J.D. Steele, and gospel musician Butch Heyward.
Outside the university, Karen has worked professionally as a director, dramaturg, and stage manager for theatres in New York City, North Carolina, California, and Atlanta, Georgia for over thirty years. In Atlanta, she has directed productions and staged readings for the Alliance Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Actor’s Express (Cardboard Piano and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet); and the world premieres of Margaret Baldwin’s plays Night Blooms and Her Little House for Horizon Theatre Company. An Associate Artist at Georgia Shakespeare from 1990-2014, she directed fourteen productions for the company, including As You Like It, Twelfth Night (reviewed by The Wall Street Journal as "an absolute knock-out"), A Streetcar Named Desire, The School for Wives, Amadeus (listed by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC) as one of the year’s most memorable theatrical productions), Tartuffe, Saint Joan, The School for Scandal, Much Ado About Nothing (named one of the year's 10 best shows by the AJC), Love's Labour's Lost, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Bourgeois Gentleman. Karen is the recipient of several awards including Kennesaw State University's 2009 Award for Distinguished Teaching, the 2010 College of the Arts Distinguished Service Award, a 2010 University of Georgia Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2011 KSU Distinguished Professor award.
Angela M. Farr Schiller
Angela M. Farr Schiller (Assistant Professor and Resident Dramaturge)
Ph.D. Theatre and Performance Studies, Stanford University
M. A. Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University B.A., Theatre, University of California, Santa Cruz
Areas of Emphasis: Critical Theory, Dramatic Literature, African American History and Performance, Performance Studies, Critical Race Studies, Sensorial Studies, Dramaturgy, Acting, Directing
Dr. Angela M. Farr Schiller is an Assistant Professor and the Resident Dramaturg for the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. She received her B.A. in Theatre from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she completed her final year of study at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She also studied at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana and the University degli Studi di Siena, Italy. She received her M.A. from the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis with an emphasis in Africana Studies from New York University, and completed her Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University.
Angela works professionally as a director, and dramaturg. She has appeared onstage with the Emmy Award-winning Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs, the National Dance Company of Ghana, the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, and toured with Stanford Repertory Theatre's production of The Wanderings of Odysseus in Athens, Greece. As a dramaturg, she has worked on several productions including The Color Purple, Hairspray, Cabaret, Father Comes Home from the Wars, Peter and the Starcatcher, Heathers the Musical, Three Sisters, The Scarlet Letter, Feathers and Teeth, In the Blood, As You Like It, and Native Guard with the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. Additionally, she works as a dramaturg in residence with Atlanta-based Working Title Playwrights on new play development and teaching master classes in dramaturgy. As a director, Angela has worked on several productions such as, The Bluest Eye, Dreamgirls, Branches Etched Across the Sky, In the Red and Brown Water, and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. Her production of Dreamgirls was nominated for eight (San Francisco) Theatre Bay Area Awards including Outstanding Direction of a Musical and Outstanding Production of a Musical, and her production of In the Red and Brown Water won an Outstanding Director award from the Kennedy Center.
Dr. Schiller has presented her research on the intersections of race and performance at various national and international conferences, including Performance Studies International (PSi), the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), and the International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA). She is a member of Performance Studies International (PSi), The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), American Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). She is currently working on the development of a book length project entitled The Choreography of Jim Crow: Race, Performance, and the Politics of Touch. Her areas of research include Performance Studies, 20th century African American History and Performance, Critical Race Theory, Dramatic Literature, Sensorial Studies, and 20th and 21st Century American Drama.
Dr. Schiller's body of work is ultimately rooted in revealing the ways that performance can be utilized as a meaningful tool for critical thinking, social justice, and the development of empathy and compassion for the human experience.
Kristyl D. Tift (Assistant Professor of Acting)
Ph.D. Theatre, University of Georgia
Graduate Certificate, Women's Studies, University of Georgia
M.F.A., Acting, New School for Drama
B.A. Theatre (Music Minor), Georgia Southern University
Areas of Emphasis: Acting (stage and screen), Voice and Speech, Movement and Dance, Queer-of-color Performance, African Diaspora Theatre and Performance
Dr. Kristyl D. Tift is an Assistant Professor of Acting in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at KSU. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre with a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies from the University of Georgia. She also holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the New School for Drama and a B.A. in Theatre (with a Music Minor) from Georgia Southern University.
As a performer, she has worked professionally in the Atlanta area as an actress, singer, and voice artist since 2008. Some of her favorite theatre roles include Aunt Em in True Colors Theatre Company's The Wiz, Bessie Smith in True Colors' concert reading of Gut Bucket Blues, Lacey Sims in Aurora Theatre's Buy My House, Please!, and Cookie in The Renaissance Project's production of Rumors. She has co-starred on such television shows as Greenleaf, House of Payne, and One Tree Hill, and has had principal roles in the films Hall Pass and Looper. Her commercial and industrial work include Target and Atlanta Falcons spots. Her voice work includes narrations for Tantor Audio and University Audio Press.
As a professor, Dr. Tift has taught a variety of courses in Theatre and Film Studies, Communication Arts, and Women's Studies Departments at Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia, emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning in the Arts and Humanities and a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the classroom. In 2015, she was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia.
As a scholar, her research on black queer performance has been recognized by The Ford Foundation and The Princeton Society of Fellows. Her research foci are the works of such playwrights and performance artists as Sharon Bridgforth, Shirlene Holmes, and Staceyann Chin.
Dr. Tift's other creative and research interests include African diaspora dance, popular culture and music, directing, writing for the stage and screen, and audio and visual recording and production.
Jan Wikstrom (Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Acting, Resident Vocal Coach)
M.F.A. Classical Acting, The George Washington University B.F.A. Acting, University of Southern California
Areas of Emphasis: Voice and Speech, Acting, Alexander Technique, Yoga
Jan Wikstrom is a teaching actor and coach who serves as Coordinator of the Acting Concentration and head of the vocal program in the acting concentration. She has also served on the faculties of Millikin University and the University of Florida. Her professional acting credits include appearances at such venues as the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Hippodrome State Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, and the George Street Playhouse. Roles include Nora in A Doll’s House, the title role in Candida, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Vivian in Wit. Jan's extensive experience with high school students (which has earned her the Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award and nine National Foundation for the Arts Awards) empowers her to lead the recruitment efforts of KSU's Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Jan's interests include the work of Uta Hagen, with whom she studied for many years, Fitzmaurice Voicework, the Alexander Technique and Yoga, all of which Jan is certified to teach.
Nicole B. Adkins
Nicole B. Adkins (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society)
M.F.A. Children’s Literature, Hollins University
B.A. Theatre Arts, University of Central Oklahoma
Nicole B. Adkins has taught classes and workshops to students of various ages at theatres, K-12 schools, and universities. Her plays have been performed at Children's Theatre of Charlotte, Hollins University, Mill Mountain Theatre, Studio Roanoke, Creative Drama Children’s Theatre in Winston-Salem, NC, SkyPilot Theatre in Los Angeles, the American International School in Guanghzou China, and other theatres, schools, and museums nationally and abroad. She has six plays published through YouthPLAYS, where she also serves as Artistic Associate. She is coauthor of Playwriting and Young Audiences: Collected Wisdom and Practical Advice from the Field (Intellect Press). National playwriting awards include the Waldo M. and Grace C. Bonderman Award and recognition in the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Marilyn Hall competition. A Hollins Children’s Literature MFA graduate and Hollins Playwright's Lab Core Faculty member, Nicole is also a member of Dramatists Guild and TYA/USA.
Justin Anderson (Instructor of Acting and Acting for Musical Theatre)
B.A. Theatre Arts, Campbell University
M.A. Theatre Studies, Regent University
Justin Anderson is an Atlanta-based professional director whose credits include award-winning stage productions in the Southeast. At present, he serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre (www.auroratheatre.com) in Lawrenceville, Georgia--a professional Equity theatre and the fastest growing theatre in the state. His directorial work has earned him both popular and critical praise, producing what one critic dubbed a "quickly-becoming-overwhelming list of successful stagings" (Brad Rudy, AtlantaTheatreBuzz.com, April 15, 2012). Recent productions include Lin-Manuel Miranda's and Quiara Alegría Hudes' IN THE HEIGHTS, a co-production between Aurora Theatre and Theatrical Outfit, THE CITY OF CONVERSATION by Anthony Giardina at Horizon Theatre Company, Sondheim and Lapine's INTO THE WOODS at Aurora Theatre and a co-production of VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE by Christopher Durang at both Aurora Theatre and Horizon Theatre Company. Other recent productions include: the world premiere of SPLIT IN THREE by Daryl Lisa Fazio at Florida Repertory Theatre and the web series THAT'S EDUCATIONAL thatseducational.com.
Further directing credits include: Boublil and Schönberg's LES MISÉRABLES (Five-time 2013 Suzi Bass Award Winner including Outstanding Direction of a Musical and Outstanding Production of a Musical) and Kerrigan and Lowdermilk's THE UNAUTHORIZED AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SAMANTHA BROWN at Aurora Theatre; the world premieres of HARABEL by Jonida Beqo and THE FABULOUS LIPITONES by Mark St. Germain and John Markus at Theatrical Outfit; the world premiere of ANGRY FAGS by Topher Payne at 7 Stages (2013 Suzi Bass Award Nominee, Outstanding Director of a Play); Sondheim and Weidman's ASSASSINS at Fabrefaction Theatre Company; and TIME BETWEEN US by Brett Schrier and Tess Barker and ORDINARY DAYS by Adam Gwon at Serenbe Playhouse.
Artistic associations include Theatrical Outfit, Synchronicity Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse and Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre. While studying directing at Rutgers University, Justin had the privilege to work with Amy Saltz, Pam Berlin, William Carden, and Deborah Headwall. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Campbell University and an M.A. in Theatre Studies from Regent University
Justin is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia where he directs and teaches courses in acting and musical theatre. In addition, he is a graduate of the 2016 Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) Institute and the 2016 inaugural class of the Gwinnett Chamber Young Professionals Leadership Institute. For a complete list of directing credits or for more information, visit www.justinandersononline.com.
Natashya Armer-Giardina (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society)
M.F.A. Acting, Northern Illinois University
B.F.A. Acting, Virginia Commonwealth University
Natashya Armer-Giardina is the 2017 Kennesaw State University Part-Time Faculty Award recipient. She has been part of the Kennesaw State University Department of Theatre and Performance Studies as part-time faculty since January, 2006. She was the first faculty member (full or part-time) in the College of the Arts to earn certification for teaching online, and continues to be a leader in distance learning.
She continues her professional teaching & performing career in Atlanta, Georgia. Past experiences include performing and teaching in the Chicago area for Our Town Productions, a professional theatre in Downers Grove, Illinois, and the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois. In completion of her Master of Fine Arts in Acting at Northern Illinois University in May 2004, Armer-Giardina had the extraordinary experience to study and perform in Russia with the acclaimed Moscow Art Theatre.
In fulfillment of her M.F.A. she performed roles in Waiting for Lefty, Disguises of Arlecchino, The Laramie Project, A Man's a Man, Balm in Gilead, several roles in Bob Schneider's adaptation of The Birds, and her thesis role, Gabriella, in David Edgar's Pentecost. In addition to receiving this degree, she has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and has studied film, auditioning techniques, and business of theatre with the private studio, The Audition Studio in Chicago. Professionally, Armer-Giardina has performed as Lampito in Lysistrata with the Side Studio Theatre in Chicago, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, both Puck and Helena in Midsommer Night’s Dreame with the New England Shakespeare Festival, and several roles with Our Town Productions. Armer-Giardina has also had the pleasure of performing at the world's largest theatre festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Fredrick “Freddie” Ashley
Fredrick “Freddie” Ashley (Assistant Professor of Acting)
M.F.A. Theatre Performance, University of Southern Mississippi
B.F.A Theatre, Shorter College
Freddie Ashley has been Artistic Director of Actor's Express in Atlanta since 2007. He has directed around thirty AE productions, including critically acclaimed productions of The Crucible, Appropriate, and Rent. Other directing credits include work with Dad’s Garage, Aurora Theatre, Theatre Gael, Jewish Theatre of the South, and Atlanta Lyric Theatre.
Ashley has worked on new play projects with playwrights Lindsey Ferrentino, Jen Silverman, Joshua Harmon, Michael Lew, Janine Nabers, Sarah Gubbins, Kathryn Walat, Kenneth Lin, Marco Ramirez and Amy E. Witting. He has developed new work with the Kennedy Center, Playwrights’ Center, Page 73, the New Group, Theater Emory and Alliance Theatre, where he previously served as Literary Manager and was dramaturg for over thirty productions.
He is a three-time Suzi Bass Award winner (Best Actor, The Whale; Best Director, Grey Gardens, and Rent) and has been named Best Director in Atlanta by Creative Loafing three times. He is a past winner of the Elliot Hayes Award for Dramaturgy from the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.
Ashley has served on the faculty of Kennesaw State University since 2002 and sits on the Board of Directors of the National New Play Network. He holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Brian August (Instructor of Stage Management)
B.F.A., Stage Management, Boston University
Brian August is currently the staff Production Stage Manager at The Atlanta Opera. Additionally, he is also the Production Stage Manager at Des Moines Metro Opera during their summer festival, where he is in seventh season. Additional opera companies include Sarasota Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Boston, and Central City Opera. Favorite productions include Dead Man Walking, Jenufa, Elektra, Soldier Songs, Turandot, and Silent Night. Brian is a graduate of the Boston University School of Theatre, with a BFA in Stage Management, cum laude. Brian originally hails from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and is now proud to call Atlanta his home.
Derek Barton (Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies)
PhD Northwestern University's Department of Performance Studies
Derek Barton is a playwright, director, and performance scholar based in Atlanta. Dr. Barton first encountered performance studies while studying 20th-century German theatre at Florida State University, where he became involved with Terry Galloway and Donna Nudd's company The Mickee Faust Club. Working with this offbeat group of "firewomen and hairdressers, biologists and nurses... Mennonites and men in tights" Dr. Barton discovered his own satiric, politically-engaged voice as a playwright and filmmaker, writing comedic shorts that would appear on the Mickee Faust stage and in film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. He went on to earn his PhD in Northwestern University's Department of Performance Studies, where he wrote about theatre and performance as a form of environmental activism, and created plays about extinct animals, giant squid, and endangered plants while searching for a theatrical language that could represent the struggles of non-human beings faced with destruction.
His one-man show, Professor Rikvold and the Giant Squid was developed at Northwestern and performed in Chicago's Around the Coyote, and used puppetry, video, and live performance to tell the story of a man wrestling with personal tragedy while dreaming of a talking squid named Norbert. Dr. Barton's play The Extinction Project, documenting his search for a vanishing tree in the Florida Panhandle, was featured in Chicago's Rhinofest and appeared recently in the multimedia journal Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies. His most recent article "A Phenomenology of Performance with Chickens" relates his experience directing Friedrich Durrenmatt's Romulus the Great as the playwright originally intended, using live chickens. In addition to playwriting and ecological theatre, Dr. Barton's artistic interests include comedy writing, German-language theatre, radical community-based theatre, puppetry, and digital/multimedia performance. His scholarly contributions may be found in Readings in Performance and Ecology and in Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice.
Danyé Brown (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society)
M.F.A. Theatre, University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Speech and Drama, Virginia Union University
Danyé Brown is an actor, vocalist, playwright, director and arts educator who serves as a part-time Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Passionate about arts education, she founded Theatrically Yours Coaching and Creative Services, LLC, a company of teaching artists and creative professionals dedicated to serving the next generation of artists through artist development workshops, performances and creative artistic events.
Danyé has taught and directed plays at the Southwest Arts Center, Atlanta Metro State College, Clark Atlanta University where she was a professor of theatre for three years, and most recently at Tri - Cities High School, a nationally known, award winning performing arts program where she served as the Director of Drama and Musical Theatre directing several plays including, Almost Maine, For Colored Girls, In the Heights the Musical, Crowns and Grease the Musical.
Her most recent onstage performance would be at the Alliance Theatre in her portrayal of the Dragon in Shrek the Musical (Suzi Nominated for Best Ensemble). Some of her other theatre credits include in Atlanta, GA: The Project's Project and God of Carnage at the Alliance Theatre, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre's Spring Readings, Macbeth at the Georgia Shakespeare and In Her Defense: Afeni Shakur at the Tupac Shakur Center for the Arts. In Birmingham, AL: Ruined at City Equity Theatre/Aldridge Repertory. In Los Angeles, CA: Stick Fly at the Matrix Theatre, Southern Girls at the Ruby/Complex Theatre and For Colored Girls... at the Stella Adler Theatre and In Detroit, MI: Crowns, Spunk, How High the Moon, He is Christmas all at Plowshares Theatre Company. TV/Film credits include: Passive Fist (Dim Pictures) and Fatal Attraction (TV One).
Kara Cantrell (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society and Acting)
B.F.A. Theatre/Performance, Western Kentucky University
M.F.A. Acting, University of Georgia
Kara Cantrell is an actor, director, and educator who is currently serving as a part-time Assistant Professor here at Kennesaw State University in the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies. She most recently appeared on the big screen in Logan Lucky, The Divergent Series - Allegiant, Pt. 1, in the Atlanta-produced web series, That's Educational, and numerous commercials and industrials. She has appeared on the Atlanta stage with Arís Theatre, ART Station, Aurora Theatre, Stage Door Players, Actor's Express, The Process Theatre Co., Theatre in the Square, Jewish Theatre of the South, and Synchronicity Theatre, and is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Impulse Repertory Company. Professor Cantrell has also taught theatre courses at UGA and Georgia Perimeter College, The Alliance Theatre's Education program, The Center for Puppetry Arts, Marcus Jewish Community Center, and the Ferst Center for the Arts. She is a Certified Teacher with the National Michael Chekhov Association.
Amelia Fischer (Assistant Professor of Acting)
MFA from the University of Houston’s PATP
BA from Coastal Carolina University
Amelia is a professional actor, director, and fight choreographer based in Atlanta, GA. Amelia has worked for theatres from Washington DC to Washington state, including seasons with: Tennessee Shakespeare Company, Georgia Shakespeare, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Classical Theatre Compnay, Shakespeare Walla Walla, and Houston Shakespeare Company. Here in Atlanta, Amelia has worked in casting and literary for Horizon Theatre, and performed with Theatrical Outfit, The Alliance, Horizon, Theatre Buford, Essential Theatre, and Theatre Emory. Amelia is certified by the Society of American Fight Directors and has choreographed fights with her brother, Connor Hammond for Synchronicity Theatre, Actor’s Express, Theatrical Outfit.
Anime fans have heard her voice several characters for Sentai Filmworks, including Jibril in No Game No Life. Amelia is proud to have received her MFA from the University of Houston’s PATP, her BA from Coastal Carolina University, and trained with the Gainesville Theatre Alliance.
Pam Joyce (Part-Time Assistant Professor of Introduction to Theatre Studies)
M.F.A, University of Minnesota
B.F.A., University of Evansville
Pam Joyce is a theatre director and educator with a passion for developing new work. She was the founding artistic director of Fly-By Theatre, a physically based theatre company in Atlanta. As a collaborator, she thrives with artistic teams that explore process as well as product. She has worked at all of the professional theaters in Atlanta in various administrative and artistic roles. Past productions include When We Were Young and Unafraid, Water by the Spoonful, Big Love, A World of Silents, Old Times, The Workroom, and Wedding on the Eiffel Tower. Upcoming productions: The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up at Aurora Theatre and Widowwood at Synchronicity Theatre. She received a BFA from the University of Evansville and a MFA from the University of Minnesota. She is a producers of the East x Southeast Festival, an Associate Member of SDC and an alumna of Toronto’s Director’s Lab North.
Kia Fisher Keyton
Kia Fisher Keyton (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society)
M.F.A. Acting, University of Louisville
B.A. Theatre Arts, Clark Atlanta University
Kia Fisher Keyton has taught at numerous institutions in Georgia and South Carolina. She is a member of the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) actors' union. Kia began taking acting classes as a child in the Gifted Artistic Theatrical Expansion (G.A.T.E.) Program. After graduating and relocating to Los Angeles, CA, Kia completed a series of commercial, television, and film classes. She has appeared in films, webisodes, and plays, and has toured with several companies. Acting credits include the lead in Antigone, The Glass Menagerie, for colored girls who have considered suicide…, and ‘night Mother, among other productions.
Dori Garziano Leeman
Dori Garziano Leeman (Assistant Professor of Acting, Arts in Society: Theatre and Performance, Theatre Education)
M.F.A. Theatre Performance, University of Southern Mississippi
B.S. Elementary Education, University of Southern Mississippi
Dori Garziano Leeman holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is certified to teach K-12 performing arts. Dori has been an educator for over 15 years, working with a variety of age groups from pre-school to college. Dori has worked at many theatres throughout metro-Atlanta as an actor, stage manager and educator, including Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Stage Door Players, and the Alliance Theatre to name a few. Dori also holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Brenau University. She has experience counseling adolescents, adults, and families. Dori has a passion for using the creative arts as a therapeutic tool for mental health and well-being.
Matt Lewis (Assistant Professor of Acting and Arts in Society: Theatre and Performance)
M.F.A. Acting, University of Alabama
B.A.Theatre and Performance Studies, Kennesaw State University
Matt Lewis has been a Part-Time Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies since 2012. He received his MFA in Acting at the University of Alabama and his BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Kennesaw State University. At KSU, he’s taught TPS 1107: Theatre in Society, TPS 1500: Introduction to Theatre Studies, TPS 2202: Introduction to Acting, and TPS 2203: Acting I: The Fundamentals of Acting. He’s also taught at the University of Alabama and Stillman College.
Matt Lewis’ most recent Off-Broadway appearance was in 2016 at the Beckett Theatre in Here I Sit Brokenhearted. He made his Off-Broadway debut in 2012 at the 59E59 Theater in Hell: Paradise Found, deemed, “a witty comedy with matter of fact absurdity,” by the New York Times, and, “a screwball comedy with crackling performances and wickedly funny punchlines,” by Backstage. His regional credits include Cymbeline, Macbeth, My Fair Lady, The Comedy of Errors, The Winter’s Tale, Camelot (Texas Shakespeare Festival), and Six Degrees of Separation (Charlotte Rep). Matt has performed in theatres all over Atlanta, including BOY (Theatrical Outfit), Memphis: the Musical (Aurora and Theatrical Outfit), The Bridges of Madison County, Hands on a Hardbody (Aurora Theatre), Ghost: the Musical, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story; Great Expectations (Georgia Ensemble), On Golden Pond (Stage Door Players), Urinetown, Assassins (Fabrefaction), Warrior Class (u/s Alliance), and Cannibal! The Musical (Dad’s Garage). His film credits include Disney Shot Kennedy (Modest Conspiracy Films), winner of Official Selections in the 2010 New York Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival, the 2010 Atlanta Underground Film Festival, and the 2010 San Antonio Film Festival. Television credits include Sleepy Hollow (Fox), Resurrection (ABC), Halt and Catch Fire (AMC), Nashville (CMT), and Swamp Murders (Investigation Discovery). For more information, visit www.mattlewisactor.com
Melanie Martin Long
Melanie Martin Long (Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing)
M.F.A. Directing, University of Minnesota
B.A. Theatre and English, The College of William and Mary
Melanie Martin Long has worked as a director, writer, and actor for several Atlanta theatre companies, including Georgia Shakespeare, Alliance Children’s Theatre, Jewish Theatre of the South, Georgia Ensemble, Theatrical Outfit, and Theatre Emory. Before coming to Atlanta in 2005, Melanie was Artistic Associate at the Lark Play Development Center in New York, where she produced its acclaimed Playwrights Workshop with Arthur Kopit. As a professional director and adapter, she has guided more than thirty productions at the Off-Broadway, regional and collegiate levels. Publications: “Mastering Stage Presence” DVD series for The Great Courses, The Frog Prince (Book and Lyrics with composer James Woodward), and annotations of Julius Caesar and The Tempest. Memberships: Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, Voice and Speech Trainers of America (VASTA). In addition to teaching, Melanie maintains a full schedule as a workshop leader, speaker and performance coach for actors and presenters.
Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes (Assistant Professor Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies)
M.F.A. (Acting), American Repertory Theatre
(A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University
B.A. Theatre Arts State University of New York at New Paltz
Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes, is a part time professor at Kennesaw State University. She has extensive experience teaching theatre and acting in various institutions in New York.
Lorraine has an acting career that has led her to the stages of Cherry Lane Theatre Verse Chorus Verse, Mint Theatre On The Edge, Repertorio Español La Gringa, Theatre Row A Bicycle Country, Dog Day Afternoon, Columbia Stages Three Sisters, LaTea Theatre GlassChord, The Importance of Being Blanca, Moscow Art Theatre Dostoevsky Demons and Melancholy, a show she did at the beginning of her career at Harvard, directed by Scott Zigler; and the role of La Extraña in De Dónde at The Looking Glass Theatre which earned her an OOBER Award. Lorraine’s one woman show Mami Confessions was the winner of the ONE Festival in NYC and had two runs Teatro Circulo and at the Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca NY. Lorraine also co-wrote Cuatro Mujeres which premiered at the prestigious FILEY 2017 Festival Feria Internacional de la Literatura Mérida, Yucatán México. Cuatro Mujeres had its stateside premiere at the Aurora Theatre. Television credits: CW Legacies, NBC Good Girls, Tyler Perry's The Have's and Have Nots, HBO The Sopranos, recurring Guest star role on ABC "What Would You
Do?", Diversity Inclusion Playbook for ESPN and Cookin' in Brooklyn for Discovery.
Film: Lifetime movie, Room for Murder, Eli Moran, Taught to Hate, The Stick Up Kids, Willets Point, nominated for Best Dramatic Actress at The Long Island International Film Expo.
Producing Credits: Atlantic Theatre reading of The Genius by Daniel Mitura and a reading of Kathleen McGhee-Anderson's new play A Shift in Gravity, directed by Ricardo Khan at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater - The Pershing Square Signature Center in Manhattan. Benefit reading of Gloria, screenplay adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned at The Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons. At Cherry Lane she produced the Stripped Festival in association with Barefoot Theatre Company and East 3rd Productions; at Theatre Row, the Israel Horovitz Festival Reading and A Bicycle Country by Pulitzer Prize Winner, Nilo Cruz; and at the Gene Frankel, Weird Sisters. Also with East 3rd Productions: Strange Snow by Steven Metcalf, Mary Esther conceived by Christopher Petitand written by Nick Zagone. Film Producer credits: Award Winning short films Tapeworm and Capicu. Lorraine also produced Eli Moran, an independent film shot in NYC.
Tiffany Williams (Assistant Professor of Theatre in Society)
M.F.A. Acting, The Actors Studio Drama School, Pace University
B.A. Speech Communication, Jackson State University
Tiffany Williams is an actress, improviser, and writer who received her BA in Speech Communication and Theatre from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Most recently, she's graduated with her MFA in Acting from The Actors Studio Drama School of Pace University. Tiffany is also a proud resident actor of The Flea Theatre's Bat Resident Company of New York City. In addition to teaching at Kennesaw State University, she also teaches Speech and Theatre via distance learning at Jackson State University. Completing the core improv program at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade, she is now in the advanced study program and has been accepted into the Advanced Study Program at Atlanta’s Dad’s Garage with a Diversity Scholarship. She is head-writer of indie sketch team, KUZZINS, and most recently, wrote her first web series, Stereos, which begins filming this year.
Andrew Berardi (Office Manager)
Andrew is a passionate non-profit and higher education administrator with over nine years of experience in office administration, customer service, assessment, and database management. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University in 2008, Andrew has held office administration positions at New World Stages, The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University. He is adept at creative, strategic, and tactical problem-solving skills under high stress situations. Andrew also has experience with serving, supporting, coordinating, and managing in large organizations.
Dawn Eskridge (Production Manager)
B.S. Theatre (Education), Florida A & M University
Dawn has nearly 20 years of administrative experience in both professional theatre and higher education. Prior to moving to Atlanta in 2008, she worked for several regional theaters in Chicago, including the Tony-award winning Victory Gardens Theater. Dawn returns to KSU after serving as the Patron Services Manager for the College of the Arts from 2010 until 2013. She is a member of the International Ticketing Association, Association of Arts Administration Educators, Theatre Communications Group, and Black Theatre Network.
Brittany Johnson (Costume Shop Manager)
Brittany completed her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Costume Technology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in costumes from University of Florida. After graduation from UT Austin, Brittany pursued a career as a Costume Technologist in New York City where she spent two years working at one of the top Broadway costume shops as a Cutter/First Hand. She moved to Atlanta in 2006 and worked in the costume shop of the Tony award-winning Alliance Theatre in addition to freelancing as a constructionist around the city. Brittany is part owner of J&R Santaprises, which specializes in custom-ordered Santa and Mrs. Claus suits. Brittany has been the Costume Shop Manager at Kennesaw State University since 2010.
Kenyon Shiver (Technical Director)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgB.F.A. Art, Valdosta State University
As Technical Director for the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, Kenyon brings his lifelong background in art, construction, and entertainment to bear in creating the environments and various properties of the physical aspects of stage productions. Having been a part of over 150 projects throughout his career, his range of experience runs the gamut of technical theatre and design. Apart from his duties here at KSU, his work can occasionally be seen at theatres around the Atlanta area in the form of specialty props and other scenic elements.
Daniel Terry (TPS Facilities Manager)
Daniel joined the staff of KSU's Department of Theatre and Performance Studies in 2017. He graduated from the department in the Spring of 2011 with a concentration in Design and Technology. Daniel has over eight years of professional experience working in the Atlanta theatre community for companies that include the Alliance Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Actor's Express, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, and Aurora Theatre. He served as staff member with Aurora Theatre for 5 years—three years as Assistant Technical Director, and two years as Technical Director.