As Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, I am dedicated to the rigor and discipline of performing arts training that develops artistry on stage and values the significance of truly robust arts training.
At Stephens, we know the arts have the ability to challenge us to exceed and respect our similarities and differences in culture, age, class, gender and capabilities. In short, the power of the arts is unequivocal.
Stephens has a rich history in the performing arts, and it is a privilege to honor that legacy and expand the vision for the arts. The creative professionals who emerge from Stephens in the years to come undoubtedly will make significant contributions to the field and society.
Please take a moment to learn more about Stephens College and explore our programs.
Gail Humphries Mardirosian
“It is the artists of the world, the feelers and the thinkers, who will ultimately save us; who can articulate, educate, defy, insist, sing, and shout big dreams.” - Leonard Bernstein, composer
Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, Dean, School of Creative and Performing Arts; Artistic Director, Okoboji Summer Theatre; Fellow, College of Fellows of the American Theater
Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian is in her fourth year as dean at Stephens College and just completed her third year as the artistic director for Okoboji Summer Theatre (OST). This fall, she is pleased to assume the expanded role as Dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts with education, English/creative writing, and digital media/film programs along with theatre, music and dance programs. At OST, she recently directed On Golden Pond, and in the past also directed To Kill a Mockingbird and The Diary of Anne Frank at Okoboji. On campus, she has directed Cabaret and the original production of Traces in the Wind, which also toured to Washington, D.C. The project is chronicled in the new book “The Courage to Fight Violence Against Women.” She is professor emerita at American University in Washington, D.C. Mardirosian’s broad experience encompasses academic administration, program development and fundraising and the direction of over 150 productions, including drama, musical theatre, children’s theatre, the classics and new works. She has taught and directed in countries such as Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She is also a recipient of the Likhachev/Yeltsin Cultural Fellowship at the St. Petersburg Performing Arts Academy in Russia. Mardirosian has won several outstanding teaching, faculty and directing awards, and has published articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Teaching Artist Journal and Current Issues in Education. In 2013, she was invested into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. This year, Stephens will present “Engage & Energize: An Arts Integration in Education Summit,” which is based on her book “Arts Integration in Education: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change.” It is funded with support from the Missouri Arts Council. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. from American University and a B.A. from Allegheny College.
Timuchin Aker, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Timuchin Aker is a resident actor/teacher at Stephens, where he teaches all levels of acting, directs, acts in various productions, and fight directs. Last season at Stephens he directed Emma, and acted in An American Daughter and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Professionally, Aker has worked across the country at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Cleveland Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, American Theater Company, Okoboji Summer Theatre, among others. He completed the acting apprenticeship at Actors Theatre of Louisville, following which he lived and worked in N.Y.C. and Chicago. He also worked as an actor, director and writer on various world premieres while a member of The Ruckus, a Chicago-based theatre company. While in Chicago, he taught several classes based in Meisner Technique at Green Shirt Studio. While earning his M.F.A. in Acting, he also studied the Alexander Technique at the Alexander Technique Center Urbana. He earned an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. from Kalamazoo College.
Tom Andes, Instructor of Music
Tom Andes is the co-director of the Velvetones, Stephens’ vocal jazz ensemble. Andes has music directed productions for the Okoboji Summer Theatre and the Playhouse Company, He composed an original score for Traces in the Wind, a tone poem by Stephens School of Creative and Performing Arts Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian, which Stephens took to Washington, D.C. He has submitted his original musical Color Blind to the New York Musical Festival for production. Andes performs as the house pianist at Murry’s Restaurant and performs there weekly with his jazz trio. He earned a B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a 2-Year Certificate in Piano Performance from Berklee College of Music.
Emily Edgington Andrews, Visiting Guest Artist, Music
Emily Edgington Andrews conducts the Stephens Concert Choir, and teaches beginning piano classes and private voice lessons. Andrews is on the music faculty at the University of Missouri and serves as the director of community outreach. She is in her ninth year as a vocal music teacher at Columbia Independent School, where she conducts two ensembles for students in grades 4-12. Andrews is in her 12th season as conductor at the historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where she maintains the music program and conducts a 45-member adult choir of musicians. In 2013, she was appointed artistic director for the Columbia Chorale, and has helped to expand the organization to include more than 350 singers, 10 staff members, and 10 additional choral ensembles under the umbrella Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri. Andrews is the assistant conductor for Prometheus: An American Vocal Consort, managing the ensemble and assisting in conducting the 12-member professional ensemble. She regularly serves as a guest clinician and adjudicator, and is the former Northeast Missouri High School choral vice president. Andrews is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Missouri Music Educators Association. She earned an M.M. from the University of Missouri and an M.A. and a B.A. from Truman State University.
Steph Borklund, Assistant Professor
Steph Borklund is an assistant professor of digital filmmaking. She has more than 15 years of experience as a producer, director and editor. Her works include documentaries, narratives, and corporate and industrial videos. She previously worked as director of postproduction in California for Left Coast Productions, where she won several Telly, Aurora and Summit Creative awards (editing) for her corporate and industrial work. Her most recent short film, Chasing AllieCat is in postproduction. Other works include producing and directing I Am One (Citizen Jane Film Festival), a short educational film about bullying; co-producing and editing the documentary Hollywood East (Jacksonville Film Festival), a short documentary about the silent film era in Jacksonville, Fla.; and working as an assistant camera operator on Getting Away Together, a PBS television series. Her most rewarding job has been teaching at Stephens and having the opportunity to teach the next generation of female filmmakers. She earned her M.F.A. from Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.A. from the University of Kansas.
Dr. Ann Breidenbach, Assistant Professor
Dr. Ann Breidenbach is an assistant professor in the Women’s Studies and Creative Writing programs at Stephens. She earned her Ph.D. in Rural Sociology with a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. While working on her dissertation, she rediscovered her passion for writing. Breidenbach began taking seminars in creative nonfiction writing and eventually enrolled in an M.F.A. program. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Boston in 2014. Breidenbach brings an interdisciplinary approach and her identity as a writer to her teaching. She is working on a manuscript titled Girlhood Cache, which is a memoir told through a series of flash non-fiction essays. Her current research project, “Feminist Activism and the Women’s Film Festival: a Site for Social Change,” explores the impact of women’s film festivals as a means of feminist activism.
Julie Douglass, Resident Visiting Artist, Costume Design
Julie Douglass is the resident visiting artist in costume design at Stephens and supervises the B.F.A. in Costume Design as well as designing two productions per year. She has a diverse theatrical background as costume designer, music director, accompanist, pit orchestra member, prop master, set decorator and actor. She has worked with several theater companies in Lincoln, Neb., and designed for more than 40 productions at Belvoir Terrace, a summer arts camp for girls in Lenox, Mass. As a Hixson-Lied Graduate Fellow, Douglass was honored to be the first to design costumes for Agravio: Courage, Betrayal, and a Woman Scorned. She also designed the costumes for Digs, a short film produced by the Johnny Carson School for Theatre & Film. Most recently, Douglass designed costumes for Flatwater Shakespeare Company’s production of Merry Wives of Windsor and for three music videos. She has an M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Robert Doyen, Professor of Theatre
Rob Doyen is a resident actor/teacher at Stephens, where he teaches Acting and Directing. He has spent the last 40 summers at Okoboji Summer Theatre. Last season at Stephens, he appeared in An American Daughter, Sweet Charity, Emma and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. At Okoboji Summer Theatre, he was featured in Plaza Suite, Footloose, On Golden Pond and South Pacific. Doyen is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. He earned an M.A. from Illinois State University and a B.F.A. from Stephens College.
Rusty Elder, Program Coordinator for Music, Instructor of Music
Rusty Elder serves as a teacher, administrator, adviser and performer. As coordinator of music, he has worked with faculty over many years to create the B.F.A. in Vocal Performance, a unique music major that unites Stephens’ strengths in Vocal Jazz, Musical Theatre and Classical Voice. Elder works with faculty to facilitate a rich variety of music opportunities to Stephens students: private lessons, academic classes, ensembles, master classes, studio classes and more than 10 major performances each year. He is also a member of the First-Year Faculty Adviser program, a program that pairs first-year students from all disciplines with experienced faculty dedicated to their success. A recipient of the College’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Elder instructs courses in Music Theory, Music History, World Music, Women & Music, Rock & Roll and Drum Set. A percussionist, he performs for numerous musicals, revues and recitals throughout the year. He earned an M.M. and a B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Pamela Ellsworth-Smith, Associate Professor of Voice
Pamela Ellsworth-Smith teaches voice at Stephens and is the director of The Velvetones, Stephens’ vocal jazz ensemble, who has performed at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tenn., and the Jazz Standard in New York. The group made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2004. She also directs Stephens’ A Class Act: Musical Theatre Troupe. She has performed roles with New Orleans Opera Company and Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, as well as regional companies on the West Coast. Ellsworth-Smith has studied and performed at The Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She is the Missouri District Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Ellsworth-Smith has been an active adjudicator for voice/choral festivals and taught master classes in various high schools in the Midwest. Her students have attained high honors in regional and national competitions, performing in professional companies and apprenticeship programs across the United States. She earned an M.M. from Loyola University and a B.M.E. from Arkansas State University.
Ken George, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Ken George works as a freelance scenic/entertainment designer in Southern California and the Midwest. He teaches design courses at Stephens, designs for the theatre program’s mainstage productions and mentors student designers. George has served as a scenic designer for various theaters and schools in the Midwest over the last 19 years, earning him the Wyoming Arts Council’s 2005 Performing Arts Fellowship Award. He is also a professional member of the United State Institute for Theatre Technology. His design credits include California State University, Los Angeles; Deaf West Theater, Los Angeles; Oklahoma State University’s Department of Theater, Stillwater, Okla.; Casper College’s Theatre and Dance program, Casper, Wyo.; University of Wisconsin-Madison; and PBS of Missouri. He earned an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a B.S. from Northwest Missouri State University and an A.A. from Coffeyville Community College.
Darren Gibson, Visiting Guest Artist, Dance
Darren Gibson is a former artistic director for TexARTS Academy and the TexARTS Broadway Company in Austin, Texas, where he choreographed and directed 30 musicals and ballets. He grew up in New York where Eliot Feld discovered him. He was the first graduate of The New Ballet School (known now as Ballet Tech), where he worked as principal dancer and ballet master and also served on the Board of Directors. Since then, Gibson has accumulated numerous ballet credits, staged ballets for Richmond and Boston ballets, and assisted Ann Reinking in an original work for the American Ballet Theatre. Gibson also has been involved in musical theater, appearing as a featured performer in both the New York Shakespeare Festival production and Broadway revival of On the Town, directed by George C. Wolfe. Gibson was a featured performer and resident director/choreographer in London’s West End Production of Fosse. Other credits include the Broadway production of The Look of Love, City Center Encores: House of Flowers, No Strings! and the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Gibson last performed in the Broadway production of Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out and later acted as dance supervisor for London’s West End production of the same show. He taught dance in the Texas State University Musical Theatre Department and was also a co-artistic director/director of the Dance Department for Broadway Theatre Project (BTP) and artistic director of BTP2.
Lamby Hedge, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts
Lamby Hedge hails from N.Y.C. and boasts a 30-year career as a professional director, actor and producer. Her directing credits include Missouri Repertory Theatre, Mansfield Festival Theatre, Mount Baker Repertory Theatre and the esteemed Unicorn Theatre, where her direction/choreography garnered her a Kansas City Drama Desk Best of Theatre Award. She also has served nine years as artistic director of the Marple Theatre; 10 years as artistic director of the Equity touring company Shakespeare-On-Stage; five years as artistic director for the Stephens College Summer Theatre Institute; and 27 years with the Okoboji Summer Theatre as an actor, principal director, and for six seasons as OST associate artistic director. Hedge directed the national tour of the newly-revised musical Babes in Toyland. This summer, she guest directed the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for Western Summer Theatre. Hedge is the recipient of both the Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Stephens College Distinguished Teaching Award. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. She earned an M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. from State University of New York, Fredonia.
Mimi Hedges, Associate Professor, Lighting, Scenic & Properties Design
Mimi Hedges has served as the interim dean of performing arts (2013-14), director of advising and liberal arts (2012-13), dean of liberal arts (2008-12) and interim chair of psychology (2009-12). She was a resident scenic designer/scenic artist at Stephens from 2002-06 and resident and guest designer for over 50 productions at the Okoboji Summer Theatre. She has taught and designed at the University of Wyoming and Montana State University, and acted as the head of design and technology for theatre and dance at the University of Montana. Her professional credits include designs for the Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Young Audiences, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Tri Cities Opera, Montana Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare in the Parks and Okoboji Summer Theatre, as well as art direction for the Stephens Summer Film Institute. This past summer was her fourth teaching and designing for the Summer Theatre Institute. Recent designs at Stephens include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gypsy, Clybourne Park, The Night Witches and Emma. This year, she will be designing Intimate Apparel and Into the Woods. She earned an M.F.A. from Case Western Reserve University, a B.A. from The College of Wooster and an A.S. from Iowa Lakes Community College.
Lee Heinz, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre
Lee Heinz has performed on Broadway as “Tiger Lily” in Peter Pan and in national and international tours of Dancin’, Once Upon a Mattress, West Side Story, Cabaret and A Chorus Line. Regionally, some of her favorite roles have been “Annie” in Annie Get Your Gun, “Drood” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, “Hermia” in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, “Charlotta” in The Cherry Orchard, “Ruth” in Blithe Spirit, and “Puck” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also been a frequent guest artist with the Chautauqua Opera, has worked in film, and was a regular on two soap operas. Heinz started her professional acting career at the age of eight on the Kenley Circuit, performing with such stars as Jo Anne Worley, Paul Lynde, Brenda Lee and Juliet Prowse, among others. She has directed at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and at the Triad Theatre, and choreographed and directed a number of off-Broadway, regional and international shows. Heinz served as the assistant director for the original production of Zombie Prom at the Variety Arts Theatre. Heinz has a M.F.A. from George Washington University, an M.A. from Wayne State University and a B.A. from Vassar College.
Dr. Kate Berneking Kogut, Associate Professor
Dr. Kate Berneking Kogut is an associate professor of English and creative writing. She specializes in scriptwriting and new script development. She is a playwright, a screenwriter and a script consultant. Her plays have been produced, showcased and workshopped in California, New York, Chicago and in venues in the South and the Midwest. Kogut also writes, directs and produces short films through her production company, Envelope Sky Productions. One of her current research projects is the examination of "below the line" career opportunities for women working in the film industry. Another research interest is transmedia storytelling, which is ways in which a story unfolds through various media. She looks forward to the release of her transmedia storytelling project and the accompanying web series. She earned her Ph.D. in Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Sean Livengood-Clouse, Associate Professor
Dr. Sean Livengood-Clouse is director of The Children's School at Stephens College. He teaches education, psychology and counseling courses in the Education programs at Stephens, where he’s been on faculty since 2006. He also serves as the certification officer for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies’ educational programs. Livengood-Clouse has a B.A. in Psychology and master's degrees in Counseling Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies, as well as a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. As of this summer, he will also be a licensed psychologist. He is an expert in life span and child development, counseling psychology, multicultural issues in psychology. In addition to his faculty position, Livengood-Clouse provides therapy for clients at a non-profit, no-fee family mental health clinic in Columbia. He is a member of the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the American Psychological Association.
Kerri S. Packard
Kerri Packard is the supervisor of the costume shop at Stephens. She has more than 30 years of experience as a costume designer/technician. Packard received a B.F.A. in Costume Design from Arizona State University and a M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Iowa. She taught for 23 years at the University of Missouri. Her work has been seen at MU, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Maples Repertory Theatre and Southeast Missouri State University.
Dr. Tina Parke-Sutherland, Professor
Dr. Tina Parke-Sutherland is a professor of literature, creative writing and women's studies. She has been on the faculty at Stephens since 1991. Parke-Sutherland, a former Fulbright Professor, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Northern Michigan University, has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska and earned a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Michigan. She is also a published poet, with her latest collection, "The Dream Latitudes," in press.
Trent Rash, Assistant Professor of Music
Trent Rash teaches applied private voice lessons, senior seminar and the musical theatre repertory class at Stephens. He is also the director of the annual Victorian Christmas production and the musical theatre coordinator for the Summer Theatre Institute. Rash has directed, music directed, or been onstage in more than 40 musicals. Outside of Stephens, he is the assistant director of music ministry and liturgy at the St. Thomas More Newman Center and teaches a handful of students of all ages through RashMusik, his private voice studio. Rash is also one of the co-founders and singers in the mixed vocal ensemble Elan, which performs a varied repertoire of choral music. Other solo engagements include concert appearances at Missouri Theatre, in the Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and with the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. In 2014, his musical, Starting With My Voice, written with friend and colleague Audra Sergel, was selected and featured in the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. This year, he is a featured playwright in the Starting Gate New Play Festival, sponsored by Talking Horse Productions. He earned an M.M. and a B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Kristine Somerville, Assistant Professor
Kristine Somerville teaches contemporary literature, advanced composition, language ethics, nonfiction workshop, fiction workshop, and the Harbinger publishing internship at Stephens College. Her short stories and prose poems have been published in various magazines, including The North American Review, Passages North, River City, Zone 3, The South Carolina Review and Quarterly West. Her essay "Katie Suber" received notable mention in Best American Essays, and her fiction has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Her visual and “Found Text” features and omnibus reviews appear regularly in The Missouri Review.
Chase Thompson, Assistant Professor
Chase Thompson is an assistant professor of digital filmmaking at Stephens. Thompson, an independent filmmaker, is a fourth-generation teacher with a passion for helping students find their creative voice through digital filmmaking and photography. His feature length documentary Zielinski was selected into Slamdance, True/False Film Fest and Radar Hamburg International Independent Film Festival, and it received Best Political Doc at Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and the Golden Reel Award at the Nevada Film Festival. Thompson is a screener for Slamdance and is working on his next feature, The Legend of Sir Lattimore Brown. In the meantime, he wrote and directed Threshold (Fargo Film Fest) and Flat Black (2014). In 2014, Thompson led a student group to Haiti to create a short documentary for the buildOn organization; photos from the trip appeared in Photographer’s Forum Best of 2014 and 2016 publications. He is pursuing his M.F.A. in Screenwriting and Television at Stephens. He earned a B.S. from Columbia College.
Dr. Mark Thompson, Associate Professor
Dr. Mark Thompson is an associate professor of history and global studies. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto. Thompson teaches modern European, U.S. and world history, as well as the sophomore core courses, Government and Economics and Global Village. His research interests include the Indochina War, as well as the intersection of European integration and decolonization. His article "Defending the Rhine in Asia: France’s 1951 Reinforcement Debate and French International Ambitions" is forthcoming with the journal French Historical Studies.
Carol Schuberg, Visiting Guest Artist, Dance
Carol Schuberg is a seasoned educator who has taught ballet, jazz, tap, yoga, Pilates, Alexander techniques, hip hop, salsa, musical theater dance and dance audition technique courses at institutions such as New York University, Baldwin Wallace University, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, American University, Georgetown University, Florida State and Pennsylvania State University. She has presented master classes at various institutions, including the University of Utah and Point Park University. She performed on Broadway in Meet Me in St. Louis, and in the national tours of Cats, Promises, Promises, The Tap Dance Kid, Barnum and Gigi. She has played “Erma” in Anything Goes, “Sheila” in A Chorus Line, “Electra” in Gypsy, “Rose” in Bye, Bye Birdie and “Conchalla” in The Late Henry Moss. She choreographed Avenue X for Cain Park and Two Gentlemen of Verona for New Jersey Shakespeare Festival and Nine for New York University. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of Utah.
Jill Womack, Executive Artistic Director, TRYPS Institute at Stephens College; Assistant Professor of Children’s Theatre
Jill Womack is the program director for the new Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) emphasis area for the three-year, two-summer B.F.A. in Theatre Arts at Stephens. She also serves as the executive artistic director of the TRYPS Institute (Theatre Reaching Young People & Schools). She has directed over 60 children’s theatre productions. The 2017-18 season celebrates the TRYPS Institute’s 18th season and its fourth year at Stephens. The Institute produces a year-round education program for young people ages 10 months through college and is the practical lab for the TYA majors. Womack has worked professionally in L.A. and N.Y.C. and was a member of SAG and AFTRA. She studied at British American Drama Academy and is an alumna of the FSU/Asolo State Theatre. She has received the Kennedy Center’s Coolfont Scholarship and the Kennedy Center’s Award of Excellence. She earned an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a B.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Kerri Yost, Associate Professor
Kerri Yost is an associate professor of digital filmmaking at Stephens. She is an independent filmmaker who learned filmmaking overseas while teaching abroad. After returning home to Missouri, she focused on films about the people in the Midwest. Her feature film Neither Here Nor There documents Bosnian refugees starting new lives in Missouri, which played on PBS and was nominated for an Emmy. Her short documentary films Billy and X-Ray Man focus on soldiers who had extraordinary lives. Committed to helping women gain more access to the film industry, Yost founded the Citizen Jane Film Festival at Stephens in 2008. The festival has grown ever since, providing opportunities for female filmmakers to showcase their work to our local community and Stephens film students to learn about the film industry firsthand. She earned her M.A. from Central Missouri State University and a B.A. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. (Sabbatical Spring 2018)
Dr. Tegan Zimmerman, Assistant Professor
Dr. Tegan Zimmerman is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing. She specializes in contemporary women’s historical fiction, contemporary gender studies and literary theory. She has master’s degrees in Creative Writing (University of East Anglia) and Philosophy (University of Calgary) and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (University of Alberta). Her book “Matria Redux: Caribbean Women’s Historical Fiction,” forthcoming from Northwestern UP, examines the concepts of maternal history and maternal genealogy.
Sarah Aker, Staff Artist, Lighting Design
Sarah Aker teaches, designs, serves as the master electrician, and advises students at Stephens. This past year at the College, she designed Night Witches, Sweet Charity, Emma, Everything You Touch and the Spring Dance Concert. Before Stephens, Aker was the staff space coordinator and lighting designer for the University of Illinois Department of Dance. Professional lighting design credits include designs for Okoboji Summer Theatre (IA); Bristol Valley Theater (NY); Station Theatre (IL); Parkland College (IL); South Bend Civic Theater (IN); Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Beloit College (WI); Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago; and About Face Theatre in Chicago. Her B.A. is from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Ind., with a double major in Theatre and Psychology.
Michael Burke, Director of Production, School of Creative and Performing Arts; Director of Production & Operations, Okoboji Summer Theatre
Michael Burke returns to campus following the successful 60th season at Okoboji Summer Theatre. At Stephens, he oversees all production departments for the School of Creative and Performing Arts; is the resident sound designer; supervises all student stage managers and sound designers; and teaches Introduction to Stage Management, Stage Management II and Sound Design. Burke is also an adviser to the Warehouse Theatre Company. Prior to his return to Stephens in 2007, he spent 15 seasons at the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre in Seattle as a stage manager and as the company manager, working on more than 35 productions, including the pre-Broadway runs of Jeckle & Hyde, Hairspray and The Wedding Singer. Other regional credits include the American Heartland Theatre in Kansas City and The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. Burke is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Production Managers’ Forum and a graduate of Stephens College. He earned a B.FA. from Stephens.
Ruth Ann Burke, Executive Director, Okoboji Summer Theatre; Business Manager, School of Creative and Performing Arts
Ruth Ann Burke serves as the executive director for the Okoboji Summer Theatre, where she recently completed her 19th summer and helped the company celebrate its 60th anniversary season in the Iowa Great Lakes region. During the school year, she is the business manager, overseeing box office operations, marketing and corporate sponsorships for the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Before returning to Columbia in 2007, Burke worked in marketing and public relations in Seattle. She is a proud alumna of Stephens College. She earned her M.B.A. from Stephens College, an M.A. from Drake University and a B.F.A. from Stephens.
Herbert Moore, Scene Shop Foreman
A 2008 Stephens College graduate, Herbert Moore just completed his 11th summer at the Okoboji Summer Theatre, which includes several years as the assistant to the director of production, lighting supervisor and facilities manager. His previous work includes stage staff for Royal Caribbean International and as an electrician for Dallas Theater Center and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. He earned a B.F.A. from Stephens College.
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