Faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance

Theatre Faculty

Jeanne Button, Professor Emerita |  Costume Design

Diana Cupsa (MFA, University of Bucharest)  |  Associate Professor  |   Scenic Design, Scene Painting, CAD  |

Diana joined the Tulane Theatre and Dance faculty in the Fall of 2003. She has been on the faculties at Bucharest University in Romania, Rhodes University in South Africa, College of Charleston, SC and Wesleyan University, CT. Diana’s work has covered a broad range of set and costume designs for theatre, film and television working with respected directors on well known professional stages in Europe, Africa and the U.S.She is a two-time winner of the FNB “Vita Award” and the “Oradea Grand Award” while her designs are displayed at the Prague Quadrennial and the Toronto WST exhibitions.For the Department of Theatre and Dance at Tulane Diana teaches graduate courses such as Fundamentals of Design, Rendering, Period and Style, Scene Painting, Scene Design, Portfolio Techniques and the undergraduate course of Production and Design I and II.

Stephanie L. Dawson (MFA, North Carolina School of the Arts)  |  Professor of Practice  | Technical Director | Production Manager

Stevie Dawson

Stevie Dawson passed away on March 15, 2012.
Read more about Stevie's legacy here.

Stevie Dawson joined the faculty at Tulane University as Technical Director in August of 2009 and then added the role of Production Manager in November of that year.  She received her MFA in Technical Direction from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and has worked professionally in theatres across the country including The Virginia Stage Company, The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, The East Carolina Summer Theatre, The Alliance Theatre Company, and The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, among others. She has taught at Old Dominion University, Louisiana State University, and at her alma mater, NCSA. Her areas of special professional interest include automation, engineering, and the production of new works for the stage.

Vlad Ghinea (MFA, Tulane University)  |  Professor of Practice  |  Technical Director  |

 Vlad Ghinea received his MFA in 2012 from Tulane University. His specific areas of expertise are Technical Directing and Lighting Design. Prior to coming to Tulane, he also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science for Business Management as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Bucharest, Romania, where he is originally from.

Ron Gural (MFA, Yale University)  |  Professor  |  Acting, Directing, Video Production  |

Ron GuralRon Gural received his BFA in Drama from the University of Houston and his MFA in Acting/Directing from the Yale School of Drama. He is a member of the Actors' Equity Association and the Screen Actors' Guild and has appeared as a professional actor at such theatres as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, The Portland Stage Company, and Theatre X. He has played numerous roles on both television and film and is an experienced voice-over actor. He has directed productions for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Theatre X, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Tulane Shakespeare Festival as well as the Tulane Theatre Department.  His production of Hallowed Ground by Laura Harrington won the 2004 Big Easy award for Best University Production. Most recent directing credits include Fifteen Minutes at Midway co-directed by Jim Fitzmorris and Washp by Steve Martin.  Ron is also a founding member of both Theatre X and the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. He directed and edited his first full length film Compression for the theatre department at Tulane and served as a producer and actor in NOLA, a film that was created out of a class entitled Feature Film. That film was directed by guest artist Harold Sylvester and is currently in the process of seeking distribution. You can visit his website at

Victor Holtcamp (PhD, University of Washington)  |  Assistant Professor  |  Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism  |

Victor HoltcampDr. Holtcamp earned dual degrees in history and drama at the University of Washington, a Masters degree from Brown University, and completed his Ph.D. in 2003. He has presented at national and international conferences, and published on topics as diverse as the apocryphal Shakespearean play Mucedorus and the musical A Chorus Line. Particular areas of study include Shakespeare, modern U.S. theatre history, dramaturgy, acting pedagogy, and the intersections of culture and theatre. He is currently at work on a book project: Brave New Stage: Acting in the Age of the Interchangeable Part.



Hugh Lester (MFA, University of New Orleans)  |  Professor Emeritus |  Scene and Lighting Design  |



Jessica Podewell (MFA, Ohio State University)  |  Visiting Assistant Professor  |   Fundamentals of Acting, Beginning Acting  |  Jessica

Jessica Podewell received her BFA from Webster University and MFA from Ohio State University. She is a member of Actor's Equity Association and has worked professionally in theatres throughout Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York.  She is currently Artistic Director of the children's theatre, The Patchwork Players.




Buzz Podewell (Ph.D., New York University)  |  Professor Emeritus  |  Directing, Theatre History, Shakespeare

Buzz Podewell passed away on March 29, 2013.
Buzz Podewell

Buzz Podewell received his Ph.D. from New York University and has taught theatre history, directing, and Shakespeare at Tulane until 2011. The director of almost two hundred productions for professional and university theatres, Dr. Podewell has served as the Associate Artistic Director of the Louisiana Shakespeare Festival and one of the founders and co-Artistic Directors of the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. His improvisational children's theatre company, Patchwork Players, recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. He is the author of the forthcoming two-volume study of time and place in Shakespeare,

Shakespeare's Watch.



Gary RuckerGary Rucker (MFA, University of New Orleans)  |  Senior Professor of Practice  |  Fundamentals of Acting  |

Gary received his MFA in Acting from the University of New Orleans, where he was a member of the Resident Acting Company. He served as an adjunct acting instructor for 3 years before joining Tulane's faculty as a Professor of Practice. Gary is the director in residence for Rivertown Rep in Kenner, as well as being a member of The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane for the past 7 years. He has also been a member of the Patchwork Players company for 8 years.



Marty Sachs (MFA, Florida State University)  |  Professor and Chair  |   Lighting Design, Sound, Theatrical Photography  |

martyMarty Sachs received his BA in Theatre from Grinnell College and his MFA is Design/Technical Production from Florida State University. He has designed lighting at such theatres as the Fredericksburg Theatre Company, the Dallas Theater Company, the New Orleans Opera Association, the American Southwest Theatre Company, Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, Le Petit Théâtre de Vieux Carré, and the Contemporary Arts Center. He is the recipient of four Gambit Magazine's Big Easy Entertainment Awards for Best Lighting Design. He is also a member of United Scenic Artists (lighting design).



Antony Sandoval (MFA, University of Delaware)  |  Assistant Professor  |  Acting, Directing   |

Antony SandovalOriginally from France, Antony Sandoval has been working as an actor and director all over the world.  His directing credits include various productions for Tadashi Suzuki's Theatre Company at the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center in Shizuoka and in Toga Maru, Japan.  He also directs in the United States where he has received a "Garland" and "LA Weekly" Award for Best Director as well as a nomination for an Ovation Award for Best Direction.  Some of his directorial work was seen at the Franko National Theatre in Kiev, Ukraine where he opened a new adaptation of the book "Heart of the Dog" at the first International Bulgakov Festival.  His production, "The Tale of Mephisto," was also invited at the Gimhae Asian Performing Art Festival (GAPA) in South Korea.  His acting credits include performing in Japan under the direction of renowned director Tadashi Suzuki.  He has also performed throughout the USA in various festivals and has appeared on many occasions on television shows and in movies.  He is currently head of Acting at the Theatre & Dance Department at Tulane University in New Orleans.  He is one of the founding members of the "International Theatre Laboratorium-USA," ITL-USA (


Dmitry Troyanovsky (MFA, American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Arts Theatre)  |  Assistant Professor  |  Acting, Directing  |

Dmitry Troyanovsky is a practicing theatre director with an MFA degree from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training/Moscow Art Theatre School at Harvard University. He has directed, taught, led workshops, and developed new theatrical material at national and international institutions such as Asolo Repertory Theatre, Baryshnikov Arts Center, American Repertory Theatre Institute, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Moscow Art Theatre School, Segal Theatre Center (CUNY), 92 Street Y in New York, St. Petersburg State University (Russia), Fisher Arts Center at Bard College, Brown University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, American Lyric Theatre, East/West Theatre in Shanghai, and Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Originally from Russia, Dmitry maintains close ties with theatres in Moscow and St. Petersburg. As a result, he directed the Russian language premier of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love at the famed Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. His production of The Discreet Charm of Monsieur Jourdain (based on Moliere’s work) was invited to the IV Moscow International Theatre Festival "Your Chance." In addition to theatre, he has created installation and performance art projects such as Herzstuck at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. In 2011, Dmitry was added to the Fulbright Specialist Roster, Institute of International Education Department of Scholar and Professional Programs.

Sara Valentine (MFA, University of Delaware)  |  Visiting Associate Professor  |   Voice and Speech |   svalent@tulane.eduSara Valentine

Sara Valentine received her MFA in Acting from the University of Delaware Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP). She is a member of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association (VASTA) and Actor's Equity (AEA). In addition to teaching classes in Voice and Speech at Tulane, Sara coaches the department's mainstage and student productions, and teaches independent studies on public speaking and presentation.  Drawing on a variety of methods and techniques, her voice teaching is rooted in the Roy Hart approach, and she continues to study voice and vocal performance with the members of the Roy Hart International Theatre Center in Malerargues, France.  In addition to recording numerous voice overs and radio dramas, Sara has performed professionally with theatres and Shakespeare festivals around the country. A member of the vaudeville-inspired trio, ReallyInventiveStuff, she also performs as an actor and narrator for family concerts with major symphony orchestras throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Kirche Zeile  |  Assistant Professor  |  Costume Designer  |

Kirche Leigh Zeile is a costume designer whose work has been seen in New York City and regional theatres across the country. Off-Broadway credits include Amazons and Their Men; The Lady is Not For Burning; Monsterface; and The Last Word…. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, one of New York’s premiere off-Broadway theatre companies for which she has designed multiple productions including The Small, Telethon, What Then?, Alice the Magnet, and Demon Baby. Her design work with Clubbed Thumb has been published in the anthology, Funny, Strange, Provocative: Seven Plays for Clubbed Thumb (Playscripts, Inc). Regional design credits include St. Ex (world premiere), Rent (New England premiere), Death of a Salesman (featuring Christopher Lloyd), Doubt, and I Am My Own Wife for the Weston Playhouse, Visiting Mr. Green for Syracuse Stage, Merchant of Venice for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Intimate Apparel (Big Easy Award Nomination) for Southern Rep, Picasso at the Lapine Agile and 7 Homeless Mammoths Wander New England for Two River Theatre, and numerous musical productions for TriState Center for the Arts. In addition, she has costume designed a large number of films, including Snapshot (Hoboken Film Festival Premiere), 1956, and Bellclair Times. She is also an accomplished fashion historian who recently presented a paper entitled, Change of Habit: Evolution in Dress of the Sisters of Charity 1812-2008, for the Costume Society of Great Britain’s Conference in 2009. She has served as faculty and the Costume Design Program Coordinator at Marymount Manhattan College where she designed multiple theatre productions and taught courses in Theatre History, Costume Design, and Fashion History. Kirche received her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2002.


Adjunct Theatre Faculty

Mike Harkins (MFA, University of New Orleans)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Fundamentals of Acting

Eric Kuzminski  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Basic Makeup,

Sharon London (MFA, Louisiana State University)  |   Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Fundamentals of Acting,

Clare Moncrief (MA, University of New Orleans)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor | Fundamentals of Acting  |

Clare also serves as Managing Director of The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane.

Chaney Tullos (MFA, Louisiana State University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |   Stage Management, Shakespeare on the Road,

Carl Walker (BFA, Boston University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Fundamentals of Acting   |,



Dance Faculty

John Allen (MFA, University of Utah)  |  Associate Professor  |  Modern Dance, Dance for the Camera   |

John AllenAssistant Professor John Allen holds a B.A. in Human Development from Brigham Young University and an M.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. While in school he was awarded the Dee Winterton Spirit of Dance Award, the Excellence in Folk Arts Scholarship and the Susan Newton Parsons Scholarship. His professional experience includes dancing as a member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Stephen Koester and Dancers, and SB Dance. He has also collaborated and performed in original works by choreographers such as Doug Varone, Sean Curan, and Daniel Ezralow. Has most recently been invited to work with such companies as First Physical Theater in Grahamstown, South Africa and Kannon Dance Company in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Michaela Cannon (MFA, University of Utah)  |  Senior Professor of Practice  |  Modern Dance, Dance History  |

Michaela CannonMichaela Cannon received her BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. She has worked with choreographers such as Eva Meyer-Keller, Abby Fiat, Satu Hummasti, Eric Handman, Michelle Boulé, and Stephen Koester.

Diogo de Lima (Conservatory Maestro Juliano, Brazil)  |  Senior Professor of Practice  |  Modern Dance, Ballet, Dance for the Camera  |

Diogo de LimaDiogo de Lima received training in music, theater and dance at Conservatório Maestro Julião in Sao Paulo, Brazil and also attended the Royal Academy of Dance of London and the Toshie Kobayashi Academy of Dance. He has  received many awards for his dancing and choreography, both in Brazil and internationally. He was most recently nominated in 2003 for the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative. He began dancing professionally in 1996 and has appeared as a guest artist with several dance companies in Brazil.  Among others, Mr. de Lima has worked with choreographers Ana Bottosso, Ivonice Satie, Eduard Bonnis and Ilara Lopes. In 1999 he joined Grupo Corpo Brazilian Dance Theater and performed with that company until 2006 under choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras.  He has performed in theaters and dance festivals all over the world.

Alice Pascal Escher (MFA, Temple University)  |  Associate Professor  |  Modern Dance, Ballet, Dance Composition, Dance History  |

Alice Pascal EscherAlice Pascal Escher was born in New Orleans. She has been a member of the Newcomb Dance Program faculty since 1982 and is presently the Dance Coordinator. She is the Artistic Director and founder of the Newcomb Dance Company, the student dance company at Tulane. Escher holds a B.F.A. in dance from Florida State University and an M.F.A in dance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Before coming to Tulane, Escher was on the faculty of the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and a member of Sybil Dance Company. She remains an active member of the New Orleans dance community, continuing to perform and choreograph with local modern dance and ballet companies. Escher authored 28 articles on dance for Twentieth Century Culture: France from 1900-1975. She is certified in Laban Movement Studies by the Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York City.

Jeffrey Gunshol (MFA, University of Utah)  |  Senior Professor of Practice  |  Modern Dance  |

Jeffrey GunsholJeffrey Gunshol has danced with many different artists including, Liz Lerman, Mark Dendy, Melanie Stewart, and Kattie Duck and collaborated with Vincent Cacalano, Adrienne Clancy, Reggie Crump, Stephanie George, and Michaela Cannon. He began dancing at the Baltimore School for the Arts then headed to New York City and attended Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. He pursued his undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and after graduation started dancing with Dendy Dance. Following his work with Mark Dendy, he began to teach, choreograph, and dance for Liz Lerman for five years. He moved to Amsterdam to work with Vincent Cacalano. While abroad he was a guest artist with Magpie Music and Dance, created his own work, did long term projects with Danish choreographer Eric Pold, and Dutch choreographer Martin Butler. He received his Masters in Dance from the University of Utah. After leaving Utah he taught at East Carolina University for a year before coming to Tulane.

Barbara HayleyBarbara Hayley (MFA, New York University Tisch School of the Arts)  |  Professor  and Dance Coordinator |  Modern Dance  |

Barbara Hayley has been a member of the Newcomb Dance Program faculty since 1985, Coordinator of Dance,  1989-2006, Chair of Theatre and Dance, 2001-2007,  and teaches ballet, modern dance, choreography, dance history, and courses in community engagement through the arts.  . In New York, Ms. Hayley taught dance at Wagner College on Staten Island, danced with numerous choreographers, and directed Barbara Hayley & Dancers.  She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 1997/1998 for work throughout Russia, the impetus for creative work/exchanges on the international dance scene. Ms. Hayley is active in community partnership building and concert modern dance in New Orleans, including the direction of New Orleans Dance, a modern dance company comprised of local professional dance artists. New Orleans Dance and Ms. Hayley have received awards for both original choreography and modern dance production, including the 1999 Mayor’s Arts Award. Research: choreographic projects and oral history of early Alwin Nikolais dancers/German lineage of modern dance.

Kehinde Ishangi |  Visiting Assistant Professor | 

Minette L. Starts  |  Professor Emerita  |  Ballet

Beverly Trask (MFA, University of Southern Mississippi)  |  Associate Professor and Artistic Director, New Orleans Jazz Dance Festival; Modern Dance, Tap, Jazz, Dance History, Performance  |

Beverly TraskAssociate Professor Trask has choreographed and acted in numerous theatre and dance productions on campus and in the New Orleans Community for the last 25 years. She last appeared at Southern Repertory Theatre as Mrs. Wire in Tenneessee William’s Vieux Carre. In 1997, she began the New Orleans Jazz Dance Festival, a summer dance festival to promote research, professional training and cultural enrichment of the historical role of American vernacular dance as a unique American phenomenon.

Adjunct Dance Faculty

Carolyn Barber Pierre (MA, Bowling Green State University)  |   Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Brazilian Dance  |

Nicole Boyd-Buckles (BFA, Tulane University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Hip-Hop   |

Nicole Boyd-Buckels began her dance training at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts here in New Orleans. From there, she continued her studies at UC Los Angeles before moving to New York to work with various modern dance teachers and to perform with The Rod Rogers Dance Company. Nicole has performed for Confederacy of Dances 1-8, with the Tsunami Dance Company, New Orleans Dance Collective, Ocean of Light(New York) and Happensdance. She is a two time Big Easy Award winner for her pieces "Waitin on that 5'oclock Breeze" 1997, "High Heels and Grits" 2003 and was also nominated for the same award in 2000 for "That Damn Dress". Along with her teaching duties at Tulane University, Nicole is also on the dance faculty at Lusher Charter School (Fortier Site).

Jarina Carvalho

Sarah Duax (MFA, University of Iowa)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Ballet  |

Sarah Jane Duax is a local dancer, choreographer and teacher.  She has a Masters in Math and an MFA in Dance. She is originally from Buffalo, NY where she studied and performed with the Buffalo Ballet Theater.  She continued her studies with the Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Hysell Ballet. Locally she has performed with New Orleans Ballet Ensemble, New Orleans Dance, Hysell Ballet and New Orleans Dance Collective. She currently teaches at Tulane University, NORD/NOBA and the New Orleans Dance Academy where she also studies with Mary Monroe. She is also a licensed Massage Therapist.

Jerisse Grantham (BS, Louisiana State University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Advanced Rhythm Tap  |

Ausettua Amor Amenkum Jackson (BA, Dillard University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  African Dance, Hip-Hop  |

Monique Moss (BA, MA, Tulane University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Modern Dance

Katharine Parsons

Department Staff

Clare Moncrief - Managing Director, Shakespeare Festival at Tulane  |

Gaynell Robinson-Watkins - Executive Secretary for Theatre Program  (504)  314-7760  |

Ardice Cotter - Production and Operations Manager (504) 865-5106   |

David Raphel - Assistant Technical Director/Scene Shop Supervisor (504) 865-5325  |

Elizabeth Stewart-Ackers
- Executive Secretary for Dance Program (504) 314-7761  |

Tulane University, Dept. of Theatre & Dance, 215 McWilliams Hall, New Orleans LA 70118, 504.314.7760