Theatre

Design and Performance Instruction for Tennessee’s Young Thespians

Our philosophy is simple — to supply an opportunity for the student to learn. We do this by providing a program of dedicated and focused study in all areas of theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre. Students are to be given every opportunity possible to explore, to question, and to grow. The Theatre Program is a safe place where there are no wrong answers and no stupid questions. It is an environment fostering open communication and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. The mission of the Theatre Program of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts is based on the idea that we are part of a “school” and the objective should always be on learning and exploring the multiple facets of the art of theatre. The mission of the Theatre Program is to instill in every student the respect and understanding of all aspects of the theatrical process as it leads to its final culmination in the performance, as well as to give the student the knowledge, skills, and creative opportunities to realize their own potential and grow as an individual, an artist, and a craftsman. Additionally, the student should gain a sense of where the art of theatre resides in relationship to the other art forms of the school, and how all these art forms are interrelated.

Theatre Curriculum

There are now two classifications for theatre students: Performance and Design. Students may apply for both concentrations but must realize they will be accepted into only one classification — not both. However, all students must demonstrate a willingness to participate and learn in all aspects of theatre. Instruction will include skills and knowledge development in areas such as:  

  • PERFORMANCE STUDIES (Stage Movement, Stage Combat, Alexander Technique, Acting for the Stage, Acting for the Camera, Vocal Training, Musical Theatre, Pantomime, Improvisation, Dance, Auditioning, etc.)
  • DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY (Costumes, Scenery, Lighting, etc.)
  • THEATRICAL/LITERARY STUDIES (Playwriting, Theatre History, Dramaturgy, etc.)
  • THEATRE MANAGEMENT (Theatre Business, Stage Management, etc.)

Goals

The Theatre Arts discipline embodies four fundamental goals and component knowledge, processes, and skills which this Tennessee framework terms strands. The goals are to enable the learner to:

1. Develop means of expression for the individual through the use of drama/theatre experiences

a. Sensory perception b. Emotional expression c. Imagination d. Movement e. Language f. Voice g. Artistic discipline h. Concentration i. Self-concept

2. Create drama/theatre through individual effort, group interaction, and artistic collaboration

a. Ensemble and interpersonal skills b. Problem solving c. Improvisation d. Acting e. Directing f. Playmaking and Playwriting g. Technical elements h. Theatre management

3. Experience drama/theatre in its multicultural, social, and historical contexts

a. Dramatic literature b. Theatre history and heritage c. Drama/Theatre in a multicultural society d. Roles and careers

4. Form aesthetic judgments of drama/theatre experiences

a. Elements of drama b. Audience c. Theatre and other arts d. Aesthetic response  

 

Theatre Faculty

Jeff Gibson

Chair

Jeff Gibson is Chair of the Theatre Division of the Tennessee Governors’ School for the Arts and Chair of the

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Jeff Gibson

Chair

Jeff Gibson is Chair of the Theatre Division of the Tennessee Governors’ School for the Arts and Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Middle Tennessee State University. Gibson serves as President of Southeastern Theatre Conference and is a Past Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Region IV. A former Assistant to the President of Watkins College of Art&Design in Nashville, Tennessee, he received his MFA in Theatre Management from the University of Alabama and served as a management assistant at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Kate Goodwin

Stage Management Faculty

Since receiving her MFA in Stage Management from the University of Illinois, Kate has toured internationally with The Builders Association,

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Kate Goodwin

Stage Management Faculty

Since receiving her MFA in Stage Management from the University of Illinois, Kate has toured internationally with The Builders Association, collaborated on new works with Voices of the South, and stage managed for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. Now that she lives in Lexington, Kate teaches theatre courses for EKU and Asbury, in addition to stage managing, directing, designing, and killing it at karaoke. Some favorite stage management credits include Doubt, Metamorphoses, Cosi fan tutte, Cicada, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Driving Ms. Daisy, and Chicago. She is also proud both to serve on the community board and stage manage for The Girl Project.

Tara Houston

Scenic Design Faculty

Tara Houston is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Louisiana State University. Her design work has been featured at

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Tara Houston

Scenic Design Faculty

Tara Houston is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Louisiana State University. Her design work has been featured at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Music Theatre of Wichita, and Armory Free Theatre. After receiving her BFA in Scenic Design and Scenic Art at the University of Arizona, Tara graduated with her MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Illinois. She is a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, the Guild of Scenic Artists, and the Latinx Theatre Commons. Her portfolio website can be found at www.tarahouston.net.

Shelly Elman

Finale Director

Shelly Elman is the Chair of the Theatre Department at the University of West Georgia, where she has taught for 20+

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Shelly Elman

Finale Director

Shelly Elman is the Chair of the Theatre Department at the University of West Georgia, where she has taught for 20+ years. Of her directing credits at UWG, some of her favorites are: In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks, Kindertransport by Diane Samuels,Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, The Scarlet Letter adapted by Phyllis Nagy, Cabaret by Kander and Ebb (and Masteroff). She is thankful for the opportunity to once again work with Jeff Gibson and the cool crowd!

Darren E. Levin

Lighting Design Faculty

Darren E. Levin is a freelance lighting designer and lighting design faculty at Middle Tennessee State University.  He has designed lighting

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Darren E. Levin

Lighting Design Faculty

Darren E. Levin is a freelance lighting designer and lighting design faculty at Middle Tennessee State University.  He has designed lighting for Nashville Repertory Theatre, Black Hills Playhouse, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Theatre West Summer Repertory, Cedar Point Live Entertainment. Favorite credits: Posterity (Regional Premiere), Pageant (Regional Premiere), Peter and the Starcatcher, Good Monsters (World Premiere), La Cage Aux Folles, The Drowsy Chaperone, Urinetown, and Pride and Prejudice. Darren worked as the Assistant Technical Director/Lighting Supervisor for McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University. He has also worked with Cedar Point Live Entertainment/Cedar Fair Entertainment Corporation, Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, and toured with Disney on Ice. Darren is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 (USA829), The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 205, and the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (serving on regional and national committees within the organization).

Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from

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Justin Reed

Theatre Prouction Coordinator

Justin Reed is from Cleveland, TN, where he first began working in theatre at his local high school.  After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Theatre, he began his current job as Manager of Tucker Theatre and the Boutwell Dramatic Arts facility at MTSU. He is involved in many facets of the Theatre and Dance program including events, ticketing, marketing, construction, and technology management. Justin is very excited to be working with the Governor’s School again this year.    

Neno Russell

Costume Design Faculty

Neno Russell is a professional patternmaker and costume designer and he teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University As a cutter/ draper

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Neno Russell

Costume Design Faculty

Neno Russell is a professional patternmaker and costume designer and he teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University As a cutter/ draper for theatre, Neno has constructed costumes for leading costume designers, Toni-Leslie James, Cathy Zuber, Donna Zakowska, Amy Andrews Harrell, Lahly Poore-Ericson, and Paul Tazewell to name a few. Neno is currently the Assistant Designer on The Royale at Cleveland Play House, he was the Associate Costume Designer on the 2009 Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow, and he was assistant designer for the Broadway Productions of Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life and Footloose and the first National tour of Footloose. He patterned costumes for the Broadway productions of Bring in da’ Noise Bring in da’ Funk and The Rose Tattoo. He was also an assistant costume designer for Whoopi on NBC. Recently, Neno has patterned and built costumes for the 2015 Broadway production of Amazing Grace, Season 1 through 4 of AMC’s Revolutionary Drama Turn, Season 1and 2 of PBS’s Civil War Drama Mercy Street, Cotton Club Parade for New York City Center Encores, Comedy of Errors and this summer’s production of Othello at the Public Theatre/Shakespeare in the Park. Neno has designed over 70 national commercials (including: MTV, VHI, Journeys, Thomasville, Petsmart, NFL Films, The History Channel and Old Navy) and 7 documentaries for the History Channel.

Kristi Shamburger

Theatre Faculty

Kristi Shamburger is an Equity Actress and Associate Professor of Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University and specializes in Musical

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Kristi Shamburger

Theatre Faculty

Kristi Shamburger is an Equity Actress and Associate Professor of Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University and specializes in Musical Theatre. She is originally from Murfreesboro, TN, but has lived and performed not only in Tennessee but also in Las Vegas, NV, New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA. Cleveland and Akron, OH, Vermont, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Japan! She taught at Middle Georgia College, Huntington University, and Belmont University before coming to Middle Tennessee State University in 2010. Kristi received her Musical Theatre undergraduate degree at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH and her MFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a certified teacher of The Expressive Actor Technique and is thrilled to be advisor for musical theatre minors, directing musicals and teaching Musical Theatre Performance I & II and Voice for the Actor.

Derek Whittaker

Performance Faculty

Originally from Nashville, Derek has spent more than twenty-five years as an actor, director and playwright. He holds his Bachelor

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Derek Whittaker

Performance Faculty

Originally from Nashville, Derek has spent more than twenty-five years as an actor, director and playwright. He holds his Bachelor of Science Degree in Theatre from Middle Tennessee State University (where he has recently returned as an adjunct faculty member) and his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he received the prestigious Clarence Brown Career Development Award. His work as both actor and director has garnered him much praise and numerous “Toast of Music City” Awards, “First Night” Awards and Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition Awards.

As an actor, Derek has performed with the East Tennessee Shakepeare Festival and Tennessee Stage Company (TN); Derby Dinner Playhouse (IN); Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (FL); Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre (KS); and in a wide variety of venues along the East Coast on tour with Theatre IV (VA). Additionally, he has performed, written and directed for the Bijou Theatre Center (TN); Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (IL); and Fort Salem Theatre (NY). He also directed his original murder mystery Beach Blanket Backstabbing, which was performed extensively at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Derek spent over two years as a Guest Artist for Molyneux Entertainment and the “Six Star” luxury line Crystal Cruises, travelling around the globe as both an actor and director for their exclusive “Repertory Theatre at Sea.”

Closer to home, he has performed at Nashville Children’s Theatre (where he has also worked as a Teaching Artist); Studio Tenn in nearby Franklin (where he recently completed a run of Gypsy); Nashville Repertory Theatre (where he will be seen as “Ralphie” in their upcoming A Christmas Story); and Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre (where he has been seen in over forty productions throughout the years).

 

Dance

Dance

Governor’s School students learn that dance is inherent to our heritage and world and that of others around us. Students are encouraged to perceive, evaluate, and understand dance as a conveyor of culture.

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Filmmaking

Filmmaking

Filmmaking students are introduced to both the theory and technical aspects of filmmaking. Through lectures, films and hand-on experiences, students will learn the three aspects of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production.

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Instrumental Program

Instrumental Program

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Vocal Music

Vocal Music

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Theatre

Theatre

The theater school is a program of dedicated and focused study in all areas of theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre.

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Visual Art

Visual Art

Visual Arts students learn human understanding, achievement and self-development through the study and practice of visual art.

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