dance student olympix
CCSU, Maloney Hall
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain CT, 06050
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Our Faculty & Staff
The most important part of any educational experience are the teachers. A good teacher must reach out to his or her students and pass on decades of experience in the span of a few hours each week. At CCSU Theatre our faculty must not only be good teachers, but also expansive and engaging artists, creating theatre that both entertains and challenges our community. It is no simple feat, but we have found a few special men and women who attempt this juggling act every single day.
Thomas J. Callery Jr.
Production Manager, Lighting
Tom came to CCSU in 1983, the same year Central Connecticut State College became a University. He has watched it grow over the years into the exciting and vibrant campus you see today. He received his MFA in Theatre Production/Management from the University of Oregon, and holds an AA and BA from the University of Maine. Tom came to Central after a two year stint at Tufts University, and over the years has freelanced throughout the Hartford and Boston area, working with many and varied theatre and entertainment production companies. He spent his summers in the mid-eighties as the Production Manager of The Cape Cod Melody Tent and later as the Stage Manager of the Lake Compounce Amphitheatre. As Chair of the Department he now spends most of his time with the students of CCSU Theatre, teaching them and helping to guide their budding careers. He and his family settled into a hilltop home in the "quiet corner" where they enjoy the company of family and friends and a multitude of wild animals.
Technical Director, Lighting, Sound,
Video and Computer Technology
Scott first arrived to CCSU as a student in 2001. After receiving his BFA, he remained involved in the CCSU community working as the Shop Foreman while serving as the Production Manager for the Hartford Children’s Theatre. Scott has been spending his summers as the Technical Director for the Bay Street Theater Festival since 2007. He completed his MFA in Technical Direction from UConn in 2009. Scott enjoys pursuing his work on the outside as a freelance artist around the region bringing students and the professional world together.
Cassandra Ireland Beaver
Scenic and Costume Design
Cassandra teaches courses in Scenic and Costume Design as well as Costume Technology. She holds an MFA in Scenic Design from The University of Connecticut and a BFA in Painting and Drama: Theatre Design and Technology from Washington University in St. Louis. Cassandra has worked more than ten seasons in the costume department of the Tony award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival and managed the costume shop for Western Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance prior to attending graduate school. She has also done freelance work as a scenic artist, prop master and designer, and constructing specialty soft goods. Design work includes scenery for the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Productions of The Who’s Tommy and A Flea in Her Ear and costumes for Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party. Other costume designs include Big Love, The Memorandum, and Trojan Women as well as work for dance.
Acting, Voice, Improv, Stage Combat, Masks, Dialects
Thom has directed several productions with CCSU Theatre, including The Importance of Being Earnest, The Crucible, The Comedy of Errors, Fuddy Meers, Replika, The House of Blue Leaves and The Seagull. Before moving to Connecticut Thom taught at Carnegie Mellon in The Schools of Music and Drama for 10 years and was on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. Thom's been nominated three times for CCSU’s Excellence In Teaching Award and was a semi-finalist for the award in 2001.
Thom is also a professional actor and a member of Actors’ Equity Association. In 1997 his portrayal of Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra for Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre earned him a “Best Performance” mention in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's "Best of '97" year-end theatre review. He performed many roles at The Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, The City Theatre and The Pittsburgh Public Theatre including Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Banquo in Macbeth, and both the twin Dromio’s in The Comedy of Errors. In 2008 Thom directed The Tempest here and played Prospero.
As a Fight Director Thom has worked at Carnegie Mellon, The City Theatre, The Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, The Pittsburgh and Boston Ballet companies, The Metropolitan Opera, The Juilliard School, The Hartford Stage Company and others.
Thom acted in, directed scenes and coached dialects for Mystic Voices, a documentary on The Pequot Wars, which aired on CPTV. He Co-wrote and performed in The Nearly Famous Death Lazzo of Edmund with a student at CCSU and created a completely new adaptation of Aristophanes' Birds through improv.
Thom has a BFA degree in Acting from Carnegie Mellon and an MFA in Acting and Teaching Pedagogy from the University of Pittsburgh. He is married to and in love with Tracy Ginder-Delventhal and the blissful father of four: Zachariah, Elijah, Willem and Anya.
(Physical Education Department)
Catherine J. Fellows is a Full Professor in Physical Education at Central Connecticut State University, where she has been a faculty member since 1976. During her tenure, Fellows has pioneered, designed and implemented the dance major and minor in the Department of Theatre and the Dance Cross Endorsement in the Department of Physical Education and Human Performance.
Her experience and expertise in teaching, performing, and choreography have led to many successful residencies, performances and presentations at colleges and universities, public and private schools, conferences and conventions. She has toured internationally performing, guest teaching and presenting Dance Education workshops in England, Italy, and Hungary and is well recognized for her community engagement events throughout New England.
She has been happily married for twenty-two years and has one amazing daughter.
Lani (aka Louise) arrived at CCSU as an instructor fresh out of an MFA program in Costuming at Ohio University in 1968, dressed as a hippy with long straight hair. She has hopefully matured since then and has costumed almost 200 shows at CCSU and directed nine productions. She became Chair of the Department in 1991 and handed over the Chair position to Professor Tom Callery in 2010. Lani is married with two grown sons, has a small farm in Terryville, and leads African safaris every two years. A trip to Kenya in 2013 will be her 18th safari.
Josh Perlstein Josh Perlstein
Josh Perlstein has taught at Central Connecticut State University for 20 years. He received his MFA from the University of Massachusetts. He has also served as the vice chair of the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), where he co-chaired the Irene Ryan Acting competition. In the past his productions of Lebensraum, Keely and Du, and 9 Parts of Desire were selected as regional finalists at KCACTF.
Acting and Directing
Sheila Siragusa teaches courses in acting and directing. Previous places she’s taught include NYU’s Stella Adler Conservatory, SUNY Oneonta, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Parson’s School of Design and the National Shakespeare Conservatory.. A founding Member of the KO Festival of Performance, she acted, directed, wrote and composed over a number of seasons there. Her early work includes The Dirty Girls, an original piece which ran at the Manhattan Class Company, The Village Gate, the Raw Space and the Philadelphia Womens’ Theatre Festival. Recent directing credits include new works Faith and Clover, Becoming, The Island of Again and Matter. In addition to directing and collaborating on new works, she’s directed productions varying from Staged readings of The Things They Carried at Eastworks and The Catonsville 9 in conjunction with a lecture by Professor Howard Zinn to female playwright’s works such as Alice Tuan’s Some Asians and Lynne Alvarez’s The Reincarnation of Jamie Brown. Also a lover of first folio performance of Shakespeare’s plays, Sheila has directed productions of Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, King Lear, Taming of the Shrew. This coming spring she will be directing The August Company in Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale in an art gallery with an exhibition of paper structures made out of first folio texts. She directs in the summers at Chester Theatre Company in the Berkshires. There she has received critical acclaim for her direction of Mercy of A Storm, Crime and Punishment and Blackbird. Sheila has performed at various regional venues, including the George St. Playhouse, the Theater at Monmouth, St. Peter's at the Cititcorp Center and Moonworks at the 29th St. Repertory. She continues to act as well as direct. At CCSU she has staged productions of The Grapes of Wrath, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The Kentucky Cycle Part III, Human Museum, As You Like It and an original piece entitled Water about privatization of natural resources. At present she is at work with the August Company in Northampton Massachusetts on their production of Santacide. The August Company splits its focus between their OnWord series, devised theatre made with works not written for the stage and classical texts staged in innovative ways. Visit us at www.august-company.org
Jackie Coleman is Interim Executive Director for Hartford Performs and Senior Executive Advisor for the Arts for Hartford Public Schools. As such she works toward bringing dance, music, theatre and visual art to the students of Hartford in as many ways as possible.
Prior to Hartford Schools, Jackie left Hartford Stage as Director of Education. During her 6 years there she expanded the reach of Connections – a theatre literacy program, created Innovations –a science/theatre residency, formed the Hartford Stage Young Company, designed a multitude of interdistrict and after school programs, increased professional development opportunities and started their adult acting series.
Jackie is a Master Teaching Artist on the roster for the Connecticut Office of the Arts. She has 15 years of acting credits in and around New York City and Connecticut. She holds an MFA from the University of South Carolina and a BFA from the University of Connecticut.
Scott McKenna started his career here at CCSU in 1985 as an undergraduate studying Technical Design Theatre and obtained his BFA in 1991. He went on to get his Masters in Educational Technology and Media from Central, and later received his Ph. D in Professional Higher Education from the University of Connecticut. The love of Theatre drove Dr. McKenna to pursue a job administration, managing major performance venues at Central in 1991, and he has been here ever since. Dr. McKenna began teaching various subjects in Theatre in 1999. His role as Director of Operational Logistics and Events leaves him in charge of management and contracting of over 233 spaces on campus. His latest project is a book on access and security for higher education.
Leigh Radziwon is the instructor for Makeup I and Advanced Makeup Courses at Central Connecticut State University. Leigh received a Master of Science Degree in Education from the University of New Haven and has worked as a Professional Special Effects and Beauty Makeup Artist in the television and film industry for over seven years. Leigh has done work for ESPN, The Discovery Network, History Channel, NBC, ABC, and many more. Leigh also works professionally in the medical field as a Prosthetics Specialist, creating lifelike prosthetic hands, fingers, feet, and facial devices that are virtually undetectable when worn by her patients.
Vanessa Clarke-Bligh is an alumnus of the Central Connecticut State University Theatre Department, from which she completed her BFA in Performance in 2008. Her most notable accomplishments at Central were her performances as “Henrietta” in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, “Trinculo” in Tempest, and “Amal” in 9 Parts of Desire. She is currently a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Teaching program as well as the University Assistant of the Theatre Department. She plans to use her theatre experiences to help her in the education world. Among other interests, she is a member of The One-Eyed Jacks Theatre Company, a local theatre company that works in conjunction with The New Britain Repertory Theatre.
Jackie Colon has worked for the State of Connecticut for 14 years, and has worked for the Theatre Department for the last 2 of those years. She enjoys spending time with her family and little Chihuahua, Bella.
Scene Shop Manager
Peggy has worked with many Connecticut Community Theaters and high school programs as a set builder, designer, and scenic artist for over 40 years.
Marti Simmons holds her BFA in Theater Tech and Design with a focus in Costuming from the University of Connecticut. When not building for CCSU productions, and helping to run the costuming labs, Marti often works over-hire wardrobe for both Hartford Stage and Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, CT. Marti has assisted, designed, and been a technician, for Connecticut Repertory Theatre since 2006. Marti's senior costume design assignment for CRT's production of Galileo was accepted to the 2011 Prague Quadrennial along with productions from all over the world. This is Marti's second year with CCSU.