Faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance



Mel Cook

(MFA, Birkbeck-University of London)  |  Visiting Assistant Professor  | Fundamentals of Acting, Directing, Devised Theatre

Mel Cook is a London based Theatre Director whose UK work ranged from the BAC to the V&A. She devises and directs site-specific and digital hybrid events, as well as classics, cabarets, physical and improvised theatre. Her work also includes immersive game design, dramaturgy, community development as well as corporate and festival projects.

Diana Cupsa

(PhD, University of Bucharest) | Associate Professor | Scenic Design, Design for TV |

Diana CupsaDiana Cupşa, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Scenic Design and Head of the MFA Design Program at the Tulane's Department of Theatre and Dance. She joined Tulane University in the Fall of 2003. Diana has been on the faculties at the National University of Theatre and Film "I.L. Caragiale" in Bucharest, Romania; Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa; College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Diana's work has covered a broad range of set and costume design for theatre, film and television working with respected directors on well known professional stages in Europe, Africa and the US. They include Romanian directors such as Ion Cojar, Sergiu Nicolaescu and Gelu Colceag; South African directors such as Barney Simon, Gary Gordon and Ise van Hemert and also American Directors such as Ron Jenkins and Yuryi Kordonski. She is a two-time recipient of the South African's FNB "Vita Award" and also the Romanian's "Oradea Grand Award" while her designs are displayed at the Prague Quadrennial and the World Stage Design exhibitions. She is the author of the book titled: Theatre in South Africa published recently in Bucharest, Romania.

Vlad Ghinea

(MFA, Tulane University) | Professor of Practice | Technical Direction, CAD |

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.

Michelle Hathaway

(MFA, Louisiana State Uuniversity) | Professor of Practice | Costume Technology | mhathaw1@tulane.eduMichelle Hathaway

Michelle L. Hathaway received her MFA in Costume Design and Technology from Louisiana State University in 2010.  She spent a full year interning with the Walt Disney World Creative Costuming Workroom where she got to participate in several exciting projects, as well as spending several months working in the Costume Shop at Colonial Williamsburg.  She spent three years as the Costume Shop Manager and Adjunct Faculty at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan where she helped design and produce shows ranging from Carrie the Musical to The Coronation of Poppea.  You can find her website at




Victor Holtcamp
Victor Holtcamp bw

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

Victor 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. Major areas of study include the intersections of culture and theatre, Shakespeare, acting pedagogy, and modern U.S. theatre history. He has published work in Theatre History Studies, The Shakespeare Yearbook, and the Texas Theatre Journal among others. He is currently at work on a book project: Brave New Stage: Acting in the Age of the Interchangeable Part.

Jennifer Jacobs

(MFA, New York University) | Visiting Assistant Professor | Costume Design |

Jenny Mercein

(MFA, University of Washington  | Assistant Professor  | Acting Jenny Mercein headshot

Jenny Mercein received her B.A. in Theater Studies and the History of Art from Yale and her M.F.A. in Acting from The University of Washington. Acting credits include "30 Rock," "Blue Bloods," "Unforgettable," "Law & Order" and extensive theater credits including Keen Company, New Georges, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre Company, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Connecticut Free Shakespeare, Florida Studio Theatre, White Heron Theatre, and Fulton Opera House. Recent directing credits include "Too Much Water" for UCSB and "Heathers the Musical" for Santa Barbara's Out of the Box Theatre. Jenny has taught at various institutions including University of California Santa Barbara, Westmont College, AMDA (NY), Fordham, Queens College, and Nassau Community College. Along with KJ Sanchez, Jenny is the co-creator of the acclaimed documentary theater play X's and O's, about football and traumatic brain injury. X's and O's premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theater in January of 2015 under the direction of Tony award winning director Tony Taccone and had a subsequent run at Baltimore Center Stage in December of 2015. X's and O's received extensive national coverage including features in The New York Times and NPR's Weekend Edition and was awarded the Rella Lossy Playwright Prize by the San Francisco Foundation. Jenny has also written several solo shows including "Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge" (directed by Ryder Thornton), "Waiting," and "pretty." For more information, visit


Jessica Podewell

(MFA, Ohio State University) | Professor of Practice | Fundamentals of Acting, Beginning Acting, Plays & Playwrights |

Jessica received her BFA from Webster University and MFA from Ohio State University. She is a member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA) 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.

(MFA, Ohio State University) Professor of Practice | Fundamentals of Acting, Beginning Acting |
Jessica Podewell
John (Ray) Proctor

(MFA, West Virginia Univeristy; PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison)  |  Assistant Professor  | Acting, Black Theatre HistoryRay Headshot

John (Ray) Proctors holds a BA in English from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and an MFA in Acting from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. His PhD in Theatre Research (with a primary focus on Shakespeare Studies) is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His disertaion considered the ways in which mid-twentieth century theatre audiences learned to negotiate issues of class, race, integration within the framework of a particular 1942 production of Othello that featured Paul Robeson. As an actor, Ray has appeared in the Chicago/Milwaukee region, he as appeared as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Peter in Lorraine Hansberry's Les Blancs, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, as well as productions of Ain't Misbehavin and Between Men and Cattle. He has performed the title role in Othello in New York, West Virginia, St Louis, Tuscon, and Chicago. Ray co-authored (with Ms. Olivia Dawson)  Out Loud, which opened at eta Creative Arts Foundation on Chicago's south side. The play ran for nine weeks and received seven 2014 Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Play, Best New Script, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Ensemble. 

Gary 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.


Gary Rucker
Marty Sachs

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

Marty 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).


Marty Sachs
Antony Sandoval

(MFA, University of Delaware) | Associate Professor, Head of Acting | Acting, Suzuki Method of Acting, Directing |

Originally 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 Mura, 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 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 one of the founding members of the "International Theatre Laboratorium-USA," ITL-USA

Antony Sandoval

Darci Fulcher (MFA, Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre) | Voice and Speech |

Nancy Gunn (MA, Tulane University) | Adjunct Assistant Professor | Producing, Plays and Playwrights, Theatre in Contemporary Society, Fundamentals of Acting |

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

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  |

Ryder Thornton (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara; MFA, Temple University) | Adjunct Assistant Professor | Fundamentals of Acting  |

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 |,





Michaela Cannon

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

Michaela 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 Boule, and Stephen Koester.

Michaela Cannon
Diogo de Lima

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

Diogo 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.


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Alice Pascal Escher

(MFA, Temple University) | Associate Professor  |  Modern Dance, Ballet, Laban, Dance Composition, Dance History |

Alice 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.

Alice Pascal Escher
Jeffrey Gunshol

(MFA, University of Utah)  | Senior Professor of Practice, Weiss Fellow | Performance, Modern Dance  | 

Jeffrey 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. He is a 2004 recipient of the Weiss Presidential Fellowship for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Tulane University.

Jeffrey Gunshol
Barbara Hayley

(MFA, New York University Tisch School of the Arts)  | Professor, 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.)  She 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.

Barbara Hayley 3
Beverly Trask

(MFA, University of Southern Mississippi) | Associate Professor, Artistic Director - New Orleans Jazz Dance Festival | Modern Dance, Tap, Jazz, Dance History |

Associate 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.


Egeus_Beverly Trask

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   | 

Jarina Carvalho (BS, University of New Orleans, Dance Theatre of Harlem, School of American Ballet | Adjunct Assistant Professor |Classical Ballet |

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

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

Kehinde Ishangi (MFA, Florida State University)  |  Adjunct Assistant Professor  |  Ballet, Modern, Dance Science & Conditioning |

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 (BS, University of Alabama) | Adjunct Assistant Professor | Classical Ballet, Modern |




Hope Bennett - Costume Shop Manager (504) 314-7754 | 

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

Clare Moncrief - Managing Director, Shakespeare Festival at Tulane  |

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

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

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

Emeritus Professors

Jeanne Button  |  Professor Emerita  | Costume Design

Ron Gural  |  Professor Emeritus  |  Acting

Hugh Lester  |  Professor Emeritus | Scenic & Lighting Design

In Memoriam


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

Stevie Dawson

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. 

Stevie Dawson passed away on March 15, 2012. 



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

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. 

Buzz Podewell passed away on March 29, 2013.




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


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