Faculty and Staff

Sharla Cowden

Sharla Cowden, BA, MFA

Department Chair / Managing Director

Room 109C, Hyde Hall

Ms. Cowden was named Chair of the UE Department of Theatre in 2021 and has served as Managing Director and Head of the Theatre Management program since 2000. She coordinates the national recruiting efforts for the department and the marketing of the theatre season's productions. At UE, she teaches Theatre Management and Arts Leadership, as well as independent studies in special topics within the field of arts management.

She served as the Managing Director of Connecticut's Hartford Children's Theatre, Marketing Associate at Hartford Stage, and worked extensively for eight seasons with the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. She also served as the Audience Development Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma School of Drama for six years.

She is a graduate of Leadership Evansville and is regularly asked to make presentations on networking and business etiquette. In addition, she serves as the co-coordinator of the National Unified Auditions, held annually in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Ms. Cowden has a BA from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and an MFA in Theatre Management from Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

Diane Brewer

Diane Brewer, BA, PhD


Theatre History and Criticism / John David Lutz Distinguished Professor of the Arts

Room 109A, Hyde Hall

Dr. Diane Brewer, professor of theatre, teaches three Honors courses for theatre majors – Dramaturgy I and II and Survey of Theatre Histories. In describing the classes, she explains, In Dramaturgy I, we look at plays that fall within the Aristotelian tradition and those that intentionally deviate from those conventions. As we do so, we engage in intensive discussions and writing assignments that help students learn to identify and understand their personal reactions to plays. In Survey of Theatre Histories and Dramaturgy II, we throw ourselves into the gap between past and present, holding ourselves to rigorous standards of research, writing, and critical thinking."

"I want my students to feel challenged and inspired to continue exploring the connection between their own values and the theatre they create," Dr. Brewer notes. "I enjoy teaching UE Honors students because they keep me on my toes. They often ask questions I've never considered and come up with solutions I've never imagined. In that way, they reaffirm why I teach – to keep learning."

Dr. Brewer holds a BA in drama from Tufts University and a PhD in theatre from UCLA. Her areas of expertise include theatre history and dramatic criticism, and she also dramaturgs and directs productions for the UE theatre department. Her articles have been published in The Dramaturgy Protocol, The Dramaturgy Sourcebook (vol. 4), Theatre Topics, PAJ: Performing Arts Journal, and HowlRound at the Center for Theater Commons. She has received such honors as the Dean's Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Evansville and a Certificate of Merit for Dramaturgy from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Stephen Boulmetis

Stephen Boulmetis, BFA, MFA


Lighting Design / Professor

Room 103, Shanklin Theatre

Mr. Boulmetis joined the UE Theatre faculty in 2010, bringing with him a wealth of experience in lighting design for television, fashion shows, cruise lines, theme parks, corporate events, and various architectural projects. His Broadway credits include Associate Lighting Designer for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Assistant Lighting Designer for RING OF FIRE, WHOOPI, OLD AQUAINTENCE, BUTLEY, SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS, and PRYMATE. He has worked at regional theatres such as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, American Repertory Theatre, and Westport Country Playhouse.

Mr. Boulmetis received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music, an MFA from Boston University, and is a member United Scenic Artists–Local 829.

Eric Renschler

Eric Renschler, BS, BA, MFA


Associate Dean of the Ridgway College of Arts and Sciences
Scenic Design / Associate Professor

Room 118C, Shanklin Theatre

In 2006, Mr. Renschler joined the theatre faculty as the scenic designer and then served as Chair of the UE Department of Theatre from 2015 to 2021. He returned to his alma mater after nearly twenty years of working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on regional and international productions.

His Broadway designs include scenery for MAMALOSHEN and AS LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LAUGH (including a subsequent national tour and PBS special). His Off-Broadway credits include designs at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Circle Repertory Company, Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and The Juilliard School. His regional design credits include Cincinnati Playhouse, Chautauqua Opera, Barrington Stage Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Adirondack Theater Festival, Hangar Theatre, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

As an associate designer, he worked on over forty Broadway shows, national tours, and international productions, including THE COLOR PURPLE, DOUBT, CHICAGO, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, FOOTLOOSE, PROOF, WONDERFUL TOWN, THE REDWOOD CURTAIN, and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.

The UE Center for Innovation and Change named Mr. Renschler a 2011 Global Scholar Award-winner. He used his award to expand his experience in the international design arena with a year-long comparative study of national design aesthetics as exhibited through theatrical scenography. He is a former board member for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, a member of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission, and a frequent grant reviewer for the Indiana Arts Commission.

He holds an MFA in Theatre Design from the University of Michigan and is a member of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and USA (United Scenic Artists).

Sarah J Smith

Sarah J Smith, BFA, MEIM

Costume Design / Assistant Professor

Room 118 A, Hyde Hall

Ms. Smith joined the UE Theatre faculty in 2017, after over a decade of professional work as a costume designer, stylist, and project manager in New York City, Los Angeles, and regional theatres across the country, Ms. Smith brings her professional work to the classroom while continuing to pursue professional projects. Her theatre work ranges from small-scale new works to opera and Broadway musicals. Sarah has worked at Disney/ABC Television Studios, styled photo shoots for national print campaigns, and designed costumes for television.

Ms. Smith received her Masters and BFA in Drama/Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud member of IATSE—United Scenic Artists Local 829 and Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764.

Amelia McClain

Amelia McClain, BFA, MFA

Acting / Assistant Professor

Room 100B, Shanklin Theatre

Ms. McClain has been on the faculty at UE since 2018 and serves as an Assistant Professor of Acting. She teaches all levels of acting, as well as senior-level audition techniques and directs one production each year. In the Fall of 2021, McClain took leave from UE as a member of the Broadway cast in Aaron Sorkin’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, at the Shubert Theatre.

Before returning to her alma mater, she completed a year-long run on Broadway as Sandra in the smash-hit production of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Also on Broadway, she worked on FOOL FOR LOVE, NOISES OFF, THE HEIDI CHRONICLES, THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, and the Tony Award-winning VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE. Amelia has been in over 20 productions off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country.

Her favorites include OCTOBER/NOVEMBER at Ensemble Stage Theatre in New York, Brooke in NOISES OFF at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah. If you don’t blink, you can catch Amelia in the film INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

She received her BFA from the University of Evansville in 2003 and an MFA from the graduate acting program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of Actors Equity Association.

Stacey Yen

Stacey Yen, BA, MFA

Acting / Visiting Assistant Professor

Room 100C, Shanklin Theatre

Ms. Yen is in her fourth year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Acting/Guest Artist in the UE Department of Theatre. She has previously been a guest artist at Princeton, Fordham, and New York University, and has extensive performance experience both in theatre and television.

Her professional acting credits include roles at several prestigious theatres including: The Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, American Conservatory Theatre, The Goodman, Berkley Rep, Arena Stage, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her television guest star appearances include: THE BLACKLIST, THE GOOD WIFE, INSTINCT, ELEMENTARY, MADAM SECRETARY, and TREME.

Ms. Yen received her MFA in Acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in American History from Brown University. She is a member of the Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.

Wes Grantom

Wes Grantom, BFA

Directing / Clinical Assistant Professor

Room 109 B, Hyde Hall

Since 2018, Mr. Grantom has served as the Resident Director and Adjunct Instructor of Directing and Stage Management. His directing credits at UE include ONCE IN A LIFETIME, SPRING AWAKENING, and VIOLET.

His recent professional directing credits include BEEP BOOP, by Richard Saudek, at Ars Nova and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, A COMEDY OF TENORS, by Ken Ludwig, at Pioneer Theatre Company, OLDER BROTHER’S ALMANAC, by Richard Thieriot, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, TOXIC AVENGER: THE MUSICAL, by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, at Pittsburgh CLO, LONE STAR SPIRITS, by Josh Tobiessen, NYC’s Crowded Outlet, EAGER TO LOSE, by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, at Ars Nova, THE STEADFAST, by Mat Smart, and MINE, by Bekah Brunstetter, for Slant Theatre Project.

He has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page and Rufus Norris. Mr. Grantom has also directed productions and facilitated workshops at several academic institutions such as University of Evansville, Montclair State University, New York University, Kean College, Centenary College, Professional Performing Arts School, Stella Adler Conservatory, and the Lee Strasberg Institute.

He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a 2003 graduate of the University of Evansville, and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet, based in Queens.

Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter, BS

Visiting Assistant Professor


Scott Carpenter is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a BS in Design and Technology. He returned to UET to serve as the Assistant Technical Director for the Spring 2008 semester.  Scott worked for many years with Production Resource Group Scenic Technologies in Set Electrics and Automation on Broadway shows including SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, BOOK OF MORMON, and WICKED (Korea). He started his own company X Control Solutions in 2017, to provide electromechanical effects to Broadway shows including FROZEN and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Asia Tour). His touring experience includes Technical Director for The Marvel Experience Tour and Automation Programmer for Drake (Jungle Tour). He has also served as Technical Director and Production Electrician for a variety of events including auto shows and fashion shows.

Liz Jenkins

Liz Jenkins, BFA, MFA

Visiting Assistant Professor


Born and raised in Houston, TX, Liz Jenkins is an actress, writer, and comedian. She lives full time in Los Angeles with her partner, Sean, and their busy toddler, Lando. In Los Angeles, she studied sketch and improv at both The Groundlings School and Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. You may recognize her from guest roles on AMERICAN HORROR STORY, TORCHWOOD, REVENGE, RAVEN’S HOME, YOUNG SHELDON, or SEAL TEAM. Most notably, Liz played a fan favorite recurring role on the critically acclaimed, multi award-winning ABC hit comedy BLACK-ISH which ran for 8 seasons.

She received her MFA from University of California San Diego and her BFA from the University of Evansville. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association.

Joe Paulik

Joe Paulik

Adjunct Instructor


Joe Paulik has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in theaters all over the country. Most recently, Joe was in the US premiere of Ivo van Hove’s NETWORK starring Brian Cranston. He has originated roles for A.R. Gurney, Stephen Belber, Sarah Treem, Rob Askins and others. Joe also starred in the NYC premiere of Aaron Posner’s STUPID F-ING BIRD, as well as the first regional production of Annie Baker’s JOHN, at ACT in San Francisco. He received a Helen Hayes nomination for his work in BAD JEWS, at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., and an IRNE nomination for THE POWER OF DUFF, at the Huntington Theater, in Boston. Joe has worked at ACT, Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, among others. His television credits include THE GUIDING LIGHT, THE GOOD WIFE, and PERSON OF INTEREST.

Joe received his MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program.

Jean Nelson

Jean Nelson, AA, BA, MFA

Costume Shop Manager

Room 4, Shanklin Theatre

Ms. Nelson has served as the costume shop manager and taught several costuming courses at the University of Evansville since 2002. Previously, she owned and operated Town Tailor, specializing in alterations, tailoring, and custom sewing for 20 years. Also, she has worked for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Opera, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, Baltimore Opera, and Disney; she continues to spend her summers as a stitcher at The Santa Fe Opera and Guthrie Theatre.

Ms. Nelson has an AA in theatre and business from Austin Community College, a BA in family and consumer science from Mankato State University, and an MA in Design, Housing, and Apparel from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Cody Kane

Cody Kane

Scene Shop Manager


Cody is a graduate of Murray State University and worked on the second national tour of JERSEY BOYS as an assistant carpenter. This summer, he served as the Technical Director for the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, New York. Throughout college, Cody worked in his university scene shop constructing many sets while assisting in teaching students tool safety and basic construction techniques.
Sherri Peachee

Sherri Peachee

Senior Administrative Assistant

Room 109, Hyde Hall

Mrs. Peachee oversees the day-to-day operations of the main office, coordinates prospective student visits, and serves as the clearinghouse for internal and external questions pertaining to the UE Department of Theatre. She serves as an ex-officio member of the UE Theatre Society Board of Directors and facilitates communication on behalf of the executive committee.